I am obsessed with my friend Lindsay and so thrilled to be sharing her story with you today! I relate to so much of it as a new Stay at Home mom myself and love all the tips she gives at the end. I’m grateful she’s sharing with us what her world is like and don’t panic, someone else will be sharing what it’s like to be a working mom later this summer so stay tuned!
Lindsay is as sweet as pie and as gorgeous as flower, and most importantly, I adore that she’s a fellow sister-in-Christ and lives just a few towns away. Lindsay, thank you for sharing with us today!
Here’s what it’s like to be a stay at home mom!
Hi everyone! I am so honored to be featured on Chelsea’s blog today to share my own personal experience as a stay at home mom (SAHM).
I’m Lindsay and my husband and I live in a Minneapolis suburb with our son Parker (“P”), who is 16 months old. He is our sweet miracle after struggling with infertility and loss and has changed our lives in so many ways. We also have another baby on the way this fall, praise be to the Lord!
Growing up, I nannied for SAHM and her three little girls. I looked up to their family so much, and they literally became like family to me over the 7 years I was with them. I grew up in a very different environment. My parents were divorced when I was young and worked full time, and I spent a lot of time at our neighbors house that was a bit more stable. I had hoped that one day I could be a SAHM and be there to watch my children grow up. As much as I yearned to create a home like theirs one day, where I could be home and very active with our children, I was also just finishing up college and needed to start my career and supporting myself. I began working and quickly got sucked into my career for the years before I met my husband. I took work really seriously and worked a lot (or was always thinking about work), and eventually it became a really important piece of my identity. Right when I met my husband, I was also starting an MBA program that I did in the evenings after work. Between school and work, my life was pretty much 100% fully committed.
When we finally became pregnant with our son Parker, I had just finished up my MBA and switched jobs and was in one that I wasn’t quite as passionate about. After lots of discussion together, my husband and I decided that I would stay at home with Parker. I was so excited and grateful for this amazing opportunity. But the transition was a little bit tougher for me, as my identity was changing and was completely new and unfamiliar.
Parker arrived on January 24, and we came home from the hospital five days later, and got adjusted to having our sweet boy finally at home with us. I signed up for an Amma Mamma New Mama class (best thing I did!) and met a wonderful group of women who had littles right around the same age as P and we bonded over all being new moms and trying to figure it all out together. Time flew by and before I knew it, they were all returning to work. And to be honest, I was a bit envious, but also sad. I was hoping there were other SAHM’s in my group that I could’ve hung out with during the day, so this phase was tough for me.
The early days were hard for me as I was trying to figure out how to take care of this sweet new baby and at the same time take care of the house, my husband, meals, oh and myself….all while I was a having a bit of an identity crisis trying to figure out my new role as a mom and balance everything, and trying not to feel like a failure on top of it. In my head I had thought that being a SAHM was such an easy, wonderful “job”, and my experience was proving to be much different than I had thought. This was an amazing and wonderful role for me, but it was also one of the toughest things I’ve done. I give so much praise and credit to mamas who stay at home with their little ones, it’s a lot of work! I remember one day very vividly though around 3 months when Parker rolled over for the first time and I got to see it. At that moment I thought to myself, I am so so grateful I get to be home with Parker to experience all of his firsts with him. I won’t have to find out about all of his firsts from others.
Staying at home has been an incredible experience for me, and I’m so grateful that we were able to make this work for us. However, this new role didn’t come without some challenges, too. During P’s first year, we experienced colic/silent reflux from months 4-5, which was so difficult because you feel kind of helpless. There would be days where he would cry, and I would cry, and it was really tough. I called my sister-in-law, whose little one also had colic, and would just cry and ask her how she got through this. I also remember going to Mommy & Me yoga class at Blooma, and P cried for 30 minutes in the class and despite all of my efforts to calm and comfort him he wouldn’t stop. You know it’s bad when you are in a class with new mamas and they’re even looking at you. I walked out of the class sobbing, thinking to myself why can’t I comfort my baby? I just wanted my baby to be happy so badly, and I felt like I was failing at that. After that, I made some major diet changes to see if he had any allergies that were causing his discomfort, but that didn’t help much either. Luckily, it was just a phase and he grew out of it around 6 months, but it was definitely a trying time for me as a new mama. P also got croup and seemed to catch every bug that came his way from about 6-10 months, and although there were some tough days in there because poor P just wasn’t himself because he wasn’t feeling well, I am so happy that I was the one that got to love on him and take care of him while he was sick.
I breastfed Parker (via exclusive pumping) for over a year and I feel like there’s no way I would’ve been able to do that if I had to return to work. I know there are mama’s that do do it, and that is so amazing! I just feel like I spent so much time hooked up to my pump that I don’t think I would’ve been able to dedicate as much time to pumping if I had been back at the office. I spent almost an hour in the mornings emptying myself, and then pumped 3-4 additional times throughout the day. I think being in close proximity to Parker throughout the day helped me maintain my supply, and the fact that I was able to get my long pumping sessions in several times a day did, too. I never had any expectations for breastfeeding P, but am so very happy I was able to do so for so long and could donate the excess supply I had built up to a premie in need. This was such a wonderful, and unexpected benefit of staying at home with him.
