Disclaimer: I love my home, my family, my husband and the roles of husband/wife/mom/dad we have grown into over the past 12 years. The thoughts below started taking shape in my head one very frustrating day as a stay-at-home mom. I can’t even remember the events that transpired which led to this post. The details of the tantrum or huge mess aren’t important but I’m fairly certain that my lament is similar to a lot of women out there struggling to balance a sense of self and their family.
A Stay-At-Home Lament
It sure would be nice if I could rush off each day to an office somewhere. Some place where I could clack away on the keyboard and drink Starbucks without having to pause what I’m doing, lose my train of thought so that I can change a poopy diaper or start another episode of Curious George on the DVR. It sure would be nice to talk with adults about adult things during the day instead of learning the inner workings of the Clone Army. It sure would be nice to get paid to do something I feel like I’m good at. The paycheck for all the peanut butter sandwiches and dried tears got lost in the mail. And the paycheck for this blog is…um…there isn’t one but I’m trying to figure that one out. Speaking of this blog, I’m pretty sure that if I had a solid 3 to 4 hours to dedicate to it each day (instead of the 30 minutes here and there and the frantic dash to the computer during nap time) I would be a professional blogger by now. Think of all the amazing content, recipes and thought-provoking topics I could churn out. I’m pretty sure I would be a contributing blogger on the Huff by now if I didn’t have to clear a path of blocks and legos to get to the computer. Well, maybe not a contributing blogger but at least I wouldn’t stay up until midnight working on a yarn wreath post that may or may not change your life.
Employee appreciation would be really nice. I guess “date night” or my bi-annual pedicure could count as employee appreciation. Heck, I’m even happy with an hour alone roaming the isles of Target instead of racing through before the supply of fruit snacks runs out and meltdown ensues. But let’s be honest about those glimpses of kid-free time; I can’t really call that employee appreciation because real employee appreciation should be on somebody elses’ dime, not mine. I don’t mind forking over the money for a babysitter and dinner every now and then but I won’t consider that employee appreciation. I call that spending time with the person I love so that I can remember that I love him and he’s not just another dirty laundry producer in my house. Anyway, I’m not an employee of this house or these children but it’s hard not to feel that way when I am labeled as a “homemaker” on our taxes. There’s nothing like going to a cocktail party with people you don’t really know and when they ask what you do for a living you respond with “I’m at home with the kids.” They get that glazed look in their eyes and try and think of nice things to say to make you feel important about that statement. When they tell me how nice it must be to be at home all day and what an important job raising little children is I want to scream at them “you would be begging for mercy after 3 hours!”
It sure would be nice to contribute to the family coffers so that I don’t feel guilty wishing we had a cleaning lady. When you’re on one income and a serious budget, hiring someone to clean your house on a regular basis is not in the cards (at least not for me). Not until I can figure out a way to pay for her myself. Plus, even if I did have someone clean my house on a regular basis I would feel guilty that someone is doing work that I should probably be doing. Thoughts like “you’re home all day so why isn’t the house sparkling? What’s more important…cleaning the bathrooms or finishing the Song of Ice and Fire series?” But I can’t seem to make myself do it. The minute I finish vacuuming I step on a Cherrio or see another dead spider in the corner. I pick up the toys and sort them into their rightful cubbies but by the time I return the living room they have reproduced themselves and there is a whole new toy explosion to clean up. The other day I bribed my oldest to pick up marbles by telling him I would pay him 10 cents for each marble he found. He made $2 in just the living room yet all the other small toys he excavated from beneath the couch are still waiting to be picked up along with all the dust bunnies they brought out.
Don’t let my tale of woe and guilt fool you, having a “cleaning lady” is part of my long-term plan. I envy the stay at home moms who do get their homes cleaned on a regular basis. I don’t judge them, I rejoice for them because I know that when the time comes when I feel like I can afford it I’m going to push all my mommy-guilt aside.
I know, I know the grass is always greener. Moms who work wish they could be at home to take their toddlers to Gymboree and be a homeroom mom. Single moms who have no choice but to work and send their kids to day care probably roll their eyes and get a little angry at the stay-at-home moms who desire freedom. I’m not complaining…really I’m not. I’m just venting. I completely understand what a blessing it is to watch my little ones grow up every day, all day and not just between the hours of 6 p.m. and bedtime. I’m grateful that I’m able to be home and volunteer in my community. Sure, we have had to make some sacrifices to do it but it’s the choice we made.
It’s just that every now and then us stay-at-home gals get a little stir crazy. There are times when we feel like we are wardens at an insane asylum and playing Nurse Fletcher doesn’t exactly bring out the best in us. We need a glass of wine to go with our whine and someone to vent to who understands.
Now that I’ve gotten all that off my chest I feel better. Thanks for letting me vent. Now I’m ready to tackle the kitchen and the 564th reading of the Big Book of Animals.