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But what Do you DO all day?

12 Apr

Every so often, a blog post will be passed around, where someone asks a stay at home mom  of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers what they do all day.  The answer is something like 17 diaper changes, 4 changes of clothes, 2 wiped up spills, and 3 breakfasts served all before 8 am.

I will swear on a stack of Bibles that these women do speak the truth.  I know because I’ve been there, done that, blogging about it now.

Others agree as well.  They all think it is good and right and just to stay at home and be that Mom of the House while your children are physically in that house with you.  But when they hit the age of three, you start hearing it….”So…what will you do once they go to school?  Will you go back to work?  Are you planning on going back to WORK?  YOU WILL BE GOING BACK TO WORK, RIGHT?”

Heaven forbid the answer is “No.”

“But…what WILL you DO with ALL that FREE TIME?”

Free time?  FREE TIME?  Oh honey, I’ve got fifteen years of backed up laundry to sort through.  I’ve got time to finally really organize my house.  I have time in my day to go the the grocery store  -without children!  Go to the post office – without children!  Go to the doctor’s – without children!  I may even find some time to…oh…I don’t know…be social with other woman somewhere other than the sidelines of a soccer field, the folding chair outside dance class, or the school pick up line.

Before the kids were in school, I could slowly start my day, eat cereal in pj’s at 10 a.m., catch the occasional afternoon nap to make up for the fact I stayed up until 1 am to paint the dining room or clean the carpets without children underfoot.

Once the kids were in school, I had to be up by a certain time.  I had to have them on that bus or at the school doors at whatever hour they were to be there, and be back to collect them (they really like it when you pick up your child on time.)  All the appointments for the kids had to be scheduled for after school hours.  All the activities happened after school hours, plus things like band concerts, play rehearsals, and soccer games.

My day is now broken up into three sections – the morning school rush, school hours, and then 3 pm to 9 pm kid time.  My “free” time is the school hours time –  between 9 am and 2:30 pm (because Maura’s bus can arrive anytime between 2:30 and 3 pm and I must be here.  Again, they like it when you’re there to collect your kid.)

Sometimes, my days are busy – running errands, paying bills, spending three hours fighting with my computer over something.  There’s always laundry to do or a house to clean as well.  (Mental note – inspire a child of mine to invent the self-cleaning toilet.)  I’ve now added spending about an hour at the gym and two hours writing into that time period some days.

But sometimes…some days…I will do absolutely nothing.  It is divine.  Just sitting there, knitting, watching a show uninterrupted.  Bliss.  Pure bliss. Or I’ll meet a friend and have a social life over coffee or lunch.  Talk in complete sentences and not share my food.

And you know what?  After sixteen years of changing diapers, kissing booboos, sorting laundry, watching cartoons, telling one child to leave the other child alone,  feeding kids, feeding kids some more, what do you mean you’re hungry again, you just ate!, being woken up at 2 a.m. to the sounds of vomiting, spending holidays in the ER for stitches or IV meds, getting snowed on while watching soccer games, and always showing enthusiasm and interest when my child wants to explain to me the details of a Lego project, Star Wars, or One Direction (oy)…

After all that – I have earned the right to sit my backside on a sofa for an hour or so in the afternoon.  I’m on duty from 7:30 am to 9 pm, and then on-call the rest of the 24 hours.  Sometimes, a gal has to take an hour or two to recharge and gird her loins before the kids come busting through the door again, needing attention, colored pencils, more food and my attention.

So – what do I do all day now that my kids are in school?  Well, the majority of the day is still taken up with parenting duties.  Go figure. Parenting didn’t end when my kids started kindergarten – it just morphed a bit.

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22 Responses to “But what Do you DO all day?”

  1. Karen April 12, 2012 at 8:18 am #

    I love this post!! I feel the same way now that I’m sort of retired. “What do you do with all your time?” is something I hear too. Well, I work part-time, Still have to get up early a couple mornings to take grandkids to school. Have housework, groceries, laundry, a needy dog that wants to play ball every day. But I, too, have earned the right to do whatever I want while I proudly watch my grown children taking care of their lives. All 8 of them. What? Can I run you to work? Pick Sophia up at school? The soccer game is when? Though its slowed down considerably, I’m still needed by my kids, which is nice sometimes…just don’t need me every day!

  2. Michele April 12, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    I have often said, if I want free time (or a break during the day) I need to go get a J.O.B. I hear most people only ‘work’ 40% of the time while at the workplace!

  3. ntouch2cher April 12, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    I love this!! I kept nodding and nodding and smiling and laughing especially at “but you just ate!!”. I am now saying this to my grandson:) I worked full time between my first and second child not by choice, mind you, but when I had busied myself with my parenting chores for 2 hours BEFORE starting my job…I would pour myself a cup of coffee and sigh, thinking, “I am on a lil’ break now”…Stay at home moms are always working…when they are not with the children, the list is endless of tasks and they are always on call…that pager never shuts off. Keep up the writing, I just love to read your blogs:)

  4. Courtney April 12, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    Exactly! My days are still full and sometimes I wonder myself what I did all day, or where did that precious time from 9am – 3pm go? Yesterday my neighbor asked me if I get bored being home alone all day every day. No, I really don’t. It’s my quiet time and it’s filled with things I need to get done so the weekends are family time, not cleaning time or laundry time.

