In just a few days, I will be turning 32 years old. That means in just a couple weeks my baby girl will officially be two years old. Which also means that I’m days away from celebrating my two year anniversary of transitioning from a job to becoming a black stay at home mom.
I made it you guys! I’ve survived two years as a black stay at home mom raising my two little girls. This calls for a celebration! Clap Clap Bravo!!! In all seriousness, some days I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it. There are so many unknowns. So many things my mom friends did not tell me about what life would be like once I made the decision to be a millennial stay at home mom. I only knew that it was something I wanted to do to be very involved in the upbringing of my little ones, especially in their early months of life. If someone told me that there will be times that I will want to drive off a cliff, I would have laughed at the dramatics but after experiencing two years of SAHM life, I totally believe it and know those feelings are true. It isn’t all lunch dates and play dates with your mommy friends and drinking wine while watching HGTV while the little ones naps. There are definitely no bubble baths or quiet time to read. And forget about eating hot food or drinking hot coffee again! It’s a real sacrifice on the person you once were.
Reflecting back on the past few months as my girls and I are getting older, I realize this experience was a huge growth experience. A much needed experience. I’ve learned so much about myself that I can’t fit it all in this blog post or you will hate me for writing a novel. So instead I’ll keep it as concise as I can.
Here are my top 10 lessons I’ve learned from being a black stay at home mom:
Perfectionism will be the end of your sanity: I had an unrealistic picture in my head of what motherhood looked like. I looked at my own childhood, how my friends who had babies before me and thought I could do this better! I am a perfectionist by nature and the need to get everything right and be right all the time, has caused me so much unnecessary headache and heartache. If I could go back, I would tell new parent Nicole, to get over yourself hun, parenthood isn’t picture perfect. It’s messy, difficult, and is meant to be challenging. So start going with the flow.
Stop trying to do it all alone: My perfectionism made me want to do everything my way because in my eyes it was the right way, or at least the way I wanted to do it. So I never asked for help. I tried to do everything by myself which was so stupid of me because it left me extremely sleep deprived, irritable, and feeling defeated when I couldn’t do it all (well duh!) I often felt that my girls are my responsibility, so I will do everything on my own. I will figure it out! I now realize how detrimental that was to my peace and happiness these past two years and looking forward to the next year, I am happy to stop trying to be superwoman and ask for help.
It can get very lonely and isolating: I did not hear any of my mom friends talk about this enough. Being a stay at home is probably the loneliest I’ve ever felt in my life. Not only are you at home with a baby or babies all day long, but I felt that I could only talk to other stay at home moms. I couldn’t talk to my working friends because they didn’t understand. I often got responses like “well you chose to stay at home!” which is true but not what I needed to hear when I needed friendship. I could not talk to my friends who didn’t have kids because they really just wouldn’t understand how spending the days with a cute baby could drive you crazy. Depending on the age of your little ones, forget about having a social life that’s anything to brag about. My non talking baby literally became my best friend for a time. I’ve cried to her many times, prayed with her when I felt weak, made promises to her to be a great mommy to her and opened up my heart to these tiny people. All of this was kept between my babies and I. It gets lonely.
Don’t be shy and join mommy groups: Which brings me to my next lesson. I quickly learned after being nudged by my husband that I needed to get out of the house and join a mommy group, that I need people. I needed a mommy village. So I did. Being a Sagittarius, I’m naturally a social butterfly but the introvert in me makes me anxious in social settings, but despite my fears of being in a new city raising my baby girl, I ventured out and ended up joining three mommy groups! Those mommy groups saved me in the early months with baby number one. Listen, set your pride and fears aside and go get you some mommy friends in a mom group. You need them!
