Today, I’m going to give you a glimpse into the life of a stay at home parent. A brutally honest sometimes this gig sucks sort of glimpse. But also, to those who are living this right now I say, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It does get better. I wrote this piece over two years ago, but never published it. When I wrote this Rainbow was three and Rocket was seven or eight months old.
This morning one of my friends that is a stay at home Dad posted in his Facebook status, “How the hell did I ever get convinced two was a good idea… I just want to work again…”
So do I.
I spend most of my days feeling like I got run over by a bus.
I am so tired. Part of it is my own fault, I stay up too late. I am so happy to have a moment to myself once both kids are in bed that I stretch bedtime out to far. The other problem is the baby is waking up two or three times a night to feed. Whatever time I go to bed, she has this sixth sense that kicks in, she wakes up 10-15 minutes after I crawl under the covers.
I called my mom this morning and literally begged her to come over and watch the girls so I could take a nap. I realize I am ever so lucky to even have this option. I know my friend, the Dad posting above, doesn’t live near the grandparents and never gets a free sitter. We get someone to watch the girls for us on a fairly regular basis. I am lucky. I know it.
I have this guilty feeling that I could have done any number of things while my mom was over, instead of sleeping. I woke up groggy and feeling even more tired than before, which just increased the niggling feeling that this was not time well wasted. Then my mom leaves and the minute she steps out the door everything goes to hell.
I think the baby was concerned because she hadn’t seen the milk truck in a little while. Having not seen me for almost a entire hour, she feels the need to ensure I still produce milk. So we immediately head to the rocker to nurse. Where after taking two sips and assuring herself that milk is still available she loses interest.
Just as I head to the rocker to nurse the baby Rainbow starts freaking out that there is marker on her hands and that she needs me to wash her fingers NOW. I finish nursing Rocket, set her down and head into the bathroom to help Rainbow wash up.
I go pee. The toilet won’t flush. The handle is broken. Wonderful. At the same time I’m confronted with the “pile-of-things-my-girl-peed-on” during the one and a half hours I was out of commission, which includes a pair of socks, pants, a towel, two pairs of training pants and my bathroom rug.
I head into the kitchen to start on dinner and make us all some lunch. The baby food I made the night before won’t pop out of the damn icetray. I reach up on top of the fridge to get the roasting pan down and knock over the entire contents of the top of my fridge. Cheerios everywhere.
At the exact same moment Rainbow starts yelling in a very panicked way that her tent is falling over.
I run into the front room to find that the Crazy Fort structure she built with Mimi wasn’t structurally sound. It has fallen over on top of the baby who is sitting on the floor in her Bumbo. Rainbow is screaming and freaking out and so is the baby. Remove two sheets and any number of plastic sticks from the pile to find that Rocket is ok. I immediately take apart and put away the fort, which sends Rainbow into a snit.
The baby is now only happy if I hold her. I try setting her down in various places with varying views to no avail. Rainbow insists on helping me in the kitchen. I try and peel parsnips while the baby howls. I can’t take it. My hands tremble. I slice my damn thumb open.
I know there are people out there that think that this stay-at-home-with-your kids gig is a plumb position. It’s not all roses. Staying home and taking care of my own children is a priority for me. I don’t want strangers raising my kids. But some days, when everything is going so wrong, I wonder if they wouldn’t be better off in daycare. Some days it downright sucks. Some days, if this were my paying job I would resign. Some days I wonder what the hell I was thinking. Some days I wonder why my three year old can’t just use the damn potty. Some days I feel like a failure. Some days it doesn’t matter how many loads I do, there is always dirty laundry left. Some days I wonder if I’m doing more harm than good. Some days I wonder how much TV is too much. Some days I would give anything, and I do mean anything, for sleep.
Just me? Or have we all been there?