I mean, sure, I've done it for seven years and for the
most part, I've been grateful to have the chance to do it as my primary role
while also supporting my family on the side with work as a nurse and a medical
There are a lot of days when I feel that particular brand of
panic that stay-at-home moms are all well too acquainted with. It's that
bottom-of-your-stomach type of dread when you start to realize the next
day will consist of nothing but cleaning, changing diapers, struggling to get
kids to sleep (and hopefully on the same schedule, if all the stars, planets and moons align properly!), cleaning again, cooking something semi-healthy,
scrubbing high chairs, forcing yourself to remain calm and cheerful in the
midst of whining, crying and tantrums … and the next day looks the same.
And the next day after that. And the day after that. And the one after that,
Oh, and sure, you
think to yourself, I'll mix the day up. We'll
go to a "Mommy and Me" music class or meet some friends at the park
or maybe even be crazy and host a play date. That will shake the cobwebs off and
stave off any grumpies before we all lose our minds a bit.
It's hard because there's no rhyme or reason to my days, there's no real end in sight, and every moment of every day is spent feeling like I am literally holding my breath so everything won't fall apart in one great cryfest.
But doing those things involves a lot of pre-planning, snack packing, a massive diaper change at the exact moment
you're starting to pull out of the driveway and more than likely, a
mysteriously lost shoe. Doing those things always seems like more work than they
are worth because you're exhausted before you get anywhere and then when you
get back home, there's a whole morning's worth of chores and cleaning that you
skipped to get out the door.
So, yeah. I have my
moments as a stay-at-home mom.
But what I didn't realize was how much easier those moment
had become when my oldest two children were around. Although my oldest are
still young (7 and 5), it quickly became apparent to me how much I
depended on them to watch the baby for a minute while I peed, entertain the
baby while I cooked or heaven forbid, carry on an actual conversation with me
during the day that didn't involve the words, "Moooomm? Can I have
As we prepared for the first time to enroll both "big
kids" in school this fall, I quickly realized that instead of being the
mom of four little ones, I was resorting back to my early mom years of being a
mom of "just" a toddler and a baby.
And I also realized, with a swift horror, that I wasn't
really looking forward to it.
The plain and embarrassing truth is, I kind of suck at being
the mom of a toddler and a baby. It's hard. It's hard because there's no rhyme
or reason to my days, there's no real end in sight, and every moment of every
day is spent feeling like I am literally holding my breath so everything won't fall apart in one great cryfest.
I once read a book from a mom of eight who talked about how
much easier her life was now that she had eight kids. Eight kids, she argued,
was infinitely easier than having two little ones because simply by having
eight, you automatically have older kids around to help you or just break up
the ratio of people who speak in full sentences vs. those who just point and
grunt at you.
I've held on to her words for many years because they made a
lot of sense to me and also because they helped me realize I'm not crazy. It
obviously doesn't make sense that one person (me) could be the utmost perfect
parent and love every age and stage of my children's development, right? Some parents might be really good at handling the teen years and some might
love the newborn stage and some might rock those threenager tantrums, but maybe
it's OK if they don't sail through every stage with kisses and butterflies.
Well, fine, we should probably always kiss our kids, but all I'm saying is
maybe it's OK that I suck at loving the toddler-and-a-baby stage at the moment.
So let's hope I rock the hell out of the teen stage.