In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms

stay_at_home_momToday is the fourth day of school holidays and my second day of staying at home with Rachel. And I’m completely bushed. I’m such a wimp. So impatient. So unimaginative. And so in awe of those who look after their (or other people’s) children all day, every day.

I work for myself but do so in an office with my business partner, so I’m free to come and go as I please. This means that I do the school run and take afternoons off (when I can), to spend with my daughter. In the mornings Rachel goes to playgroup and once I’ve picked her up and fed her lunch, she’ll go down for her nap and I’ll return to work for a few more hours, while our wonderful nanny Norma looks after her.

Norma is now on holiday, school is out and I’m in charge of 24 hour childcare. And I’ll be honest, I’m feeling a bit lost. This role is not for the faint-hearted – and it’s only my second day! While it is a privilege for many who can afford it, and indeed a necessity for many others – I fear that I would be the world’s worst stay-at-home Mom. This morning we had breakfast, played outside on the swing, watched TV, made some playdough, made pretend cookies with the playdough and did some puzzles. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself when I glanced at the clock to see that it was only 8:30am! Jeepers. What do do with the rest of the day?

While I love my daughter to bits, I also find the role physically exhausting. This may be because I’m five months pregnant, but I’m pretty sure it’s tiring even if you aren’t. While my husband is sitting quietly at his desk, sipping coffee with colleagues and going for a sedate business lunch, I am constantly packing away toys, cleaning up spills, emptying the potty, preparing meals, picking up a heavy toddler and generally trying to keep the house from looking as though a bomb has hit it. So when hubby saunters home after a “hard day’s work” and asks if I’ve had a relaxing day, he doesn’t realise quite how thin the ice is that he’s metaphorically skating on.

The moral of the story? You need to be organised. You need to have one or two activities planned for the day, such as the ones I found on this brilliant website. You also need some outings organised for a change of scenery, even if it is just going to the shops or seeing a friend. I’m sure those who do this more regularly will have loads more ideas, but those are the two meagre ones I’ve learnt so far.

Being a mother is a complex responsibility and the more I do it, the more I realise that different things suit different Moms. What I’m doing at the moment doesn’t suit me, but maybe that’s just an excuse. I’m a Mother after all, so I need to get a handle on this and get better at it because soon there will be two little mountains to take care of – eeek!

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