There is pee on my carpet. Courtesy of my four-year-old, who got too involved in her favorite episode of Care Bears to – as Elmo always told her – “listen to her body.”
Or, as I am constantly singing, “If you have to go potty, STOP, and go right away…”
I sit down to enjoy my granola with milk, and immediately the toddler wants milk just like his big sister, and the big sister wants grapes (that she will not eat), and when I finally return to the table, my granola is a soggy, mushy mess. But they do let me eat, and even take a sip of hot coffee before running around like hysterical monkeys.
The toddler is getting his molars and is up and down all night, and insisting on nursing, even though he’s been night-weaned for months.
“No ‘cool,’ Mommy!” Wails my loves -school -and –riding- the- bus daughter, as I get her dressed while corralling the toddler who refuses to let me change his diaper.
My husband and I have not had a date in over two years, for a variety of reasons (and none of them are paranoia about leaving our ‘special snowflakes’ with someone).
I want a chance to miss my kids. I stay at home and am on-call almost 24/7 (my husband is one of those rare unicorn husbands/fathers who will shoo me out of the house to get ‘me’ time and also cook dinner). But I haven’t been away from them long enough to miss them. And I think missing them will help me appreciate what I have. Because I think I am getting burned out. The things that used to be fun are no longer fun. I no longer have the patience to sit and come up with intricate stories for the tiny figurines my daughter gives me during playtime. Reading Maisy Drives a Bus over and over again makes me want to scream. I love sitting and playing with blocks, but my kids attention spans are like gnats –the toddler inevitably touches or breathes on something that is “MINE!” and I am refereeing yet another argument and telling the preschooler that sharing is something we do with our brothers too.
This is the everyday minutiae of motherhood. It’s what I signed up for when I chose not to return to a “real” job when I had my daughter. And maybe my complaining is selfish. I certainly feel selfish. I don’t think I need to entertain my kids all the time. I don’t mind if they watch TV, or play by themselves. I don’t consider myself a helicopter parent (although in comparison to my own parents, I totally am). But after four years, I’m running out of steam. The times I do get to myself (and I do get time to myself, I am really lucky – I know that) don’t feel long enough. I look up from a book I’m reading, an article or the book I’m trying to write, the scrapbook I’m working on and the time has passed too quickly and I resent that it has to end. Some days, I wake up and immediately start to count down the hours to bedtime. And I hate it. I want to wake up and start my day cheerily. I want to be patient and play and sing and laugh. These are our best days. It’s when everything comes together. It’s what I imagined life would be like when I decided to stay at home.
Do other moms feel like this? Like they are one of the women from The Feminine Mystique only they brought it on themselves and don’t really feel like they can complain?
I am so grateful for what I have. I can’t imagine not being at home with my kids while they are young (especially my daughter, as she has a developmental delay). I am still young enough to build my career when they go to school (in a few short years). But I am struggling. I don’t really miss working – I miss aspects of it (I was a children’s librarian so planning story times, helping kids find research materials for book reports and history projects, being there for families in some way, those were my favorite parts of the job)….but if I could stay at home forever, making money from writing and being there for my kids, even when they don’t need me as much, I would. Does that make me a bad feminist? Am I making a bad impression on my kids? Being a bad role model?
And if I DO want to be at home, why in the world am I feeling so ungrateful and impatient and bored?
All I can do, I guess, is make connections with others and know that there are good days and bad days. That I don’t have to be perfect, even if it feels like I do because society doesn’t seem to value the stay- at- home mom and I am constantly trying to justify my worth. And maybe I need to work on time management.
And find a babysitter for a date night.