So, I suppose I could say, it’s 8pm and the baby is asleep (okay she’s not a baby anymore she’s a “toddler” now- whatever she’s our baby)…
I could say, that I have loved her all day and now I am done. I could say I loved my husband all day and now I am done.
The words themselves would be true but I’m not done.
I’m never done.
I haven’t written a blog in ages and it’s not because I don’t want to or haven’t had SO many things to write about. It’s because I haven’t had time. It’s also because I haven’t made time. It’s also because I haven’t asked for time.
Tonight is a good example of why for me, being a stay at home mom is so challenging and also so wonderful at the same time. I should start by saying that I chose to stay at home with our daughter and hope to also have another child in our future to stay at home with (until they are both in school and then things will likely change).
Our sweet little pumpkin pie is 16 months old now and has had “Hand Foot Mouth Disease” which she got at a birthday party, for almost 8 days. The first few days were horrible- she couldn’t eat or drink, she had a fever and was so uncomfortable and broken out in spots and a rash. She’s turned the corner now but still the spots on the bottoms of her feet hurt and walking and standing are painful things. The ones in her nose and on her face get so irritated when she eats and has to have her face wiped off. We haven’t left the apartment as she’s been contagious (and so scary looking poor thing).
She’s needed crazy snuggles and love and often holding her all day long (she weighs 22 lbs now and is very active). There was one day where I did all the cooking, cleaning, making of meals, cleaning up of meals, changing of diapers, reading of books, feedings, etc with her in my arms. I am not complaining this is my ultimate pleasure. I am honored to be the one holding her. She’s amazing. I am constantly so in awe and proud of her. She’s a sweet little girl who is very loving and gentle. She’s also very silly and has a really fun and funny sense of humor.
So today my husband went to work as usual and then tonight he went to a company holiday dinner. I couldn’t go of course. I haven’t been able to go for a while to things. We were sleep training her so we couldn’t leave her with anyone when he had a conference out of town, work events, etc. I can’t go because I choose to be home with our daughter.
While my husband is gone all day and when he’s gone in the evening (which he sometimes is anyway because he’s a surgeon and is on call often) I do the following:
- Wake up with the baby and change diaper/get her breakfast
- Attempt to empty the dishwasher while she’s eating breakfast
- Get laundry out and/or put it in (make myself coffee)
- Entertain her/make sure she eats a good breakfast
- Clean up from her breakfast (did I brush my teeth yet?)
- Play with her, read to her, try to teach her things
- Attempt to have coffee 4-17 times before 11:30am
- Decide it’s gross to re-heat said coffee anymore and make fresh cup of coffee
- Make her lunch and try to feed her enough before her nap (forget about that coffee I just made)
- Go “potty” with her in the bathroom while she tells me she wants me to hold her and sit on my lap, clean up the bathroom now covered in toilet paper which she was ripping and pretending to blow her nose with while I attempted to pee with out her on my lap
- Feed myself something fast while cleaning up from her lunch and try to get milk in her before her nap (which she often fights even though she’s exhausted)
- Put all the clothes, bows, shoes, socks, blankets, diapers back into the drawer, folded, that she took out while playing the “in and out” game
- Attempt to get her down for nap which can be: reading to her then putting her in crib, taking her on walk until she falls asleep, putting her in car and once she falls asleep doing a grocery shop as fast as humanly possible with her asleep in the stroller using stroller as grocery cart, praying nothing wakes her up
- Once she’s asleep and in her crib (or asleep in her stroller if it’s one of those days) I go to town! I’m a woman on a mission do not mess with me: laundry, clean the entire house up, dishes, cook for us, cook for her, cook for my husband’s gluten-free lunches to take to work (because he doesn’t have options and rarely gets a lunch break to find an option)
- Try to respond to emails and/or make phone calls that need to be made for me or us (neither of which are easy to do when she’s awake)
- Think seriously about taking a shower- maybe I won’t wash my hair- I can now shower in under two minutes and just get it done…walk into shower just as baby monitor goes off and she’s up and crying for me. Okay shower later.
