Snapshots of SAHM Life

Being a stay-at-home mom is draining and priceless, stressful and fun-filled, chaotic and routine. It’s overwhelming and unglamorous, messy and lonely, but it’s all I ever wanted… to spend my days raising my children and experiencing their days, their fleeting childhoods. To be there.

Still, days as a stay-at-home mom often involve lots of this.


Caffeination on the go

A bit of this.


Multi-tasking (with now-cold caffeine)

Too much of this.


Toy mayhem

And always this.


The insurmountable and ever-present, Mt. Laundry

Your days may also involve this.


Grocery shopping and babywearing

Some of this.



And a bit of this.


Playdate fun

Then, of course, there’s this.


Mid-errand tantrums



Bizarre mishaps

A lot of this.


In-cart public meltdown and sibling brawl

And, what day would be complete without a touch of this?


Self-dressing drama

After all of that, you get this.


Quirky cuddles


Family time


Simple fun times

Because you’re there for it all, you also get to witness this.


Proud parenting moments


Proof of your hard work shining through


Love between your children

And this.


Hard-won skills blossoming

And it’s all worth it. All of it.



Finding My Direction

I signed up my littlest for preschool. Starting in September,  I will have 3 child-free hours to myself twice each week. Some parents rejoice at this shard of freedom. They regard the open hours with delight, imagining the quiet, the swift errands, the to-do list toppling abilities, the ease of exiting the car without unlatching and unbuckling other humans only to relatch and rebuckle their wiggling bodies a short time later. I, on the other hand, feel simultaneously mournful and lost.

I’m not ready to have my littlest leave my hip. I’m not ready to begin closing this young childhood chapter. I’m not ready to let go. I’m not ready for this next step. He is, though. So my level of readiness is moot.

I’m lost because I don’t know what to do with the vast yet limited time. One of the 3-hour preschool days will be dedicated to grocery shopping. Because every parent knows how demanding that errand is when accompanied by one or more children. So that leaves me with one 3-hour day to do with as I choose. So what do I choose?

At first I thought I could restart my International Board Certified Lactation Consultant educational endeavor. Then I realized that 3-hours once a week provides opportunity for a sliver of coursework — the credits which nullify after a limited time period — but offers no window for the requisite supervised patient hours. Then I remembered the level of flexibility I will require for sick days, class parties, school holidays, field trips, preschool performances, parent coffees, etc. The two-day preschool schedule is not stagnant. And so the educational goal was shelved, yet again, until all of my brood is in full-day school.

So, what’s a more viable option? Exercise?? Maybe. But I’m a workout DVD person as opposed to a class go’er. By September I will likely no longer be pumping (I realized this with a heavy heart. My surplus output is dwindling at 19 months postpartum — as it should — but, natural or not, the progression is bittersweet. No more 24/7 toddler companion AND no more milk donation??? I am wounded at the mere thought.)  So I will likely replace my pumping time with at-home exercise anyway. Exercise class option negated.

Perhaps I’ll volunteer! That’s a more likely choice. Given my looming milk donation end date, I will want to give back another way somehow. I began contemplating possible charities. Then I realized a more personal opportunity. Perhaps I could regularly volunteer at my eldest’s school! I have been remiss in my inability to participate to my desired degree this year given my littlest’s schedule and breastfeeding demands. Maybe that’s the solution. Maybe I might have possibly found an appropriate time filler. Something that gives me purpose. Something that still connects me to my maternal duties. Something that will make the time seem less empty and more fulfilling.

It’s hard being a stay-at-home mom. We give so much of ourselves to our children. Our identity becomes entwined with our maternal duties, just as a lawyer, an artist, a scientist, or a medical professional identifies with his/her career. Except children grow up and away.

We cheer for the development, praise the growth, but mourn the loss of our baby. To be needed in that primal way, to be wanted and loved and cuddled, to be present… it is a fleeting gift.

The constant demands of the newborn phase throw us into a world all our own. A survival-based existence of milk and spit-up, sleeplessness and lullabies. Then, in all too short time, the phase is over. The once-infant is walking and talking, becoming more child than baby. The increasing independence means that the burgeoning child is beginning to experience the world on his or her own. Once school begins, swaths of the child’s day will no longer be witnessed by us. We won’t share in those memories. We won’t know all of his or her friends. We won’t kiss all of the boo-boos or high-five all of the accomplishments. The child will be creating memories of his or her own. Without us.

As my littlest takes his own first step into the world I must bolster myself. I must cheer him on instead of holding him back. And I must take my own first step back into the world too. I must simply determine in which direction.