Get used to being the only one in the room: As a black stay at home mom I felt sort of like a unicorn. I know I’m magical but it was odd always being the only black mom or one of two in the room at mommy and me groups, or mommy stroller workouts, or any other mommy/baby event I went to. I’m learning that all the black stay at home moms I’ve met on social media don’t exist in real life! That in itself was an experience, but it made me proud that I decided to do something out of the norm for my culture and be a positive representative for black moms everywhere. It also made me hyper aware that my daughter was the only little brown girl in many of these rooms too. That’s another blog post for another day.
You have to live on your knees: I did not learn this lesson until my pregnancy with my second daughter. It is so tough being pregnant and having a high spirited toddler to take care of. There were many tears and many prayers. Our second daughter’s middle name is Fe, which is Faith in Spanish. My faith in God grew so much this year because I could not have gotten through this without Him. Motherhood in general requires prayer and for you to realize you weren’t meant to do this alone not only in the earthly sense but in the spiritual as well. God never meant for you to mother without partnering with him, consulting with him, leaning on him, so why do we try. I learned this lesson real quick!
Get used to asking for & accepting help: Even if it’s the bag boy at Publix offering to help you with groceries to the car say YES. Say yes say yes say yes! You do for everyone else let someone do something for you. I’m guilty of never asking for help which is so foolish of me. Please so yourself a favor and drop the supermom act now…like right now right now! Ask for help!
You must prioritize yourself – OK so this lesson, I am still learning. I sucked at doing this and it is really taking its toll. I am declaring that next year I will take better care of myself. I have to. Hopefully you do care for yourself better than I do and you have an established self care routine or hobby. My version of self care these days looks like 40 minutes of quiet time outside listening to music and tending to my plants or going to Publix supermarket by myself. Taking a shower longer than 5 minutes, removing the makeup from my face at night and actually using my spin brush to exfoliate my skin. Seriously the basics. But I will get better. There is hope for me.
Find a reliable babysitter ASAP – After 2 years, I still do not have a reliable babysitter, but this lesson is here because I wish I did. I so desperately want a date night with my husband without my kids. I would be nice to get a few hours to myself every week to get work done or simply take a nap because mama is tired. Take my warning, do not be like me. Get a babysitter asap. If you family that lives nearby, do not be afraid to use them!
It’s OK to sleep in and to nap when your kids napped – I should have done this more. I haven’t had a nap since my second daughter was born. I felt so guilty that my husband was out working to provide for us that I can’t nap. But I am learning to listen to my body’s need for sleep. I’m not a machine. I’m not superwoman nor am I trying to be anymore. I should sleep more. Lesson learned.
Ditch the mom guilt – Being a stay at home mom is a huge sacrifice. I haven’t been able to do anything I’ve wanted to do when I’ve wanted to do it since having kids. I live around my babies needs, wants, nap schedules, etc….yes that sounds selfish but it’s TRUE. Simple things like drinking warm coffee or eating warm food are taken for granted when you are a mom and when you are a stay at home mom it’s 8 hours of this everyday. Now imagine that for the last two years. So if some days I’m just too pooped to care, little ones get the TV so moms brain can turn off for a few minutes, no one is getting a bath, and we are having pizza for dinner – no guilt. No shame.
After reading this list, you may think I am complaining. This list seems kind of negative but it isn’t meant to be. This is my truth. Being a black stay at home mom has not been easy. It is very isolating at times. I did battle postpartum depression and did not have anyone to confide in for fear of being ungrateful for my blessed life. Simply put it’s hard. The hardest job in the world that is glorified as some beautiful easy thing. The rewards far outweigh the challenges. Being my daughters’ first best friend has been awesome. Knowing that they are well taken care of and being taught at a preschool level by ME makes me so happy and proud. I do not regret my decision to stay home and raise my baby girls at all. This experience has brought me closer to God because I needed him to get through some days. It has taught me a lot about my own strength and resilience. Lastly it has made me less selfish because despite my own ambitions and goals, my number one goal and priority is to raise these two beautiful girls to the best of my ability. That’s its. This is the job God has given me to do and I honor him by doing it with so much love.
Do you have lessons from your time as a stay at home mom?