Confession: I never thought I’d be a SAHM, but it’s the right fit

Unlike many women I know, my progression to becoming a stay-at-home mom was neither planned nor expected.

Confession: I never thought I’d be a SAHM, but it’s the right fit

Unlike many women I know, my progression to becoming a stay-at-home mom was neither planned nor expected. I always anticipated being a working mom. I’m not exceptionally crafty or patient, or the greatest housekeeper or cook. My working world resume felt much stronger, and I just assumed that’s what I’d keep building.

I continued working full-time after the birth of our first child. I altered my schedule slightly, trimming my weekly hours and working slightly longer four days a week so that I could have Fridays at home with my son.

It seemed to be the best of both worlds, having three days at home and four days in the office. My son went to daycare two days per week and family helped out the other two days, and everything chugged along merrily for three and a half years.

Then his sister came along, and everything...well...stopped chugging.

It wasn’t her fault. Family schedules and dynamics shifted, and suddenly we needed to rely on full-time daycare. Suddenly we were looking at roughly $2,000 a month in childcare costs, and when we did the math on what I’d be bringing home after deducting daycare, commuting, and other work-related expenses (wardrobe, lunches, etc.), my paycheck was starting to look puny.

My responsibilities at work also shifted, and suddenly the job I’d always loved wasn’t so appealing anymore. I had been looking for another job since before we found out I was expecting our daughter, but I wasn’t having much luck finding the right fit.

Speaking of our daughter, she was certainly a factor. While her brother had been a happy, contented baby (aside from being a kind-of-terrible sleeper for most of his first year), she was not.

Actually, that’s slightly unfair. If she was tucked against my chest 24 hours a day, she was a delight. If I tried to lay her down, put her in the swing, or—heaven forbid—hand her off to someone else, she wasn’t having it.

Amidst the perfect storm of crushing childcare costs, a job I was anxious to leave, and a baby who insisted that only her mama would do, my husband got a new job—one with better pay and amazing insurance benefits that suddenly made becoming a single-income household feasible.

It wouldn’t be easy; it would still be a significant slash to our monthly budget. But in a sea of options that all had their pros and cons, we opted for the one we felt like fit best for the time being.

I would stay home.

As you can imagine, I was nervous. Would I be expected to use Pinterest? How would I make mom friends? What would we DO all day?

I’m nothing if not practical though, and the most practical, logical solution was for me to stay home. I informed my bosses that I would, in fact, NOT be returning from maternity leave and we settled into our new routine.

At the time, we framed it as a temporary solution, assuming I’d return to full-time work at some point—maybe when our youngest started school (at the latest). Well, that cute clingy baby will turn four this summer, and next week I will enroll her in a five-days-a-week pre-K program that starts in August.

Suddenly “some point” is here, but, in a move that surprises even me, I have no intention of returning to full-time work.

Make no mistake; I haven’t magically turned into Martha Stewart in the past four years. I’m still mediocre at crafting (at best), I consider breakfast-for-supper to be an essential part of our weekly meal plan, and I’m usually out of patience by 6:23 p.m. every weekday evening.

It’s not that I’m #killingit as a stay-at-home mom. It’s just that it still works.

My husband has a different job now; one that requires a lot of (frequently last-minute) travel. I handle drop-offs and pickups and sick days. Trying to juggle a full-time job along with the necessary demands of being the default parent would bring on maximum stress with a very little boost to our bottom line.

I do have some creative outlets, though. I’m a freelance writer, and I also do a bit of marketing work.

It all gets squeezed into my fringe hours, but that’s okay. Some weeks, it’s this tenacious toe-hold in my previous world—of working, dealing with adults, meeting deadlines and using that dusty college degree—that keeps my sanity intact.

I can’t say for sure that I’ll always be a stay-at-home mom. If circumstances shift or our needs as a family change, I’m always open to reevaluating. But right now, it works. I’m exactly where I need to be, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted anyway.

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Including a battle plan for clogged ducts!

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.


Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.


Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.


Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.


boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.


Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.


Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.


Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this


Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have kids—so here’s what I did

We asked our three most pessimistic friends who have kids whether it's worth it or not

As told to Liz Tenety.

Around the time my husband and I were turning 30, we had a genuine conversation about whether or not we wanted kids. I was the hesitant one because I was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's just hold on. Okay, let's talk about this. Because we love our life. We like traveling. Is this what we want?"

My husband said, "Let's ask our three most pessimistic, crabby friends who have kids whether or not it's worth it."

And every single one of them was like, "Oh, it's unmissable on planet earth."

So when I got pregnant, I was—and I'm not ashamed to say this and I don't think you should be—I was as connected with the baby in my belly as if it were a water bottle. I was like, I don't know you. I don't know what you are, but you can be some gas pain sometimes, but other than that, we're going to have to meet each other and suss this relationship out.

But all the cliches are true that you just know what to do when the baby comes out. Some of the times are hard, some of them are easier, but you just gotta use your gut.

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