There’s some real pressure that comes from being a stay-at-home-mom or a work-from-home-mom.
I’m not talking about the pressure of the day-to-day dealing with little ones, trying to get it all in, and trying to keep your sanity, because we do all that and more and we enjoy it.
I’m talking about the pressure that comes when someone asks the dreaded question, “what do you do all day?”
The panic that follows as we frantically try to figure out how we’re going to explain our days in a way that proves being home is not the job of a lazy person who wants to sit on the couch all day.
Because no matter how you break it down, you never can really explain all the little things that happen in a day that leave you wondering where the time went and why you feel like nothing was accomplished.
I was asked by a close family member to describe my typical day. I could tell she had taken some care to not use the dreaded phrase, but I also felt the same as if I was slapped with, “what do you do all day?” just more politely put. I believe it was out of love and curiosity, but this is also a person who is a very successful lawyer, sits on a few boards, and is always involved in something, and has girls who don’t yet have kids of their own.
How on earth could she understand that, although I stay home with my little ones, I never have a single day that is typical…?
Sure, I can explain at what time I try to get the kids ready for preschool, at what time we try to get through a quick and mess-free breakfast, and the time we hope to be out the door…
Of course, harder to explain is how I’ve been up past midnight working the night before, woken up by one of the two kids – hopefully not both – once through the night. Or how about the time I stumble out of bed to make sure the little one who gets up at an ungodly early hour makes it to the potty, or what about those nights where she leaks through and I’m changing, bathing, clothing, and removing bedding all before my eyes have adjusted to the light…
Do I share that I give her a banana, turn on the tv, and try to climb back in bed for a few minutes until she shoves a bottle of gummy vitamins in my face? Do I bother to mention that by 7am her brother is up too and they are both asking for breakfast, if they aren’t busy bickering or I’ve had to get up in response to, “Mom, I went poo” before then?
I can say that I feed them breakfast between 7:30 and 8, but that doesn’t cover the process of finding what we’re all going to eat when one is handing me sugary cereal as I try to urge him toward something healthier and the other one can’t decide what she wants, so we end up with a bowl of cereal, fruit on the side, I make two eggs while trying to scoop some yogurt to hold her over until they’re done and cooled, and just as I’m about to find time alone to use the bathroom, my little guy says he’s done with his cereal and would like me to make him an egg too.
About to head off to take care of my own needs, and I usually figure I better head downstairs and grab an outfit for my little guy just in case I can convince him to dress himself. I make it to the bathroom just in time to hear, “Mom! I’m done!” and then, “Are you in there? Can you see my fingers?” I tell both of them their clothes are in the living room, only to find out they’ve been distracted in ine way or another and hopefully it hasn’t created a mess that I have to clean up. I remind them to start getting dressed and head into the kitchen to clean up after breakfast. I consider myself lucky if the food on the floor only requires sweeping and not a full wash.
** Pause right here as it’s the weekend – 7:48 am and I’m “sleeping in” and pushing back breakfast, but I just heard, “Mom! He’s taking my pillow!” A reminder that the couch has 4 pillows did diffuse that one and I had hope for a few more minutes, but then Sponge Bob came on and, since we don’t watch that show, I was called to change it, diffused another argument, and got that banana. Where was I???…**
Another reminder and a little help to get started, and I hope the kids are getting dressed as I quickly dress myself. Usually, I come back to find that I need to start almost from scratch and dress them both completely before we all crowd into the bathroom to brush their teeth, which also needs my help. This would be a great time to brush my own teeth, but since I never got around to making myself anything for breakfast, I hold off and hope to grab something soon.
Another round of both kids going potty, brushing some banana out of my little girl’s hair as she complains that it hurts, a hasty ponytail, and a quick brush for my little guy, and we are finally ready to grab the book bags and head out the door.
Oh, you have show-and-tell today? It’s cool out, but you don’t want to wear a jacket? No, you can’t wear your flower girl sandals. Yes, you must at least bring a jacket. Sit down, let me put on your shoes, and please stop whining about the jacket or sandals!
Hopefully it’s no later than 8:45 and we’re out the door to make it to school by 9.
You would think I could get a bit done since this year they are both in preschool and I don’t have to drag my littlest one around grocery shopping or try to entertain her as I attempt to get some work done, but I have to be back in the pickup line by 11:30.
So, while I respond to my family member that we get up, get ready for school, drop off, I run errands or work, and pick back up… that doesn’t even cover half of it, and this is just the morning!
As I pass the kiddos off in the carpool line and mentally plan how I’m going to fit everything into the next two hours, I try to remember if I ate breakfast and realize that I did not which means I still haven’t brushed my teeth, and don’t even get me started on hair and makeup…
I’ll just run my fingers through my hair, put on some chapstick, and pop a mint – I’ve got things to do and I have to be back in a couple hours.
Is your morning similar? What are your struggles?
If you have a life-saving parenting tip for me please share! We’re all in this together!