I'm not saying that I'm not grateful for the opportunity to be home with Case. I am very thankful that Keith works hard so I can be here with him. I'm not saying that moms who work outside the home aren't working just as hard. I know that they are. They get up, get ready for work, get their child ready for a sitter or daycare, work all day, come home tired, have to tend to dinner and laundry, and try to spend a little time with their kid before they all crash in bed. I am just saying, don't ever assume that being a mom of any type is fun and easy, and don't assume that because I stay at home I've got it made in the shade.
If you think I am lazy and don't want to work, here's a glimpse of our day. I got up and went to the bathroom by myself for once because Case was still asleep. I went and made myself a cup of coffee while I picked up toys in the kitchen and living room. I loaded the dishwasher, threw away trash, wiped down the counters, went upstairs to get Case because he woke up and was crying. I changed his pee soaked clothes and pull-up because an unnamed person gave him an adult sized fruit punch from Long John Silvers at 7PM last night. Fixed him some milk, a banana and some yogurt mixed with a probiotic. I opened the windows, went upstairs to get Lightning and his potty, put stuff in the garage, piled dirty laundry up by the stairs to take up on my next trip. I chased Steiny and closed the back gate that was open for unknown reasons. I cleaned Case up from breakfast and opened his markers. I got out the ground beef to thaw f,or dinner, washed dishes in the sink, stopped to clean marker off the floor and cabinet.
Went upstairs to get dirty dishes to wash while the sink had hot water in it, put a movie in for Case, took more stuff to the pile to go upstairs. I moved the dining room chairs and swept the kitchen and dining room even though I swept and mopped on Tuesday, swept again on Wednesday and it's now Thursday.
I talked to myself, cleaned the junk off the table, got out more paper towels, stopped to give Case a mini-lesson on open/close, please/thank you and not screaming when you don't get what you want. I made sugar water for Case's hummingbird feeder,stopped to console Case when he pinched his fingers in the fence, took markers away from Case, cleaned marker off fence and chair, stopped to talk to Case about shapes and remove him from standing in plastic chair on the tile, went through last week's mail (still haven't gotten this weeks), went through the coupons, more discussion about open and close. Had to go remove Case from plastic chair again, cleaned stuff off what I thought was the last counter, wiped it down, poured the sugar water in the hummingbird feeder finally, stopped to look at the Garden Center ad with Case, gave him goldfish because he was hanging on me wheile I tried to put away the dishes I washed, started the dishwasher, cleaned up the junk by the fish tank, killed a spider, emptied the fish tank, took it to the garage, picked up the shoes Case brought in while I took out the fish tank. Then I stopped everything because Case fell and busted his lip on the tile while chasing Steiny, cleaned up blood and wet clothes, fixed him some milk, stopped to hold him and talk about the stuff on the frig, went to bathroom with my shadow, cleaned the counter where the fish tank was, punished Case for screaming about not getting his way, warmed up his lunch. Then I had to stop and punish him for throwing his toys on the floor because his food wasn't ready fast enough, put his food on the plate to cool, fixed him some more milk, put him in his chair, find crayon all over the floor.Finally sit down with my lunch (not sure when I warmed it up)to watch the news. Only sat long enough to get my food down because he was throwing beans on the floor and climbing out of his chair. Clean him up and then talk to him about the crayon all over the floor. had to spank him (pop his butt) for kicking the dog, sit in the floor with Magic Eraser and scrub up the crayon, pop him again for throwing his Tag reader at the door, make him go pick it up, disinfect the sink after pouring fish water in it, took Tag reader away because he threw it again, washed more dishes, turned off the fuzzy stereo he turned on and scared him self to death, became hysterical and tried to climb me. Then Steiny went barreling out the dog door. Went to see what was going on. The back gate was open again, trash everywhere and Steiny is up the street going after a moma pit pull who was unattended. Managed to get him back home while Case was screaming in the backyard, left the trash, put the dog in and locked dog door since the gate keeps opening itself, took Case out fron to look for mauled cats, he started calling for his dad and threw a fit when we came back in and put the garage down. I sat down because I was exhausted, we looked at book. Then he threw a fit because he couldn't get his sock off. I got up and moved some stuff on the counter and picked up the crayons that were somehow back on the floor. Decided it was time to go upstairs for awhile. I picked up the laundry, sorted it, started it, sprayed all of Case's clothes with stain remover while he played. Took all of his toys out of our room and moved them back to his, cleaned off the entertainment center, stripped our bed he peed on, turned on Wubbzy for him, gathered more trash, stopped to rest (write this while he went to sleep), started a grocery list, switched the laundry, and then came downstairs, let the dogs out, took some tylenol and ate some pudding all before 3:30.