I do think that staying at home, especially with your first when they are little and can’t converse yet, can be lonely and isolating at times. I love playing with my son and seeing him smile and giggle, but at times the lack of adult conversation & interaction was challenging for me. I had to push myself to meet other stay at home moms and really put myself out there so I felt connected with others and could introduce Parker to social situations. What’s worked really well for me was to create a schedule to break up the monotony of the day-to-day that can come with staying at home. Just playing in our home all day gets hard, especially during the winter months where we were cooped up for so long. Here are a few of the activities that we’ve signed up for that Parker really seems to enjoy, so you can check them out if you’re interested.
- ECFE – Early Childhood Family Education Classes: We do this one day a week, it’s like early preschool, and it’s been so great for Parker. The moms go into a different room for part of the time and talk about relevant parenting topics while the kids play, read books, eat snacks and do other educational activities. This has helped me meet other moms too.
- Music Class – Music Together: Ever since Parker was about 6 months old we have been doing music class and he loves it! When I play the CD in our car he gets so happy. It’s been fun to see him learn and grow through music class.
- Mom’s Morning at Church: I actually co-lead a small group at Mom’s Morning this year, a two hour morning every two weeks spent with 7 other moms that have little ones right around the same age as P. We all supported one another in our motherhood journeys and studied the Word of the Lord together. I’m so blessed to have this in my life. I had a really tough parenting day the other day and asked these mamas to pray for me and they showed up in so many unexpected ways and blessed me during that difficult time.
- BSF – Bible Study Fellowship: I joined BSF this year as well and it truly transformed my life. From the in depth study of God’s word, to the people I have met, this has been truly one of the greatest gifts I’ve received since staying at home. I feel so rejuvenated and refreshed when I leave BSF each week and I feel it’s made me a better mother, wife and person. Plus, they have an AMAZING children’s program that teaches even the littlest of babies about Jesus.
Other places we like to go: Brookview Backyard, Edinborough, Toddler Tuesday at MOA, and we go on lots of walks and park playdates. I’m sure we’ll go to splash pads and the pool too this summer.
It has been really nice for me to have scheduled activities each day of the week with Parker so we get out of the house, I can have some time to socialize with other mom’s and P gets to play with other children while learning, too. I have also liked channeling my creative side and doing my blogging & interior design part time so that I have something that excites me and gives me satisfaction outside of my role as a mother, too. I’m grateful for everyone who has supported me and my blog – thank you! It’s been such a wonderful outlet for me.
I feel so lucky to have this incredible experience with my son. He is such a sweet boy and I absolutely love seeing him giggle and learn each and every day. I love watching him do all of his firsts and getting to know his fun and busy personality that seems to grow bigger by the day. There are tough days, but that is motherhood, and I know that in those moments I need to turn to Jesus and pray. I am so lucky to have the privilege of staying at home with P and soon his little sibling, too. We are all figuring this out together and I think we have a great routine in place that works well for us!
Here are a few things I try to remind myself….
It’s okay to ask for help, and lots of it. You don’t need to do it all alone.
It’s okay if the house isn’t clean. There’s always tomorrow (or another day) for that.
It’s okay if you stayed in your PJ’s all day, or wore yoga clothes and didn’t shower. Your kiddo doesn’t care, promise!
It’s okay if you order pizza or eat leftovers for dinner. Everyone is getting fed just fine!
And most importantly, give yourself grace and lots of it. God gives us so much grace, we need to remember to give ourselves that grace, too.
Your child loves you, Jesus loves you and you are doing great!
Lindsay is a lifestyle blogger based in the Minneapolis suburbs with her husband Todd, their son Parker and a baby on the way this fall. She’s a stay at home mom, part-time blogger and has a passion for Jesus and interior design. You can check out her blog at midwestblonde.com and follow her on Instagram @LindsayAnneJohnson.
PS – Don’t miss a thing with this series! Follow along on Facebook and Instagram to catch each of the upcoming stories! I absolutely LOVE connecting with each of you!
PPS – If you’re ever looking for a devotional on living life while in a waiting season, check out the devotional I co-authored called ‘In the Wait’!
PPPS – Check out the other contributions from this series, including What It’s Like: to experience multiple IVF cycles, raise a child with special needs, use an egg donor, be a DIY-er and home style blogger , be a NICU nurse, Live fully in singleness while still hoping for marriage, suffer with endometriosis. experience depression, start a company, have a micro preemie, lose a parent, be childless not by choice, have a spouse with a chronic illness, fund raise for fertility treatments, have a traumatic birthing experience,take a natural route with infertility, be a vlogger, go through the adoption process, and have male factor infertility. Stay tuned for many other amazing topics to come every Tuesday and Friday here!