Parenting is cyclic. Each day is just a variation of the last; wake up, feed and change the baby, nap, breakfast, feed and change the baby again, nap, lunch, feed and change the baby again, nap, snack… you get the idea. Someone always needs you and things still need to get done. So you fold the clothes while the baby cries a little, you let your preschooler watch too much TV because the baby is extra fussy today, you write this post with her sitting next to you typing on her own keyboard. Not together, not interacting, just distracting and trying to find time that doesn’t exist without letting something else wait. There is so much to do and nothing ever really gets done and I just feel frazzled and frustrated and lonely…
What I find I find the most frustrating about being a stay at home parent is the lack of face to face interaction with people. My cell phone is always lit up, at any given time I am in a conversation with at least one other person – usually several, but I still feel lonely and isolated. I miss hearing another voice, watching a face take in and react to information, laughing out loud instead of typing it. The more I use my phone to interact with others, the less I feel like I am connecting to anyone.
I’ve been in both worlds; working full time after my first child was born and now a stay at home mom with both of my girls and let me tell you, neither is easy and neither is ideal. When I worked I missed my child so much, I felt like I was missing out on so much of her life but I didn’t realize the amount of work it takes to take care of a child all day long. Now I do, but I also realize how much I miss the ability to go to a place full of adults and interact with people who don’t need me to kiss their boo-boos or help them wipe after they go to the bathroom. I used to eat food with two hands, now I grab whatever my preschooler hasn’t finished and swallow it too quickly on my way back up the stairs to attend to the baby who I just put to bed 7 minutes ago.
And how ironic that when parents work and pay someone to take care of their children we call that a job, it’s a profession worth pay and benefits and mandatory breaks. Yet, when a parent stays home all of the respect seems to disappear and it becomes a privilege. “Oh, I would LOVE to stay in my pajamas all day and play with my kids!” Well yes, while it is nice to be with my kids, I would actually love an opportunity to shower and change out of these pajamas. You know, one where I am not terrified of my oldest escaping the house or my youngest waking up while I still have a head full of shampoo. And while we’re at it, playing with them sounds FANTASTIC, right after I do this load of laundry and get to those dishes in the sink and oh man when did I miss E1 bringing in a bucket full of dirt, NO DO NOT TRY TO PICK UP YOUR SISTER, SHE IS HAPPY RIGHT WHERE SHE IS!
You were saying?
I know that I am in the trenches of motherhood right now. That eventually my baby will be able to handle being awake for more than an hour or two at a time and my leaving the house with them both won’t involve the planning prowess of a military strategist, but it’s easy to get lost in the mundane of RIGHT NOW. I try to remember that it took me over a year to get back into a routine that honored myself as a person as well as a mother the first time around, that juggling schedules around multiple infant’s and toddler’s naps is very hard and that no one really likes leaving the comfort of their own home during these times. I am so grateful for the opportunity to stay home with my girls, as hard as it is I can honestly say that I am where I want to be right now. I just wish kind of wish I could be here with other moms, outside of a computer screen, more often.