What It's Really, Really Like to Be a SAHM

Yes, as a stay-at-home mom you have to drag cranky kids on trips to the grocery store. But hidden perk: Have you tracked your steps lately?

There's give-and-take in any family's childcare situation. A stay-at-home mom (SAHM) or dad (SAHD) gives up income and career advancement in exchange for time with children. But there are many lesser-known—if not lesser-felt—compromises an at-home parent makes each day.

1. Yes, you can meal-prep during the day...but you're meal-prepping all day.

Kids seem like insatiable eating machines when you're the one doling out every meal and snack (and wiping fingers, washing dishes, and triaging the crime scene, er, table and floor; lather, rinse, repeat).

2. You can run errands during the day...with the kids.

It's a toss-up which scenario a SAHM dreads more, bringing small children to the grocery store (fun game: how many "no's" and "don'ts" does it take to fill up your cart?) or loading them in and out of car seats for a quick stop at, say, the post office. Brutal.

Leaving work to stay home with kids can be a big adjustment. Moms who've been there offer their best tips.

3. You might be too tired to hit the gym...but your Fitbit steps are off the chart.

So you skipped spin class because you stayed up late watching Peaky Blinders in a desperate bid for some downtime. Or you couldn't bring yourself to corral snacks and diapers and despondent offspring who think you are abandoning them at the gym nursery. The good news? When a doctor asks a tot-toting, child-chasing, stroller-pushing SAHM how frequently she exercises, she can confidently answer, "Every day."

4. You crave adult companionship...but resent anyone who intrudes on your "me" time.

In a social setting, don't be surprised if a SAHM blathers on a bit; she's home all day with the emotional cross between a puppy and Kim Jong Un. But come naptime or any blessed break when she might sit down at the computer or shower or stare at the wall in silence, please don't call or drop by.

5. You get to be with your kid all day...but you have to be with your kid all day.

You can kiss pudgy cheeks a hundred times in a morning, take the kids on awesome daily adventures, and be there for every milestone. But you're also there for every dirty diaper, every tantrum, every request to have a tea party or get out the Play-Doh. It's truly the babysitting gig that never ends.

6. You complain about your job...but you wouldn't trade it.

Not everyone feels this way, of course. But make no mistake: Just because a SAHM vents about her exhausting, isolating, often thankless work doesn't mean she would have it any other way.

The What's Up Moms love their babysitters, except when... they don't. Do you recognize any of these annoying babysitter behaviors?


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