Grateful to be a Stay-at-home Mom

It’s days like today when I am grateful to be a stay-at-home mom. It wasn’t an easy day or a particularly challenging day, it wasn’t monumentally memorable or undeniably notable in any way. It was a relatively standard day in my harried, scheduled, intentional life as a stay-at-home mom of three kids 5 and under. But I was there, and for that I am grateful.


Sure, being a stay-at-home parent is an ongoing gig with few breaks, no vacation or sick days, no pay, and little appreciation (heck, some even resent if not balk at the endeavor), but it is immensely rewarding. For me.

Others may find the undertaking simply torturous or overwhelmingly monotonous. It is truly all in how you approach the responsibility and how you are wired.

I treat my stay-at-home parenting as a job. Truly. Each day I am focused on maintaining a schedule and –hopefully — creating a socially enriching and physically healthy routine for my kids. I have a plan every day just as I did when I was a cubicle-dweller. Just now my colleagues wipe their noses on my clothes and all bathroom duties are communal.

Some people are destined to be moguls, intellectuals, healers, entrepreneurs, managers, artists, or organizers. Heck, some people have no desire to procreate at all. To them I say, “Bravo!” Knowing yourself and your goals, being true to yourself despite outside pressures — real and imagined — takes fortitude. Do you!

Then, there are the men and women like me whose main life goal is to nurture our own offspring. We don’t aspire to be rich in wealth or fame, just in love.

Unfortunately, sometimes life unfolds in such a way that this doesn’t or cannot occur. Instead of walking their dreamed journey, individuals are forcibly detoured to another life path without the comfort of celestial explanation.

Other times, the nurturing path is open. The life aspirations of 24/7 care duties ensue. It’s humbling and fulfilling, exhausting and invigorating, disgusting and beautiful all at once. Each day presents millions of individual moments that range greatly from sweet to stressful, comical to thought-provoking. Some days you feel as if you have hardly used your brain beyond basic feed-clean-protect duties. Then there are days you flop onto your bed in complete exhaustion not knowing how you survived — or how you’ll manage the strength to visit the bathroom to empty your hours-full bladder — but you’re certain that you’ll do it all again tomorrow. Because you’re a parent and that’s what you do.

Today though. Today, mingled among the mundane and trying moments, were brilliant flickers of beauty that reminded me why I am so grateful to be home with my children.

This morning I had the ability to spend a morning taking my littlest to a playground where he could run about with his pint-sized friend. I could take him to a children’s concert and witness his amusement. I could take my boys for a long walk in the afternoon sun and make a last-minute detour to a playground before school pick-up duties called. I could collect my kindergartener from school and hear her gush about her day. I could be here for the good, the bad, the goofy, and the downright obnoxious.

I once worked. I once wore heels and dangling earrings. I once had coffee with fellow adults and spoke in uninterrupted sentences. That’s a past me. A me that was unhappy and unfulfilled because I was playing a roll that didn’t suit me. Just as a natural career man or woman would feel if he or she was forced to be a stay-at-home parent.

There is no single path. There is no “right” or “wrong” journey. It is simply up to us to follow the road laid out before us, to seek our own happiness in accordance with our circumstances and selves.

This is my path. And I am grateful to be present.

Mommy Burnout

I’m a stay-at-home mom of 3 kids and I’m burnt out. I am mentally, emotionally, and physically tapped. I have no more left to give, but keep giving I must because my 5-year-old, 3.5-year-old, and 16-month-old need me. My husband needs me. My family needs me. My friends need me.

My 5-year-old needs to chatter about her social escapades, ask random questions (“What do mermaids eat for dinner?”), and safely lose every one of her marbles in evening meltdowns while I listen, answer, and herd her back into wholeness. My 3.5-year-old needs to ramble about Rock Star Barbie and princesses’ hair, ask 15 times in 1 hour if we are going to Meme’s house even though his book bag and lunchbox are clearly set out for school, and request impromptu cuddles, while I act enthralled, calmly respond, and happily embrace. My 16-month-old needs to cause calamity, rough-house, and breastfeed on demand, while I ensure safety, fun, and nourishment. My husband needs me to communicate and interact like a loving, appreciative, present, well-mannered partner. They all need me to cook, clean, wrangle, organize, referee, chauffeur, and schedule. And just generally be a decent, happy human.

I have neither the energy nor the wherewithal to effectively do any of this right now. Nope. Not a bit.

I’m done. Keg’s tapped. Peaces!

