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Coming Up Short

By MadelinePetersen |

Earlier this week, I noticed this old Carolyn Hax article making the rounds with my Facebook friends. To summarize the piece, a woman writes in questioning how her friends with kids could possibly be busy all day and she even mentions that she thinks we all might be lying about what a good time we are having staying home. Carolyn sums up perfectly how hard it can be to get things done with children in tow, but the whole thing got me thinking about what it’s like being a stay-at-home mom (or to be more accurate, a work-at-home mom).

No one has ever criticized me for how little I accomplish in a day. My husband is incredibly understanding when he finds me still in my pajamas exasperated that my to-do list went largely undone. But I criticize myself. I naively start the week with high expectations only to be too tired or too busy with Tate to get much of anything done.

I will admit that before I had Tate, I idealized being a stay-at-home mom. At the time, I was working at a job I didn’t care for and thought that once I stayed home, I might actually have time for a few projects. I thought there would be time to sew, to decorate, to bake, and to write. I love being home, but it’s so much harder than I ever expected.

And to make matters worse, I get caught up comparing myself to other moms in the blogosphere, who inexplicably find time to care for their kiddies, make and cook beautiful things, and somehow document everything with pristine photography on their blogs. I don’t expect to “do it all”, but it sure would be nice.

Do you find yourself frustrated by how little you get done? And am I the only one comparing myself to everyone else and feeling that I am coming up short?

Read more of Madeline’s writing at Uber Chic for Cheap.
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About MadelinePetersen



Madeline blogs and tweets about budget-friendly clothes, modest apparel, sales, her obsession with pop culture, and her pudgy little baby, Tate, on her personal blog, Uber Chic for Cheap. A former Babble contributor, she currently resides in Corpus Christi, Texas.

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10 thoughts on “Coming Up Short

  1. Tara says:

    i feel like this all the time. i only get dinner made before my husband comes home from med school maybe 2 or 3 days a week, on a good week. the house is always a mess, i almost never have the laundry done or the bed made. yet i’m exhausted and ready to go to bed before the baby does. i feel guilty that my husband works so hard, long hours at school, and doesn’t come home to a perfect home, wife, and dinner… i’m still trying to work through it.

  2. Meagan says:

    Oh totally. I remember before he was born thinking, “babies sleep all day, right? I’ll have plenty of time to write and draw.” I think I knew it was ridiculous even then, but it was still a shock how very LITTLE I could do.

  3. Katie says:

    I thought I was going to have the cleanest house on the block! Not too mention that I thought I’d finally take up cooking and be really good at it… and baking! And I’d catch up with everyone, mail out thank you notes on time, make special care packages for friends… My husband, friends, and family were going to be in heaven. And I DEFINITELY wasn’t going to EVER be too busy to shower and look presentable… umm, yeah. I think I went most of last week not showered while I nursed my sick babe (with double ear infections, so sad) back to health. And I didn’t cook AT ALL. And it looks like a bomb went off throughout the entire house. And that can happen when he’s perfectly healthy and it’s been a pretty good week too ;)

  4. tristy says:

    I am glad that you posted this. I always feel that way. How come I can’t keep my house clean and get projects done like all of these amazing people. But I do what I can when Paxton naps and most of that involves cleaning and also a lot of taking a little bit of me time. However, I do cook dinner for Dan every (weekday) night. But that’s only after he is home to watch Paxton so I can cook in peace!

  5. Talia says:

    Yes, thanks for posting this. I have dinner ready for the spouse half of the days out of the week when he gets home, I wait until the kid is asleep to shower, and don’t even ask about the state of my bathroom’s cleanliness. Lots of people don’t realize that caring for a baby is a lot like constantly performing; it gets very tiring. So much so that when the baby sleeps, it’s more of a matter of “what HAS to get done?” (laundry, dishes, coffee).

  6. says:

    Oh, girl. You need to give yourself a little more credit! I think we all do, as parents ( I am coming off maternity leave, and my husband is now a full-time stay at home parent, so I get it. I so totally get it; and I had to stop reading those damn blogs where the women seem to spend all their time DIY-ing adorable crap for their Etsy shop will snapping professional grade photos of their babies laying on handmade quilts in immaculate households while a chicken roasts in the oven. Those women are either a) liars, or b) crazy neurotic, and likely NOT the kind of mom you’d really want to be, anyway.

    Here is what you do all day: you keep your baby fed, warm, alive, engaged, loved, entertained, stimulated. That is crazy hard to do, while not losing your mind. When you look back on your life 50 years from now, I can promise you that you will NOT be thinking, “Damnit, I really let the laundry slide back in 2011 when I was home with Tate!” You will be thinking this time, to dedicate to raising and being with your child, went by in an absolute blink. So remind yourself that you are a rockstar mama because you’re loving your little guy the best way you can, and try not to worry so much about the rest of it!

  7. Abbie says:

    I’m so glad to hear this from someone else. I first started following you over at uber chic and was excited to learn that you were due just a few weeks before me. My baby boy is now 6 1/2 weeks old, and while he was nursing this morning, I found myself doing a search of “when does a baby become less needy?”. The answers I found were not encouraging to the part of me that had grand aspirations about what I could accomplish while at home. When he’s napping I get a few things done *some* days, but when he’s awake and cheery, I can’t help but gaze adoringly in his face and have long conversations instead of “being productive.”

  8. Amber says:

    I completely identify with everything you said. I compare myself to everyone. I used to idealize the stay at home mom life while I was a 9-5er. And it definitely is different than I thought it would be. It has taken me a few years to adjust (although I’m still adjusting) to the at home life.

  9. Sara says:

    “b) crazy neurotic, and likely NOT the kind of mom you’d really want to be, anyway. ”

    That is just extraordinarily rude. Some of us simply value having a clean home and looking nice. I have a two month old, and I haven’t missed a single shower. My house is also beautiful. And I’m a damn good mother.

  10. Alexis P. says:

    I cant agree more my lil one is 4 months now & its impossible to clean and cook and keep everything done…..I just do what I can while she is napping and try to finish the rest when daddy is home and entertaining lil missy!! Otherwise remember as for cooking my crock pot became my best friend again…..just put whatever you want to make in there in the am & by the time hubby is home dinner is done…..takes one stress outta the day :)

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