I used to be an employed mother.
I took four months off when Lexy was born, but only six weeks when Nate came along. By the time Nate was four months old, my child care situation (the best child care EVER) had changed and our financial situation had changed, and I quit my job.
And, I honestly thought (and promised my former husband) that I would have time to Do It All. I would make him breakfast and starch and iron his work shirts. I’d do all the shopping and laundry and cooking and cleaning and child-tending, because, HEY! I was going to be at home, and after having mostly worked all of my vast two and a half years as a mother, one thing I knew was that stay at home (i hate that term, too) moms had all the time in the world and there was truly NO REASON that they should not Do It All, very well, and in a timely fashion to boot.
Yeah. So, the first week at home radically changed my mind about that.
And now, nearly eight years later, I still haven’t gotten a grip and whipped my house and kids and garden and everything else into shape. Far far from it.
Yesterday morning I had to get up and get the kids fed, dressed, combed, shod and out the door in time for Grace to pick me up to attend a grown up function held in a conference room. Which meant that I also had to dress, comb, shoe and makeup myself. (There was no time to eat. Plus, I was hoping to magically lose fifteen pounds on the drive over.) I got the girls dropped off with K (thanks again!) but not before they managed to do a search and destroy on the scarf I am making for a friend. The destroy part entailed unrolling a whole, new ball of yarn around the kitchen table, through the kitchen and front room, around the train table, through the hall and back into the kitchen. About, uh, fifty times. After the girls were settled in, I took the ream of paperwork to the child care center I’d arranged for the boys to go to after school (fifty bux for two little guys for three hours. yikes!), and got home nearly on time. Grace was waiting for me, and off we went.
We had our day, and then she brought me home. I picked up the girls,
picked up the boys and got everyone home. I changed into my usual clothes (old jeans, old shirt, sox, cause it was a cold, empty house!) and barked at the kids:
- BOYS! Put on a movie for the girls so I can start dinner! And do your homework.
- TURN OFF THE GAMECUBE
- Girls. Girls! GIRLS!! Put the butter down. NOW
- ALEX!!! Do you have any pants in your drawer for tomorrow or do I need to start laundry?
- Don’t forget to feed the crayfish.
- SHIT I burned the chicken. Do you want it anyway?
That kind of thing. And we were rushed and stressed and there was no time for dishes because I had to do I don’t remember, but OTHER things, and there was no time for baths because it was bedtime and I had to read from the Lemony Snicket book because MOM! we still haven’t read it and we met him like, LAST YEAR. And there was outright lying and then crying about the tooth brushing and and and
I kept thinking, "oh my god. how did I ever used to do this all the time? I am so glad I don’t have to do this all the time."
And really, I don’t have a point here. I just want it to be the case that the stay home moms and the employed moms, they just acknowledge and respect one another. Because it is never ever easy, this mothering gig, whether you have one really well behaved little angel child, or several demonic spaz cases who you are certain saw the horns off their foreheads every morning before you see them.