Recently, my husband and I sat together and talked about a variety of things. I mentioned feeling guilty because I don’t have a good schedule as far as cleaning and taking care of the kids even though I’ve been home for several months.

“But you’re home. You’re  happy and so are our kids. That’s all I care about. We’ll figure it out.” He reassured.

I continued by saying that even though we’re still in this adjustment period, I love being home. Even on the worst of days when both kids are screaming or clingy and my patience is worn thin, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s still better than where I was before.

I feel pretty blessed to have been on both sides of the fence when it comes to being in or out of the home as a mother. I’m very glad that I did work outside of the home for three years because it gave me quite a bit of perspective.

Raising children is hard no matter how you do it.

It was hard when I had to get my little ones up early in the morning and get us all ready and out the door by 6:00. It was hard being away from them all day. It was hard rushing around in the evenings, scurrying to get dinner, racing from here to there. It was impossible to keep up with the house. It was hard.

Now that I am home, I see and understand what at home moms feel like. It is hard to be home all day long with needy, clingy little ones. It is hard to find a good balance between teaching and enriching my children and getting the house in order. It is hard to find a good time to shower, really. It is hard balancing the checkbook and worrying about coming up short. It is hard.

But as a mom at home, I know it could be a lot harder. It was a lot harder. When I was working I was in such a thick mental fog, I could hardly be the mother my children deserved. It was a turbulent and stressful time trying to juggle all those hats.

I’m glad I have that perspective because it keeps me balanced on the toughest days. I’m not much of a homemaker so there has been a bit of a learning curve for me in that department. When I’m scrubbing bathroom floors or wiping up crumbs for the hundredth time, I easily say to myself, “It could be worse.”

Sometimes it is nice to be on the other side of the fence for awhile. This cruel world offers a great deal of harsh judgment and little support, especially for mothers. Being on both sides has not only helped me with my own mothering journey, it has helped me be more supportive and less critical of other mothers around me.

The most valuable thing I’ve learned is that motherhood is hard no matter who you are or what you do. Still, there is plenty of joy in the journey.

Have you found yourself on both sides of the fence (be it motherhood or anything else)? What has it taught you?

Copyright 2012 Leanne Willen


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  1. I, too, recently quit my job to stay home and homeschool my kids; although mine are older. I have repeatedly told my husband (when he comes home to a frazzled wife) that even my worst day at home doesn’t compare to my best day at work. Wouldn’t trade the blessings!

    Hang in there! They get older and routines get easier to manage.

    • I’m so glad you are home with your kids, too! It is such a blessing! I’m slowly working us into a comfortable routine that seems to make us all happy.

  2. I’ve been a stay at home for about 14 years raising my 5 kids. It has been very hard at times, however very much a blessing! I have home-schooled my kids for a few years & now they are in a wonderful Catholic school.
    I also struggled and continue to struggle with the feelings of needing to “do it all” aka: have a clean house, get dinner on the table, care for the kids, homework, sports, etc. I’m not sure if that feeling ever goes away. I still want to improve & probably will always feel that way. However it sure helps having a husband that is supportive and loves me no matter what the house looks like (although I still do a 15 minute run around the house cleanup before he comes home). I do this because I love him & don’t want him to feel the dread of coming home to stuff all over. Sometimes it helps to ask him in the morning before he goes to work, “what can I accomplish today that would be helpful for you”? He usually only will ask for one or two things. That makes me feel happy to do something that I know he wants to get done.

    Now my next phase in life is going back to work. I always knew that I wanted to wait for my last one to be in first grade. He is in first this year. I’ve volunteered at their school 3 days a week & attend a bible study on another day. This has taken up my week & I am at peace with this. I just wonder if I should make use of my college degree or what?! That’s what I’m praying about. I would welcome any extra prayers for this!

    • I like to do a quick “run through,” too! Sometimes it seems impossible, though! I have a 3 year old and an 11 month old. As soon as I get something accomplished, I feel like I have to start all over again! And sometimes my baby is clingy! My husband is VERY supportive and understanding, though! I know what you mean about wanting him to enjoy and not dread coming home, though!

      I will probably go back to work once our youngest is in school, too. We would definitely like more kids, so we’ll see when there actually is an official “youngest!”

      I will absolutely include you in my prayers- that you may figure out what God is calling you to do!

  3. As a full-time working mom I have struggled with not being at home for my children. I relate to the “mental-fog” you mention being in when you were working. However, our children have the benefit of my husband being the stay at home parent. We didn’t plan it that way, it just happend. I can see the benefits particularly in my daughter’s relationship to her daddy. My mom was a single mom until I was 12 and I didn’t have that relationship. It is a beautiful thing to see with my husband and daughter. I try to remember that on the days when I feel a little envious of the time my husband gets to spend with my children while I’m working. You are 100% accurate in saying that parenting is hard no matter how it is done.

    • That’s so wonderful that your husband is home with your kids! I probably would have been more relaxed when I was working if I knew my kids were in my husband’s care!

      I can understand feeling envious, but you are also setting a great example for your children, especially your daughter!

  4. I also worked outside the home for several years when my first two were little. Once I started being a sahm, there was *definitely* a learning curve. I was so used to doing all the household stuff on the weekends and in the evenings, that I almost didn’t know what to do with myself during the day. So there I was at home, and the house was still a mess! So I know just what you mean :) I’ve learned to be a better homemaker in the 4.5 years since I started staying at home, but I know I still have a long way to go…

  5. When I opened this and began reading, I thought of you, and was bookmarking it to send to you. Imagine my surprise when I came across the byline!

    My words too, are hang in there. I’d love to get together soon and chat.

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