Check out Audrey’s postpartum story. She’s a SAHM with a husband who travels for work.
Do you remember the movie “Home Alone”? Do you remember the toys being
placed around the house, used as booby traps and instruments of pain? Well,
that is my house at any given time, on any given day… But worse… So, so much
You see, I’m a stay at home mom with two kids; One of whom you cannot
take your eyes off for one second. I don’t have a house cleaner and my husband
travels for work. That “thing” that holds the world together? That’s me… I’m that
Most days I’m lucky that my kids decided not to destroy everything, they’ve just
decided to destroy most things. But other days it, quite literally, looks like a bomb
went off! How is it humanly possible for a 15 month old and a 3 and a half year
old to do that much damage? Million dollar question, isn’t it?
I’ll paint a picture for you. In the living room, the couch pillows are tossed around,
the toys are scattered across the floor, pajamas from the night before lay strewn
over the ottoman. There are overflowing bags, many (many) bags of sad and
forgotten laundry sitting on our dining table. They are moved for meals, only to be
put right back again after the dishes are cleared. The kitchen sink has dishes in it
from the last two day (possibly three, but I’m trying to salvage some bit of pride
here). They’re stacked up high enough that every time I walk by they stare at me
with those judgey dish eyes, or maybe those are just old peas.
The counters have piles of an assortment of magazines that my husband and I thought were a
good idea to subscribe to, as if either of us has time to read anything other than a
Dr Seuss book! There is a half finished juice box, a bowl of half eaten snack my
kids just “had to have” (of which most ended up on the floor when will I learn?), a
mug half filled with coffee that has been microwaved at least a dozen times
before it was given up on, art supplies from a project that was started in 2017,
and broken toys I promised I’d fix but that keep moving down the endless to do
list, all sitting in my counter top.
There are beds unmade, drawers overflowing with clothes they’ve outgrown, and the kids bedrooms look like a riot took place
in a toy shop. Those overflowing drawers of clothes that don’t fit? Well they’re
matched by the bags of clothes I’ve managed to somewhat organize that I’ve
been meaning to sell. But instead they just keep growing like my constant
Why, you might now be asking, have I let my house get to this point? Why don’t I
just clean? I’ll tell you. Oh, yes, I’ll tell you: I do! I do as much as I can while still
remaining present for my kids. Could I choose to fold my laundry instead of
reading my daughter a book? Yes. Could I do the dishes instead of chase my
son around as he belly laughs so hard he can barely keep himself from running
into walls? Yes. Could I pick up all the toys and put them away instead of reading
my book or watching a movie with my husband after the kids go to sleep? Yes. I
could. And I do. I do often.
I remember, before I had kids, watching movies where the family’s house was
spotless. The perfect mom, cooked dinner for her family in her perfect house.
She looked well rested with clean hair and was dressed in unstained, well fitted
clothes. My expectations of what being a stay at home mom would be like was,
very clearly, screwed from the start. I never knew how lonely it could be. I was
never shown how incredibly stressful and overwhelming night time would
become. I could never possibly predict how I would come to utterly loath the
question “What’s for dinner?”
But, through all of this, through the piles of clothes, through the warzone of a
living room, through the sink full of dishes every passing day, when I compared it
to the other jobs I had pre-kids, I knew, hands down, this was the job for me.
As I try to think of the words to fully express the love I have for my little ones, all
that comes to mind is a montage of every moment I’ve spent with them. Every
smile, every laugh, every precious thing they’ve said, the first step, the first
dance, their first anything and everything is such a gift. And what’s more is the
gift of being able to be present for them and those moments. Even if I
occasionally get jealous of my husband for being able to sleep alone in a hotel
room and have conversations with adults about things other than baby bathroom
habits, I wouldn’t trade one day for that. Okay, well, maybe one day… One day
and one night… In a hotel… Alone... With a massage! But that’s it! No more!
Have I mentioned I haven’t had one night of uninterrupted sleep in almost four
My house is a mess, my clothes are ill-fitted, I haven’t showered in a couple of
days the lack of sleep is painfully comical, and I live off left over mac and cheese
and cold coffee. But, my heart is so, entirely full!
My house was always spotless before I had kids and there will be a day where it
is once again. But I will miss these days of stepping on toys with my bare feet. I’ll
yearn for the days my beautiful children ran laughing through the house, juice
and snacks spilling over as they play. I’ll miss holding them at night while they
breathe in my ear and talk in their sleep. I’ll want the hours of imaginative play
with dolls and tea sets back in my life. I’ll think of reading the same books over
and over until they’re memorized and I’ll miss that. I’ll remember laughing with
my husband as we look at photos and videos we’ve compiled over the last week
and laughing even more as we reminisce about the funny things our toddlers
have said and the pit in my stomach and lump in my throat will become real.
This really is the sweetest time of life. It is definitely the most challenging as well,
but at its core it’s the sweetest. And I am so, so grateful for it all.