I’ve often witnessed women shrug and say, “Oh, I’m just a mom,” in reply to the question, “What do you do?” Hell, I’ve done it myself, but every time I have I can’t help but cringe at the vibe of perceived unworthiness it puts off. Because the thing is, being a full time stay-at-home mom is HARD work. (Don’t get me wrong – so is being a full time working mom, or a part time working/part time stay-at-home mom. Being A MOM in general is hard work.)
Nothing about this mom life is easy, but everything about it is rewarding. And that’s what makes being a mom worth it; the small things help, like a well-timed giggle or a spontaneous smooch. Because I’m currently a stay-at-home mom yearning to go back to work in some respect I figured I’d remind myself how what I’m doing is already WORK (satisfying work at that), just with frenetic, tiny knee-height bosses.
12. Every healthy meal successfully executed is a heroic effort; then it’s either a massive victory or a miserable, sob-worthy failure.
11. Routine. I mean, kids thrive on it and so do many parents but I, myself, do not love routine. In fact, it sort of bums me out. Before kids, I loved spontaneity and plain old randomness. My challenge now is to find spontaneity in the smallest things, like an impromptu wrestling match or running naked through the sprinkler in the yard. (Him, not me… I wish!)
10. Not allowing the TV to babysit. This is suuuuuch a tough one because the TV is such a darn good, reliable, no hassle babysitter. Throw some Paw Patrol or Octonauts on and you’re golden. Alas, I don’t want my kids being educated by Tee-Bee (as Van calls it) so a good amount of obligatory dead air time is essential. And during that time they do…
9. Crafts. Every single mom is either guilted into creating craft times (it’s good for creativity, of course), pushed into it by the necessity of filling the day with something to do, or they’re seriously into trying new Pinterest-y ideas. Either way, that craft business is work. To the Pinterest mom, I envy you. My craft times end up with my kid writing on walls or gluing an eye shut. And I’m definitely sweating. Which leads me to…
8. Sweating. If nothing else constitutes work it’s gotta be defined by anything that makes you sweat basically all day.
7. Potty training. I want nothing more than my son’s part time school to take the reins and send him home magically potty trained one day. Not happening so it’s up to me, naturally. The peeing and pooping everywhere… On tables (a friend’s kid), smeared on carpets and walls (my kid), you name it they’ve peed or pooped there. I mean, there’s nothing less appetizing than scrubbing poop off places it shouldn’t be.
6. 6am-ish clock in, 8pm-ish clock out. (If your kid sleeps through the night.)
5. Going somewhere. Anywhere. Just getting the kids to eat beforehand (so they don’t lose their minds from low blood sugar), wrestling them to the ground and pinning them with a forearm submission hold to change their diapers and then dress them. Bribing them to put shoes on, carrying their thrashing bodies out to the car. See #8 about the sweating.
4. Socialization is hard to come by. Those play dates are more for mom than kids, let’s face it. We’ve gotta wear them out somehow and put in the work for that afternoon nap, so how better to do it than by meeting up with some mom friends to discuss where our monsters recently peed or pooped, how much sleep we’re not getting, and how much we miss our 9-5’s. (Don’t we always miss what we don’t have?)
3. Break time comes when your boss/child says it’s break time/passes out spontaneously or from a ton of coaxing, aka, nap time.
2. Everything is a negotiation. Eating, changing, bathing, getting them to not pie-face or trample their younger siblings, negotiating that he can pick his nose at home if he just doesn’t do it in public. It’s all a hostage situation and you’re the supposed professional negotiator, except you have zero training or experience, besides what worked last time.
1. Your husband/life partner gets home and says “How was your day?” You’re by this time essentially mute and simply nod or sigh in response. If he’s unwise he follows up with “What’d you do?” Your reply: a heavy swig of wine.
*A BIG BENEFIT TO BEING A STAY-AT-HOME MOM: Jeans become “dressing up.” When I put mascara and foundation on I get an extra butt grab because I’m “looking hot.” When every work day is spent in sweats or lulu’s (not a bad deal, my friends), it doesn’t take much to clean up nice.
**ANOTHER BENEFIT TO BEING A STAY-AT-HOME MOM: Eeeeerything. Despite #12-1, I secretly love watching my little nutter butters grow and thrive. Best job on the planet.