Thursday, July 23, 2009

Day in the life of a SAHM

If you asked me two years ago what I thought about Stay At Home Moms (SAHMs, for those of us in the know), I would have said that I was intensely jealous of them. How could someone be so lucky as to get to just stay home and play with your kid all day?

Residency ended for me on June 30 and since then, I've been playing SAHM for the month. This is my typical day:

7:30AM: Melly wakes up screaming for her stuffed animal that she went to bed with, which is likely just lost in the covers

8AM: I shower while Melly washes her hands in the sink. She can wash her hands for like five hours in a row. Is this early OCD?

8:30AM: I beg Melly to use the potty. BEG her. She laughs at me and runs around the house diaper-less.

9AM: Breakfast. I discover that Melly dropped a bunch of food on the floor last night and now there are ants. She gleefully points them out and calls them "cute." I kill them with my bare hands like in the olden days.

10AM: We go to the library. At some point, she gets away from me and runs amok in the "quiet" section. We get shushed a lot.

11:30AM: We head back home for lunch.

Noon: Lunch. (She's actually a really good eater.)

1:00PM: I attempt to get Melly to nap. This results in swearing, crying, and occasionally, napping.

2:30PM: We go to the park. This will kill at least an hour. Except where are her F#$^%ing shoes??

4PM: Trip to grocery store for odds and ends. Melly wants to eat everything in the store RIGHT NOW. I yell at her to wait and feel like a horrible mother/person.

5:30PM: Daddy gets home. I cry with relief.

So yeah, right now I'm feeling like SAHMs deserve a medal. (Although it's probably still better than surgery residency.)


  1. It's weird, isn't it? From the outside it looks so manageable and then you're IN it and it's so dang hard.

  2. Escaping to work is the only thing that keeps me sane. My 2 year old has learned to hit everyone of my buttons. It's fun to have the weekends with her, but by Sunday I'm exhausted.

  3. I completely agree. SHAM is the most difficult job in the world.

  4. AM at home on maternity leave with my 4 week old newborn and 3 year old son. O&G nights are a piece of cake compared to this!

  5. I usually am relatively OK until lunch is over. The afternoon just seems interminable. Then again, I bet when I go back to work, I'll think I miss it.

  6. Fizzy--TOTALLY true! I work 3 days per week and find that whereas I used to have what my husband calls "Sunday dread" in which we dreaded the end of the weekend, I now have "Sunday relief". The kids are awesome and heartwarming and all of that, but they are also frustrating and create hours of unnecessary work cleaning up the same things over and over. I compare being an at home parent to being Sisyphus, eternally rolling a stone up a hill only to have it roll right back down, rinse and repeat. I give thanks most days that I did not yield to my postpartum hormonal urges to quit working and stay home with the kids full-time. I would have LOST MY MIND!!!

  7. OMG Fizzy, I was just saying to my husband that I have no idea how my SAHM next door neighbor does it.

    She is at home. By herself. With a 3 year old and a 1 month old infant. Every day. All day. The ritual she has to go through just to water the garden and walk the dog -- all of which must be performed in the 3 min per day in which the baby is sleeping -- well, it would make me crazy. I think I feel crazier myself just thinking about what her life is like on a daily basis. It sounds like hell.

    So yes. I have a huge amount of respect for the SAHM. I sure couldn't do it.

  8. Amen, sister. I had my 2nd baby in January--my 4 month long maternity leave spent with him and my 2 year old daughter nearly killed me. I am a much happier person and better mom when working.
    My kids are happier, too. My soon-to-be 3 year old daughter loves being with her friends at daycare.

  9. It gets easier when your kids get older, I promise. I'm a mostly SAHM - only two shifts a month in the ICU. I relish the occasions when I get to leave my hubby at home to manage things and I come back to find him looking perplexed, the house a mess and the kids running a bit wild. He always expresses great appreciation for my ability to manage things...but I don't think he'd appreciate it nearly as much if he didn't have to try to do it himself from time to time.

    On the flip side, the thought of working full time and trying to manage my household just seems overwhelming, so kudos to you ladies that manage both!

  10. As a SAHM, late-night author and sister of a pediatrician who shared her residency experiences, I thank you for the respect you're giving the SAHM. It DOES seem easy from the outside, but it's pure mental exhaustion. I mean, how many hours more can YOU play house after cleaning the REAL house, changing countless REAL poopy diapers, paying REAL bills and scraping up any combination of kid vomit/cat barf/stores of food left hidden in new and unusual places far too long. I LOVE my kids, but they exhaust me. I sometimes wish I could escape back to work, but then I get a day to myself and, well, I confess I miss them terribly after just an hour away.

    On the other hand, I often think about parents who juggle their kids' schedules and needs with the demands of a full-time paying gig. I don't know how my parents managed. I mean, you get home from work and there's still all the laundry, cooking, cleaning, child care and, oh yeah, "Mommy? Will you play house with me?"

    Kudos to all good moms who do the best they can with whatever situation that's been thrown their way.

  11. Thank you for recognizing that it is work to stay home with kids. Paychecks in human relationships, not in money.

    (you might experiment with making nap-time a fun snuggle-time in mommy's bed)

  12. I stumbled across your blog .... I left the Air Force to be a SAHM to my children. I used to be jealous of SAHMs too, and I thought all the same things. It does look easy on the outside. Isn't it crazy how that outlook changes so quickly when we become SAHMs? I agree with a previous comment ... No matter where we are in our lives and what season we are in, I think ALL of us deserve to be valued for what we do, and we need to continue to support each other! :0)


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