- Change diaper while she protests it with her entire body and then poop comes out of her diaper onto the changing table and everything involved: me and my clothes included must now be washed/give her water and a snack, maybe go run errands while wearing her on foot or putting her in the stroller until 4:45 when she starts getting hungry for dinner and I make it then feed it to her.
- Clean up from dinner and then milk and playtime.
- Dishes/laundry, clean up the house.
- My husband usually gets home and most often will be the one to give her a bath- this is their special time. It’s very sweet and I love it when that happens. He usually says something like “you go take a break” (sweet) but what I end up doing is dishes/clean up/laundry/some emails I never got to before, catch up on texts or calls
- Then we hang out as a family and play with her until it’s time to go to bed (7-8 depending on the day’s schedule). This is if he’s home and if he’s not away on business in which case I do everything for a few days straight.
- One of us puts her to bed and then my husband always has work to do and I always still have cleaning up of some sort to do and/or cooking to finish.
- I make his lunches. I make sure our daughter is set with food. I put water and coffee beans in the coffee maker, water in the Britta. I make sure all our daughter’s toys are put away and wash the ones she’s been drooling on all day. I clean the floor of her playroom.
- I research whatever recent thing is going on with her that I’m not sure how to handle
- I finally take a shower. I do not enjoy it. I am spent. It’s not luxurious at all.
- At this point sometimes it’s almost 10pm or later. Granted there are days I shower while she’s napping and that’s awesome but it’s not the usual. Sometimes I get it in before she wakes up- rare. Once in a while I have to do it while she’s up and she cries the entire time no matter what contraption I put her in, toys or food I distract her with.
So then it’s time to what- write a blog? I have been thinking about my blog idea or several all day (okay for months) but then ALL I want to do is put my PJ’s on, curl up in a ball, watch a show, turn off my brain, have a glass of wine and chill out.
So, tonight my husband went from work to the party and I stayed home as I have been for days, with our sick babe. All I could think about is that I’m the woman behind that man and who’s ever going to even meet me? I don’t even know these new people he’s working with yet and I’d really like to! I’d love to meet their families and connect. All I could think about is how much I love to get dressed up and go to parties. How much I love to talk to and meet people. I love it. I used to live for it. It used to be a huge part of my life.
That said I used to pray for the life I have now. THIS is the life I wanted then. Now I have it. I wouldn’t change it for the world! However, I think it’s important to be REAL and HONEST as a stay at home mom and put it out there that you’re not just all the things listed above. No, I am a woman who has a lot to talk about, who has traveled the world, had interesting and exciting jobs, who is well educated and loves art, music and fashion. I’m into cooking and into entertaining. I am a political person who’s passionate about issues and stands up for those issues. I am not just this person in yoga pants at 10pm stressed and exhausted (possibly covered in puke- depends on the day) almost too tired to even take the damn shower she’s been thinking about all day.
I don’t have any answers. I am figuring it all out as I go. My husband is leaving tomorrow for a job he has monthly where he operates in another city for a few days. My daughter and I ride solo then. So tonight I am making sure he’s got a bag of snacks packed. I made him cheddar cheese-jalapeño gluten-free corn bread to take with him (gluten-free is tough where he’s going). I run the dishes so all our babies’ sippy cups, utensils and teething toys get clean for the morning. Normally I just keep going and thinking about what I need to do tomorrow until I fall asleep but tonight I decided to sit down and write.
So here I am. The most over-due blog ever.
Now that I’ve written I really want to get my other blog ideas out there. I realize I need to ask my partner to help me carve out the time by doing more and really I will have to leave the house to do this unless she’s asleep. So what! Okay! I can’t usually go to the party or go on the trip but I need to be able to do this one thing for myself in which I hope to also help other moms out there feeling the same way. I won’t be able to get this done unless I ASK FOR HELP. I need to make the time AND ask for it.
I have loved my daughter and my husband all day. I am not done. But right now, I am loving me.
Sweet dreams to all the hard working stay at home moms out there! It’s hard but it’s LOVE WORK!