Several years ago, way before I had kids, I wrote a blog post asking what stay at home moms did all day. Here’s a little snippet: “It’s not like you don’t have a choice in the matter, and at the end of the day many say it’s the best job in the world. The best?… Maybe. The hardest?… Not buying it.”
I went on about how all you have to do is feed the kids, bathe them, maybe clean up a little, try to teach them a thing or two and play with them. As if all those things could be done in half and hour and then you could sit down and enjoy a book.
I hadn’t a clue.
I'm still getting hate mail for that post.
Not only did I not stay at home but I didn’t have kids. I didn't realize that just because you can stay in your PJs all day, it doesn't mean you have an easy job to do.
As a teenager, I worked in a daycare for a few years with kids between the ages of one and three. I suppose this made me feel like I was qualified to guess what motherhood was like. I followed a schedule and had nothing to do but focus on the kids 100%. We did a daily craft, sang songs, played games, had snacks and lunch. I even put all 8 to 13 kids down for naps by myself. How could motherhood be much harder?
Truthfully, I don’t know how.
But it is.
Cleaning at home isn’t as simple as dumping toys in a plastic bin and disposing of food scraps in the cafeteria. I wasn’t even in charge of the menu or food prep back then.
Now, about a year into my adventures of being home with my two kids, I’m singing a different tune than I did in my pre-motherhood years. In that same eight-hour span of being awake with my kids, answering their every question, finding ways to entertain them, giving them food and snacks, I’m stretched pretty thin.
Perhaps part of this is because I care so much. I liked the kids I watched every day at the daycare, but I was no one compared to their own mothers. I was a stand-in that hugged away boo boos, changed diapers, and kept babies happy while their moms took care of work for 40-50 hours a week. But I wasn’t mom. The kids knew it, the moms knew it, and so did I.
Love alone is exhausting. It’s tiring caring so much about these little people I’ve created. Caring about what they eat, what they watch, answering my daughter’s every question because I don’t want her to think I’m ignoring her. Picking my son up any time he asks because he won’t be this small forever.
This is my official apology to any stay-at-home momsI may have offended. I’m one of you now -- and it’s not as easy as I thought.