Being a Stay At Home Mom is a choice. I realize that, and most of the time I really do love it and am happy with my choice. But there are things that are hard. That mean that I am tired at the end of the day. That I need some time to veg. on the couch on the computer. That hanging out with a baby all day is not all it's cracked up to be.
Exhibit A- Baby Boy naps twice a day for (only!) 35 minutes.
During those precious minutes, I usually do something that I have just not been able to get done with the kiddo at my feet: pruning and changing water in our flowers, filling all the bathrooms with toilet paper, answering a long email with coherent sentences, organizing and storing clothes that don't fit anymore, and the list goes on. On bad days, I'm trying to get in a late breakfast or lunch or just get dressed!
Exhibit B- I can't go to the bathroom by myself.
Baby Boy will not stay put in any contraption, so that means he goes where I go. On an easy day he sits shredding toilet paper and I have a quick tidy in the end. On the rough ones he's figuring out how to open the trash can, use the cabinet to stand, and disassemble floor tiles.
Exhibit C- Meals are a mess. I wash Baby Boy's high chair tray 3 times a day, pick up stuff from the floor at least twice, and end up washing at least one outfit by hand every other day. Meanwhile I am mentally figuring out what food group he hasn't had yet and getting things together. If I'm lucky I get to eat too, if not see Exhibit A.
Exhibit D- Everything takes longer, but the days are still long.
Doing a short errand easily takes 3 times as long- loading Baby Boy into the car, getting there, taking him out, doing my thing, loading him back in, driving home, taking him out. And that's assuming everything is good and he's not hungry or tired or fussy. But the days last so long- diaper, feeding, playing, diaper, feeding, playing, diaper, feeding, playing, diaper, feeding, playing, diaper, feeding, playing.
Exhibit E- The guilt.
I don't think I need to elaborate much on mommy guilt. For whatever reason, I just can not ignore Baby Boy when he is fussing, can not watch TV when he's around, and feel bad if I take 10 minutes on the computer. So I end up playing with/ stimulating/ educating/ coming up with fun activities all day long (in between exhibits A, B, C, and D, of course). What can I say, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined how tiring it is to play with a baby.
Exhibit F- I still get asked if I have a "real" job.
Obviously being a mom is not my career, but the insinuation that I should be doing something better with my time, that I shouldn't be wasting my intellect or that I have potential to do "so much more" is both infuriating and depressing. Furthermore, socialization as a form of intellectual stimulation for me is definitely misunderstood if not looked down upon. I take solace in the appreciative grins I get from the kiddo and try to keep my head up.
Why it's all worthwhile
The sob-fest is coming to an end. I do like my life. I am happy with my choices. But, (the ubiquitous "but""), nothing is perfect. I have mostly been content and even enjoyed the changes that have come to my life, however, there's no getting around it: the day to day grind is not easy, nor highly regarded by others. That's just how it goes.