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6 Surprising Truths About Being a Stay-at-Home Mom

I'm not sure if I ever had a specific vision of what being a stay-at-home mom would look like, but I probably could never have imagined the amount of time that I would spend cleaning up puke, wondering how long I could stand holding a sleeping baby with my arm asleep, or trying to trick my toddler into playing the quiet game again.

But the truth?

That's been a lot of my motherhood career so far. So whether you're a fellow stay-at-home mom in the trenches or a mommy-to-be about to join the ranks, you'll probably agree with me on a few of these truths about staying at home.

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1. You will spend more time taking care of your house than your kids.

I used to wonder how on earth any parent who worked outside of the home ever managed to stay on top of the housework until I realized, Oh yeah, their kids aren't home all day trashing it. You may think that staying at home is all about the crafts and the playtime and the baking cupcakes, but let us not forget all that cleaning stuff, because all that stuff also make messes. Kids at home equals constant chaos, and it's hard to not to spend every second cleaning.

2. Your partner will never "get it."

I know we live in an age where it's not politically correct to say this, but it's the truth. My husband recently poked fun at me for giving him a "play-by-play" of my day and I just stared at him, aghast, because couldn't he see that I needed him to understand what it's like to try to cook and clean and make money all while taking care of four kids in our house. Except the crazy thing is, no one can understand that level of crazy unless they've lived it. So accept it or it will only drive you crazy.

You're there, you love them, and that's really all that matters.

3. Sometimes leaving the house is more work than it's worth.

People always extol the virtue of stay-at-home moms "getting out there" and meeting new people and doing those cutesy Mommy & Me classes to hang with other mom friends, but you know what? They're not always worth it. When you have a baby that naps at 11 a.m., a toddler that naps at 1 p.m., and lunch is a two-hour ordeal of pleasing picky eaters and cleaning up an Everest-sized mess, the day zooms by faster than you can say "I love my yoga pants." And honestly? That's OK. Just stay home on those days when it feels like too much.

4. But you need a lifeline.

And to quickly follow my next point, I will also fully admit that I have a network of "mom friends" that I depend on. They may not always know it, but they are my lifelines. Some are friends that I know I can call on the phone in the midst of a breakdown (true story, happened a few weeks ago), some are game to meet me at the local fast food play place where we can both ignore the germs our kids are picking up, and some I know I can count on to vent to at midnight when my husband and I are having a fight. You need some ladies in your corner to survive this job, and that's a fact.

5. Half of what you do doesn't matter.

It can be so easy to get caught up in the "Pinterest mom" world and think you have to make sure your kids have educational activities and avoid screens at all costs and always jump eagerly into imaginative play with your kids. OK, that's all well and good, but can we be real for just a quick sec? The majority of the time that you will be a stay-at-home mom is also the majority of life that your kids won't remember. I'm not saying what you do isn't important and it won't form a foundation that will last a lifetime, but I'm just saying, relax a little—the pressure is off. You're there, you love them, and that's really all that matters.

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6. You figure out what works for you.

Listen, none of us really know what the heck we are doing, but most of us have that "gut" feeling when something feels right or isn't meshing well. From breastfeeding to crying it out to homeschooling, you have to learn to listen to that inner mom intuition to survive. It's the only way. Even Kourtney Kardashian doesn't listen to the haters while she's popping her placenta pills. Whatever works, mama. We got this.

Image via Twenty20

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