Finding my Balance as a Stay-At-Home-Mom

Ella… a day in my life

«Hold on a moment sweetie»… «just a second honey»… «i’ll be with you in a moment sunshine»…

These are sentences that I utter every day and it makes me feel like I am not on top of what I should get done, like I am not moving fast enough and like I am not doing my kids justice.

The alarm clock goes off…

…and i’ve already been awake for quite a while with baby Nathan who still sleeps in our bedroom because he’s having a hard time getting used to sleeping through the night. CHECK THE CLOCK… Time to get up and change his diaper.

Tip toeing past Ian’s door because I don’t want my toddler to wake up just yet. It’s way to early for him and I could use the breathing room while I tend to Nathan’s need and get breakfast ready.

My Ninja quiet moves have been perfected by now as I sneak downstairs…

Shower’s going «good! Ezra got up by himself and is getting ready for school ». CHECK THE CLOCK… I have about 15 minutes until my hormonal pre teen stands in the kitchen ready to eat.

Quickly change Nathan’s diaper… «Oh no, his diaper leaked »… alright… run upstairs, get a change of clothes for him, get him cleaned up!

CHECK THE CLOCK… Need to get breakfast going before Ian wakes up from the noise we are causing because he gets very grumpy if he doesn’t have his toddler needs met as soon as he gets up! Turn on the radio to get some motivation and groove into this task.

Breakfast ready and I am met by a scruffled boy, wet hair and too much body spray.

When did my baby grow into this kid… almost teenager… worried about his appearance when going out and almost eye level with me?! Ella (and every mom out there)

Good morning sweetie, Breakfast is on the table

CHECK THE CLOCK… Time to get Ian’s milk bottle ready for when he gets up and if I hurry I might be able to squeeze in a cup of coffee between those two tasks.

Quickly go over todays mission list in my head…

  • “I absolutely need to do a couple of loads of laundry today, Ezra needs enough clothes to pack for camp next week”
  • “Oh, I need to label all his sports supplies and expensive sports clothes so they make it back from camp too”
  • “I really should find out how this kids clothes flea market works that my friend told me about… the “too little” clothes are piling up in the basement… I was going to check that out online!”
  • “Also need to return Ezra’s new shoes, they are too small”
  • “Oh, don’t forget to get up Ezra’s camp backpack so he can pack later! “
  • “Wait, is it the 25th of the month already?! I HAVE to do the e-banking today to pay the bills!”
  • “Oh and I saw that the paper recycling needs to be bundled and put downstairs… It’s overflowing!”

As I’m drinking my coffee while standing in the kitchen, making faces at my baby so he is entertained, I start writing down the list of tasks according to priority. Ok… seems doable! My motivated “can do” side says to myself… while the realistic, yet very sarcastic “mom of three kids” side just shakes her head and chuckles at the gullible and naïve mom-of-the-year-wannabe “can do” side. CHECK THE CLOCK

Crap, has Ezra been talking this whole time and I’ve just automatically been nodding and going “yes” and “really” and “I see”?! What is wrong with me? I need to take the time to sit down and really give him the attention he deserves! I am absolutely doing that right now!

Obviously Nathan starts getting cranky, as if he knows that I am about to give his oldest brother more attention than him… And at the same time I hear a clicking of the door upstairs “mommyyyyyy!”… Ian’s up! CHECK THE CLOCK… “Ezra, go brush your teeth and make sure you have everything for school… and put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher” I am already placing baby Nathan on his crawling mat in the living room and on my way upstairs to get Ian.

Diaper change… breakfast… “boys stop fighting over the toy car”… “Yes, of course I will help you with the hair spray”…”Just a second Nathan, mommy will be right there”… “Ezra you have to leave for school NOW, you’re going to be late! No, I don’t know where your ruler is, it’s supposed to be in your school bag… We’ll look for it when you come home…No, I am sure you won’t get marked off for it, besides you have a second one at school… What do you mean ‘that one vanished 4 weeks ago’?… rulers don’t just vanish and if they do it would be great if you told me sooner so I can get you a new one…CHECK THE CLOCKhere have mine, now get your shoes on you’ll be late!“… “Yes Ian, I will be right there to help you clean your hands“… “Just a sec Nathan, mommy is just making sure your brother can make it to school on time…

As I wave goodbye to Ezra…

…wishing him a good day “I love you, see you for lunch” and close the door… EXHALE!!!! I realize I feel like I have just held my breath for the last 30 minutes… there was just no time to breathe… Take 3 seconds to consciously inhale and exhale… CHECK THE CLOCK… good, he should make it to school just on time!

