I remember being at work after my first child was born just dreaming of being able to stay home with him. I would long for a snow day (I was a teacher) or count down to the next 3-day weekend just to be able to spend more time with him. While I was pregnant with #2, I realized that I was only spending about 4 hours a day with my son and he was spending nearly 10 hours a day at daycare. This is NOT what I wanted for my family. I prayed about it during my pregnancy and after my daughter was born and really felt God calling me to stay home with our children...part of that confirmation came when He gave me a daughter who was very high-maintenance from birth! That was 3 years ago. I had visions of play dates, sunny days at the playground, visits to the zoo, and well-rounded, well-behaved kids...all while keeping up with the housekeeping and putting a well-cooked dinner on the table every night. Then we would sit around the table as a family and have dinner and discuss our day.
Fast forward 3 years to today. I have no car (long story) and am stuck at home all day and about two nights a week by myself with three children, two of whom need to run and play A LOT. I struggle to keep the downstairs clean in case we have clients coming over in the evening (we are semi-professional photographers). I only worry about the upstairs (the kids' area) about once a month...maybe. I put food on the table most of the time, but, as my husband will tell you, it's not that great most of the time either. It's usually something I threw together and didn't season well, or burned, or undercooked, or...well you get the idea. I have not been on any play dates during the week day (no car, remember?), we have been to the zoo a few times when we had two vehicles, and I did manage to take the oldest two to the park while I was pregnant with #3 this summer. My children are more well-behaved than many kids I see, but I still see a lot of room for improvement. They watch TV too much and my 5 year old begs all day, every day, to play on the computer or play Xbox.
The reality is...being a stay at home mom is hard. Sure, it has it's rewards...unlimited cuddle time, being the one to answer your child's random questions about topics he's too young to be asking about (at least in my opinion), having the opportunity to watch him read his first word, or watching your daughter twirl around the living room in her tutu because she's a "ballet-er." But for all the good times, there are so many down times. I'm social, so are my kids. We are confined to our house and wherever we can walk to. Do you see the problem? They love to play with friends, but we have no way to get there. The older two crave as much attention from me as the baby...but at some point I have to cook, clean, check and answer emails, clean, do laundry, pick up toys, discipline, answer a million "MOOOOOMMMM!"'s, all while trying to keep the baby's schedule...did I mention I breastfeed, too...oh, wait, I have to clean again, or is it make lunch, or maybe it's snack time?