You know, as a little girl most of us dream about getting married, having kids, and staying in our beautiful home raising our children. Well let me just tell you how that dream of staying home actually pans out. It’s more like an uncontrollable nightmare! It’s not a good, fluffy fairytale where the beautiful bride has dinner ready and the children are waiting so sweetly by her side when Dad comes home from a long day at work. At least not in our house.
The transition from working full time to staying at home is not what it may seem. It’s actually more than a job staying at home; it’s a full-time, 24-hour, feel-like-a-slave-to-your-children-and-home, type of job. It’s chaos while trying to do life. So let me just take you through a typical GOOD day with three children all under the age 6.
Some days the alarm clock doesn’t ever ring. Instead it’s that feeling that someone is looking at you as you roll over to see a child’s head, crusty nose, and morning breath just right in your face beside your pillow as you jolt awake. Some mornings you hear the footsteps coming down the hall before the sun comes up. Other days you realize you “snoozed” too many times, missed your morning workout, and need to leave to take the kids to school in 15 minutes, so you jump out of bed and run down the hall to wake up the little monsters. And it is always the Saturday mornings that they never sleep in and they jump up ready to go.
You try to grab a quick coffee, make their lunches, and beg them to brush their own teeth and wipe their own bottoms only to realize that the more you rush them, the slower they move. There are always bound to be tears and even if you have prepared everything the night before, rarely is anyone smiling once you get them all buckled in the car and pull out of the driveway. And if they are the ages where they are starting to pick out their own clothes, well you can add about 20 more minutes to your morning routine. This time is now necessary for trying to reason with them as to why the floral pink top doesn’t match the green striped pants.
Off to school drop-off and, if you are having a good day, you managed to dress up in more than a t-shirt and capris or yoga pants. Many times I will try to sneak in the car with my pajamas pants, knowing I’m returning back home to nurse a baby and clean the house. Why actually get dressed for the car ride to the carpool line? But it never fails, the days you try to sneak by in the pajama pants are the days your child asks you to get out of the car and give them a hug or open the back door for them so they can ride through carpool in your lap.
You return back home, get the baby out of the car and try to maybe put a load of laundry in, feed the baby, and maybe return a phone call to a friend that you haven’t been able to connect with in a while because she has three kids all different ages than yours and a crazy schedule as well. Or you make that call to schedule an eye appointment or to finally finish your wedding photo album, in which you have been working on for 7 years – HA!
Crap – you look up and it’s 2:00 and you realize you haven’t had anything to eat. You look in the fridge, smell something awful, so now you are sidetracked to search for what is slowly making the house smell like a garbage dump. And if it’s 2:00, you now have only 15 minutes to load the baby back up and get back to pick your kids up from pre-school and mother’s day out. Never failing, just as soon as you snap that last strap on the car seat, you hear the oh so dreadful “blow out” noise from your infant’s rear end. This means take the baby out of the infant carrier, change his diaper again, change his clothes again and pray the car seat wasn’t painted yellowish brown with poop. At this point God is smiling and remembering that prayer you made to Him asking for patience when baby number 1 was in the terrible twos – “Lord please give me more patience so I won’t be so quick to yell at my toddler!”
After finally picking up the kids from school and returning home, all while settling arguments in the car ride home, you have no energy to do anything else on your ever-growing to do list. Five minutes into their afternoon cartoons, the kids each want a different snack, most likely because they didn’t eat the lunch you prepared for them the night before.
Once you finally settle in on the couch and feed the baby again, all hell breaks loose in the back bedroom, but you are stuck with the baby latched on. One kid finally emerges in tears, tattling on the other. Once that fire is put out, they return to whatever activity they are doing, which inevitably involves getting out every toy and stuffed animal in their rooms.
Your phone rings; it’s your husband asking if you need anything on the way home. Yes, I need to leave this home! You then realize you and your newborn have been asleep on the couch for anywhere from 10 minutes to 3 hours – no one really knows – and you hope and pray that the other kids have not destroyed the rest of the house you were going to clean before all of the above happened.
Oh crap, what’s for dinner? Order pizza. Beg kids to eat 20 thousand times. Convince husband to bathe the kids so you can have 10 mins alone to take a breath before the bedtime routine starts. Help husband get teeth brushed, say prayers, and convince the kids it’s dark outside. Repeat putting them back in bed several times. Reassure there are no monsters under the bed. Finally they stay in their rooms and you can brush your own teeth, maybe for what may be the first time today! Say your own silent prayers at bedtime that you might want your working job back, just to have a break from your kids when you go to the office. Then do it all again tomorrow.
This, my friends, was a good stay-at-home day…and as I start to learn more about what really being a stay-at-home mom looks like, I wouldn’t trade the chaos for anything, as long as my Keurig is working!