I hear a lot of complaints from stay-at-home moms. Their “job” is so hard, they miss adult interaction, and working mothers just can’t understand what it’s like to be trapped in a house with a kid all day every day.
I’ve gone to a 4-day work week in an effort to get some more time with Beatrice. Sure, those extra long days at work are rough - REALLY rough, but it’s worth it to have that day with my Beezer.
That one extra is like magic. Normally Beatrice and I are tired from our day at work/the babysitters, so in the evening the two of us are just surviving until bedtime. Weekends are spent in a flurry of going here and there running errands, and trying to clean and prepare food for the week. And since John works in the evenings and on weekends, I have Bebe in tow wherever I go.
Our new free day lets us enjoy each other. I can go to the grocery store without dealing with weekend crowds or Bebe’s evening madness. We can have play dates. We can wake up slowly and lounge around in our pj’s together. I can clean the house during her naps, and catch up on laundry. I can teach her games like patty-cake and help her feed her dolls. It’s amazing. I love these days with Beatrice.
I used to feel like I was a horrible mother because I felt like I had no patience with Beatrice. I used to feel like she was a hot mess of emotions and difficult to handle. Now I understand that it’s just the timing of our time together. I’m not impatient, I’m just tired after work and stressed out on the weekends. And Beatrice is sweet, funny and independent during the day. It isn’t until the evening that she becomes clingy and overly emotional.
I can’t imagine being a stay-at-home mom. I’d get to spend real time with my daughter, and would know exactly what she was learning and doing throughout the day. I wouldn’t have to spend my lunch breaks paying bills and running errands. I wouldn’t have to come home in the evenings to a weird-smelling house because of the dishes in the sink that have been sitting there for 2 days. Beatrice and I could go to play dates and swimming lessons. It’d be amazing.
And so, if you are a stay-at-home mom and you feel like complaining, do it to one of your other stay-at-home cronies, because believe me, working mothers think you are a huge jerk when you whine about your situation. And if it’s really that bad, go back to work - I’d like to see how long you’d last getting your kid out of bed before their ready, taking them to the babysitter, working a full day, picking your child up again, and then going home to make dinner AND lunch for the next day. Good luck. You’ll need it.
On Thursday our nanny was sick and so I found myself working from home. John was going to be gone from 8am until 10pm, and I was pretty nervous about spending so many hours alone with Beatrice. She can be exhausting and I’m not used to spending so much one-on-one time with her.
You know what? It worked for me. The working from home, the all day Beatrice marathon, it worked.
I woke up at 6 to get an early start on my work and expected Bebe to wake up within an hour. She slept until 9:30! Amazing!
She ate, played, harassed the dog, ate some more… and then took a 3 hour nap. WHAT?! Yeah, 3 hours. More amazement.
Then we played with legos in the yard, took a walk, made a cake, bought some flowers… all without a meltdown.
Combine her late wake-up and nap, with some serious dog harassment, and that little girl gave me a 3 solid periods of uninterrupted work time. She’s the best.
Everything went so well that after her bedtime bottle, she started whistling. Normally that would aggravate me, but after such a nice day I didn’t even care. I let her chase the dog around for another hour while I cleaned the house. Bedtime #2 was a breeze - no tears and no whistling.
To all of you stay-at-home moms who like to complain about how hard it is to take care of a kid all day and call it your “job”, I’d like to say suck it up you little wusses, you don’t know how good you have it.
Bebe has been on the verge of crawling for quite some time and she finally conquered it yesterday with John. I felt a twinge of sadness that I missed it – I mean come on, I spent the last 10 days with the girl and the FIRST moment she was away from me, she decided to go for it. However sad I felt though, I was excited for her that she finally figured it out, and let’s be serious, I knew that there was more of a chance that John or the nanny was going to catch this milestone before I would. Beatrice didn’t crawl for the rest of the night, so I kind of felt like it was a fluke and didn’t think anything else about it.
But then today I received a text from John containing a video of Beatrice crawling.
In front of his parents.
I know it’s stupid to be upset. I know it’s not a contest. I know I should be happy for them that they got to experience this on one of the few occasions that they’ve spent with her. But I still spent the rest of the day with a lump in my throat. I hear she had the best day with them - didn’t cry once and was full of movement and giggles. Tonight with me, she’s clingy and crying constantly as usual.
I’m really struggling with my situation these days. I love my job, have the best bosses ever, flexibility to make my own hours, and have had a series of downright lucky breaks that have brought me to where I am with my career today. I’m blessed to make enough money that Bebe can have the best childcare and John can pursue a PhD if he so decides. I feel like a jerk for complaining about working when there are so many people out there who don’t have jobs.
BUT, it is hard to watch everyone else catch Bebe’s milestones before I do. It’s hard to be too exhausted to want to play with her and to consider just sitting her in front of the tv every night. It’s hard to only see my husband in passing as a result of our opposite schedules. And it’s hard to know that she’s happy and chipper with everyone but me. I feel like her moods probably stem from the fact that I am her food source, but even that little bit of justification doesn’t make me feel much better.
I need to count my blessings.
I need to remember that the job I have today will benefit my little family in the future.
I just wish that I didn’t feel like my job away from home was causing me to be a mediocre mom who was missing out on my only daughter’s only childhood.
I sometimes feel like I would suck at it. Bad. I have no patience, I can’t handle making stuffed bunnies talk all day, and CAN I SERIOUSLY NOT EVEN GO TO THE BATHROOM WITHOUT YOU COMING WITH ME???
But after straight up losing my mind at 5:30 this morning after Beatrice’s 4789382 wake-up of the night I had an ah-ha moment - maybe I suck at being a mom BECAUSE I work! Because you know, there is no napping-when-she-naps when I’m in an office getting paid specifically not to nap. And the only time I have to clean the house or make dinner is when there is a wild child trying to break her face open with her acrobatics. I’m under-slept and over-stressed, with a chaotic house and a daughter who clings to me during the few hours we spend together each day, so of course I suck at motherhood.
And then again, maybe I would still be lacking patience with my bathroom companion even as a stay-at-home mom.
For sanity’s sake, we’re going to go with this mornings epiphany and blame my early-morning guilt on my job.