How we wish we could respond to “what did you do all day?”

It is the

Enjoying a peaceful moment (as much as it can with a toddler!) with my son just before his 1st birthday.

bane of every stay at home parent’s existence, in either imagined connotation, to slight hints, to the unwise moments of spouses who have actually asked out loud “what did you do all day?”

(For the record Ryan never asked that in so many words . He definitely doesn’t say it now that he has seen what it is like to be home with children. There are definitely hard things about having older babies, but its a whole new ball game when you have a toddler even for a calm, good-natured kid.When they aren’t staying on their little lay and play, you’re working on housework, cooking AND on the run. And of course spending time helping your child discover the world.)

I have had three years of stay at home mom experience, some of that time with two young children, one who nursed but struggled with reflux so it took a HUGE portion of my day (also she didn’t really take real naps until she was one. Lovely right?) Also when I am not working full time, I am alone with my children unless where are visiting relatives, before which I have often packed a lot of special needs equipment so I know that feeling of being in a house with children all day and trying very hard to have things clean and complete but….there ARE kids in the home with you.
So here is my little ode to you parents feeling the futility.



When you walk in and you first see some socks scattered across the floor what you don’t see is the trash I put away- the first thing our child just had to throw, and /I thought socks was a better alternative.

When you see a pile of clean laundry on the couch, what you don’t see is how I picked up dirty laundry from when you had to hurry off to work that I have already cleaned and dried.

When you see dirty dishes in the sink, what you don’t see is the time I took to clean out older leftovers from the fridge while teaching the kids to not eat and throw play dough.

when you see tons of toys scattered across the playroom, trust me when I say I have made them pick up all day long-that mess is literally from the last two minutes Not even exaggerating.

When you see a pot on the stove that I haven’t cleaned yet, it’s because I cooked while attending to crazy little hellians-I mean children (you’re welcome.)

When we have a crazy amount of grocery bags our toddler likes to wear on her head, lets remember it’s because I bought groceries. Whether it was click list or in store, it was hard work and took some prep time. That is when I sat.

To sit, I had to lie down with a toddler to get him to sleep in order to do that grocery list.

That’s what I do all day.


Occupation: Stay at home mom :)

Well I have been a stay at home mom for about two months now… First of all, the reasons my husband and I made this change from me working full-time to being a full-time stay at home mom are as follows…Ethan kept getting sick and being hospitalized (twice but had already had two surgeries, so already at lot of time hospitalized under his belt..or diaper 😉 ) When he got pneumonia from aspiration, it is true that exposure to daycare germs had nothing to do with it; however, because I could have taken him to the doctor sooner if I hadn’t been working (and Ryan was also working that day), we wondered if the hospitalization could have been avoided. Maybe, maybe not. Bugt the next reason we chose to make this change is that Ethan has so many appointments for wellness and follow-up checkups in addition to times he becomes ill that I was running out of PTO as it was…I could hardly take off for holidays and my own health, much less a vacation (whatever that is, ha!) Our temporary plan was for Etan to be with his Daddy on his off-days (He’s an RN) and with his sitter on the other days (who was an amazing sitter, by the way!) We were about to tour the developmental prek center down the street from my former workplace when Etan got pneumonia. We had already been thinking over me quitting work to be at home just to put off Ethan being in center until he was more hearty and able to withstand sickness that come with lots of group care exposure. And because we just wanted a more balanced life! The hospitalization made the thought become a decision.


W think it was a great decision…he had 4 regular appointments (not counting therapies) in FEbruary and I took him as many or more times for illness symptoms! There is no WAY we could have kept up with missing that much work. Or we would have not ended up taking him in as much possibly, and maybe missed something. This gives me the freedom to take him over a slightly alarming symptom, rather than an out of control symptom.

Please note: I do not think working moms are not good moms by any means..I was one after all! Different situations all call for prayer and consideration on what is best for each family. Some people may feel they have things all balanced and all together with both parents working. We have just enjoyed this adjustment and for us in this time in our life, it is the right decision.
Here are some things I love about being a stay at home mom that have added to or made things run more smoothly for my family:

1)I get more time with Ethan! When I was a fulltime working mom, I felt guilty for only seeing him for supper and bedtime routines. ON the weekends, I felt I was making up for lost time, and that sometimes meant I was not making efforts to do things with friends, or make additional friends when we moved life groups or churches which meant
2) Increased social life ..seems paradoxical, doesn’t it? While I don’t see coworkers throughout the day (not that I had much time to talk to them I was so busy!), I have more emotional freedom ( we will call it. 😉 ) to feel okay about having my parents watch Ethan while I hang out with my girlfriends or my husband and I get together with another couple.
3) Increased time with husband. You would think it would be the same, and maybe for some families it would. For us, this means on Ryan’s days off, I am at home! So we have more time as a family unit as well. I also don’t feel I have to choose between Ryan and Ethan in the evenings. Of course I wanted to spend time with Ethan in his waking hours when I was a fulltime mom, and I had to get him ready for bed! Ryan usually needed a break as he was alone all day with a toddler (not something most men do or are even willing to do!) Or we were all three together. Either way, I tend to put Ethan to bed right at his bedtime rather than dragging it out to see him more on weekdays as a working mom.
4) More balance in household functioning and in marriage. When I was working, Ryan and I basically had the same roles and traded off. It was working out okay, but I love the dynamic of us having complementary roles in the household and family..This means we aren’t both looking at the other to complete household chores in our only time off did get done (mostly by Ryan, honestly because like I said, I was making up for lost time with Ethan on the weekends. I feel bad I didn’t do a little more, although I sure did try.) Now, I get the chores done alongside Ethan’s play (although he still gets plenty of undivided attention and play with me 😉 ) and I get chores done during his naps (and therapies).
5) More “emotional freedom” and time to do ministry. I think some form of ministry needs to be done regardless of circumstances, but time and the freedom (also referred to as “the gift of availability” as I’ve heard some refer to it) come with not having as many demands to juggle. I do not mean that being a stay at home mom is “easy” but I do believe if it is less complex (for us anyways) and there is just more time available. I haven’t done a specific church ministry in a while since we have had so many transitions and are praying about which church to be a part of at the moment, but I do plan to do so and don’t feel as stressed about juggling everything.

I realize that people with multiple children have different experiences but this is ours and what we enjoy about me being a stay at home mom. I love it! I plan to share more about what I do for Ethan’s learning and so forth at home. By all means share what you love and do for your kids as a stay at home mom!

I have also had experience as a part-time working mother which I enjoyed, but with a toddler it would be pretty difficult with the paperwork I’d imagine! (He was a young infant at the time, and I often had paperwork to do at home when I worked on contract as a therapist)