If you think I can do whatever I want whenever I want let me tell you a little about that. Yes, technically if I need to go to the grocery store we can just get up and go, but in reality by the time I get Case dressed and ready (I usually go with a pony tail, no make-up, a t-shirt and stretchy pants because I'm too tired to do anymore) and get him loaded in the car with some snacks and a drink, I am worn out. Then we get to the store, I unhook all those darn hooks on the carseat, put him in the shopping cart, he rides about 5 minutes before he starts screaming and trying to climb out. I try to distract him with something, 5 minutes later he's trying to get out again, I consider popping him on the leg because he needs to straighten up but look around at the 10 people staring at me and my out of control child and think "Which of the 10 think I should bust his bottom and how many of the 10 are just waiting to pull out their phone to call CPS because I 'spanked' him?" So instead of popping his leg and making him sit down like my good sense tells me to, I take him out of the cart and attempt to let him walk holding on to the cart. Not 5 or 10 minutes later he's bored with that and contemplating another tantrum. So this just goes on and on about every 10 minutes, meanwhile I am trying to read my list, collect the things we need while still looking for the best prices. When we've both just about had all we can take of that we get to the check-out where every lane has at least a 10 minute wait. He's wailing and people are looking at me either sympathetically or glaringly. I'm exhausted and ready to sit in the floor with him but we still have to pay (still have to get up to the cashier first), load our stuff in the car, load him in that carseat with the five zillion buckles while he screams bloody murder because he wants to drive rather than ride, make the 5 minute trip home to unhook those freaking buckles, and corral him while I unload. Or I could leave him buckled in screaming like a banshee for all the neighbors to hear while I unload. Generally the better option because at least I know he's contained somewhere safe. After that ordeal all I want to do is collapse (remember I am 4 months pregnant) and not fix our lunch.
What if you were thinking that a shopping trip is never fun and that surely I can do other fun things and it not be a problem? Well, let's see. I tried to go to MOPS which I dearly loved but he screamed like a maniac and got kicked out of his first class. He moved to another class and did better, but then we had some unavoidable circumstances where he had to miss a few weeks. I took him to church to the nursery in preparation for his next visit to MOPS and he cried and screamed. They didn't page me to come get him but I know the teacher wanted to. Then he started screaming before we even got in the building when we'd go to church. Finally I gave up. It's stressful when your child is the one that screams and all the teachers dread. I don't know how to make him quit. I've tried to the best of my ability. He freaks out at home when one of us walks out the door. He'll even freak out when someone he doesn't even want walks out the door. I know. I know. It's just a phase. We've been in this phase for a LONG time and it's just getting worse. We even sent him with his Grandma for several days. I thought he'd come back a little less attached. I think he's more attached. Are you thinking maybe he's crazy? See later paragraph.
Maybe you thought I could do something relaxing with him...well we get tired of being cooped up in the house so we like going outside. Right now our backyard is a mud pit so we have been working on that. I gave in to playing in the mud pit yesterday since we got our broken windows fixed but an airplane flew over and he freaked. I'm talking mass hysteria. Climbing up up my body. The more I try to pry him off the more he freaks out. Finally just sat down with him and and his mud drenched clothes until he chilled out. Airplane flew over again and he did the same thing. Are you thinking he has a problem? Don't worry- it's crossed my mind. I could take him to the pediatrician, but for $25 Ialready know what's she's going to say. "It's just a phase." Or another of my favorites- "It's behavioral and you are enabling that behavior."
We could play in the front but then you have to watch out for weirdos and keep him out of the street and you still have the problem of airplanes. We could go walk around Home Depot or The Garden Center and get some things we need to finish the backyard so that the next time he climbs me at least he isn't muddy but that's basically like the "going to Wal-Mart" experience.