So what do I do when I’m burnt out? Honestly, I snap more than I should. I lie awake wracked with mom guilt from all that I expect myself to do but can’t due to lack of time. I mentally berate myself for each of my accurate and perceived shortcomings. I replay every misstep and lament what was left undone. I feel every ounce of my overwhelmed state. I feel guilty for being overwhelmed instead of savoring this fleeting precious life stage that, one day, I will earnestly wish back into present time. Then I self-defeat by piling more tasks and to-dos onto my rambling list of expectations. Because I’m a mom… that’s what we do. Life does not stop simply because we are exhausted. There is no vacation day for us… no breather.

Without true respite, how do I pull myself out of these natural and normal burnout blips? Self-care, fortitude, and friends. Mainly, though, patience. I try to focus on things that fulfill me, fuel me, and make me feel healthy overall. For some that may be painting or jogging, yoga or reading. For me, sneaking exercise into my daily routine helps immensely. I fuel myself by focusing on hydration and nutritious foods, without depriving myself of whimsical treats. I surround myself with fun friends that leave me feeling supported, happy, light, and positive. I afford myself patience knowing this blip is reasonable, understandable, and temporary.

I cut myself slack. I forgive myself for my abbreviated patience. I remind myself this is temporary. I’ll be back in the game soon.

Mommy burnout doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom. It means you’re human.



Day in the Life of a SAHM

We’re just three weeks into the school year and I’m doggie-paddling. Anyone else feel like they’re this close to drowning? Anyone?

It may not sound like much but managing a half-day preschool calendar and a full-day kindergarten calendar along with a 1-year-old’s routine, household duties, and a breast pumping schedule for milk donation has me harried. I am still new to this regiment and — full disclosure — it’s tearing me limb from limb. And we don’t even have homework or extracurricular activities yet, people!


This is a glimpse at my average weekday schedule:

5:00/5:30am: 1-year-old wakes to nurse.

5:45am: Put 1-year-old back to bed or bring him downstairs with me (depending on how early he feels like waking.)

6:00am: Eat an apple and drink green tea while I pump. Catch up on news, check social media, and edit the blog while I moo.

6:40am: Done pumping. Clean pump parts, put lunchboxes I filled yesterday into backpacks, set out shoes (and jackets, if needed), and put out breakfasts I made the day before. Pour myself a second cup of tea and head upstairs to get ready. Husband (aka: The Hubs) lumbers downstairs around now, unless the 1-year-old awoke him a bit earlier, and brews coffee while starting his work-from-home workday.

6:55am: 1-year-old is in the tub beside my vanity playing while I get ready. I switch between doing my hair and make-up and ensuring he doesn’t try to eat the bathtub drain.

7:15am: 1-year-old is done with the tub. Time to get him dried and dressed.

7:20am: Wake up kindergartener. Race back to my bathroom to finish up the last bits of my morning routine before she calls me to do her hair.

7:25am: Kindergartener is dressed. I play hairstylist.

7:27am: 1-year-old is causing mayhem so I ask The Hubs to fetch him.

7:30am: Kindergartener heads downstairs to eat breakfast. Preschooler is awake and headbutting his bedroom door.

7:35: Preschooler is pottied, dressed, brushed, and coifed. He heads downstairs for breakfast.

7:40am: I go downstairs dragging a hamper of dirty laundry.

7:43am: Start the laundry. Start to tidy the kitchen. Someone needs help with something (baby gate, breakfast, wardrobe malfunction.) Take my vitamins. Blend my smoothie that was prepped the day before and transfer it into my straw cup. Breastfeed 1-year-old while giving the kindergartener a 2-minute warning before it’s time to leave. The Hubs goes upstairs to get dressed.

7:45am: The Hubs is dressed. Kisses, love, wishes for a good day, and reminders to be a friendly friend. The Hubs and kindergartener leave for morning drop-off.

7:50am: Breastfeeding 1-year-old because he got distracted with big sister’s exit. Preschooler demands a snack though he’s holding his half-eaten breakfast while wearing a princess costume.

8:00am: Tidy kitchen. Clean smoothie mixing vessel. Rinse pump parts and clean up breakfast aftermath. Prepare prechooler’s snack after collecting his empty breakfast plate.

8:02am: 1-year-old wants a snack too. Prepare his snack.

8:05am: Now I’m peckish. I pour a small bowl of hippie cereal (seeds, buckwheat groats, dried berries, coconut flakes, and cashewmilk) and sit down with the mug of cold tea I forgot to bring upstairs with me.

