I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for 5 years, so you’d think I’d have this figured out by now, but on any given day, it’s true.
I am simultaneously bored by my life and yet totally overwhelmed by it.
I realize this doesn’t even make sense.
Let’s start with what overwhelms me.
First, I should say that I’m a strong type-A personality. I’m highly-organized, very regimented, and being on a schedule is part of who I am. You’d think I love this.
But, the truth is: I’m overwhelmed by the amount of things I have to remember on a daily basis, in order to keep our family moving. Even just feeding everyone and getting all 5 of us where we need to be each day is a mental workout that leaves me with little brain space for anything else.
I truly don’t know how this happened, but here I am.
Here’s an example: The Morning Sprint
- 5:20am: All 3 boys wake up
- 5:30-8am: Make sure all 3 boys are fed (and repeat, usually, 3 to 4 times), teeth brushed, diapers changed, faces wipes (multiple times), kitchen cleaned up, toys picked up, bathroom wiped down for pee puddles and smeared poop on the seat, me showered, dressed (and if I’m lucky, makeup and hair done). And, usually somewhere in there, I try to snag 2 cups of coffee and switch the laundry. I also pack the lunches. This means I have to think about what day it is and who’s going to what preschool class. Sometimes it’s one kid, sometimes it’s all 3. I pack their lunches. I pack my lunch, and I pack my husband’s lunch (although I normally forget this). I make sure to leave a check if we’re getting our house cleaned (a luxury I’m grateful for), and grab any bags of returns I’ll need to make while I’m out. I make myself a water for the road, grab my cell phone, get everyone’s shoes on and load everyone in the car. And then pee again.
- 8:10am: In the car, thoughts scattered and mentally and emotionally drained.
I know we all have some version of this. The mornings are busy, there are lots of commitments and moving parts, and it’s all on you.
For me, I have a hard time reconciling that I spent almost 10 years as a TV news reporter, interviewing everyone from the governor to the state attorney general, and working under intense deadlines, and I’m now stressed by packing lunches and dressing 3 small children. Truly, it boggles my mind.
So that’s the overwhelming stuff.
Now, for the boring stuff.
Sooooooo little adult conversation during the day.
Even though I’m blessed to have many mom friends nearby, I, at most, see them for an hour or 2 a day. The rest is spent alone, with my children.
During this time, I am forced to talk A LOT. It’s mostly mind-numbing stuff, like answering questions that don’t even make sense, such as ‘why is there no Tuesday in January?’ It really is so cute the things they come up with, but trying to respond reasonably and rationally to these types of inquires leaves my brain in mush. Pair with it the constant coaching I must to do avoid catastrophic emergencies (like the baby playing with a butcher knife or the preschooler trying to turn on the stove burners, just to name a few that have happened in the last 36 hours), and I’m depleted of all rational brain power I haven’t had since 8:10am, as already explained in The Morning Sprint.
For the rest of the day, I’m stopping arguments and fights constantly. I’m really hoping some of you other moms comment on this post and tell me that you do the same, because sometimes, I feel like it’s only me. My kids really are the craziest. This is how I feel, and it can be a very lonely feeling. Even though I know, in reality, it’s not true, I sometimes find myself thinking, ‘Everyone else’s kids love each other and play peacefully together most of the time. What is wrong with mine?’ To give you an example, my kids had been playing with a babysitter for 4 straight hours yesterday afternoon (4 HOURS!), so when I got home, I turned on Grease (I know it’s totally inappropriate for their age, but they are obsessed and will actually sit to watch it, so I don’t get) so I could make dinner and they could get some down time. I KID YOU NOT, within 7 minutes, they were disinterested and had started dismantling the mini blinds wands to pretend they were lightsabers and had started hitting each other on the heads. These are the kind of things that overwhelm me, but yet are so repetitive and constant that they also leave me feeling completely bored and checked-out.
This is usually the time of day when I’m so desperate for some sort of mental stimulation that I take out my phone and start scrolling aimlessly. Facebook bores me. Instagram bores me. But I keep scrolling, looking for something interesting, something that will help me escape the sh*t show that is happening in front of me right now. I usually end up lingering on posts that show other moms leading much better lives than me (clearly, they are better… *wink*), and so I momentarily believe the social media lies and continue scrolling and feeling like I should be doing better, only putting the phone down when my husband gets home so that I can tell him of the craziness of the day, which sometimes only means a certain look that says ‘I am done with this day so please send me to the bedroom to close the door and relax for a few before the chaotic mess of dinner begins.’
As I read this post, it sounds like I’m complaining.
But, I’m really just talking about real life. About this amazing-yet-boggling paradox that is being a stay-at-home mom.
It’s the best job ever, but some days, it also totally sucks.
I’m grateful to be able to do it, but sometimes, I’m bitter about it.
There are moments that are beautiful and amazing, but a lot of the day is also stressful and tedious.
I love being a mom, but that doesn’t mean I have to love every second of every day.
Come to think of it, in the last 5 years, there’s really only thing I know for sure about being a mom:
It’s a beautiful-messy contradiction, every single day.
Does any of this resonate with you? I hope I’m not the only crazy one, so please share your thoughts in the comments section below!