I am fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with my son full time and I count my blessings. I do not know first hand how a working mother doles out her schedule between raising her children and her career, but I give major props to those who do both. I have a hard time just doing the one!
It is because I have so much respect for working parents that it really hurts me when I hear negative opinions about mommies or daddies that stay at home full time. Homemaker, housewife, full-time mom, whatever you want to call it, it is a job just like any other.
I have personally had comments made to me about having all the time in the world and other such nonsense because I do not work a 9-to-5 job. I guess as a full-time mommy all I do is sit at home eating bonbons and watching the soaps. Ummmmmm, no.
To clear up any confusion I am going to let you in on how I spend my day. So here it goes ...
I wake up every morning, get myself together and make my son something to eat. When he is all set up, I make myself something as well. We sit at the table and color, sing songs, or watch Winnie the Pooh on the computer while we eat and wake up (well while I wake up, he is already up and at 'em). Then we read three different books, of my son's choosing. This takes about an hour because he wants to read each book multiple times and sometimes another book gets thrown into the mix.
After that we get dressed, which takes another half-an-hour of chasing him down, brushing his teeth, washing his face, brushing his Harry Potter hair (Harry Potter fans will get it) and tracking down a pair of matching socks. Then we are out!
To make it to the car takes about 15 minutes. He has to walk down the steps while holding my hand, and carry a toy or two for the car ride. Then I have to whisk him away from his lawn toys and get him into the car seat. Finally, we are driving to a pre-appointed destination: library workshops, mommy and me, parks, farms, museums, carousels, construction sites, play dates, gymnastics, you name it and I have him signed up for it (for free or very low cost of course).
My time there is spent interacting with him, chasing him around, picking him up, kissing boo boos, wiping his hands, changing diapers, getting drinks, cleaning up after him, taking shoes off, putting them on and then maybe briefly sitting down for a minute.
After that I run to whatever stores I need to go to and do whatever errands need to be done, unless he is tired or cranky, then we would have to save those for later. It is impossible to get anything done with a child yelling, "No, no, no" the whole entire time.
When we get home, I get to carry both him and all the bags up my flight of stairs into the house, fight with him to put everything away and make him lunch ... then my own. After lunch he may or may not take a nap. If he does fall asleep I do get a couple brief hours to myself. Now it's time for the bonbon.
What? No? Oh, I forgot, I have to clean up, put laundry away and make time for various side projects I have going on (this blog being one of them). I may try to make some needed phone calls, maybe even go to the bathroom without setting up a reinforced entertainment filled arena, etc., but before I know it, he is up and ready to play.
I do make little projects for him to do in the afternoon -- coloring, blocks -- all themed to what I am trying to teach him at the moment. After the project we will play trains, cars, read books and shake our booty to the best kids' tunes around. This may seem like fun and games to an outsider, but the reality is, this is my job. This is what working parents pay the day care centers for: entertainment, education and safety.
I am in fact a walking talking day care center, just with one HUGE difference: My child never goes home.
Everything I do, all the activities, all the play dates and story times, parks and farms are for him. If I was just a housewife, believe me I would not willingly go to mommy and me or carousels (okay maybe the carousel). The daycare's day may end at 5 p.m., but I am on all day and all night, without the paycheck. And still I don't get time for those wonderful bonbons. Dang ...
Late afternoon I start to fix dinner, my son preoccupied with a TV show or some other thing. The time is now about 5:30 p.m. and daddy is home, so all the calm I have created has just flown out the window, as well it should.
My husband usually puts dinner on the plates and on the table, giving me a few moments to myself. Ahhh, now I have backup so my full-time shift has now become part-time.
We eat dinner, clean a bit (I am not gonna lie, dishes are NOT done), then we go for a walk or sit outside and play for an hour if the weather is nice. Then back inside for bath time. After his bath, it is time for more trains, trucks and books, then off to bed.
We sleep, wake up and repeat the next day.
So where, may I ask you, is all that free time that some people think I have? In my job there is no such thing as personal time. I do not get a lunch break, nor am I able to sneak off to get a little down time. My job is to take care of my little guy, and I take it seriously because it is a JOB. Just as important as any other one out there.
So alas, even though the benefits of my job do not include delectable bonbons, I still wouldn't trade it in for any other in the world!
I know working parents are busy, balancing everything in their lives has got to be a chore, and I have so much respect for them. The point of writing about my day is to show that slight percentage of people out there that think I am here lounging around the house every day that my time is filled to the brim just like everyone else's -- just in a different way.
Please feel free to tell me how you feel about stay at home moms, how you spend your day, or anything I may have missed!