8:10am: I’m sitting and eating cereal. Catching up on social media and/or local news. Playroom scuffle breaks out. Scoop the last bites of hippie cereal down my gullet on the way to referee the brawl.

8:15am: Playroom peace attained. I check the oven clock. How the HELL is it only 8:15?!? I check my phone. Yep… 8:15. Shit. I clean up my cereal and unload the dishwasher.

8:30am: In the playroom reading with the minions.

8:35am: Clean-up time (code for: tot coup d’etat)

8:39am: Playroom moderately tidied. 1-minute warning to departure for preschool drop-off. I head to the kitchen to fill my water bottle and notice my smoothie sweating on the counter. Oh right, I made a smoothie! (Like I do every. Single. Day.) I put the smoothie next to my water bottle and keys to bring with me. Then change 1-year-old’s diaper.

8:40am: Drama ensues because leaving the house must always involve chaos and yelling. Always.

8:43am: Boys are in the car, shoes on (so help me!), and buckled into their car seats. I flop into the driver’s seat trying to remember what it was like when all I had to do to leave the house was put on my shoes, grab my keys, and leave. The mental file is too outdated… file not found.

8:50am: We arrive at the school early because I’m a type-A pain-in-the-ass who fears arriving late. We wait for 3 minutes in the car before starting the unbuckling routine. Meanwhile, I drink my now-melted smoothie.

8:58am: Preschooler is kissed, wished a good day, and signed in. I chat with some familiar faces then head to the car, 1-year-old riding on my hip.

9:01am: Get in the car and head either to Target or the grocery store since no other fruitful destinations are open at this time. On storytime days, Target is our destination.

9:20am: Arrive at Target. Pop 1-year-old in the Ergo 360 and off we go.

9:25am: 1-year-old is peckish. He nurses in the Ergo while I grab paper goods and eye all the women’s fashion section from afar. Target is now my fashion magazine. Oh, wide-leg jeans are back in!

9:38am: Checked out, paid, buckled in, still parked, I grab my phone and add something to the grocery list that I just remembered we need. (Thank you, Wegmans app!)

9:55am: We arrive at storytime before the library even opens (see 8:50am time slot for reasoning.) 1-year-old is chilling in his car seat so I turn up the music and check email and Instagram while we sit. I remember I need to schedule a pediatrician well-check… mental reminder. Then I realize I should probably drink more water, so I chug.

10:05am: Heading into storytime, the cereal and smoothie and water have caught up to me. Pee break in a public restroom while holding my 1-year-old: amateur contortion.

10:10am: 1-year-old is enjoying free reign of the children’s section. He keeps a close eye on the doors to the storytime room.

10:30am: The doors open. 1-year-old charges in. Storytime!

11:05am: Heading home for lunch.

11:15am: Wash hands then microwave last night’s leftovers for lunch while the 1-year-old shrieks out of sheer starvation, unless The Hubs (who generally works from home) had a slower morning and was able to heat up lunch.

11:30am: Eat lunch and rehash the morning with The Hubs.

11:40am: Clean up lunch and set up tea kettle to brew.

11:45am: Head upstairs to change 1-year-old and nurse him for naptime.

12:05pm: If I’m lucky, the 1-year-old is finally asleep and I can head downstairs to pour a cup of tea and set up my breast pump. If he’s not asleep, I’m still in the glider being milked.

12:45pm: The Hubs kindly leaves to pick up the preschooler.

1:10pm: I’m cleaning pump parts and bagging milk when the preschooler arrives home. He potties, scrubs his hands, and goes down for a nap.

1:15pm: I pour my second cup of tea and sit down with great aspirations of ass-sitting. Instead, I make the grocery list and meal plan, check my calendar, scout weekend activities, call the pediatrician to make the well-check, and check email.

1:30pm: One of the boys awakes. They’re not supposed to be up until 2pm but, gosh darn it, one or both of them nearly always awakes now. I remember the load of laundry in the washer as I go to collect the early riser. I transfer it to the dryer before I go upstairs.

2:00pm: Naptime is over. A part inside me cries… another potentially restful naptime lost. Back to snack-making and kid-wrangling.

2:15pm: Feed the boys a snack, figure out a car ride snack for the kindergartener and the neighbor girl we drive home, and tidy the inexplicably messy kitchen.

2:30pm: Start getting everyone ready for kindergarten pick-up. Drama — as always — upon our departure.

2:45pm: We pull into the school parking lot. (School doesn’t let out for another 30 minutes but, I think you know by now that this is how I roll.)

