I know that I’m risking some serious flack for even broaching the subject, but it has to be done. The saying about the grass being greener on the other side is so true. When I was a working mom I dreamed of what it would be like to be at home with my kids. I yearned for it and sometimes it consumed me.
My dream was getting to sleep in a little and having well rested kids. They would get ready for school and eat their breakfast all smiley. I would have all day to make the house sparkly clean and plenty of time to work on my hobbies. Dinner would be ready at a reasonable time (between 5 and 6 PM). The kids would work on their home work and do craft projects before dinner. They’d take baths (or showers) and then go quietly to their rooms to read before bed. Ahhahahaha! Dreamland!
In reality, I do get to sleep in a little. I used to wake up to the alarm clock at 4:45 AM, now it’s at 6:45 AM (not really what I had in mind in terms of sleeping in). I groggily stumble into my daughter’s room, trying not to trip on her crap all over the floor, and wake her up. She grumbles at me and I go into the family room to check my e-mail (otherwise I’d go back to sleep). Grumble, complain, huff and my daughter is off on the bus to middle school. Then it’s time to wake G. This part is key to the whole day. Since Baby E and G share a room, I need to be VERY quiet waking up G. I slowly take his blanket and he gets up, grabs it back, goes into the family room and promptly falls back asleep. Grumble, whine, he doesn’t want to go to school, maybe he’s sick, yadda-yadda. Finally, he’s on the bus and off to school. It’s 8:20 AM. IF Baby E is still asleep, I could go back to bed for a while OR I can make some coffee and get some breakfast. Unless I’m desperate, I go for the coffee and breakfast because let’s face it, I’d just get back to sleep and he would wake up and then I would be really grumpy.
The rest of the day is pretty boring. Baby E requires all of my attention. If he doesn’t get it, then I get to hear screaming and crying as loud as he can make it and pinching and pulling. It is not acceptable for him if I sit on a chair or the couch. I must be on the floor engaged in his play. No hobbies, no computer, no eating, and most definitely no cleaning. If I’m lucky, he’ll take a nap around noon. Then, I’ll have my chance. If I’m already dressed (yes, sometimes I let him scream), it’s decision time. Do I get to eat lunch or do I clean or do I use my computer or watch TV or what? I don’t usually get more that one choice here. Really, it just depends on the day. Some days all the energy has been sucked out of me by then and I end up sitting on the couch staring into space. Yes, it’s sad, very sad.
That’s when visions of working pop into my head. You know, those days where the kids were dropped off at day care and happily playing with toys when I left and I’m at work drinking coffee or tea conversing with other adults and using my brain. No one is crying or screaming at me or pulling my shirt/hair/face/<insert body part here>. At the end of the day, I pick up happy kids and go home. They are so tired that they fall asleep (easily) by 8 PM (or even earlier when they were younger).
Going back to work isn’t really an option right now. Plus, I don’t think I’ve really given staying at home enough of a try yet. I want to be here to be part of those firsts with Baby E. I want my bigger kids to be healthy and know a life outside of sleeping, school, homework, bed. And, as my kids become teens, I don’t want them to have the opportunities that unsupervised freedom allows. I’ve spent the better part of these last couple of weeks thinking about this. And, now, I have a plan.
So, here it is. A is going to get herself up in the morning. She has an alarm clock, it’s about time she learned how to use it. I’m going to get another half hour of sleep and when I get G up for school, I’m going to get dressed and ready for the day (hair, makeup, breakfast, etc). I’m hoping this will help me feel more like a person and not a nanny (or a robot like my husband referred to me when we were discussing how frustrated I had become).
Poor Baby E. His days of getting whatever he wants whenever he wants are going to end. Don’t get me wrong, he’s only 14 months, he’ll get a lot of what he wants but not everything all the time. He’s going to have some directed play time. We’re going to start playing with numbers and letters, learning animal sounds, and having music and art time – even if it’s just for a few minutes. We’re also going to get out of the house. I need to strengthen my knee and the only approved exercise from my doctor was walking. So Mall, here we come 2-3 times per week. Toddlercise – watch out – you’re gonna have a new 14 month old joining the group. Maybe even some play dates will get planned.
Goodness! I have no idea how moms with more than one child under school age does it! If you are one of those moms, how do you do it? Really, please share. Seriously, I am in awe – you are awesome!