Transitioning from a working mom to SAHM was much harder than I thought

I assumed that once I was a stay-at-home mom, I would become a laid back, relaxed lady of leisure, but I was so wrong.

Transitioning from a working mom to SAHM was much harder than I thought

When my daughter was just 6 weeks old, I went back to work full-time. I was torn, as I left my tiny infant at a daycare for nine hours a day. I daydreamed about staying at home with her full-time. I daydreamed about hours spent in leisure, gazing at my baby. As a few years passed, I fantasized about evenings where I had time to cook a meal, instead of grabbing a cheeseburger at a drive through for my toddler.

And then when she was 4 years old, I was able to stay at home with her full-time. My daydreams had come true. I was ready for mornings not spent commuting on a busy freeway with a sleepy kid in the backseat begging to go back home. I was ready for afternoons spent at the park, and enough time to play games on a weekday morning.

In some ways my life became immeasurably easier. But in other ways, I discovered I really had no idea what the life of a stay-at-home mom consisted of, nor the contradictions I would face.

I assumed that once I was a stay-at-home mom, I would become a laid back, relaxed lady of leisure, but I was so wrong. The truth is that the work of childcare, All. Day. Long, can be staggering.

When I was working full-time I was guilty of thinking (although I hope I was smart enough that I never said it), that stay-at-home moms didn't work nearly as hard as I did. I now see that both sets of mothers, those who work outside of the home and those who stay at home with their children, work equally hard. But their work is different.

I didn't realize how much I would miss lunch breaks, wearing non-yoga-pants outfits every morning, or socializing with coworkers. I didn't realize that there would be no chilling on the couch and watching marathons of my favorite Netflix show. There would be snack requests, doll tea parties, and spilled milk all over the living room rug.

When I worked full-time, I put my kiddo to bed and gave myself permission to lay on the couch and watch TV despite whatever messes or laundry had stacked up. After all, I'd worked a 9-hour day and I felt I deserved it. But when I became a stay-at-home mom, I felt that suddenly I didn't have the same "excuse", and often found myself doing laundry and cleaning long after my daughter had gone to bed.

While we're talking about work, there are a lot of stay-at-home-moms who are also work-from-home moms in some measure. It seems these days that most of my mom friends—myself included—have a "side hustle" (whether it's freelance writing, an Etsy shop, or a consulting business).

And while we have the luxury of not being "full-time" working moms, the time crunch of meeting deadlines while doing laundry, of being part of conference calls while balancing computers on our laps and playing catch with our kids, all while we're in between school carpools, diaper changes, and playdates—feels a bit like walking a tightrope.

There's also the contradiction of fantasizing almost every hour of the day about getting away from your precious children, and yet once you occasionally accomplish this fete, you find that you miss them terribly.

When I worked full-time, I was constantly wondering what my daughter was doing during the day—if she was feeling well, what she was eating for lunch, and if she was getting enough hugs during the day. When I was able to stay at home with her full-time, that separation anxiety eased immeasurably. But suddenly, I found that being together constantly produced a new need: the need to go to Target all by myself, with a diet coke in hand, and the freedom to wander the aisles aimlessly without saying things like "don't break that."

But even then, after about 30 minutes, I once again began to wonder what she was doing. I worried that she missed me. And I missed her.

Somehow, I thought life as a stay-at-home mother would be a bit of a holiday. But I soon found that my idea of a "holiday" morphed tremendously. Every day was not a holiday, it was a combination of wonderful moments reading books together and receiving hugs, while also picking dried boogers off the wall and examining a mysterious food-based stain on the sofa.

I discovered that my idea of a holiday turned into 30 minutes at night where I'd take a bath while drinking a beer and checking social media on my phone. My idea of a holiday became resting in the shade of the yard, watching my daughter run through a sprinkler and being grateful that she was distracted from my presence for the moment instead of demanding that I "do that voice, the scary one" a la Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty.

As contradictory as this life can be, I don't ever regret my decision to stay-at-home with my daughter, just as my friends who work full-time outside of the home don't regret theirs.

And no matter what side of the fence we stand on—no matter if you stay at home or go to work every day—we've all bonded over hiding in a hallway, trying desperately to eat a bag of M&M;'s as quietly and quickly as possible before a tiny voice yells, "I SMELL CHOCOLATE!"

