Today is July 18. I have officially survived a full month of summer vacation. Half of the time Tweenie Bopper was in day camp, which is cool because she gets to do all kinds of activities she wouldn’t necessarily get a chance to dabble in otherwise. The other half of the time, she’s been at home.
Now, I love my baby girl with every fiber of my being. She’s my heart. But I can say with all confidence that I could never, ever be a stay at home mom. No way, no how.
It’s not that I don’t have respect for women who do it. It’s really the opposite, actually. They get all of my admiration for having the patience to be in their children’s presence all day and not rip patches of their own hair out in crazy lady haphazardness. But working from home and having a kid at home just aren’t my mix.
I used to say that I could be a stay at home entrepreneur, but not a stay at home mom. Now I’m not even sure I could do that.
The difference, in case you’re wondering is that though I’d be home with my kids, maybe with a nanny or a relative to help care for them during the day, I’d be chasing my big writing and multi-million dollar business dreams. Can’t do that with a kid nipping at your heels every 17 seconds. Well, maybe some moms can. I can’t.
Even though she’s good and old, I still feel obligated to keep my daughter entertained when she’s home. If I don’t, she’ll come dragging out to the living room or scuffle into my bedroom or wherever I happen to be stashed away at the time and confess how bored she is. For being an only child, The Girl has like zippo creativity when it comes to finding fun things to do.
I was an only child too, but I was an ingenuitive little weird person. I turned anything into a toy, built a storyline around it, created character sketches, and sent it on adventures. I wrote stories and devoured books like the library might start charging the next day. I did regular things, too, like ride my bike and play with dolls (yep, up until I was 12 or so).
But this kid? Nothing peaks her interest and if it does, it doesn’t stay peaked for very long. If I give her what I think is a reasonable distraction, proud of myself for besting her nanosecond-long attention span, she will sure enough come back in 10 minutes telling me she’s finished and, like clockwork, back to being bored again.
That’s not even the only reason I couldn’t stay at home with her. There’s the matter of educating the child. Judging by the amount of time it takes to get through a single homework assignment she sets up to do in the evenings, home schooling is out of the question. That’s not to say that all stay at home moms educate their kids. But factoring a tutor into my skintight budget is about as likely as finding a millionaire in the family tree, so if I can’t afford a professional to do the teaching, there’s only one other person who could be tasked to do it. And I don’t have the doggedness, the patience or the nurturing demeanor to get the information across without somebody ending up in heap of frustrated tears. My money’s on it being me.
One of my cousins is a stay at home mama who homeschools her three children, all under the age of five. Next go-round for sainthood nominations, I’m putting her name into the hat. Her babies are all well-behaved enough individually, but as a group they are a Tazmanian Devilish bunch with a thirst for destruction. They are wild. But she’s just as gentle and sweet and coddling as she can be. She was built for stay at home motherhood. Janelle C. Harris? Not in the least.
I’ve screamed from the mountaintops my desire to have another baby or two, and because I’m an editorial geek by trade, I have the kind of job that I can do anywhere — sharing a table with a strange homeless man at the library, jacking a wifi connection from the car, sitting in the hard chairs at Corner Bakery, which is where I am at this very moment. I hope that I can develop the characteristics to be the kind of woman who makes stay at home mom-preneurship look effortless. I’m a work in progress.
Do my fellow working moms ever aspire to stay at home with the kiddies?
Image via es1123/Flickr