Yesterday I rocked it…at least according to my 5 year old. We had a packed and fun day: Legos, playground, McDonald’s, ice cream, baby dolls, quick errands. She was elated. I was exhausted. 

With the exception of maternity leave, this is the longest I’ve been off work in 15 years. And never this long at home with the munchkin. Now into my third week as a stay-at-home mom, I must take this opportunity to bow down to any parent who stays home full time. How on earth do you do this?!?! Seriously.

I love my daughter. She is my little miracle. My mini me. My shadow. I would cut off my own leg with kiddie scissors to give her a happy life. But spending all day, every day with her has tested the limits of my mommyhood.

She is inquisitive (to the nth degree). She is emotional and expressive. She is a wonder and a joy. But she tries my patience daily (hourly?). I have nothing but respect and awe for those who do this. Because sometimes I am hanging on by a very thin and fraying thread.

When I was pregnant with her, I (like most moms to be) received endless “advice” about parenting and mothering and babies. Some I took, some I politely tossed in the trash. I worked throughout my pregnancy until a week before my induction.

Many times I was questioned (by co-workers and clients alike) about whether I would be staying home after giving birth. Here are a few of the choice comments I vividly recall: “I would never go back to work after having a baby!” Well, good for you. “I can’t imagine putting my baby in daycare.” I’m sure you can’t. “Why would you want to work and have someone else raise your child?!” Yup. I’m letting a perfect stranger raise her. Maybe even wolves.

Really? And the people saying these things were usually mothers themselves. Judge much? What happened to a sisterhood of support? Girl, bye.

I chose to go back to work. I wanted to work. I also needed to work (money, insurance, stability). My husband and I decided to do full-time daycare. We researched and visited and solicited recommendations. Was it terrifying handing over a 12-week-old baby to people I had only recently met? Absolutely. Was I confident this was the right thing for our family? Unequivocally. And I will forever be grateful to the teachers and caregivers at her daycare; they helped us raise a strong, smart, sweet little girl.

Having her hone with me now, though, is tough. Some days (like yesterday) I feel great about our time together. Other days, I feel my patience ebbing and eroding. I worry that I’m not doing enough to engage and challenge her little brain. I fear I will snap at her for her constant chatter and movement.

I want to be a good mommy, but I struggle to keep it together with her and for her.

If your life path has allowed for being a stay-at-home parent, then God bless you. I know my time with her at home will be over before I know it. I’m just going to try to maximize every day and keep my sanity (mostly) intact.