Mommmyyyyy!!! Watching!” Here we go, “no Ian, it’s too early for tv, let’s see what you can play with”. Nathan in one arm, I feel like a telemarketer as I make Ian’s toys as attractive to him as I can so I can buy myself 15 minutes of quiet time to feed Nathan who is getting antsy because he wants his breakfast.

The morning continues like that, then lunch, then afternoon and then 6 PM hits and I hear my hubby walk in from work! EXHALE! I always feel like I am running and juggling to keep up with everything that needs to be done and still give each of my kids the attention they deserve. The “can do” side of me see’s no problem in managing all the tasks and chores that a household requires while still being super mom, helping with homework and inquiring about Ezra’s day, doing crafts and playing with Ian and getting some quality cuddling time in with Baby Nathan. The realistic “been there, tried that” side of me has realized that it’s impossible.

an impossible situation… for any perfectionist

If I concentrate fully on the needs of my kids, absolutely nothing on my tasks list gets done. If I try to keep the house as clean as I would like it to be and stay on top of laundry and chores, the kids do not get the one on one time I would like to spend with them and tasks like shopping, organizing practice schedules and any type of home project gets left behind. And if I work down my list of tasks to do, my kids still don’t get the mom I want them to remember me as and the house looks like a freaking mess with everyone inevitably running around naked at some point because we have no more clean laundry.

I am trying to find a balance between all of these things, which for me as a perfectionist is very hard, since I absolutely hate doing something half way. When I start something, I want to finish it and I want it to be up to the high standards I set for myself. My kids are my best teachers in how to take each day as it comes… because they don’t care. Don’t get me wrong, I know my kids love me, but they are kids and kids are not born with a natural empathy and consideration of how mommy feels. If I am tired, sick, sad, happy, frustrated at myself or in deep thought, my kids will still demand the same things of me as any other day, because they are kids. So in order to stay sane and be the mom I want my kids to remember me as, I am the one who has to make changes and figure out how to make it work for all 5 members in this family so that we are happy and feel fulfilled instead of frustrated and unsure what personal accomplishments today has brought.

it’s a process… one day at a time

I am still in the middle of this process, as every day I get up motivated, face my “can do” side and tell myself “Today’s the day, I am going to find a new hack on what makes the day easier and work better with all the big and little tasks that it inevitably brings”. And there are the days where I find little tricks that work for me and I make it a point to note them to myself and add them to the repertoire of personal life hacks I will use from now on. And then there are days where I feel like the day is spiraling out of control, the hours are just flying by and I am getting absolutely nothing done and have not even spent the one on one time with my kids that I planned with crafts and play time… and I don’t even know why or how it happened!

On those days, I am particularly thankful for my sister who lives half a world away, that I see once in a blue moon, but feels closer to me than many people that live right around the corner. We talk or write every day, often throughout the day. It has become an important part of my daily life, but especially on those days, I know I can turn to her and let my frustration and self-doubts show and there will be no judgement. I get to feel vulnerable and tell her that I feel like I am a hot mess that’s spiraling into pure chaos today without wondering whether she will use this information to hurt me tomorrow. She makes me feel sane and that it is ok, shares stories of her girls that reflect my situation right then and makes me laugh and remember to EXHALE.

xoxo, Ella

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About the Author

Ella

Ella is the proud mother of 3 wild boys! She lives in Switzerland where she is married to the love of her life who manages to keep up with her spur-of-the-moment ideas, her constant new projects around the house and shares her love for over-doing every party they throw! Ella faces the daily challenges of a stay-at-home mom and talks to her sister, on the other side of the globe, everyday for advice, sharing funny stories and sometimes just to stay sane!

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Comments

  1. So true! I only have one babe for the moment, and I feel like the clock rules my day! Some days are great, everything runs well and I get things accomplished and the next day nothing goes right and the whole day passes with nothing much accomplished. Weekly balance is what I strive for! What I don’t get done today, I will this week…. hopefully!!

    1. Exactly! It’s the only way to go through this adventure of parenthood!Anything else makes you feel like you are not doing enough. My hubby always tells me the following words when I feel like I am not on top of my game: “Look at our kids, they are happy and they are healthy, and that’s a big part on you! Everything else is not important. If you get other things done during the day, then all the better, but if you don’t, then who cares!”. And he is right!
      xoxo, Ella

  2. Oh wow what a busy day you have. It’s so different from mine (no Kids etc.).
    Lea, xx

  3. What a morning! Yet we moms pull this off every day! Ugh! I’m exhausted just thinking about my list! Happy Mother’s Day next Sunday!

  4. Thanks for sharing! It is so true! I often feel like I am running around like a crazy person trying to take care of everyone, but I do the best I can and at the end of the day, I try to let the rest go…at least until tomorrow! Haha!

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