Bittersweet is an acquired taste.

“If I was a stay at home mom I would work out all the time. My house would be spotless. I would have all my things organized. My laundry would be clean all the time.”

I wish I could’ve put salt on these words when I had to eat them, it might have made them taste better.

Here’s the reality: I don’t work out nearly as much as I’d like to, if at all. Matter of fact, I’ve actually gained about 10 pounds since riding the SAHM train. My house is spotless for about two hours, twice a week. Really. And I consider it a great day when all the clothes are washed, dried AND put away.

As my stay at home mom journey is about to end I am becoming increasingly sad and happy. It’s a crazy thing when you have two completely opposite emotions running through your body at the same time. Just when I am excited about going to work and pushing myself to learn new things my daughter will crawl on my lap and randomly stroke my face and it makes me sad that my alone time with her will be no more.

For years I longingly looked at the greener grass, sighing, and wishing I could grow it. Oh the things I could do… So when the opportunity presented itself, my husband and I decided it was the best thing to do for our family. Suddenly I found myself in unfamiliar territory – greener grass. Or was it? The first two weeks I was rocking it; getting up early and making breakfast, working out and cleaning like a mad man. Then I thought “wait, you have been nonstop for years, take a breather”. Suddenly, sleeping in until 7:00 was ok, my warm bed was enticing and I had no regrets letting it lull me back into a peaceful slumber when my husband would leave for work. My pace that was normally set to “manic” was turned down a couple notches to “normal”.

Then the honeymoon phase ended quickly and my new job of being a SAHM started to show signs of actual “work”. It seems like my manic tone set in again. 5 kids in school meant a lot of driving, a lot of laundry and a lot of cleaning. To help with finances I started working a side job at home. I’ve never worked with a toddler before and they don’t make your job very easy. When I was managing 19 people I can’t recall any of them following me into a bathroom stall and then throwing a fit when I asked them to step out. Having this little person around me 24/7 definitely made my job a lot harder. Yoga pants became my best friend and so did a ponytail. I had make up but it was something that I wore on Sundays, when I finally got out of the house and went to church.

I don’t want to sound like all my time at home is stressful, I was, and still am, fully aware at how blessed I am to be at home. Whenever I walk to the park, go grocery shopping in the middle of the day, meet up with a mommy for a play date or stay at home with one of the kiddo’s when they are sick I ALWAYS have this overwhelming sense of gratitude. My favorite part is when I rock my daughter to sleep for nap time. Watching her delicate features as they drift off to dreamland, feeling her slow and steady breathing and laying her in her crib with her dolls – no amount of money can ever replace that time or feeling.

Here is what I have learned: being a stay at home mom is hard work. It’s harder than I ever imagined it to be. But the greener grass I had been looking at was something I had the whole time – I just used different fertilizer to grow it. Staying at home is the most rewarding feeling in the world. It has given me more highs than I could’ve ever imagined. And as I am counting down the days for my return to work I am soaking in every moment possible. But I am also looking forward to getting out into the world again, finding my identity and becoming a financial contributor to the home. Pushing myself, learning and growing outside of my house is a wonderful thing and I can’t wait.

I know I WILL be ok. I have worked full time jobs with my kids. To have a year that I was able to stay home is such a miracle and something that most working women would take in a heartbeat. Life will go on, I will love my job and things will be alright. However, I am allowing myself the opportunity to grieve these two weeks because I feel the transition from home to office will be a smoother one if I have most of my “boo-hoos” out of the way. And if the amount of times I have broken down today is an indication of what’s in store, I still have a lot of boo-hoo’s to get out of my system. Soooo… better get to get them out in the comfort of my home than having a breakdown amongst my new coworkers, right? It wouldn’t be fair to show them that quickly how crazy I am 🙂
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