Week one of being a Stay-At-Home Mom has come to an end. While I did stay home for 12 weeks on maternity leave, I knew it was just temporary (we decided before I had Lucas that I would be staying home) and I counted every day that brought me closer to going back to work. I made the most of my days and my time with my new little miracle. But now, there is no expiration date on my time here. So, after two days of digging myself out of the disaster my house had become during my brief time back at work, I settled comfortably into “lazy couch potato” status. While I might have been able to do this when I was on maternity leave, when the baby slept most of the day and could be left on a blanket in the living room floor while I ate breakfast and watch the Today Show, I now have a “crawler.” Not only that but a “cruiser” which has quite rapidly turned into a “bruiser.” I am honestly beginning to worry that with every tumble to the ground and thud I hear of his head hitting the hardwood floor, the more brain cells are escaping his brain and we can’t have that (because my son is going to be a doctor, of course!).
But nevertheless, our time at home has already been full of excitement. First day home – Monday morning. (Who said the dreaded Monday morning curse can’t strike those of us at home too?!) He had spent the whole night awake (we had a very busy weekend and he was quite restless) and when he doesn’t sleep well, he wakes up EARLY! So, here comes 6 a.m. and my child is standing in the crib, looking at the monitor, waiting for me to come and rescue him. I sat him in the floor at my feet and began fixing his bottle, while chasing him from one side of the kitchen to the other. First, he stood himself up at the stove and was making his way to the kitchen drawers (which had not been baby-proofed yet). Next, on to his favorite activity…playing in the dog’s water bowl. He proceeded to turn the bowl completely over and soak my kitchen floor and himself, which scared him. So, I pick up this crying child, soaking wet from his belly down, his cereal and bottle and head for the living room. (He likes to watch VeggieTales while he eats. 🙂 ) I sit down on the couch and place the not-yet-mixed cereal down on one side and the baby on the other side with my arm around him. The next 15 seconds are a complete blur – I am still not quite sure what happened or how. First, the cereal ends up falling off the couch and is being licked up by an anxiously awaiting dog. As I reach for the cereal bowl, arm still around my son, he lunges for the high chair. He falls head first, hitting the high chair and then the ground with his forehead. He only cried for a few minutes, but almost a week later, still has a bruised knot on his forehead and a scratch on the side of his head.
Day One: Failure
Day Two started at 1:30 a.m. I had stayed up late to shower and do some laundry (because, yeah right, when would I have time to take 5 minutes of my day to shower?!?), so I had not been asleep long when little man woke up. As soon as I walked into the room, I could hear him breathing through an incredibly stuffy nose. Sick again. Great. I picked him up and pulled his paci out of his mouth. (He hasn’t quite figured out that he can breath though his mouth when he can’t though his nose.) Between the hours of 2 and 4, I cleaned out his nose (not so fun for either of us) and tried to put him back to sleep IN HIS CRIB multiple times. We ending up sitting on the couch, watching Gilmore Girls until we both fell asleep. That’s the way daddy found us when he got up at 6. Thankfully, I was able to put him back in his crib then and sleep until about 8:30. However, the day did turn out pretty good – a lot of wiping noses and cuddling.
Day Two: Not a Totally Failure
The proceeding days were not too exciting but something different everyday…which also usually brought a new scratch or bruise. And while, sometimes, I feel kind of like a zombie wandering from room to room, I know I have made the right choice. Because when my son falls down and begins to cry, I can be there to kiss his boo-boo and hold him until the sniffling subsides. When he learns something new, I can see it firsthand instead of hearing about it from someone else. I want to be there for every moment I can.
Now to follow this somewhat controversial topic, I know all the feminists in the world shudder to think of a woman actually wanting to stay home, with her husband, kids and household as her job. I mean, after all, look at how far women have come and how much has been sacrificed for us to be treated more equally with men. But here’s the thing…we are NOT men! We ARE women!
Now this is, of course, not what I meant! But it is time that we, as women, stop thinking we need to constantly prove we are no different than men. God made us to be different. So, if you want a successful career and a family, you can do it! And if you want to stay home and have an equally important job, do it! The important thing to remember is that we need to support each other, as women, with whatever decision is made. Now, I know there are some who would like to stay home but can’t and I will admit, it was a difficult decision for us to make. And it doesn’t come without sacrifices. Just know that you never have to feel bad or guilty for your decision or circumstances.
When I temporarily went back to work after maternity leave, I felt the pain of leaving my child with someone else. For the first week, I cried every night when I got home because of how little time I actually got to spend with my son. And from talking to full-time working moms, I understand the difficulties of trying to do everything and make money to pay the bills. I will share a little insight with you, though. Being a stay-at-home mom comes with its share of troubles. For me, it’s a struggle to stay motivated to get things done (I work much better under time constraints!). And you would be surprise to find that you do need a little alone time occasionally. However, the hardest part of it all is the lack of support from family, friends and worst of all, other moms. To some, they simply cannot understand how you don’t lose your mind being home all day with no one but a 9 month old who isn’t the best conversationalist. Others automatically assume you must be wealthy. My favorite response – “Must be nice. We can’t afford to do that.” Yes, I know that for many, it really isn’t an option and some situations can’t be helped, but cutting your household down to one income is a scary and sometimes, painful thing. We dropped cable and opted for cheaper options like Netflix and Hulu Plus. We don’t have a home phone, only cell phones. We try to limit our restaurant eating to once a week. I also started couponing to save on our essentials. And those are just a few…
I apologize for my rant. I spent too long feeling guilty for picking the “easier” route and worried about what other people would say. In the end, I want what is best for my child and I will do whatever it takes to give it to him. I look forward to the memories we will make and also expect the difficult days we will have. I am accepting the new path I’ve been given and intent to make the most of it!