2:50pm: The boys play out front with other younger siblings while I simultaneously chat with fellow parents and fish acorns and rocks from my 1-year-old’s mouth.

3:15pm: The kindergartener and neighbor girl head our way.

3:30pm: Everyone is noshing on granola bars and rehashing the day’s events as we exit the school parking lot.

3:40pm: Home. Shoes off. Hands scrubbed. A small snack is served at the heathens’ demand while I clean out the lunchbox and review evening expectations: any papers, homework, items of note? The kindergartener regales us with details of her day. We listen.

4:00pm: Kindergartener heads to her room for quiet time. Preschooler tries to join her but must stay downstairs instead. You want to watch “The Little Memaid” for the 456734th time? Will it make it so you won’t try to sneak upstairs to make fart noises outside of your sister’s bedroom door? Fine. I start dinner, lunch, and breakfast prep. Kids pepper me with: “Can I have a snack?”, “Can we go outside now?”, “Is it dinnertime yet?” The answer is “no.”

5:00pm: Dinner. Everyone is excited and claims they will eat every morsel.

5:20pm: Everyone except for the preschooler has finished dinner. The dinner drama ensues during dinner clean-up and morning prep. Start the dishwasher.

5:45pm: If the preschooler hasn’t finished now, it’s too late. Playroom time to let dinner settle. I breastfeed the 1-year-old while checking social media, email, check in with friends about this life event or that, and check the next day’s calendar.

6:00pm: Wrangle all of the kids outside to play.

6:40pm: Everyone comes inside. I throw the dry laundry into a laundry basket and put it in the family room (where it will sit mocking me for at least 2 days… or until I run out of laundry baskets and am forced to fold it along with three other laundry heaps.)

6:45pm: Playroom clean-up (always a pleasant experience… like a root canal without painkillers.) The Hubs showers and, once I can see the playroom floor, the kids and I do storytime.

7:00pm: The Hubs supervises the kindergartener’s shower and the preschooler’s bath. I get the 1-year-old in pajamas and nurse him before bed. I peruse Pinterest and plan playdates or outings with friends while breastfeeding my sleepy 1-year-old.

7:40pm: 1-year-old is in bed. I shower.

7:50pm: On the sofa with my giant bottle of fizzy water, my breast pump, and The Hubs to watch one of our shows (presently, “Narcos”) then chat about the day before heading up to bed.

9:30pm: I set my alarm for way-too-damn’-early o’clock but know I won’t even need the alarm because of my 1-year-old.

And I do it all again tomorrow.




Parenthood is all about balance: enough fresh produce to outweigh the chicken nuggets, enough activity to counteract the episodes of Doc McStuffins, enough good mommy moments to blur the bad mommy moments. Balancing time is, perhaps, the most challenging balancing act. It’s an ever-changing scale and fraught with imperfections.

To balance “you” time with couple time, one-on-one child time, family time, socializing time, household duties time, extended family time — the list goes on — is a juggling act that’s bound to falter. If you throw work into the mix, it gets incredibly complex.

Four months after having #1, I returned to my corporate job but as a part-time employee. “What a perfect arrangement!” “You’re so lucky to have such a great balance!” People would say upon hearing of my work situation. It was good… but it wasn’t as perfect as it seemed.

Instead of being fully stay-at-home mom or entirely full-time employee, I existed somewhere in the middle with both home and work lives pulling me to give more. I felt as if I was half-ass’ing both sets of responsibilities. I couldn’t prioritize work without falling through on parenting and home duties, and giving more of myself at home meant scaling back at work. The one item missing in this work verses home balance: me. I was so harried trying to simultaneously be both working mother and stay-at-home mother that I had left “me” time out of the equation entirely… and couple time was nonexistent.

After having #2, and still working part-time, the only “me” time I had was when I was pumping breast milk for my son and eventually for donation. Then, a few significant corporate reorganizations presented me with the opportunity to adjust my hours. I cut back to 15 hours per week instead of 20 hours. That worked for a bit, until work expectations rose to the level of a 20-hour workweek despite my abbreviated schedule.

When I became pregnant with #3, another ruthless set of corporate reorganizations was sweeping through the cubicle farm and I was one of the casualties. It was a hard hit, at first, and I made the long drive home in a fit over how I could figure out another work path. I had always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but I was so accustomed to working and living the chaotic balancing act, that I didn’t know another way.

Then, while sitting at a red light positioned at a dead-end, my inner voice said, “This is what you’ve always wanted. Why are you fighting it?” A calm swept over me. I smiled. And with that, the light turned green and I turned left toward home.