I’m reluctant to call myself a stay-at-home mom because I work from home and for the time being I am our family’s main provider. But working from home and having an infant and a toddler to care for means I’m home about 80 percent of the day – every day – so I think the shoe fits.
Believe me, boring does not equal easy. It is not easy being a full time care-giver to two kids. I guess I just always thought that not having to show up physically to a job would make me feel more free. It’s kind of had the opposite effect on me.
We moved out of New York a few months ago so we could get more for our money. We wanted a house, a car, and a yard. We wanted to stop hemorrhaging money every month trying to keep up with the ridiculous cost of living in our neighborhood in Brooklyn. We realized that if we moved close to my family in Florida we would be able to live off of our creative hustles. I could bring in enough off of my freelance writing and my husband could travel back and forth to New York for his commercial work. Our family could actually live comfortably – with amenities we could never afford in Brooklyn. No more restaurant and bar work to supplement our income! Yay – right?
It turns out the work that I thought was such a thorn in my side was actually what was keeping me semi-sane. Six hours in a restaurant also meant six hours of adult conversation and a solid six hours out of the house. Toddlers are great and all, but their conversational skills suck. They are so damn self-centered. They never ask you how you are doing. It’s all gimme, gimme, me, me, me, Yo-Gabba-Gabba, blah, blah, blah. Don’t even get me started on infants. They’re just adorable, little cuddly-lumps of incessant, repetitive need.
What’s that honey? You’d like to read Tickle Time again? Awesome. Maybe after that I can make you the third plate of food you’ll turn your nose up at today – that will be fun. Then we can play that game where you dump literally every single toy in your drawers and toy chests on the floor and kick them all around the room. I’ll be sweating by then. It will be 11 a.m. Only 10 hours to go until I can pour myself a glass of wine.
They say the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence – and boy are “they” right. “They” are people who have done both, obviously. If you’ve experienced the exhaustion of maintaining a household and also working out of it – you probably think it would be easier to stay home. If you stay home, you’re probably ready to pull your hair out by a certain time each day. Does admitting this make me a bad mom? I don’t think so. I can confidently say that my kids are the most precious thing in my world. I can also confidently say that I love being a mother and I think I am pretty good at it. But what I am most confident about asserting is that parenting young children is tedious work.
It sounds bad – I know it does. But it’s the truth.
I was on the phone for hours yesterday with a friend of mine who is going through some hard times. We were speaking honestly about the pitfalls of our lives the way you only do when someone is really in the midst of a shit-storm. When someone starts to confide in you that their life is unraveling, it is easier to be honest about the things that you may not love about your life. I don’t love that I can’t afford childcare. I don’t love that I don’t have any time to myself.
I’ve seen the Pinterest boards. I’ve read the blogs. I know there are women that seem to be totally content making multi-colored popsicles and shaving cream paint all day. Their houses are awesome, their children are spotless – they themselves are genuinely glowing with happiness. Here’s one example – I Googled “bored stay-at home mom” and this is one of the first things that came up:
I learned to be an immaculate and extremely organized homemaker. Everything ran like clockwork. By 9:00 in the morning, the house was clean – beds made, bathrooms cleaned, house vacuumed, baseboards washed, windows cleaned, laundry going. I enjoyed all the tasks that made my home sparkle and shine, but finished them quickly so that I could dedicate most of the day to my daughter. Between nursing, naps and staring at her, I thought of ways to improve my home and self. Even with all the chores, every day was filled with so much fun!
I was never bored.
There’s nothing wrong with needing more mental stimulation than a 2-year-old can provide is there? If you think I am selfish or stupid or whatever for writing this, than just stop reading now. Because I realized something today and I want to share it with moms that are as bored as I am.
It’s okay that you’re bored. Infants and toddlers are not the best company.
It’s okay if you can’t make any of that shit on Pinterest – or would never even try.
It’s okay to complain about shit sometimes. In fact, it’s healthy. It doesn’t mean that you don’t appreciate what you have. I’m sick of pretending that I have everything in control all the time. Call a good friend you haven’t connected with in a while and be really honest with where you are and how you feel. It feels great.
Like I said, if you’re a stay-at-home mom and you’re not bored to tears by two p.m. everyday, good for you. Maybe you can give me some advice that doesn’t involve cleaning baseboards or staring at my baby while she naps.