Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Grass is the Exact Same Color?

One of my first posts talks about how I am not (and will never be, thanks to my student loans) in the financial position to be a stay at home mom. I re-read the post today, and was surprised to see that I took more of an "it is what it is" tone, rather than admitting how much I really would have loved to be at home with Adriana (the post was written before Lucia was born). It's not like I hated my job or anything, it's just that, if given the choice, I would have (strongly) preferred to be at home.

I think there are three main reasons I was looking at being a stay at home mom through rose colored glasses:

First, I HATE missing out on milestones and other fun stuff. This one is fairly obvious. I mean, no one wants to see their kid crawl for the first time via a series of iPhone pics their parents snapped.

I also HATE giving up control, which is pretty much necessary when you work most of the hours your kid is awake. Everything from daycare making Adriana nap too early and making choices about how she is disciplined to my parents pumping her full of sugary snacks and letting her have her binky or blanket outside of her bed drives me batshit insane. I spent about a million hours reading all of the parenting books, figuring out what was right for me and my family, but I have zero control over whether or not my plans get implemented. It's very frustrating, and hard to maintain any consistency.

And finally, up until a few months ago, my only experience with it was when Adriana was a newborn, and I love the newborn stage. Don't get me wrong - each girl came with their own set of newborn issues. Adriana woke up every hour and a half for 5 months, and gnawed off my nipples until they were bloody stumps, which contributed to some serious mastitis. Lucy frequently screams from 7 pm to midnight, and is on round 3 of the thrush from hell. But that's not what I focus on when I think about the newborn stage. I remember the quiet nights rocking Adriana with my nose buried in her Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo scented hair. I remember nursing Lucy on the deserted beach at 6am when she was 3 weeks old, thinking that it really doesn't get better than this. My dad always jokes that my girls are "going to get worms" because I hold them too much (whatever that is supposed to mean). I could hold a newborn all day long, every day.

Over the past two and a half months, I've gotten a taste of what it's like to be a REAL stay at home mom. One who is trying to clean and organize a house, make dinner every day, make sure the kids are clothed and fed and well rested and mentally stimulated by something other than Dora or Caillou. One who is not just responsible for a tiny newborn, but has a crazy ass, temper tantrum-y toddler who is prone to sitting on / pinching / kicking her sister thrown into the mix. It's physically and emotionally exhausting.

The other day, I had the chills and an awful headache (a sure sign my body was thinking about developing mastitis), my muscles were sore from the Shred, and both girls were screaming. I sat down on the couch and cried (first time since a couple of weeks after Lucy was born, not too shabby). Adriana instantly stopped her (fake) crying, and said "Why are you crying, mama? I'll take care of you. I'll kiss your tears. I'll keep you safe". She proceeded to kiss my tears and give me a big hug.

Parenthood is so crazy because the highs are SO HIGH and the lows are SO LOW. I went from having the worst day ever to the best day ever in half a second. I feel like being a stay at home parent to a toddler and a newborn is probably like that on the regular. I honestly don't know if I would have it in me to deal with such emotional instability day in and day out. Not to mention that every day is sooooooooo long. I have found myself checking the clock and being like "Ohhh, 9:17 am. Nine more hours til Justin gets home."

I guess where I'm going with all of this is that I have a greater appreciation for the hand I've been dealt (dealt myself). I think when I go back to work later this month, I will be sad to leave my girls, but a teeny part of me will also be ready to get back to my version of normal.


Jessica said...

I was more than a little nervous before my second maternity leave, because I was worried I wouldn't like being stuck at home with a toddler and a newborn. I thought twelve weeks would be plenty and work would be a relief. But I liked it. Loved it, actually. Kinda sucks.

d e v a n said...

"Ohhh, 9:17 am. Nine more hours til Justin gets home." --- so true, some days. lol

Shalini said...

I know. Ugh. I quit my job two years ago and days when my kid SLAPS ME? For BUCKLING HIM INTO HIS CAR SEAT? And I'm not allowed to slap him back? Yeah, those days I really miss the library.

Heather said...

I can totally relate. Part of me loves staying home with the baby all day, and part of me is looking forward to having 'me time' back when I return to work next month. I'm feeling very fortunate to have (what I think will be) the best of both worlds going back part-time.

I agree with you though - Isn't it funny how some days completely fly by and others are soooo long. Sometimes I find myself watching the clock until 5pm so I can pour myself a glass of wine and hand the baby off to my Husband.

StephLove said...

I've been a SAHM for the past 6 years, but never with a newborn and a toddler at once, as my kids are 5 years apart. The idea seems overwhelming to me, but on the flip side, it meant we had a baby, toddler or preschooler in the house for 10 years and that's a long time to be in the little kid stage. While all J's friends parents were asking if I was sad to send her to kindergarten I had to say, "not really." I was ready to move on to the both of them in school stage, even as it's been somewhat challenging re-inventing myself, trying to scare up more work, etc.

Wiz said...

I am sort of the opposite. I never wanted to stay home. I have always wanted my own thing and CRINGE whenever men make the "I make the money, my wife spends it all" comments, but due to circumstances, I am for now staying at home. Dont get me wrong, I am VERY thankful to be able too, but with all the highs and lows of parenthood, I know that there will be days that I am missing the office environment. And I know what you mean about newborns. I started crying to my husband yesterday that I dont ever want Sula to get any older. I dont want her to talk back and get mad. Not that I dont love my toddler. There is just something special about holding a sweet innocent toddler!

Wiz said...

Sweet innocent newborn I mean.