I am a stay-at-home mom. A SAHM, for those of you familiar with the acronym. I have 3 children, ages 6 (SchoolGirl), 3 (ToddlerGirl), and 3 weeks (BabyBoy). My day is not all soap operas and bon-bons. I hate soap operas, and I’m not big on bon-bons either. Unless Nick Jr. counts as a soap opera. It is the channel most watched in my house. I do not prop my feet up and veg out all day. Even on my most non-productive days, I am busy from the time I wake up until the time my head hits the pillow at night.
Most days, I am up by 7am. My alarm is set for 6:45am, but I often hit the snooze button. Just once though. Once I am up, my newborn is starting to wake up again. I feed him, change his diaper, and by this time it is 7:30. I lay him back down for a brief moment while I wake up my daughters. I feed them breakfast, pack SchoolGirl her lunch if she’s packing, or pack her snack if she’s buying lunch at school. I go over her homework with her again, or if the previous night’s routine left us with no time to do it, we do her homework. I get the girls dressed, and by this time my son is crying to be held. I pick him up and hold him for a few moments, then the girls get their shoes on, I help them with their coats, and we’re out the door. By this time it’s 8:40. I drop our SchoolGirl off at school, then ToddlerGirl, BabyBoy, and I go home, where, if my son is sleeping, ToddlerGirl and I have learning time for about an hour…two hours if the baby lets us.
Then it’s time to tend to BabyBoy, who is by now, wide awake. ToddlerGirl and I tend to BabyBoy, and about 1 1/2 hours later he’s ready for another nap. During this nap I try to vacuum if ToddlerGirl is being low-maintenance, and if I am cooking dinner that night I try to plot out what I am making. I also try to not amputate the side of my fingertip on the veggie slicer like I did two nights ago, but that is a tale for another entry. Should I fail and cut off an appendage, I attempt to staunch the bleeding for an hour before giving up and stacking massive amounts of gauze on it. Did I mention that I’m fairly new to being a SAHM of 3? I had the thing with two kids down pretty good, and then I go and have another baby…silly me!
Should I not decide to season my meal with human zest, I finish prepping dinner and throw a load of laundry in. If my sink is full, I try to throw in the dishes first, because I cannot run the washer and the dishwasher at the same time or my bathroom turns into Lake Wench. There are days I would gladly trade my vacuum for a stack of TPS reports.
By this time it’s normally time to pick up SchoolGirl from the bus stop. We come home and I let the girls play for a little bit. Mr. Wench comes home about 15 minutes after we get home from the bus stop, and I try to make the time to talk to him about his day. If I haven’t made dinner, we discuss where we’re getting dinner from. This discussion usually takes five days. Just kidding, but it takes about an hour.
We eat dinner, and if it’s the girls’ bath night, I get them in the tub and tend to BabyBoy while they play a little bit. After the bath, once I’ve gotten BabyBoy down, it’s snack time, and homework time. By 8:30pm the girls are in bed, and the rest of the evening is relatively calm from there. BabyBoy wakes up around 10pm, and is back down by 11:30, at which time I try to go to bed. Thankfully he seems to be getting a schedule, last night he woke up at 1am, was back down by 2:45, then woke up again at 5 and was asleep again by 5:30am. During the night I try to grab sleep where I can, sometimes Mr. Wench will tend to BabyBoy until he (Mr. Wench) goes to bed, so I can go to bed early to rest up for the night shift.
Most SAHMs I know have this routine down. I don’t. Not yet. But I will, in time. Their homes are neat and uncluttered. Mine isn’t. They have dinner on every night and manage to get the various aspects of the meal to be done cooking at the same time as the rest of the meal…not me, not yet. They somehow manage to wrangle all the children to bed at a godly hour with a neat and tidy room. Not me. Not yet. I’m getting there.
I don’t always have dinner ready in a timely fashion, the house isn’t always neat, but I am adjusting and trying, and day by day I get more into the swing of things, and get a little more accomplished each day. It’s a learning process. I don’t have many friends close by who don’t work, so the majority of my conversation over the course of a day is with ToddlerGirl…You know you need some grownups in your day when you say to your toddler (who says she does not have a peanut-butter cup problem) “Denial is the first sign of a problem, my dear.”
But men, take note…if your partner stays home with the children while you work, keep the “I work and you don’t” type comments to a minimum. Your partner DOES work. And it is a tiring, underappreciated job that no one gets paid for monetarily. Mr. Wench works hard to provide for our children and me, and I am forever grateful and appreciative of that…but I hope he realizes that while I may not have as rough a job as him, my job is still tiring, demanding, and neverending, and it is very rewarding most days…
…but there are some days I want to look at him and say “You change the diapers this week. I’m going to go in to work for you.”