5 Lessons from My Stay-at-Home Summer

By Jessica Wolstenholm

This past summer I hit pause on my life. The world was spinning and moving so fast that I couldn’t catch a breath. I felt like I was on a crazy train and the only way off was to take a leap of faith – having no idea where I would land. 


I’d been in the same job for nearly 12 years and 8 of those I balanced a demanding work schedule while being a mom to two sweet boys. I wanted to spend all the days summer had to offer soaking up the sun with them. I imagined mornings by the pool, afternoon play dates at the park, and dinner on time and on the table every night just like clockwork.


I truly had no idea what being a stay at home mom looked like …


I quickly learned that there are no uninterrupted meals, no leisurely lunch dates, no bathroom breaks spent alone. This sort of summer is not for the faint of heart. 


Here are a few of the lessons I learned spending this time with my kids and even some tips for along the way …


1)  You may forget to brush your teeth. It’s true. You’ll remember that each child wants their own special vitamin and that the latest episode of their favorite show comes on at 6 am and needs to be recorded, but let’s face it, there is only so much space in your head so anything that requires you to remember you – won’t be remembered. 

Pro-Mom Tip: Save that newly recorded episode. Hold on to it as if you would the last bite of your favorite meal. On a day when you want to take a shower AND shave your legs – cash it in! You’ll have no less than 30 minutes of uninterrupted me time. It will be glorious. 


2)   Get out of the house. Even if it’s to drive down the street to Target, walk the aisles and turn around and go home. Because there are other people there and for a half a second, you’ll forget you haven’t spoken to an actual adult all day. Plus, you’ll find the things you didn’t know you couldn’t live without and had to have. You’ll be glad you went, I promise.

Pro-Mom Tip: Keep an oversized sweatshirt in your car in case you forget a bra. It happens to us all. And should you remember to appropriately dress yourself – look for the mom in aisle 12 dressed for December in July. She could use a big smile when you stroll past her. She’s having a rough day.


3)   Go to the pool. The thought of putting on a swimsuit is daunting to every mom. I promise. It helps to find a pretty bag (even better if it’s monogrammed) and load it up with toys. Grab a book, too. It’s likely you won’t read it, and that’s ok – it will, however, make others think you read in your spare time. Ha, spare time. It will come, I promise. For now, let’s practice for it so we are good and ready when it arrives.  

Pro-Mom Tip: Blow up your floats before you go. Huffing and puffing on the edge of the pool only hinders your time for social interaction. Plus, have you tried blowing up a life size unicorn or giant duck in your bathing suit? You’ll be glad you did this in the privacy of your own home.


4)   It’s not easy being a play mom. I’ve heard tales of moms that enjoy playing all the games and rounds of nerf gun wars, but I’ve yet to actually lay eyes on them. No matter how many children you produce, there will never be enough playmates and just like the song says, nothing compares to you … so just stop, whatever you’re doing and sit next to them. Smile and pretend this is the time of your life. Because you can play anything for 10 minutes, and let’s be honest – someday you’re gonna wish they’d ask you to sit with them for any reason.

Pro-Mom tip: When playing hide and seek, the best spot is always hiding under a blanket on the couch. You may even catch a nap. Be careful not to give away your location should you begin to snore. 


5)  Watch them sleep. When the day is over, you’re spent and feel like you’ve reached the end of yourself – watch them sleep. That’s when they’re in their most loveable state. Don’t miss the chance to stand over them and pray for yet another day where you use each and every ounce of your being to love and care for them. Truly, this is the best gig.  

Pro-Mom Tip: Don’t watch too long, morning comes early. Tomorrow’s another day. You need your rest. Don’t forget to brush your teeth.