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Staying Home Is Hard Work: The Life Of A Stay-At-Home Mom

Many times over the years, I have secretly wished that I didn’t have to get up in the morning and go to work. I harbored this ideal of staying home, enjoying a morning coffee, writing a book, traveling, choosing a hobby—just enjoying life more. (And without any money worries.) Wouldn’t that be lovely? Oh, yes. I believe it would.

Last year, I lost my job under new management. I was one of the newest hires, so I was one of the first on the chopping block. After the initial shock wore off, I decided that this was a blessing in disguise. I could pursue all the things on my wish list while I took my time looking for the right job. I could see my youngest daughter off to school, and be here for her when she got home. And I’d be more available for my oldest daughter, who was joining the military.

Now I’m A Stay-At-Home Mom

A few months into my new position as a stay-at-home mom, I was climbing the walls. I took morning walks, until it got too cold, or too hot, or I just got too lazy. I haven’t picked up a book in ages, much less attempted to write one. Oh, and that “right” job I wanted to find has appeared on several occasions. Yet, apparently, I wasn’t the “right” candidate. And my unemployment insurance ran out.

The problem with being a stay-at-home mom is that I never feel like I’m doing the right thing. When I take a couple of hours to do something enjoyable, I feel guilty about not spending that time looking for a job. When I spend all day looking for a job, I feel resentful that I’m not doing something for myself. It’s a vicious cycle. And it’s enough to make one very reluctant to even bother getting out of that fuzzy bathrobe each morning.

On a more positive note, I am glad I’ve had a chance to be here for our girls. These teen years are flying by, and I’m happy that they can rely on me to be here when they wake, and when they return home. I’ve heard more about friendships, emotions, boys, hair, drama, makeup, schoolwork, homework, nails, cramps, and clothes in the last 15 months that I ever would have if I’d been working outside the house. Sometimes I have to laugh. Sometimes I’m tempted to run away screaming. But I’m present to hear it all, which is what matters.

My employment situation is temporary, I’m sure of it. So going forward I’m going to make a habit of creating some sense of balance between what I should be doing, and what I need to be doing. And I’m going to hang that fuzzy robe out of sight, so it can’t tempt me with its warmth and cozy comfort any longer.

Ann Luongo

Ann Luongo is a freelance writer from Plymouth, MA, and the mother of two teenage girls. The former author of “Soccer Mom Chronicles,” a nationally published column (Gatehouse Media), she currently writes the blog, “Soccer Mom Sidelines” (soccermomsidelines.wordpress.com).