My Not-So-Dirty Little Secret to Being a Better Mom - Baby Chick
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My Not-So-Dirty Little Secret to Being a Better Mom

All moms should be able to put down the to-do list and pick up their babies.

Published August 11, 2015

As a stay-at-home mom, I’ve often felt as if I’ve been backed into a corner of having to “be it all” and “do it all” in the eyes of others instead of just being a better mom. My family never pressured me; I suppose I created it myself or felt it from fellow mothers. I’ve often felt like asking for help or taking a break would be taken as a sign that I’m unfit to run a household and raise babies as a full-time gig.

People would remark about how clean my home was, how put together my kids’ outfits were, and how organized I was. And because I genuinely enjoy those things, I felt incredible that my efforts were appreciated and recognized. I didn’t appreciate the bags under my eyes from staying up all night to get it all done. I hit a wall.

Being Super Mom Was Addicting

The high of being a super mom was an addiction, but I was exhausted. So, I thought about my options. Sure, I could let the house go. I could let the dishes pile in the sink and not worry about the dog hair on the couch. I could ask friends to turn the other way when they stopped by for coffee or playdates. Except that I couldn’t. It’s just not in my DNA to ignore a mess. I could quit volunteering at the preschool. I mean, all those holiday parties take up a ton of time. If only seeing those smiling faces didn’t make my heart skip a beat!

Well, maybe my husband won’t notice if we start going out for every meal. Who wouldn’t love PIZZA every day, right? But then I’d feel guilty about the lack of nutritional value. There are just some non-negotiable things I just wasn’t willing to sacrifice. Not to mention all the things I craved more time for, like working out, date nights, and Bible studies. So, one year ago, I decided to try something different than my usual routine… And I was hooked.

In the beginning, I thought I could try it out. Just every once in a while, only when I needed a boost. It was my little secret, and I didn’t want anyone to know. If someone found out, I was sure they’d judge. I couldn’t tell anyone that I was utterly addicted… I was addicted to freeing up my schedule to soak up every minute of motherhood.


Cleaning Schedule Changes Meant More Rest

It started with a woman who came to clean our house every other week. Then, we welcomed a puppy into our home and decided once-a-week cleanings made more sense. (He sheds like crazy, but we love our furball!) I could briefly pick up at the end of each day and sleep soundly, knowing my house was tidy, so I could begin going to bed at a decent hour. It’s amazing what a whole night’s rest can do for you. I was calmer during the day, able to let go a little more and play with my littles without looking around the house, itemizing a list of what needed to be done. I could fully engage in the “now,” which was glorious. Being well-rested can change your attitude in a HUGE way.


I Looked for Other Ways To Take My Time Back

Once the sleep-deprived brain fog had lifted, I began seeking other ways to take back my time. My new addiction? Being an efficient, happy mama and passionate wife. I found a laundry service that picks up and delivers for no additional cost, so no more trips back and forth to the dry cleaners several times a week. I also found an app that delivers organic groceries to your door the same day you place your order. Sure, it’s a little more expensive than picking it up yourself, but how could I put a price on my time with my babies?

The new me was working smarter, not harder, fully immersed in the presence of her kids and husband. She had more time to take care of her health, get those checkups she’d been putting off, and get a haircut more than once a year. She had found that finding some helping hands didn’t just make her the best possible version of herself. Opening her heart to other caring people allowed her to create her own “village” that her family would grow to love just as much as she did. But this new me, despite her new attributes as a mother, she felt awfully guilty.


Trying To Do It All Creates Guilt

I pondered this new guilt for a while and realized that being a stay-at-home mom doesn’t absolve me from the same issues a working mom faces. Does the working mom feel bad about someone else shampooing the carpets so she can take her daughter out for ice cream? Probably not. Do working dads ever feel remorse about calling a lawn crew so he can attend his son’s soccer tournament instead of laying new mulch in the flower beds? I’m guessing he doesn’t. As stay-at-home moms, we’ve put undue stress upon ourselves to carry the weight of the world for our families, and in that assumption that we have to do it all, all by ourselves, we’ve lost the “village” and gained a guilt complex.

I had to break the cycle of keeping secrets. I would no longer criminalize myself for doing what I felt was best for my little family. So I decided the next time someone asks me, “How do you get it all done?” I was going to tell them, “I don’t.”


Saving Time Is Right for Our Family

The honesty was liberating, and soon, I began shouting to the rooftops to all of my mama friends, singing the praises of coordinating a babysitting swap for a kid-free date night. I referred them to my favorite housekeeper to save their sanity before their mother-in-law’s upcoming visit. I was practically BEGGING them to join the blissful time-saver that is Amazon Prime. Trust me, by their first diaper delivery, they were hooked. I’m sure there have been some sideways glances, but I can let that go now because I’m confident I’m doing the right thing for us.

I’m aware that not everyone gets the opportunity to seek hired hands to help out with the more mundane tasks. It’s not lost on me that this is a privilege that I’m incredibly grateful for. But I do hope that even if paying for help isn’t something you would consider, perhaps this will release you from the guilt of asking for it. From your partner, a family member, or best friend who “gets it.” I sincerely hope that all moms, working, staying home, or otherwise, can put down the to-do list and pick up their babies.

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  • Author

Sarah Ring is a mother to two elementary-aged sons and one toddler daughter. She is passionate about travel, date nights, Southern manners & traditional children’s clothing, but above all, finding… Read more

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