Sometimes I feel guilty about staying home. Like when I’m holding hands with our little boy and taking our dog for a walk in the middle of a sunny, beautiful day. Or, when I’m lucky enough to get a short cat nap with him; hearing his sweet little snores and feeling his tiny hand on my shoulder. Or, when enjoying a spontaneous lunch out at a restaurant, watching his happy face as he stuffs french fries into his mouth and does a little dance in his seat (lately he has been profoundly sticking out his butt, wiggling it and saying “Look at my booooooty. Boooooty!” He reminds me of Jim Carrey “putting out the vibe” at the bar in Dumb and Dumber. Regardless, we are working on these random butt displays).
Because I’m a stay-at-home mommy, I can do all these things and more…and when things are going well, it’s amazing! And, when days are not going so well, I just try to stay afloat and not lose it. I let my mind drift to thoughts of me being on a gorgeous tropical island with a handy (hunky), friendly personal assistant named Fabio to keep me company and bring me yummy food and drinks.
Anyway, enough with my digressions. I feel guilty at times because while I am enjoying these sweet moments, my husband, an insurance claims supervisor, is stuck inside his office often dealing with difficult, irrational people; like those who demand 5 million dollars because their car was dented and they had a headache for a couple of hours.
My hubby works so hard to provide for us. He enjoys his job. He has always declared to me, quite confidently, that he would never want to be a stay-at-home dad; yet, he praises me and gives me credit for the ups and downs I endure as a stay-at-home mommy.
But, deep down, I am pretty sure he must feel a twinge of jealousy? Just a slight, itty bitty inkling of resentment that he can’t do all these things with our son every day, too?
He sometimes utters passive-aggressive comments, like, “Wow, so you guys went out to lunch again, huh?”
Or, “It must have been nice to get a nap today.”
To which I always smile really big and declare, “Absolutely!”
I sometimes have to remind my husband how our son is still stuffing crayons down my cleavage at church, or how he sometimes likes to pee for distance instead of into the potty. Or, how he wants me to carry his 40-pound body everywhere. (“Hold me, mommy. Hold meeeeeeee!”) And by the way, I ask him, how was it going to the bathroom in private at work today? Or enjoying adult conversations? Or having time to think without being tugged at or yelled at?
Hubby catches my drift, then we hug and give each other head noogies and it’s all good. Easy peasy lemon squeezie.
But seriously, the bottom line, regardless of our jobs/roles, is that we are both blessed with our beautiful boy, who sometimes makes me cry in a corner and want to drive three thousand miles away, but most of the time who captivates my attention, makes me proud and keeps me on my toes. Watching him experience life, and to revel in the littlest of details (which end up being so big at the time), fills my heart. I don’t get to miss out on anything! That can be so good…and once in a while, sooooooo bad.
So, as much as I do feel some guilt here and there in terms of the amazing opportunity I have to be with my son all the time, guide him and watch him grow up, that guilt is also replaced with a reassuring feeling that I am earning these sweet moments, just like an employee earns bonuses or accolades in the workplace. I get all that comes with the SAHM territory; it’s a blend of fun, stress, chaos and love.
Not complaining, but let’s be real (and my hubby would agree based on the times he had our son while I was away for errands or my part-time jobs): Stay-at-home parents truly get loads of the good, the bad and the downright daunting…fits, snots, poop, picky eating, more poop, talking back, biting, hitting, yelling, total destruction of the living room, play room and every other room for that matter, excessively and unnecessarily long grocery shopping visits, nap-resistance, bedtime resistance, bath time adventures, repeating instructions and (whew!) even more tumultuous tantrums.
Just recently my son started sucking on my cheeks. Yes, that’s right. Sucking on my cheeks. As I’m trying to eat. Or as I’m trying to pee. And not just in our house, but out in public, even as I’m trying to talk to people. He just latches on, starts sucking, and giggles uncontrollably as I try to extract him from my face.
And last week he had a mega meltdown, crying and screaming, and then purposefully peed himself. Why (as if there is always a rational reason for toddler terror)? Because he didn’t like the Fruit Roll-up I gave him, and he wanted a new one. Um, hello? They are ALL the same. I was definitely experiencing life at a rate of multiple wtf’s per hour that day.
And I cannot stand being late, but we are definitely operating on toddler time some days, which results in inevitable delays. There is no urgency or attention to my schedule because in toddler land, it’s all about him.
“But I need two more minutes to play, mommy! TWO MORE MINUTES!”
We were late to preschool recently because at the exact time we were supposed to leave, he asked for bacon. He had a complete fantastico fizzle fest over BACON. I mean, YAY, bacon! But booooooo to a crazed toddler fit.
Yet, to me, despite the challenges and nightmare moments, being a stay-at-home mom entails embracing all these twists and turns, even if there is some possible slight cringing or wine drinking that ultimately ensues.
ALL of the awful, stressful and pooperiffic potty training moments. ALL the public meltdowns. ALL the times of getting terrible sleep. The TOTAL lack of privacy.
It’s all part of being a parent, whether working or SAHM.
And one day, I know I will look back and miss it all.
(Except for maybe the outrageously stressful potty training phase. Thank goodness for Thomas the Train undies finally catapulting us into a diaper-free home and restoring some sanity into our lives!)