Lessons learned from a first-time stay-at-home mom with two under 2. These tips are great motivation for always remembering our mission as moms.

Welcome to Mom Motivation Mondays where weekly contributing writers share their motherhood experiences to encourage you to find the joy in being a mom.

{This week: Post by Grace Star}

As a mom of two under 2, I remember sitting at my dining room table finally getting a chance to eat some lunch. Manny, my newborn, was taking one of his ten minute naps and Jack, my 19-month old, was in the middle of a tantrum about not wanting to take a rest (forget naps, he gave that up the month before). After sending Jack to his room for a time out, I finally put a spoon of cold lentil soup in my mouth and Jack came over and puked all over my leg. Before I could even put the spoon down, Manny started crying to let me know he was up and he was hungry.

I thought to myself, “What on Earth did I sign up for?” as I felt the hot vomit drip down my leg. At this point both children were screaming.

Just a month earlier I was a full time employee for a local government agency. I loved my job and even had my own office. The building was far from fancy, just your typical run-down city building. I enjoyed working with my bosses and helping direct 20 people in their daily tasks. People actually listened to me!

Now, here I was home with my very own children and I couldn’t get anything done, let alone eat. Boy was I in trouble! Worst of all, this is what I wanted. Having felt I was missing out on Jack’s babyhood, when Manny came along I jumped at the chance to be home with the two of them. What was I going to do as a first-time stay-at-home mom?

My Perspective on being a First-Time Stay-at-Home Mom

I decided early on that if I kept looking at being a stay at home mom from all the negative vantage points, I was not going to enjoy it. Instead of looking at my situation as seemingly hopeless, full of moments with no rest, no peace, no food, I needed to change my perspective. Being a stay at home mom was going to be a challenge. I decided to take it on as I would any project at work, except this project was going to be the most important job I would ever have.

Think about it: I’m in charge of raising two little boys who are dependent on me in every way.

My Mission as a Mom

Every well executed project needs a mission. My mission is to raise Jack and Manny to be good people; to be men of strong faith and strong character. To become this, they need a strong mommy.

Ever hear the expression “garbage in, garbage out?” I can’t put in the minimum and expect the best. I need to give this my all, as I won’t ever get this opportunity with the two of them again.

How to complete this mission?

Jack is only 2 ½ and Manny is 11 months so I’m still new at this and have PLENTY to learn over the course of our lives together but here’s what I’ve learned and am keeping in mind so far:

Tune into your Child, not your TV

Your child needs you. Turn the television off (put down whatever screen it is that consumes your time). They want to see your face, they want to know what you think of what they are doing, they want you to see them, and play with them.

I know some people like background noise, I did when Jack was first born. However, I started noticing that he wouldn’t play as much and would stare at the TV. That’s when I decided to turn it off. Put on some music or talk radio instead.

I’m not saying I never, ever put on the television, but when I do, I pay attention to what I put on. Children are sponges, they absorb everything!

Every now and then Jack still spouts off about “toenail fungus” (one of too many toenail fungus commercials played during the summer).

When I do choose to watch television I usually put on a light comedy or game show. Sometimes TV comes in handy, especially with a child that refuses to nap but needs a sort of time out so mommy can get dinner started or do a little clean up. In that instance, I try to make sure it’s something age appropriate and educational if possible.

Narrate Everything

Teach your children how to talk by narrating everything you are doing, seeing, etc. from when they are babies. Jack didn’t start talking until he was about 20 months. “Mama” and “Dada” came at about 22 months. However, he knew and understood what I was saying long before then.

I find it helpful to tell them both what I am doing next so they know I will get to whatever it is they need, especially when both want me at once. After all, no one likes to be ignored.

I noticed it also eased Jack a little if I let him know ahead of time if people were coming over or if we were going out somewhere. Children want to be in the know, after all they are part of the family.

Respect Your Children

Respect your children. Understand that they really do want to please you and want you to be happy. They also have their own feelings. Sometimes they are scared, annoyed, sad, etc. and that’s ok. Maybe they don’t want to hug their aunt or give grandpa a kiss at the moment; they are entitled to their feelings. Give them words for their feelings.

Often times after Jack throws a tantrum, when he gets done screaming I will hear “Ok, I’m just tired” coming from his room. At this point I come to him and tell him “thank you for telling me that” and then we try to remedy the problem.

Look for any underlying reason for why they are acting out. Hunger and tiredness are usually big catalysts for tantrums. However, make sure they know that all actions have consequences and always follow through. Respecting them does not mean have no boundaries.

If you are like me then you sometimes use words you shouldn’t use, say things you don’t mean or even yell when it wasn’t really that serious. In times when you know what you did was wrong, apologize to them. They are looking at what you do more than what you say. You are showing them that they are important and mommy makes mistakes too.


No matter what keep praying. Pray out loud, pray quietly to yourself or pray with your children. Just keep praying. Let them understand that you pray when you are happy and you pray when you are upset. When you wake up for the 8th time in the middle of the night, send up a silent plea or offer up your sufferings or trials.  Get it out. Be honest. Just pray.

Blessings of being a Mom

The best part is that even though being a stay at home mom is a rough and long road, we don’t have to wait until our children are grown to be rewarded. There are many sweet rewards along the way. Some of the blessings that make this job totally worth it to me are:

  • A sleeping child – honestly they are so beautiful. Especially if you catch a smile!
  • A smiling/laughing child
  • The way a child smells after a bath
  • When they look at you and tell you they love you (without you asking them to say it)
  • When they hug
  • Watching them kiss their stuffed animals as they tuck them into bed
  • When you see siblings give each other a hug or kiss
  • How happy they are seeing your excitement when they crawl or walk for the first time
  • That celebrity treatment they give when you see them for the first time that morning (or in my case with Manny for the 9th time) or if you just got home from running an errand alone.

I may not know what tomorrow has in store but I’m definitely glad I decided to be a stay at home mom. It’s been the strongest test of my character I have had to date and while I have many flaws I need to work on (like my lack of patience), I’m looking forward to the challenge.

What’s your mission?

Lessons learned from a first-time stay-at-home mom with two under 2. These tips are great motivation for always remembering our mission as moms.

Grace Star guest post on the Stay-at-Home Mom Survival Guide.Grace Star lives in New York City with her husband and two sons. She loves to read, write and cook (when her boys give her the chance). She became a stay at home mom when her second son was born and is learning how to transition herself from being a full time employee to full time mommy.

A weekly series of motivation for moms brought to you by stay at home mom bloggers at The Stay-at-Home Mom Survival Guide.
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