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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What do stay-at-home moms do all day?

The Stir writer and fellow stay-at-home mom Amy Keyishian recently wrote an article in response to an advice column she read: a childless woman was wondering what her friend could possibly be doing at home all day long that she doesn't have time for her? I had to laugh, because her day sounded a lot like mine.

Some commenters thought it "depended on the mother," with one pontificating about mothers who "plop their kids in front of the TV all day!" Yeah, whatever. I think it depends on the kid, really, because they are all different. Like I said to another bus stop mom this morning, "It's always something. And the more kids you have, the more 'somethings' it is!"

Sometimes my day starts before it's really begun, if that makes sense. Like when my youngest, a double-barrel finger sucker, is kicking and thrashing in frustration - all while completely asleep - because he's so congested he can't suck his fingers and it's making him very unhappy. Lately he's been waking about as often as a newborn, which is making my sleep pretty much impossible. Sometime after 4 a.m. I rocked and nursed him, and just held him blissfully for almost an hour, until I couldn't stay awake any longer. Then I crawled back into bed with the heating pad, got all settled, and then: my husband's alarm clock went off. Are you kidding me?! 

I'm home all day with my youngest, who is almost three, and some days are definitely more challenging than others. Okay, forget that - usually it's always challenging in some form or another. I don't know about you, but my typical day goes something like this:

1) I vacuum, for the second (or third) time that day. I'm already a freak about crumbs on the floor, but I've learned not to put the vacuum cleaner away until the graham crackers have also been put away. Likewise, don't put the sweeper away until after you've picked up the toddler from his high chair and brushed another mountain of crumbs off his butt.

2) I change a diaper... or seven. Another thing newborns and toddlers (at least mine, anyway) have in common: They freaking poop all the time. Tater Tot loves fruit, and obviously his bowels are in good working order. Again.

3) I run. There is nothing that gets you up from your seat faster than a kid running around with a full, open gallon of milk.

4) We watch TV. Yes, the TV is usually on. We're not always watching it, but when we are, we're usually discussing the finer points of Dinosaur Train or something similar.

5) I play trains. I must admit, I can create a wicked Thomas the Train layout. The other day, Tater Tot pointed to me and said, "You Emawee." (Emily) Then he said, "You say 'woo-oot!'" When I say, "I have to eat breakfast," he says, "No." Um, okay.

6) I go shopping. Because for every three items I remember to buy, there's like six I forgot. (see #2 - diapers.)

7) I try to leave the house. (again, see #2) For every kid you have, I've found that you need to add like 10-15 minutes of prep time. Because someone always has to poop or pee literally seconds before you're ready to walk out the door or a shoe/jacket/hat/glove just cannot be found.

8) I referee (usually from the shower or the toilet). Because each of my kids seems to think that once the bathroom door closes and their hear the lock click, surely this is the perfect time! to destroy something or each other.

9) I help with homework. Sometimes this is harder than all the other stuff combined, because for some reason they apparently don't do math like they used to anymore.

And then there's all that other stuff, like cooking, cleaning (is that poop on the carpet?!?), Facebooking... what do you do all day?


Diana J. said...

I actually had this conversation with a friend of mine the other day. She is unmarried, childless, and has chosen the hard-core career path (high-powered lawyer), and she said "So.... what do you DO all day?" I have to admit, I was kind of flabbergasted. Is there anything I do NOT do? Being a SAHM is seriously one of the busiest jobs out there... sad that it gets so little respect. I hear you!! :)

The Deranged Housewife said...

Sometimes I ask myself that, when I'm feeling overwhelmed and underperforming. LOL Then, I realize, I've done plenty if kid-corralling counts. I should have added, in addition to running I also wrangle children who do *not* want to be changed. Speaking of which, guess who needs a diaper change? Gah.

Autumn said...

I hear ya! Although I don't have the toddler (and therefore the diapers) anymore....

What the hell is lattice math?

Is this the teachers new way to make sure it's the KIDS doing the work, and not the parents?

K said...

Watch Dr. Oz and eat ice cream. Isn't that what we *all*do?
I never get the "what do you do all day?" I have 9 children, 8 still at home, homeschool the 6 that are school ages and am expecting a baby in 4-8 weeks. That census is sufficient enough that no one questions that I have enough
It seems that it is either what do you do all day or how do I wonder what is.the "perfect" number of children for a sahm to create enough work but.not too.much :eyeroll:

The Deranged Housewife said...

I hate it when I'm helping my kids with homework and then the paper comes back and answers are wrong. For some reason, it leaves quite a bit up to interpretation. LOL Like the day I helped my kindergartner with letter sound recognition based on pictures - I said, "That's a car, it doesn't end in P." Well, no - the picture was apparently a *jeep*, not a car. Are you freaking serious?!