I recently celebrated my 3rd anniversary as a stay-at-home mom. In 2013, we (husband and I) decided that I retire early so I can care for our 2 yr old son. It was a leap of faith - our nanny was leaving and we can't find a replacement we can trust. So I shifted from a career woman who was being groomed for a bigger responsibility to a full-time mother and home manager. Before changing careers, I was in the corporate world for a decade where most of my years were spent working on night shifts and holidays. If I were to give myself an advise during that transition, I'd give myself this letter.
Dear Me From 3 Years Ago,
I know you're overwhelmed now that you're left alone in the house with a toddler and a home to manage. You are clueless and still adjusting your body clock. It's okay. Everything will be all right. You may not know it yet but life will unfold and God fulfills His promises.
I am writing to you today so you'd be reassured that you are where you are supposed to be.
As you go through your journey as a stay-at-home mom, I'd like to share with you some thoughts for you to consider. I hope you'd find some light after reading this.
1. It's OK to get confused.
You thought that by spending 3 hours in the morning and a couple more in the afternoon with your child (even while working at night) you already know your child wholeheartedly. That by spending all your hours on weekends, you'd be an expert of his needs. You thought that by co-sleeping him since he was a baby you'd be able to read his cues. Now that it's just you and him without the nanny, you are so clueless and confused. He's crying, fussing, and desperate to be understood.
I repeat, it's OK to get confused. Don't feel sorry for yourself for not being able to decipher what is happening. Don't feel sorry because you don't know everything about raising a child.
It's OK. You are doing a great job.
You and Little V are both adjusting with each other now that you're together 24/7. Give it some time.
Just hug and kiss our baby. He needs you. And while the days pass by, you will know him more. And in a few months, with just a breath, you'd know what's on his mind.
In a couple of years, you'd be amazed of the knowledge time and experience have amassed for you.
2. Trust our husband
Our husband may not be as hands-on as he was when Little V was a baby, but please trust me when I say that he's more than capable to look after our son.
You can't do everything alone. You are the parents of this child. You are both bound to be partners in raising him.
Do not be afraid. Let go.
Let him feed Little V. Bathe him. Play with him. He needs to use his instincts as a father, and he won't be able to exercise those instincts if you won't allow him to be more hands-on. Let go.
Leave them alone for a few minutes. And then for an hour. Then for a longer time. You'd be surprised at how much the two boys will change by allowing them to bond with each other. Our husband is a good father; now let him work to be the best dad.
3. Don't forget yourself
And now that you have a ka-relyebo with our son, give yourself some me-time. Being a good mom also means loving yourself.
Go out with friends.
Get a haircut.
Remember when we were still single, before we met our husband? We were free spirits. We love to do things on our own. Now, let that free spirit rise every now and then.
Go shopping. Buy something for us.
Don't think too much about feeling sorry you can't contribute anymore to the household finances. Our husband delights when we let him provide for our needs and wants.
Don't be frustrated that you can't find work at home right now. Focus on what you have at the moment. Explore and learn. The right time will come when you will be ready to take a new role that would give you fulfillment as you follow your passion without sacrificing quality time with the family.
Do something you love. Find your passion. And when you do so, don't forget to...
4. Continue learning
The world has evolved rapidly because of technology and we need to catch up with it. We have to evolve, too, even if we are just at home.
Learn from others.
Open your mind to new ideas.
And when life presents you an opportunity to work while being at home, grab it. Even if the job description is too overwhelming. Even if the tasks seem daunting. You will learn a lot through experience.
You can do it.
You are good at learning new things.
You are good with research.
You don't give up easily.
Remember, skills are learned; but attitude is inate.
5. There are no perfect parents
There is no one-manual-for-all when it comes to parenting. Each family is unique. What works for others may not work for us, and vice versa. And we need to find our own ways to raise our kids - ways that are unique for our family.
There will be trials.
There will be mistakes.
There will be regrets.
But there will also be joy. Understanding. Wisdom. Growth. Peace. And Love.
We will never be perfect parents. But I assure you, we will always do our best.
You are exactly where you are supposed to be. Being a stay-at-home mom is one of the best decisions you have ever made in your life. Welcome it. Savor it.
Make memories. You will love every minute.
P.S. Please exercise. We need to remove the muffin left around our abdomen.
You in 2016