Thursday, September 1, 2011

Stay At Home Momma Blues

 Conversation of the day:

"Do you work?" - Random woman at the library

"Not outside of the home.  Busy raising my daughter these days." - Me, with Grace in one arm and a pile of books in the other, attempting to balance Grace's sippy cup under my chin. 

"Wow.   So you don't work, work? - Appalled woman who was cruisin' for a bruisin'. 

This conversation was quickly terminated, but her judgmental tone stung for a while.  This isn't the first time I've gotten this reaction.  People can't believe that someone could spend their time (every last second of it) JUST raising their children.  Usually I write this type of exchange off as ignorance, but this one prompted me to write a short and sweet expos√© on my lack of 'real' work. 

My day starts early.  I am beckoned with the clamorous shrieking of a dire toddler who is seriously pissed.  After rescuing said child from her version on Guantanamo Bay, we are ready to start our day.  No luxurious cup of coffee or shower permitted; on to more important things.  Grace is thirsty but refuses to drink without some serious coaxing.  After 45 minutes of soothing and cuddling, Grace has finally recovered from her stint in the clink (aka - her crib).  Grace lays down on the floor in a pile of blankets and I'm finally able to pull my hair back and begin to prepare breakfast.  

Grace is a very "regular" little girl.  After Grace has had her first bottle and her breakfast, Grace produces the first of multiple shit-tastrophes for the day.  Of course I don't realize I'm out of wipes until I've got Grace undressed and by then its too late.  She's made a run for it and is just about to plant her poopy bottom on our white couch.  Just another day in paradise, right? 

With a freshly bathed bottom and much needed cup of coffee, we're off to the store to pick up some essentials.  I navigate the aisles with urgency, knowing I only have a few short moments of Grace's patient sitting.  By the third aisle, Grace has taken to reaching. I must stay in the very middle of the aisle so as to prevent Grace from grabbing EVERYTHING.   The remainder of the trip is filled with deafening cries that could only come from the child of a horribly fit mother.  As we reach the checkout, a mere 20 minutes after our arrival,  I cave.  I allow Grace to play with my bottle of Diet Coke whilst I struggle with the U-Scan.  Seconds later, Grace launches said Coke bottle directly at the ground and the bottle explodes creating a Diet Coke slick and a panic amongst other patrons.  

I briefly consider putting Grace up for sale on eBay but ultimately decide against it.

Lunch time comes and goes fairly peacefully and after a brief nap and a second shit-tastrophe, it is time for dinner.

We have chicken, pasta, bananas and an extra special taste of caramel ice cream brought over by Grandma H, for dessert.  Everybody is smiling and things are going well.  I bring my bedroom comforter into the living room, hoping for some cuddle time with my little girl and a relaxing end to our evening.  Grace runs around the living room at speeds rarely seen from a toddler.  Her little legs resemble those of an ostrich; moving too quickly for their body.  I briefly wonder if ice cream was a bad choice. Moments after Grace's sugar high commences, Grace plops down on the blanket and spews, exorcist style

A load of laundry and a bath later, we are finally ready for bed.  Grace prefers nudity to clothing, thus pajama time is a constant struggle.  After wrangling the wild child long enough to slip a shirt on, I turn her lullabies on and lay her in bed. At last, there is peace.   No crying, no falling, no running and no biting, I can finally take a moment to relax.  Then I hear it.  Grunting.  I pray that she'll settle her self back down and fall asleep, but know better.  I tip toe into her room and through the darkness I see it.  Grace stands at full attention with a grin from ear to ear.  My eyes strain in the darkness, hesitant to believe what I'm seeing. As I flick on the light, I realize Grace has delighted me with her third poop of the day and with said poop has created a crib sized mural a la' Jackson Pollock, for her Mom's enjoyment.  

Around 1 am, Grace sleeps.  The apartment smells of shit with just a hint of vomit and there are toys scattered everywhere.  Without a single clean dish in the house and laundry as far as the eye can see, I collapse to the couch and try to catch my breath. 

Around this time of night, when Grace is finally tucked in and sleeping peacefully, I allow myself  20 minutes (sometimes more) of  "poor me" time.  I think that if I'm forced to change the diaper of a struggling toddler one more time, I may die.  I fantasize about the days when I was able to wake up relaxed, shower and have breakfast, and then go work an 8-10 hour day, only to come home and relax.

This period of self pity doesn't last long, as I've still got much work to do before I can rest.  I remind myself often of how important the job I'm doing is, and how fondly I'll look back at these days - happy that I didn't miss anything.   I'm still working on convincing myself that poopy diapers are an adequate salary.

Not to worry though, there is a silver lining.  Tomorrow I'll wake up and do it all again.  I'll pray that the day goes as smoothly as the day before; free of any accidents or injuries.  I will mix bottles, change diapers, prepare meals, and try my best to keep Grace entertained and out of trouble. I won't make money or meet important deadlines and  I won't deal with customers or be 'business casual', but I will be working hard at the most important job I'll ever have.  
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  1. we were just talking about this yesterday. i'm taking 15 credits this semester, and like...especially when you're a little older and returning to school (and when you have children), going to school full time isn't a "job." you're expected to have a real job, too. same with raising children. staying at home with your children isn't a "job," so society tells us.

    what the eff?

    it absolutely is a job
    and besides, the money you'd spend on childcare so that you both could work would eat up your entire paycheck. i can't believe someone would even ASK you about your working situation. did she have children too?
    whateves. i'm glad you posted this. it is a hard job, and you do it well. i'm proud of you, mama.

  2. Thanks Chels. She was with her little girl, whom she payed no attention, and was insulting me whilst she fiddled with her blackberry. People are crazy!

    Good luck with school!!



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