  5. justbetweencousins April 12, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    Freetime…what a huge concept…to bad I never got to experience that concept. I am the mother of three boys now ages 19-23 and just 3 years ago my husband and I adopted a 6 year old. What were we thinking? At least there are no diapers and nightly rocking sessions…fingerpainting the couch…eating of charcoal in the grill…Poison Control on the phone… Well you know what I mean?
    Stay at home mothers are quite unique and become quite profficient in organizing every minute of the day…to better their family’s life. On Sundays I would pack up the three boys and be at church early for practices and sound checks. My husband would usually have to go to work. With his long hours he was gone before they got up in the morning and home after they had gone to bed. I was a married single mom. Organization and planning ahead is a forte…maybe a curse…but I loved being a stay at home mom…because of this newly added member with special needs…I once again am a stay at home mom! But now at least there is a little freetime between doctors appointments and running to the school for meetings.

    Thank you for your post.
    Peach State

  6. Christine April 12, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    I know, huh? I couldn’t wait until my older kids would go to school and things would be less busy. Hah! NOw it is just busy for more of the day. And I get the combo of parenting older kids in school and parenting a preschool-age child and a baby. No rest for this mommy.

  7. Betsy April 12, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    Amen, Sister!! I have 7 yr old twins & a husband who travels a LOT for work. Thank goodness I don’t have to get myself to another job every day. I’ve got my hands full already. By the way, I actually enjoy going to the grocery store…while my kids are at school. I’d rather go to the dentist than take my kids with me. Ugh!

    I really enjoy your blog. Thanks for sharing with us. 🙂

  8. Angie April 12, 2012 at 10:06 am #

    I just love that ?…..Really why is it that people think stay at home moms dont do anything?? couldnt agree more with your post, especially the you just ate part lol….keep on writing you are an inspiring and uplifting part of my day

  9. Shari Blue April 12, 2012 at 10:16 am #

    Thank you again for giving a voice to the SAHM. When my youngest was a senior in high school in 2009, my brother-in-law was no longer able to drive due to vision issues, so I became their kid’s chaffeur after school (and sometimes to school) plus to their afterschool activities on days my sister works late. I think my 18 year old niece will be getting a license to drive this summer, which would help their family IMMENSELY. But although I also volunteer at an urban high school, help my 75 year old mom several times a week, I still have guilt that I don’t do “enough” because I don’t earn a paycheck. Did you hear that Ann Romney, mother of 5, grandmother of 26, was accused of never working a day in her life yesterday by a Democratic strategist on CNN? Ann Romney made her Twitter debut in responding to the comment.

  10. Shari Blue April 12, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    Oh, I LOVE your new “LOOK” by the way! Beautiful!!!

  11. Shari Blue April 12, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    Oops, I need to make a correction…the Romney’s only have 16 grandchildren..not 26. 🙂

    • phoebz4 April 12, 2012 at 10:27 am #

      I just saw that article (found here for those wondering)..

      I can’t type well, my eyeballs are still rolling – lol!

  12. Stacy April 12, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    I have enjoyed reading your blog over the past several months. As a wife, mother of 3 (one with developmental disabilities/special needs) and a woman who works another full-time job in an office, this is the first time I truly felt a disconnect with you and your readers. The balance between my family and my professional/other responsibilities is (and will be) a challenge every day of my adult life. Whether you are a stay-at-home or not, we are all doing the best we can with the situations put before us. I am tired of hearing how busy stay at home moms are and was surprised and disappointed that I had to read/hear it in this forum too.

    • phoebz4 April 12, 2012 at 11:12 am #

      I’m sorry you feel a disconnect here, but I’m not sorry for what I wrote. I have spent 16 years having the idea that since I don’t “work”, I have nothing to do, or live some rose-colored life. This post was about my thoughts and feelings about it. Obviously there are others who feel the same way. Not everyone has to agree to it, but I would hope we wouldn’t have demeaning attitudes about it either.

      And in case anyone wonders – I have the utmost respect for working moms. My mother and grandmother were both working mothers, both teachers. And I believe there is no right or wrong here. You make the best choice for your family, that’s what really matters.

  13. Candes April 12, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    Free time… wassat?? What is this “free time” you speak of, Pheobe??

  14. lexiemom April 12, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    AMEN, sister! LOVE this post!

  15. Beth April 12, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

    Thank you, thank you…you speak the truth! Even as a parent of a developmentally disabled teen and young adult, I treasure the hours that school is in session-I have no “me” time after they come home.

  16. Crystal Terrazzano April 13, 2012 at 5:24 am #

    thank you, Stacy!

  17. Ruth April 13, 2012 at 6:45 am #

    Some moms choose to work, some moms choose to stay home, some moms don’t have a choice and have to do what is best for their families. But we are all doing the best with what we’ve got and it doesn’t hurt to peek into the life of someone on a different path. I’ve been on both side of this equation, and guess what, there is no perfect situation. At the end of the day I’m tired, I question decisions I made, I wish I had more time with the kids or husband, I just want a few minutes peace. It’s universal, it’s motherhood. Let’s try to support each other more and judge less.

  18. lexiemom April 14, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

    I had to tell you, I SO loved this post, that I “shared” it to Facebook with all my friends. And at least three of them “shared” it, too!

    • phoebz4 April 15, 2012 at 9:22 am #

      Thanks for the shares!

  19. Marianne Artymko April 17, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    I SO hear you. As a homeschooling mother of 5, I look forward to the time when I finally get them graduated or decide to send them to school. I would love to pursue my artwork or landscaping, but their needs come first right now.

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