Maybe I could just leave him with Keith and hang out with my friends. No, that doesn't really work either. Since I'm not working anymore, I haven't kept up with my work friends. They're all busy with their own families or they don't have kids and can do non-kid activities. I could go do non-kid activities if I had Keith baby-sit but in reality I don't have much in common with my non-kid friends because I spend 12 hours (sometimes more) a day talking to an almost 2 year old who doesn't respond much. My day is consumed with bodily functions, eating and putting out figurative fires. My best friend is in Dallas. My mom is 6 hours away. My mother-in-law is about 5 hours away. I tried to make friends at MOPS/church with other mom's but obviously Case was not a big fan of that. Hmmm... I'm at a loss. Occasionally someone comes to visit that I can go out with or it's someone we can leave Case with without him freaking out and I can go out with Keith. By occasionally, I mean a few times a year. Granted we do live 5 or 6 hours away from our family and don't have easy access to baby-sitters. If you are close to family or have reliable baby-sitters you are fortunate.
If you think that I watch soap operas and play on the computer all day you are mostly wrong. I often have soap operas on in the background if Case isn't watching Nick Jr., because I need to hear some adult conversation. Granted it's generally ignorant conversation but at least it's some conversation. Am I frequently checking my email and Facebook? Yes I am. Am I addicted? No. Again, I spend most of my waking hours with an almost 2 year old. We have no contact with the outside world. See the above paragraphs on MOPS and hanging out with friends. So I go on Facebook to connect with the outside world. Sometimes I read what other parents are going through and it makes me laugh. Sometimes I offer advice. Sometimes I go on just to chat with my mom because we're both too tired to talk on the phone or we can't talk over Case's squealing and screaming. Sometimes I go on and vent. One piece of advice though...if you don't want people in your business don't put it out there. People like to be in people's business.
I'm sure after people read this they'll be in my business. Am I complaining about my life as a stay at home mom? No. Am I thankful every day that I can be at home with Case? Yes. Does he make me crazy some days? Yes. Is he bad all the time? No he really isn't. For the most part, aside from the recent crazy airplane and fly phobia, I think he's a pretty typical 21 month old. Does that make it any easier to get through the day? No, not really. Along with his craziness, he's very smart and he's VERY busy. Although, we're about as baby proofed as you can be, he always has bruises. He's always into something I haven't thought of. He is always climbing something, emptying something, filling something, taking apart something... he goes non-stop and I have to be on my toes non-stop. If I put things where I think he can't get them, he will. If I think it's something he wouldn't mess with, he does. If I don't think of it, he will.
So all I am really saying is don't think I've got an easy job. I don't. No mom does. It's 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Even when he's asleep, I'm working either physically or mentally. He's been pulling his ears for 6 weeks. Do I need to take him back to the ENT? Well the ENT isn't going to give him meds and he doesn't have fever. Should I put him in Mother's Day Out to force him to get over this attachment issue? What if he has a brain tumor and that's why he acts crazy? He hit his head. Does he have a concussion? What if he turns out to be a brat because I don't make him stay in the nursery? Do I pop him on the leg too often because Keith won't. How do I make him quit throwing tantrums without popping him on the leg or bottom? Should I let him just throw fits when he doesn't get his way or will that prolong the tantrum throwing? What if everyone thinks I am a terrible parent because I am not doing it like they think I should or because he acts like a banshee? Afterall, being his mom is my job so if he acts like a heathen, isn't that a reflection of how I'm doing my job? Those are just a few of the things that go through my head on a regular basis. Stressful? A little.
Parenting- Not to be taken lightly. All of this and he's not even two. I know there are worse days ahead. Talking back. Being a teenager. Doing things that will break my heart and disappoint me. I know they are coming. I did my fair share of all of those things. All I can do now is my best and pray that he turns out ok. Sometimes, despite how you raise them, they don't turn out the way you want and you love them through it even though it hurts. That's what being a parent is about. It's wonderful but it also hurts. It's probably the hardest job you will ever do. Think about it before you consider it or before you judge someone because of their kid's behavior.
P.S. You don't get paid to be a parent. You don't get a raise. Sometimes you don't even get Mother's Day gift. And sometimes your child doesn't like you. And if you think you want a baby so someone will love you unconditionally, don't count on it.