I’m not an actual stay-at-home mom, but I play one on TV.
This is how I feel sometimes. My kids (ages 4 and 2 – aka the “you’re really in the thick of it” years) are in care just two days a week – when I work like a madwoman on my business – and I am home with them the rest of the time.
So I’m sort of a weird SAHM/WAHM hybrid. This has given me a unique perspective on things, as well as a life made possible entirely through the magic of caffeine.
I can see what’s happening on both sides of the fence from where I sit (or stand, rather – there’s very little sitting in my life these days). I can tell you, unequivocally, that there’s no greener grass to be had. If there were, I would be sneaking away to nap on it.
While I am very lucky to be spending this time with my little guys, it’s not always easy. Here are 9 truths that I have come to realize:
1. The SAHM is not actually home all that much. There are errands to run and excursions to do. Too much time at home with the kids means succumbing to the siren song of Caillou on the Sprout channel, and frankly I’d rather poke out my own eyes with a fork.
2. This is the hardest job I’ve ever had. I don’t know if motherhood is actually the hardest job there is, as many have claimed – that Navy Seal gig is no walk in the park, I’ve heard – but it is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
3. Your entire adult life is compressed into tiny pockets of the day. Namely naptime and the few precious hours between the kids’ bedtime and when you yourself collapse. I would love to be able to add “and the time in the morning before the kids wake up,” but my kids wake up so early that this, alas, is currently a nonstarter.
4. You are constantly trying to do 17 things at once. I find myself saying “hang on!” to both kids countless times a day. If I am hit by a bus tomorrow, this is the catchphrase they will remember me by.
5. I tip my hat to single parents and those of you with more than two kids. More than two kids = playing a zone defense all the time, even if your partner is around. I truly don’t know how you do it. The next time I see you out and about, desperately trying to maintain order, your double espresso is on me.
6. Your two-year-old’s meltdowns don’t mean you’re a terrible parent. They just mean you’re parenting a two-year-old.
7. You find yourself wishing you had time to do the most basic things. I’m not even talking about getting actual work done while the kids are around and awake – ha! No, I’m speaking more of things like being able to go to the bathroom when you need to (not even alone; just at all) and maybe finding time to fish that stray eyelash out of your eye that’s been poking you for the past half hour.
8. You regularly hear the most bizarre things coming out of your mouth. Just this past week has featured such gems as:
– “Lorelei, Abe Lincoln is not creepy.”
– “Mommy is all done licking thumbs for the day.”
– “Hey! Stop sucking on that funnel!”
9. The highs are higher and the lows are lower. I truly love my work. However, a day at work – even a really good one or a really bad one – is still just a day at work, when all is said and done. But a day with your children can be full of heart-melting joy or soul-crushing defeat (often both in the same hour). You’re really painting out to the very edges of the picture every single day…which can be both magical and maddening.
I wouldn’t have it any other way right now. I’d just like a chance to go pee.
This post was brought to you by naptime and the letter S (for the Sweet, Sweet Sleep that eludes me daily).