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.