My Summer as a Stay-at-Home Mom

I have always said that being a stay at home mom was harder than going to work… this has just been my view on the situation. My time during “maternity leave” was not as maternal as some of the other mommies out there that I know of, but here was the reality… when I gave birth and between breast feeding, bottle feeding and pumping I had a whole 45 minutes during nap time to run my company in my nursing bra! Glamorous, I know. I don’t think I showered daily until she was at least 6 months old! As I write this post, I don’t even know how I did it. This situation wasn’t for a lack of planning, but my “replacement” didn’t work out and I wasn’t a candidate for a government maternity supplement so the business had to go on in order to pay for all the Dora paraphernalia that was to come!

This time with my daughter should have been more special, but instead it was stressful and felt rushed. I am truly surprised I didn’t end up in the Looney bin! After 6 months of being “off work”, I went back to cleaning homes 3 days a week and running the business at night. At this time, her father had been laid off work and took the role as a stay at home dad.

Fast-forward to a few years later, I move in to a new neighborhood with two really cool stay at home moms on the block. I remember going over for play dates after working all day or week or whatever I had to do at the time as a single working mom and thinking they really had the life! They had coffee every day while the kids played, chit chatted about their lives, their houses were in good order and (almost) every night dinner was on the table for their kids and husbands. How was I not able to do all of that? I didn’t even have a husband to cook for! I always thought these two lovely ladies made it look so easy. I really didn’t think I could do it, or at least not as good as they did!

After a few summers of failing to balance my work-life as a stay at home mom, I swore I wouldn’t rely on anyone again when it came to childcare. My only option would be to become a stay at home mom for the summer of 2014… God help us all!

The lesson I learned here is that being a stay at home mom is so much harder than going to work! Being home with my daughter was an amazing opportunity and I am forever grateful for it. We had our highs and lows; this mostly reflects the bipolar nature of a 6 year old, but we managed to make it through. We had many play dates with other stay at home moms and their kids in the neighborhood, swam in our pool, played on the swings, went to art camp, Happy Rolph’s, lunch dates, Starbucks juice box dates, went for ice cream (this was my favorite part), helped our neighbor Bruce build stuff, had sleepovers at grandmas and Nona’s, rode the bus, organized all those awful spots in the house that never seem to get cleaned, did a debt diet challenge and she even helped me write this blog!  We also had a few short shifts at the office and now we are gearing up for the Merritton parade and fun fair.

In reality though this 6 year old of mine has more energy than a puppy! In every waking second it seems that I had to make sure she was not “BORED”!!! (or hungry!) It is honestly exhausting ensuring she had enough to do in a day. This was the topic of many conversations with the other stay at home mom’s on the block. The little Miss and I had several moments of “find something to do” or “play with your toys, or I will give them to someone who WILL play with them” and the life planning would subside for a short moment in time.

All and all, the kid and I made it through this summer and no body got hurt! I no longer have the guilt of not taking enough time off to spend with her when she was a baby. Instead I look at the last six years in a different light. I have worked hard, built up a business so we can now play hard, for the years that she will remember! I am forever grateful for the mamas on the block that have not only inspired me to be a better mom, but also taught me so much. They have been here through it all and shared the tricks of the “trade” for the most important job of all. I go back to work next week and it’s bitter sweet. I plan is to not pack my days so full with the hopes of being a stay at home mom after work (and school). Some days I know the two hats I wear will be on my head at the same time, but for the most part I want to just be in the moment both at work and with the most important person in my life.

A few thank you’s are in order for this particular blog posting, as there are several people that without them this summer would not have been possible at all!

I want to say thank you to the stay at home mamas on the block (you know who you are) that have seriously taught me so much about how it’s done. They are truly inspiring ladies.

To the ladies that have taken on ALL roles in the office this summer so I could step back and have time with my little Miss. Thank you for everything that you do for Miss’es Clean. You are the reason for this summer being possible.

A big thank you to Olivia’s dad for being a good dad and helping me out so much over the years as I tried to juggle a work-life balance… he deserves an award here!

Last but not least, a big thank you to my Mom who has taught me so much about work ethic and how to take care of your family at all costs. This lady is amazing and has been a kick ass example of how to get life done!! I would be lost without her in my life.

I am truly grateful for everyone in my life, I am one lucky lady to have the support and circle of friends that surrounds me every day.

XO Rachel


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