As a stay-at-home Mom, one of the questions I get most often is, “Don’t you go crazy being at home all day?”
Well, I’m here to tell you, the answer is no. Wait. Yes. Well, sometimes. But mostly, no.
Okay. Here me out.
Being a stay-at-home mom is amazing, rewarding, and overall the best decision I’ve ever made. My daughter is the sweetest, most beautiful thing I’ve ever laid eyes on, and I’m happy to be home with her.
Having said that, there are days—you know, those days—when I’m bored, frustrated, or straight up over it. Just like in any job, there are days when all I want to do is lock myself in the bathroom, eat chocolate and cry. (I mean, I could, if I wanted to listen to my kid bang on the door like the po-po for 20 minutes.)
No matter how much I love my little girl (who is about to turn two), those days are tough. Like, really tough. Usually funny in retrospect, but, at the time, not so much.
Let me break down one such day for you:
THE WAKE-UP CALL (OR SCREAM)
The sun has barely risen above the trees. The birds sing their morning wake-up song, and the sound of neighbors starting their cars for work echoes through the neighborhood. My eyes blink open for just a moment, before I slowly drift back to slee—
OH MY GOD WHAT WAS THAT?
I frantically sit up, rubbing my eyes. Is my cat dying? Is there a savage bird fight going on outside? What is happening?
Oh. It’s just my kid, screaming like a banshee through the monitor. What a subtle way to tell me you’re awake. (Insert *eye roll*) Also, it’s scaring the cat, so could you not?
I look at the monitor. What is she doing? Why is one arm out of her sleeve? Where is her pillow? Is she biting the guard rail? Why is she staring directly into the camera? Is this a warning? OH MY GOD STOP, IT’S CREEPY. How does she have so much rage this early? Wait, what time is it? WHAT DAY IS IT?
Ugh, it’s going to be one of those days. Here we go.
THE BREAKFAST BATTLE
My kid, who is insisting she be held during this entire process, whines for food. I rattle off options as she aggressively shakes her head no: “Bananas? Waffles? Pancakes? Eggs? Cereal? LITERALLY ANYTHING?” What is your deal this morning?
Fine. You pick.
I open the pantry and present her the options in the same way Mufasa shows Simba his kingdom: “Look, child, everything on this second shelf can be yours.”
Crap. I forgot about those cookies.
“Ok, everything except the cookies on this second shelf can—”
Too late. She grabs the cookies with ninja like speed, and, to be honest, I don’t really care at this point. Trying to take them from her incredibly impressive death grip is a struggle I’m too tired to deal with. Looks like we’re having cookies breakfast.
Cookies and…a banana? No? Whatever.
THE MORNING ROUTINE (OR LACK THEREOF)
Great, it’s starting to rain. What are we going to do today?
I sit down on the couch with a cup of coffee, hoping to enjoy a few sips before I have to put it down. As I bring it to my lips, my daughter jumps onto the couch, throwing herself against me, laughing hysterically as hot coffee pours down the front of my shirt.
MY CLEAVAGE IS ON FIRE, CAN YOU STOP LAUGHING?
She follows up her reckless body slam by dumping out a cup of Cheerios between the couch cushions (which I gave her in a desperate and ridiculous attempt to distract her from the cookies). She intentionally falls from the couch, grabbing my phone on the way down, and runs through the living room. As an added bonus, she yanks the cat’s tail in passing, dropping my phone onto the hardwood.
Now the cat’s howling, she’s howling, I’m howling, EVERYONE IS HOWLING. I know my neighbors can hear this. I should bake them a pie or something.
Ugh, child, did you poop? You did, didn’t you? I CAN SMELL IT.
I chase her through the kitchen where she collapses in protest (ah, typical toddler dramatics). I scoop her off the floor, holding her the way I would a cat after a bath—my arms straight out, hands under her arm pits, keeping my distance from any body part that could strike at any moment. I carry her up the stairs as she thrashes uncontrollably, her foot landing in my rib cage.
This is fine. Everything’s fine.
LUNCH TIME (SHOULD BE EASY, RIGHT?)
I’ve kept her occupied long enough, and now it’s noon. Time for lunch. SO CLOSE to nap time.
