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Becoming a Stay at Home Mom

Posted by: Christine Dahlgren, 2020 Baby Boot Camp Brand Ambassador, Syracuse, NY on Saturday, February 15, 2020

I just want to start by saying that, you are doing an awesome job as Mom! Being a parent is hard and no one can prepare you for all of the BIG and small decisions that you have to make in the best interest of your family. 

Becoming a full-time stay-at-home mom (SAHM) to my two VERY active boys is a blessing and I enjoy it, but it's also a challenge (like, will I ever pee alone again?).  One of the hardest decisions that I had to make was whether or not to leave my teaching career to stay home..and it was not a decision I took lightly and, in fact, I relied heavily on my tribe of Baby Boot Camp Moms for input. Now I'm here and I'm ready to share some words of wisdom. 

Growing up I always said I wanted to be a teacher.

I also have always wanted to be a mom.

I always pictured staying home with my kids when they were little. My best friend and I always said we couldn’t wait to be one of ‘those moms’. You know, the ones that are able to do preschool pick up and drop off, have a baby on one hip and a coffee in hand. Obviously we'd be dressed in workout clothes or a cute top with jeans or camo pants and a fresh face of makeup. We couldn’t wait to totally rock that mom game! My friend just recently told me that she realized that I was living our dream. Then. We both laughed. Has anyone seen the mom I described above? 

Here is the reality: 

I might be wearing workout clothes at preschool drop-off because I was able to sneak in a Baby Boot Camp class, or maybe they were the first semi-clean thing I found on the floor when trying to dress myself and two tiny children who make getting dressed an Olympic sport. Most likely my hair is in a messy bun and IF I have makeup on, chances are it is from the night before. That baby on my hip is there because he might cause a scene if I put him down. And that coffee, (I rarely had coffee before my second child was born), is essential to me being able to function as a human being after being up every two hours with a teething baby. 

I chose this! Staying home with my kids was a harder decision than actually deciding to have kids!

How did I get here? 

My teaching career included time in Special Education, Literacy and General Education. I taught fourth and third grades and finally Kindergarten for four years. All of my students became my kids. My job was my life. I had wonderful school years and I had tough school years, but it was always rewarding and I loved it.

After my first son was born I was able to take a year off unpaid and I enjoyed every second of being home with him. During that time my husband and I realized that by cutting back on some things we could survive financially without my salary for a little while. I thought, "I CAN do this. Like, forever." My husband, on the other hand said, "How about you go back to work at the end of this year?"  So, back to work I went - pregnant with our second son.

That year was...rough.

I had a tough class of students and a pregnancy with a one year-old in daycare full-time who got sick - a lot. With no family close by my husband and I were flying through our sick days. My mom drove five hours and my mother-in-law three hours when our son had the flu and ear infections to watch him because I couldn’t take more time off of work. Being a parent is hard, it is like a piece of your heart is walking around outside of your body. I constantly felt like I was putting my students’ needs before my own child. I was getting up at 4AM to write sub plans. It was way harder than we expected. 

Then our second son was born. Again, I took a year off.  Our boys were so different from one another that it felt like our second was our first child. Halfway through my time off we started to price out daycares for two kids and my husband was floored with how much we were going to be paying. I also couldn’t fathom the amount we would have to be taking off of work with having two kids. Our youngest son was and is still a horrible sleeper. The thought of getting up for work after being up every two hours was enough to make me cry. We decided that what was best for our family was for me to be able to stay home with our kids for a few years.

I resigned from my job that I worked so hard to get, in a school I loved, with the best coworkers to be home with our boys.

I love being home with my kids but I still find myself craving the brain stimulation I'd get from being in the classroom.You can start to get stir crazy when you go from working full-time to being home with babies all day. Every day. Then I found Baby Boot Camp Syracuse! The decision to go to that first class changed my life! It has become the community of moms that I never knew I needed. The support is amazing, getting a workout in is great, and watching my littles make friendships is really something special. In this community I also found Play2Learn Tot Time and Bluebird Music Together.  To bring in some money on the side, and foster that creative outlet I needed, I became a partner with a direct sales company that I truly love. I enjoy learning about something totally outside my comfort zone and connecting with an incredible mission and community of entrepreneurs. 

This year I am determined to make self-care a priority so that I can feel good and be the best Mom I can be. Sometimes you are just touched out and just want to go to the bathroom alone! No matter what your job is or your family dynamic, we are all just trying to do the best we can for all of our littles. 

Through the tiny moments and the big decisions, you got this Mama, stay #momstrong! 

Christine is a teacher turned stay-at-home wife and mom. She has two active boys ages 3.5 and 1.5.

Christine has been a Baby Boot Camp Syracuse Member since 2016 and is a 2020 Baby Boot Camp Brand Ambassador. She became a Market Partner for Monat Hair and Skincare in 2019 and loves to entertain and be the 'go-to' teacher resource for many of her mama friends. 

"I found Baby Boot Camp when my first son was three months old and it was the best thing I have ever done for myself! I recommend it for all moms, but it was a game changer for me as a first time mom." 

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