I am very blessed and thankful that I am now able to work part time. Having the two days off during the week to be home with my smallest children has many advantages. There are disadvantages, too, but mostly the disadvantages have to do with my own self guilt about things that I know I should not worry about but I do anyway. It’s almost as if I’m stuck in the middle of the classic duel between working mothers and stay at home moms. Now I understand the overwhelming pressure some stay at home moms feel to keep their homes clean and tidy and volunteer at school events and bake and clip coupons and… But I also know that sinking guilt some working mothers experience when they miss their baby’s first step or when they have to make arrangements at work because their child is sick or school is out or the babysitter called in sick or…
There are some days I’m very happy to drop off my children and go work for the day. I have an office where I can shut my door. I think most stay at home moms know what I mean when I say just being able to sit in silence without worry about who is beating up who and who dumped their milk all over the floor and who climbed somewhere they shouldn’t have, why someone is screaming, answering a million questions, worrying about pooping diapers, etc. feels. When I’m at home, I feel like I’m suppossed to get all of these things done that I never worried about as much when I was a full time employee. And the truth is, trying to do chores while a 2 year old and almost 4 year old are under foot is darn near impossible. The distractions are many. The downtime is nil. I started to feel the need to defend myself to my husband, and I’m not sure whether it was real or imagined questioning about just what it is I do all day on the days I’m “off”. Well, here’s a little slice of today:
7 year old has a nightmare and comes into our room for comfort around 2 am. Husband never moves. 4 year old wakes up at 4 am (ironic, now that I think about it), she never goes back to sleep. 2 year old commences screaming from his crib at 6:15 am. I guess I better get this day started. I make sure all three are fed and dressed and the 1st grader has everything he needs for school. I am glossing over all of this because quite frankly, I’m not even sure I could break it down if I wanted to, but just the act of getting out the door and dropping one child off at school is no small feat. Seriously. Everyone needs shoes on. Everyone needs a jacket. Everyone needs their lunchbox. It’s not easy. When we get home, the dishes get cleaned up, the kitchen gets a quick cleaning and the dishwasher is started. We go upstairs, I save the 2 year old from choking on a wheel from a car he is fighting with his sister about. Start the laundry. Clean up a spill. Keep the kids out of the bathroom. Change the sheets in my room. Take both of the children’s temperatures. Change the sheets in one of the kids rooms. Separate clean laundry into separate piles for each family member. Break up a fight. Check my email. Call and make a doctor appointment for the four year old. Spray the shower. Clean the toothbrush holder. Put the baby down for a nap. Switch the laundry. Check my email. Go downstairs and make homemade uncrustables for lunch to save money on school lunches. Make croutons with the leftover bread. Is the baby awake? Check the baby. Start the dryer again. Think about what to make for lunch and dinner. I’m going to stop there, at about noon. Meanwhile, if you walked into my house right now, you would think I sat around all day doing nothing but letting the kids go wild. I don’t know how it is that I’m constantly in a state of cleaning something up, but my house is a disaster. It just doesn’t make sense.
Anyway, now that it is Friday because when I originally started this post, I got distracted — (who would have thought?) I am going to go back to doing whatever it is I do when I’m at home.