Sunday, December 19, 2010

Be Careful What You Wish For

I often lament how much I wish I could be a full-time SAHM. There are lots of reasons why. I was blessed to have a mom who was able to stay home with us until we were in middle school. She took care of me when I was sick, taught me how to read before I started kindergarten (I didn't attend preschool), encouraged my imagination, redirected my energy into positive channels. I really feel like kids should be able to sleep in in the summer, play outside all day, and have the freedom to experience boredom.

That said, the decisions I've made in certain areas have required that I work full-time. I've made peace with that, for the most part, even though my feelings about it haven't changed. I have friends who say they could never stay home with their kids all day; it would make them crazy. I could never understand that. I get that you need a break. I get that you need adult interaction from time to time, and I can see how maybe a part-time job, mother's day out or volunteering would be something I'd want to be involved in if I was a SAHM. But if I were to prefer to spend 40 hours a week away from my kids, I would have to seriously wonder why I bothered to have them?

Weekends are difficult because I need to do things like laundry, shopping and cleaning, but I just want to spend time with my kids. I have let a lot of things slide around the house and tried not to feel too badly about it. For the most part, it's ok. I still have mom guilt, but my SAHM friends tell me that they have it, too - it seems to just a part of being a mom no matter what your full-time job is. It's impossible to cram a week's worth of "quality time" into a weekend though, so there are inevitable pitfalls such as overscheduling or frustration when plans don't go well or days when the kids are just whiny. It's never the perfect bonding time you hope for, but that's ok - that's real life.

But today, today was just awful. Today, for the first time, I thought maybe it's good that I'm not a SAHM; I just didn't feel like I was cut out for it. I was tired; S wet the bed in the middle of the night, so I was up with her for that, and then R woke up at 6am and wouldn't go back to bed for me; thankfully DH got up with her and got her a snack, but S heard the commotion, so I had to get her back to sleep again, too. Me being sleepy isn't all that unusual (if you'll notice, the subject with the third greatest number of labels on my blog is "sleeping"). But I was also incredibly cranky - I'm sure part of it is PMS, and part of it is PCC (Pre-Christmas Chaos). I actually made it to church today, so I would have thought I'd be in a really good mood (that's usually the effect it has on me). But S was pushing my buttons from the start - even in church.

It was like that at the grocery store, too. And when we got home for lunch. Every thing I told her, she did the opposite or ignored. I just didn't have the patience for it today. And I let my temper get the best of me 3 or 4 times. I had hoped to take a nap when the girls did and have the energy to do all I needed to do this afternoon, as well as be in a better mood. But S wouldn't nap. Nor would she do as I ask and play quietly in her room. So I did not sleep.

We had playdate dinner plans. I considered not going; DH also suggested I just skip it. But I thought maybe if I got us out of the house and around other people, I could shake off this funk. Plus, if the kids ran around and wore each other out, bedtime might be easier. Unfortunately, it was worse. S was too tired, and we were late getting home. So it was a nightmare. S threw a tantrum and woke Baby R up. I couldn't get her back to sleep. DH finally had better luck. I was so angry. I knew I was being unreasonable; S was just tired and needed extra TLC, but I couldn't give it to her. All I could think all day was maybe it's better that I'm not with them all day during the week. Awful!

So I'm heading to bed feeling spent and guilty and unproductive. Here's hoping to a better tomorrow.


The Empress said...

I'm having a day like that today. I had huge HUGE plans to get ready for xmas with baking, cleaning, etc and guess what? Up all night with 3 vomiting children and now doing laundry.

But you know what? It's OK. Because I am blessed enough to be home during the day to take care of them.

See, life is good.

Not Just Another Jennifer said...

Oh, so sorry to hear that! You're right, though - focus on the positive. Thank you!

KLZ said...

One bad day does not make you a bad mother - it makes you human! You're doing great. This is all just part of family. Let it go...because you are awesome.

Not Just Another Jennifer said...

thanks. really needed to hear that today! :)

The Iron Edge said...

i have a lot of those days... days where i don't think i could ever be a SAHM... and i feel guilty. but I KNOW i love my kids and this is what works for us.

i hope your week gets better. you are a great mom!!! put the guilt aside and enjoy your kids!

Morgan B. said...

We all have those bad days. Whether you work or stay home, being a mother is hard. I have days when I wish I had a full time job and I have days that I feel so lucky to spend every moment with my kids. I have so much respect for working mothers. They have TWO full time jobs. You are doing a great job. My mantra is, "Tomorrow is a new day."

Not Just Another Jennifer said...

Thanks, guys! Yes, keeping in mind that "tomorrow is another day" is definitely important!

Rachel said...

Those days are inevitable no matter what, my friend. I think it comes down to being a parent is just plain hard exhausting -- physically and mentally -- work. Like everyone has already told you -- thank goodness for new days!!

Thanks for popping over via blogher.

Have an awesome Christmas!


Jessica Anne said...

Oh, those days are so exhausting. And we all have them. If it was easy, it'd mean we weren't trying hard enough. Although, a momcation sounds nice too. :)

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

Hang in there, girl! Everyone has those days. I for one have them all the time. I adore being at home with my kids too, but that doesn't mean we don't have off days. Little kids get off schedule so easy and then they just go through growth spurts where they love to test you. Don't be hard on yourself! You are a great mom who loves her kids! That's what's important!

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