Living The Stay-At-Home Life – It Isn’t As Bad As It Seems

A few months ago this blog post would have only applied to a certain group of mommies. Then like a thief in the night, COVID-19 entered our country and gave every mom a taste of “La Belle Vie” (the good life) of a stay-at-home mom.

I remember sitting on the stairs one morning, just glazing at the mess below as my husband was preparing to leave for work. I caught a glimpse of my self in the mirror in front of me. And I thought, is this really me? I must have been doing something wrong because what I saw that morning was not the stay-at-home life that magazines and Insta-mommies sell to us. I had a messy house, a zink full of dishes, and a baby who woke up before I even got to pick up two items from the floor.

Waking up to tidy up and be a feeding machine the whole day took a toll on me and I found myself feeling like a miserable 23-year old with no life outside of being a mom. Sadly, then I did not have a community of moms who could share their realities with me and make me feel less depressed about my life as a failing mom and wife.

I recently had a lovely chat with (@Mommyingabout), a fellow SAHM and Insta-sister of mine as she shared her experience as a SAHM. I had asked her to share a story about her favorite dessert. And she shared a story about her first having Sago Pudding. Her first glance at the pudding was enough to set her taste buds off; however, she gave it a try and was surprised to find it palatable. This taught her that “Things aren’t always as they seem”.

I wish I could have heard these words that day as I was staring down at the mess all over the house and seeing my fat messed up reflection, thinking that I was never going to achieve anything in life besides being a mom. Not that being a mom is a great privilege and achievement, but at that time, I didn’t share the same view.

If loneliness and the need to find relatable stories from fellow SAHM landed you here, just know that “It isn’t as bad as it seems”. You might just be a little overwhelmed, tired, and in need of some tea time while someone takes care of the babies.

Here are a few tips to make your life a little less overwhelming:

1. Give Yourself A Break.

You cannot expect yourself to excel at everything, all the time. On some days you will have all the kids in bed at the set time, with all their bellies fed and bodies clean. But there will also be days when you go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink and the youngest child falling asleep at 11 pm. Celebrate the small wins and plan for tomorrow’s wins.

2. Remember To Take A Break.

A mother who doesn’t practice self-care sets herself up for destruction. You cannot expect to keep on pouring out without refilling. Busisiwe Sholo (@Busiesholo) wrote a lovely blog about the importance of having a self-care toolkit, which will consist of all the plans and activities aimed at rejuvenating you. This can be a few minutes in the car, before getting into the house or a long warm bath with some candles and lovely music. Let your family in on your self-care routines so that they know why, for example, you spend 10 minutes in the car before getting in the house. Knowing will hopefully make them understand and help by giving you the time that you need.

3. Ask For Help.

I know we all want to be supermom who saves the day and has the whole house in the palm of her hand. But whoever coined the phrase “a child is raised by a village” knew exactly what she was talking about. So do not be scared to shout for help when you need it or welcome help when your village is reaching out to you. Accepting or seeking help is NOT a sign of weakness or failure to be a mother.

4. Communicate With Your Partner.

It is so easy to take out your frustrations on your partner who is, according to you, not playing his part in making your life as a SAHM more convenient. Expecting the unexpected will only bring tears and misery to your relationship. So communicate your expectations and appreciate your partner’s efforts, lest he starts feeling unappreciated and stops trying at all.

5. Never Give up On Your Dreams And Goals.

Being a mother shouldn’t stop you from attaining your dreams and goals. It might take a little longer and require a few tweaks, but it is possible. There are many roads that lead to Rome, you just need to find one that will be best for you and work hard. There are many success stories that include late-night feeding sessions while busy compiling a business plan. Some of the women who fought for our rights walked to the Union Buildings with their babies on their back. They knew that their actions will not only benefit them but for generations and generations after them.

Motherhood is tough, but it’s beautiful. It gets overwhelming at times but as Mommyingabout said, “things aren’t always as they seem”. So take a few minutes, breath and look at the situation again when you are feeling better.

Please share with a fellow stay at home mom and share your tips in the comments section.

A Letter To My Mother-In-Love

Dear Mother-In-law

There are many monster-in-law stories on the internet, but this is definitely not one of them.

Tears are filling my eyes as I am writing this, but do not fret. These tears are filled with joy and thankfulness unto the Lord.

For this mother-in-law, I have prayed. A mother-in-law who fears the Lord, for I knew that I will need an extra pair of knees to support me in prayer. A mother-in-law who would love me like her own and call me daughter. For this mother-in-law, I have prayed, but God gave me a mother.

Many women are good mothers to their biological children, but only a few can love as you do. Your love is genuine and evident in everything you do. It is the kind of love that put my own mother at ease, the love that assured her that her daughter will be in good hands. She rests in peace knowing that her daughter has a shoulder to cry on, and a support system to guide her through motherhood.

I thank you for loving me with everything I came with; my flaws, and my siblings. Thank you for being the best Gugu (grandmother) to our sons and for always spoiling us when you can. Thank you for all the snacks and food that you pack for us and not being mad at me for not returning your Tupperware on time. You discipline with love for your aim is not to break me, but to build me up to be the best version of myself.

On this day I celebrate and I thank the Lord for a mother like you. Happy mother’s day.

I recently wrote a blog post about motherhood on Elize’s Homethentic blog celebrating all mother figures because mother’s day is not only for those who gave birth but for every woman who sacrificed and continues to sacrifice their life to love and nurture children. You can read the blog post here.