You see—the set of rules and pressures for stay-at-home mothers and working mothers might be slightly different, but at the end of the day we're all committed 100% to our children and we're all striving to create the best lives possible for them.

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We're so glad to live in a time when modern baby gear exists. Sure, no one is going to argue that having a baby is easy—but it can be easier with support from some gadgets designed to help your baby and put your mind at ease.

As you build your baby registry, look for products that go the extra mile to make your life a whole lot easier. For example, what's better than a bassinet? A bassinet that can rock by itself. And what's better than a traditional baby monitor? One that allows you to actually take a peek at your baby. Believe us when we say these upgrades can make all the difference.

Here are 10 baby gadgets that will make your life so much easier… relatively speaking, of course!

A bassinet to promote safe + sound sleep

HALO Innovations Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Essenta Series Nautical Net

The safest place for your newborn to sleep is in your room, but not in your bed. Thanks to the swivel function of the Halo Bassinest, you can easily tend to your baby during the night—which means more sleep for you, too. Trust us when we say that is the best gift you can give a new parent.


A smart swing for your baby

4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

Believe it or not, many babies are born with strong opinions about how they want to be rocked, swung or shushed to calm down. With the mamaRoo's various motions and reclining positions, you'll be able to find a setting your baby loves when you need to free up your hands for a bit.


A complete travel system for car + sidewalk

Chicco Bravo Travel System - Indigo

No matter where the day takes you—or what mode of transportation you need to get there—getting a complete travel system for your baby will equip you for anything.


A swaddle you don’t have to wrestle

Love To Dream Swaddle UP Original

What do babies and Harry Houdini have in common? A knack for breaking out of tight constraints—which can be a headache when swaddling is the best way to help promote good sleep. Thanks to a breakout-proof swaddle that allows your baby to sleep with their hands up, you don't have to work up a sweat just to get your baby comfortably swaddled.


A nursery wherever you need it

Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

During the early days of parenting (when you are feeding and changing your baby around the clock), having convenient access to everything you need with a go-anywhere nursery station can save you serious time and energy.


A little help for stuffy noses

Fridababy NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator

Up until the point years down the road when your child is able to blow their own nose, the sniffles can be a real struggle—but not with a nasal aspirator that makes it easy for you to get that snot out of their nose.


A way to keep an eye on your baby

VTech 5" Digital Video Baby Monitor - VM5251

Trust us when we say you'll sleep better when you know your baby is also sleeping soundly. That's why we're so thankful for modern-day video monitors, which allow you to check in on your sleeping baby without running the risk of waking them up when you sneak in for a peek.


A bassinet for hands-free rocking

Simmons Kids Silent Auto Gliding Elite Bassinet - Odyssey

Babies are soothed by rocking motions. But what does that mean for you if you can't rock them throughout the night? With an auto-gliding bassinet, they can comfortably drift off to sleep... and continue snoozing.


An easy way to contain diaper smells

Diaper Genie Expressions Pail

Sometimes it's the little conveniences that make a big difference in the quality of your day-to-day life. That's why a great diaper pail should not be undervalued: By containing the smell, you will save yourself dozens upon dozens of trips to the garbage can.


A white noise machine that pulls double duty

Hatch Rest Sound Machine, Night Light & Time-to-Rise

A phone-controlled sound machine may be something you never considered until now, but it will be a major lifesaver for years to come, especially as it can also function as a time-to-rise clock that promotes good sleep habits for your child.


And as for securing all these awesome products? Well, a Target baby registry is the way to do it. By creating your baby registry with Target, you will also enjoy their Year of Benefits registry program, which includes perks like a welcome kit with more than $100 in savings and samples, two 15% off coupons to complete your registry, and a full year of returns. The benefits are better than ever right now: Target just launched the Year of Exclusive Deals perk as one of its registry benefits, and this includes a year's worth of discounts on baby essentials (think diapers and formula) and comes complementary when you sign up for Target Circle.

Because while parenting may not be "easy," deciding to register with Target definitely is an easy decision. Start your Target baby registry now and enjoy shopping with a Year of Benefits featuring a Year of Exclusive Deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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