MYTH: Stay-at-home-moms have much more time to keep their houses clean, prepare meals and run errands than "working" mothers.
TRUTH: That is a load of crap. I will admit even I believed it up until the moment I brought my first child home. Reality quickly set in and I began to understand that trying to do anything with my previous efficiency was out of the question. Between breastfeeding, cleaning up baby barf, changing diapers (and, indeed, entire outfits at least twice a day when said diaper failed to contain the immense quantity of poop that geysered out of my child's behind), trying to take an uninterrupted shower, having a bowel movement after a 40-hour labor (not quick or efficient), remembering to drink enough water to replenish my milk supply, remembering to eat for the same reason, trying desperately to stay awake, bathing the child, etc., etc., I was woefully unable to find my to-do list, much less stay on top of it.
All of the regular things that go on in a household, I realized, are not very obvious unless they are NOT done. For you to notice that I worked my butt off all day at home, the laundry has to be clean and put away as opposed to in smelly sour-breastmilked soaked piles on the floor. If I did the dishes, no matter how many times, you won't notice because they are all put away where they belong. You will only notice the foul toilet and shower stall if I HAVEN'T cleaned it. This is truly depressing for a woman who came from a career world and is used to being able to produce something.
Thankfully, I have a wonderfully comedic and understanding spouse who began crafting two separate sets of lists for me every morning. The first one was a to-do list and read as follows:
1. Feed baby today
2. Change baby's diapers a few times
3. Feed myself
4. Take at least one nap
5. Don't forget the hemhorroid cream
6. If you go out, take the baby with you
The second list was an "if you get this done today I will be amazed at your abilities, but if you don't we'll do it this weekend, okay?" and had such things as taking in the dry-cleaning, grocery shopping, stopping by the post office, etc.
As my baby got older and I got the hang of things, I never forgot the lesson my husband taught me. Everyone needs at least one softball on their to-do list, and in some situations, you might need an entire list of softballs. New motherhood is definitely one of those times!