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.

Rotondwa Musehani – Birth Story

The minute I found out I was pregnant for the first time, I started doing research about pregnancy and mostly about giving birth. I guess every woman who falls pregnant gets to a point where they want to find out how their vagina will get affected by the condition they find themselves in. As I was doing my research, I fell in love with the idea of documenting my whole birth story and I had my camera and cameraman ready for the births of my sons.

Unfortunately, none of my plans to document my labor and birth experience materialized. All I managed to get were a few last-minute pictures of me pushing Rotondwa out. I guess my husband was a bit more relaxed this time around.

I was hoping to give birth around the second week of December, when I was 38 weeks pregnant, simply because that was the case with Rofhiwa. I tried almost every method available to induce labor, without any success. You can read about how I tried to induce labor here.

So on the 23rd of December 2019, a day before my due date, I decided to stop Googling anything related to inducing labor or birth stories. Rofhiwa had been visiting my inlaws since the beginning of December and I was missing him a lot. We decided to go pick him up to go see the Christmas lights decorations on Lawley street, but we got a storm alert just as we were driving out. I was so tired of waiting on this baby to come and was missing Rofhiwa so much that I wasn’t going to allow a storm to keep me in the house any longer.

We arrived at my mother’s place at around 6 pm and the first thing she mentioned was that my face was swollen up. I then realized that my feet were also swollen up and I thought it was either due to the distance we drove or it was an early sign of labor. I went on to go watch tv and spend some time with the kids.

At around 8 pm I felt like I was wetting my pants so I ran to the bathroom to go have a look but it had stopped by the time I got there, so I just wiped myself and went back to the tv room. It started again just a few minutes after I sat down and I rushed to the bathroom again. This time it was more liquid than the first time, enough to wet the tights I was wearing. I knew right then that my water broke.

This was supposed to happen while I was home so that I could do the dramatic reaction and shout “TOOTHBRUSH” as I run to the room to change into clean clothes. Everything that I needed was packed and in the car except for my toothbrush so I told my husband and Katleho (my sister) that I will shout toothbrush when my water breaks so that we can remember to pack it.

Ohk, back to my water breaking… I was very calm about it and even planned on hanging around for a little bit longer because I didn’t want to go in too soon only to be sent back home. However, everyone else insisted that we leave immediately. We arrived at the hospital just after 9 pm and I was still fine, with mild contractions that were 7 minutes apart.

I got admitted into the same room as the one I was in with Rofhiwa and it brought back some painful memories. The first vaginal examination was a bit discouraging as the nurse said the sample she took of my water tested negative for amniotic fluid, that I was only 2cm dilated and that the baby was still very high. Those were the words that sent mommies-to-be back home on so many birth story vlogs that I watched. They were the same words I wanted to avoid by allowing labor to progress while I was at home.

Luckily for me, I was told to walk around and hop a bit on the birthing ball for the baby to move down, something I’ve had been doing every day for the last 2 weeks. The nurse predicted that I would give birth at around 4 or 5 am the next morning. So I told my husband to rest a bit so that he’ll gather enough energy for when active labor starts. The contractions were now closer together and the pain was on a scale of 7/10. With every contraction, I would just say words of affirmation and try to focus on the end prize as I held onto whatever was within my reach.

My contractions became excruciatingly painful from about 1:30 am and I tried to hold it out till 2 am when the nurse was initially supposed to come to examine me again, but I just couldn’t bear the pain anymore. I had decided not to get an epidural but the pain was just too intense so I asked if I could still get it. The nurse then called my doctor to find out which pain medication she could give me so long to help relieve the pain a bit but she had to examine me first before she could give me anything. At that point, I was losing my mind as I was trying not to focus on the pain and also trying not to give in to the need to push and also not to pinch so hard that I hurt the baby.

Am I the only one who thinks that the gas we get apparently for pain relief doesn’t help at all? I remember dropping it on the floor because I just felt like it was doing the opposite of what it’s supposed to do. Anyway, that nurse quickly realized that I wasn’t just being dramatic for nothing. The baby was ready to pop out and there was no time for us to wait for the doctor.

I was expecting the birthing process to go on for a bit long but to my amazement, my baby was out after three pushes. At 2:33 am my husband took the picture that would help the nurses to determine the time of the birth of our son as they had forgotten to check the time. Rotondwa Tshilidzi Musehani was born on the 24th of December 2019, weighing 3,43kg.

It was the most beautiful moment ever. I felt like such a superwoman having gone through such a painful procedure (with no epidural) to give birth to such a beautiful blessing.

Please subscribe to my blog and also head over to my Instagram account to see more posts about our now four months old Rotondwa and the rest of the clan.