I think one of the harder things about staying at home vs being in a job outside the home is the lack of adult interaction and affirmation. At my old job, it was affirmation station, lots of "you're killing it!," "you are seriously so good at your job," "I appreciate you." And while my husband does his best to remind me that I am, in fact, a good mom and that I do a "good job" every day, do you ever wish your toddler could give you the same affirmation you got in your former life?
Like when you're at the grocery store and they see the Mickey balloon that is approximately $16, and as they begin to ask for it, you remind them this store has free cookies--"who wants a cookie?" Most days a maneuver like that is plenty satisfying on its own but just once I'd love my almost 2 year old to say "oh mommy, I see what you did there, you clever mom you."
Or when you are in minute 47 of waiting for your food to arrive at a restaurant and you've just made a hat out of a shoelace and paper napkin, just once I'd love to hear "mom, you're so creative, I can't believe you distracted me from my fervent desire to throw silverware across this establishment."
And then there is the middle east peace process style bedtime negotiations that end when you casually mention the rest of the books have gone to bed for the night and so must you love bug I'd love a wink and a "touche mommy."
Sometimes I think it would be nice to be acknowledged for the million tiny moments in a day when I single handedly avoid a nuclear meltdown but instead I will settle for big hugs and phrases like "one minute mommy" that show she truly is paying attention.