Just. Get. Her. Fed.
With the mood she’s in, I decide to just make whatever I feel like. No point in asking what she wants, right? She’s just going to refuse everything.
Grilled cheese? Yeah, that sounds good. And peaches. Look at me, being a good Mom, adding fruit to her diet!
I make the grilled cheese, remove the crust, cut it into perfect little squares, and neatly place them on her plate next to the peaches. Voila.
I present the plate to her. “Today we have melted Colby Jack cheese between two slices of whole wheat bread, paired with peach slices marinated in ‘100% juice’, according to the package. Enjoy, my child.”
She takes one look and glances up at me with a face that I can only describe as “disgusted confusion.” (Or, “WTF,” if I’m being honest here.)
Oh God. I chose poorly.
She throws herself to the floor in a full-blown tantrum, clearly enraged that I would attempt to serve her such a subpar meal. I sit in a kitchen chair, just watching her, saying nothing, day dreaming of yesterday, when she liked grilled cheese.
Turns out she wants a piece of cheese. Cold cheese, sans bread. Cool. Okay.
Everything is still fine. I’m fine.
THE NAP (DO YOU HEAR ANGELS SINGING?)
The one redeeming aspect of days like this is the fact that my kid has always been a great sleeper. Even on her worst days, she naps. (Of course, I knock on wood as I write this.) I read her a couple books and she cuddles up on my shoulder. This is nice. This makes up for this morning. (Sort of.)
She’s off to sleep.
What do I do with this time?! Do I clean? Eat lunch? Catch up on my shows?
HAHAHA I’m kidding, you guys. Obviously, I’m going to sleep.
(LOL, CLEAN, I’M FUNNY.)
Okay, it’s decision time. I need to go to the grocery store. She’s made it very clear that she wants nothing to do with being cooperative today. Do I take her anyway (in the rain)? Maybe getting out of the house will do her (AND MAINLY ME) some good?
Let’s do this. (Deep breath. High fives self.)
I need to change her clothes (yeah, she’s still in pajamas, judge away) and, of course, she hates changing her clothes. And putting on shoes. And basically, any common, everyday task that requires her to be still longer than 30 seconds.
I figure giving her options might make the process less painful. I pick out two shirts and a pair of pants. I hold up the shirts: one with a kitty in sunglasses, and one with rainbows. Two incredibly stylish options.
“Which one?” I ask.
Without skipping a beat, she grabs the kitty shirt and throws it across the room. Jesus, what do you have against kitties all of a sudden? Or is it the sunglasses? Or is the combo of a kitty in sunglasses? Does the kitty’s desire to prevent melanoma present some sort of problem to you? HELP ME UNDERSTAND YOUR LOGIC, CHILD.
You know what? No. We’re not doing this. You can stay in your pajamas, and I’ll stay here in the corner, counting down the minutes until it’s a socially acceptable time to drink alcohol.
NIGHT-NIGHT TIME (WE MADE IT, YOU GUYS)
After miraculously getting her to eat chicken nuggets for dinner, we begin the final countdown until bedtime. She’s exhausted, I’m exhausted, and now my husband is here, just in time to deal with our exhaustion. It is now a team effort to get this kid to bed.
After a couple episodes of her favorite show (aka, a break for Mama), my husband and I begin the process of cleaning up her toys, singing the “Clean Up” song with as much fake enthusiasm as we can muster up. Our daughter watches. Not helping. Only judging.
We bring her upstairs for a bath, and I get her undressed. She escapes my grip, running down the hallway, naked, practicing her morning banshee scream.
I get her to the sink where I brush her teeth, after which she takes the toothbrush to do it herself. She chews on the bristles for about 8 seconds and hands it back. #NailedIt
After her bubble bath (where she ate plenty of the bubbles, since it was the opposite of what I told her to do), it’s time for bed.
We read. We cuddle. She leans up and gives me a giant hug and a kiss, and just like that, I forget about the entire day. What is this sorcery?
She goes to sleep and I stare at the monitor, gushing over how adorable she looks curled up on her pillow.
Do the bad days suck? Um, yeah. Is being a stay-at-home Mom hard sometimes? Obviously.
Would I want any other job? Absolutely not.