Beepbeepbeep. Beepbeepbeep. Beepbeepbeep.
What IS that, and please God make it stop.
It’s 5:30 am, and it’s my alarm clock, same as every morning.
It’s 5:30 am, and I hit snooze until 5:50 am, same as every morning.
At 5:50, I mournfully disentangle my arm and leg from the arm and leg of…my husband? 4-year old son? I’m still too disoriented to tell at this point, but whoever it is snoozes on, while I shuffle sleepily into the kitchen to pour my cup of hot and fragrant Life.
I sit down at the kitchen table and read my bible, think, and pray. My cup begins to runneth over with wisdom, peace, clarity and thankfulness.
My children begin to wake up. Child 1, Child 2, Child 3.
My wisdom, peace, and clarity begin their slow and painful journey into death. By the end of the day, they will be forgotten entirely.
It’s now 6:15 am, and my day as a stay-at-home mom has begun.
But let’s go back in time for a minute. You see, I haven’t always been a stay-at-home mom. Many eons ago, I was employed outside the home. I worked for a home builder, and I officed out of a model home, in a new neighborhood, in the ‘burbs. Every morning, I would look out the window of my office, and see moms walking through the neighborhood pushing babies in strollers. In the afternoon, I’d see them sitting out in their driveway peacefully, while their children happily rode bikes in the street. I somehow caught wind of the fact that there was a group of them in the neighborhood who would gather each day at 4pm and watch Oprah together. I thought to myself, “sign me up for this gig, PUH-leeze. I want to go on peaceful yet exhilarating strolls, soaking in the early morning golden rays. I want to gather around a couch with girlfriends and sip on coffee (or booze) while watching Oprah.
In my mind, being a stay-at-home mom equaled some magical mixture of “Life of Luxury”+Campbell Soup Commerical Moments with my Cherub Children.
Eight years into this gig, it’s not exactly that. Except when it is.
It’s also not “boring” and “unfulfilling” as I’ve heard some working moms speculate. Well, except when it is.
So what DOES a typical day look like for (this) SAHM?
Let me tell you something. I started writing out for you what it looks like. EXACTLY. Like a play-by-play. And then I decided, “No one cares about this”…no one wants to read that.
It looks exactly like what I pictured way back when, and nothing like it.
It looks like relishing the fact that if you wanted to, you could stay bra-less, makeup-less, and in your pajamas all day, BUT making a concerted effort to NOT do that, because…gross.
It looks like sometimes being jealous of women who have places to wear actual grownup clothes.
It looks like being thankful to not have to tell your children goodbye every morning while you go off to work, realizing you would be missing out on millions of sweet moments throughout the day, some minuscule, others monumental, but it also looks like being a little envious of the moms that get to enjoy a quiet car ride alone, lunch with fellow adults NOT at a Chick-fil-a, who have opportunities to challenge themselves, use their brains, and…oh my gosh..receive actual RECOGNITION for it.
It looks like never having to miss class parties or field trips or Muffins with Mom, and you are so grateful for that, but…also like missing brain cells, as well as the person you used to be.
It looks like not having to stress out when a kid has to stay home sick from school…no job or boss to call into, no problem!
It looks like stressing out because you’ve got these little people with you, ON you, around you, all over you, ALL day, so someone please explain how you’re ALSO supposed to do the laundry, AND the dishes, AND the cooking, AND the bill paying, and the Buying of The Food. And did you know? These kids! They expect to be played with AND comforted AND disciplined AND helped with their homework in the midst of all of that? Say wha?
I’ve never had to deal with the heart-wrench and internal conflict of dropping a new baby off at daycare for the first time, and I’m really glad for that…but sometimes I find myself musing, “I think absence really WOULD make my heart grow fonder.” I have no absence. I need more absence in my life.
I can do things like go to the gym, the grocery store, or the mall to buy my kid new pants (do people still go to malls?) in the middle of the day. I don’t have to wait until I get off work at 6:00pm. That’s nice. What I can’t do in the middle of the day though is poop. Nope, not without watchful eyes. So there’s that. And that’s neither a joke, nor an exaggeration. It takes actual strategy…actual real strategy…to make that happen.
This is not a moan fest. The truth is, I chose to stay home with my babies, I still choose it, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Nope, I really wouldn’t. I love that I am their Number One influencer. They learn the most from me, and are led the most by my example. I love the sometimes fascinating, sometimes silly, sometimes precious, and sometimes irritating conversations we have throughout the day. I love that I can scoop each of them up any time I want, at any moment in any day, and give them as many hugs and kisses as they will allow. I love watching them grow and change, moment by moment. I love that there is nothing big that has ever happened to them, that I wasn’t there to witness. I love the ways they grow ME. I love being the boss of how our days are run, and the freedom to be able to say at the drop of a hat, “screw it. Let’s drive to San Antonio and have an adventure on the Riverwalk today.” (I’ve not ever actually DONE that, but it’s nice to know that I could)
And hey, as it turns out, my vision of a stay-at-home mom from all those years ago wasn’t completely inaccurate. Most mornings, I could probably finagle a stroll through the neighborhood (sometime after elementary drop off, but before preschool drop off, and with two kids extremely pissed about being confined to a stroller.) I can and do gather with my girlfriends at 4 PM on many afternoons (and we have amazing and thought-provoking conversations. In 6 second increments. Because that’s all our kids will allow. We get about 8 minutes of talking done in about 150 minutes.) And you very well may see me sitting “peacefully” in my driveway while my kids ride their bikes around (for the exactly 7 minutes we have to spare between homework being done, and dinner needing to be started).
I’m living the dream though. I love being a stay-at-home mom (and I’m actually NOT being sarcastic).
How do you feel about being a stay-at-home mom?