I am so, so grateful that I can stay at home with Elisabeth. I know I am very blessed to have that as an option, and I try not to take that for granted. And I love, love, love my daughter more than anything. She is smart and funny and sweet and entertaining and our time together is priceless.
I just needed to put that all out should Elisabeth ever find this blog post and think I think otherwise.
Because some days being a stay-at-home mom sucks.
I have no desire to get in the working mom v. stay-at-home mom debate. Who cares? For those of us fortunate to have the choice, if working fulfills you, that probably means you’ll be a happy, healthy role model for your children, and so that’s probably what is best for your family. If staying at home fulfills you, that probably means you’ll be a happy, healthy role model for your children, and so that’s probably what is best for your family. But I’m willing to bet there are some days when working moms think, “Aghhhhh I hate my job and just want to be at home with my kids!” Because I know for a fact that there are some days when stay-at-home moms think, “Aghhhhh I need to get out of my house and away from my kid(s)!”
Um, maybe I shouldn’t speak for all stay-at-home moms. But if I’m the only one that feels that way sometimes, I’m going to be pretty embarrassed about admitting it on the blogosphere. But seriously, some days are tedious and tiresome and just plain boring. There, I said it.
Anyway. Those days are rare. Very rare. I just happened to have one yesterday. And now I need to blog about it because I feel partly guilty about harboring such feelings and partly in need of a good vent.
I went to bed Monday night with a raging headache. I woke up on Tuesday morning – in the 5:00 hour – with a raging headache. Knowing before 6:00AM that your day is probably going to suck, sucks. Elisabeth decided to wake up at 6:15AM. She told me she had no intention of returning to dreamland by emphatically throwing her lovey on the ground, followed by her pacifier. Point taken. And so our day began…
…And never ended.
Besides a short trip to the family gym on base, the pounding in my head kept us home. I just was not up to going anywhere or doing anything. No amount of Tylenol helped. As nap-time approached, I prayed that Elisabeth would give me a good 2-hour respite from her. You see, Elisabeth has gone back to her bad-napper ways. We had a good thing going for a while. Consistent, 1-hour naps, twice a day. Some days, she’d even give me two 1 and 1/2 hour naps! Those were the best days. But now she’s dropped to one nap, and inexplicably, it has gotten shorter. I was told that when babies drop to one nap a day, they usually sleep for a longer stretch of time. Not my kid! She’s been giving me about one one-hour nap a day. That’s probably way more than you ever wanted to know about my daughter’s napping habits, but all that to say – she doesn’t nap nearly enough!
So of course, on this day of all days, Elisabeth outdid herself. 45 minutes. She slept for 45 freaking minutes. Uh-uh, that is not okay. I spent the better part of the next hour listening to her scream on and off while trying to get her to go back to sleep. I finally had to admit defeat. It was shortly after 2:00PM. I was expecting Damon home at 4:30. I could get through another 2 and 1/2 hours. Even if Elisabeth would be a tired hot mess (and she was), it was only 2 and 1/2 more hours on my own.
Except it wasn’t 2 and 1/2 hours. Damon got delayed at work and didn’t make it home till 6:50. Got that? 6:50PM. Remember how I said my darling daughter awoke at 6:15AM? That is 12 hours and 35 minutes of exclusive one-on-one time with a toddler. Well, minus the 45-minute nap. I repeat: 12 hours and 35 minutes with a (SLEEP-DEPRIVED, IRRITABLE) toddler. No other human interaction. Zero. I don’t know what all the fuss is about waterboarding. This, this is real torture.
What does a 12 hour and 35 minute day with a sleep-deprived, irritable toddler look like?
It looks like reading “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” fifteen mind-numbing times in a row. It looks like cleaning out your toddler’s closet, while she pulls out every diaper from the changing table, every book from the bookshelf, and every toy from her toy bins, so after the closet is effectively clean, the rest of her room is left in mass destruction. It looks like trying to make dinner while your over-tired, whining kid claws at your legs begging to be picked up but you can’t pick her up because you have to stir the quinoa SO SHE HAS A HEALTHY SOURCE OF PROTEIN AT DINNER! WHY DOESN’T SHE UNDERSTAND THAT!?
I was furiously scrubbing dishes when Damon walked in the door. “I’ve had a really long day,” he said. And unleashed my rage.
“I know you’ve had a hard day! Flying jets is soooo tough, Mr. Pilot-Man! Did your day involve washing approximately 13,579 dishes? Did your day involve scraping chewed up broccoli off the floor? Did your day involve negotiating nap-time with a cranky midget!? I don’t think so!”*
Okay, most of that rage was in my head. However Damon must have sensed all was not well and quickly said, “Why don’t you go take a break, hon?”
I dropped the dishes and bolted for the bedroom, shut the door and climbed into bed with a book. A non-picture book, at that!**
Those three minutes by myself before Damon came in and asked me where to find Elisabeth’s PJs were splendid. Probably the highlight of my day. And that probably sounds pathetic.
Like I said, these days are very rare. But when they happen? Suckity suck suck suck. Eloquent, I know.
But without these days, I wouldn’t appreciate the great days we have 99% of time. At least that’s what I’m going to tell myself.
*To be fair to my husband, he does other work besides flying jets. I don’t know what, exactly, but I know he works very, very hard for us.
**If I’m being technical, it was my iPad. A book on my iPad. Does anyone read real books anymore?