Last Friday, someone asked me what I did for a living.
“I am a stay at home mom,” it was the first time I’d said those words aloud. I smiled when I said it. It felt freeing. Still, I wondered what the person on the other end of the conversation would think about my new job title. You just never know what people will think about your role as a SAHM.
I’ll admit it. Even I used to wonder what Stay At Home Moms did all day. I had fully intended on going back to work six weeks after giving birth (ha!)…
And now…I am one of the women I criticized. Life has a funny way knocking us down a few pegs.
I read a post from a fellow blogger about the ongoing mommy wars at her PTA meeting. A woman was horrified that the blogger worked full-time and admitted that she could not leave her kids. I sympathize with her. When my son was three-and-a-half months old, I began to have serious anxiety attacks when I thought about the prospect of returning to work and leaving my little guy. Still, I cannot condone the way the SAHM guilted the working mom blogger about leaving her children. Every single mom will be confronted with the decision to either continue working or stay at home; some of us aren’t afforded a choice; some of us decide to do both; some of us make the choice to press pause (or stop) on our careers. Every single one of us has to make the choice that is right for our family. That decision is never clear; and it will never be a decision you make without looking back a time or two.
I still wonder if I could’ve done it. I miss my students. I miss my co-workers. Every time I find myself wandering into the realm of self-pity, I remember that I would miss Bennett more. I would miss playing with him and watching him grow and learn. I was afforded a choice, and I will always be grateful. This does not mean I don’t respect the women who made the choice to return to their jobs; quite the opposite, really. I deeply admire their strength and ability to juggle it all.
So what do I do all day? Here is a peek into the day in the life of a SAHM.
Somewhere around 5:30-6:30: Little B wakes up and whines. I walk into his nursery and put his paci back in his mouth. He goes back to sleep (sometimes).
6:30-7: Little B wakes up for the morning. He eats (about 20 minutes total time), and then we read a book or walk into the living room.
7:30-8: Little B plays on a quilt on the floor or in his high chair as I get my breakfast ready/cleaning up any dishes that may be in the sink. I slice up some fruit and put it on his high chair tray (he is more into playing with the food than eating it.)
8-8:05: I watch him throw grapes and kiwi all over the floor while eating and singing to him. Then I clean up his grapes from his legs and the floor around him and move the quilt to the library.
8:05-8:15: We practice crawling/tummy time. He hates tummy time, but I try to clap and tell him he is working hard. It seems to quell the crying temporarily. I give up after 10 minutes of trying.
8:15-8:45: We do a rotation of the jumpy seat, sitting up and playing with toys. The last few mornings we’ve rocked on the front porch until it is time for nap. I use this time to FaceTime B’s Nanas.
8:45-10 (15ish): Little B’s long nap/My writing time. After I put him down, I make our bed, wipe off bathroom counters, and do my daily chore for the day (M: vacuuming, T: tubs and toilets, W: Dust, Thursday: Mop, Friday: Swing day). Then, I spend at least an hour writing a blog post and trying to promote on social media. After, I begin working on my manuscript(s). Sometimes I can count on him sleeping until 10 (15ish); yesterday it was 9:30.
10:15-10:30: Little B eats again.
10:30-10:35: I change his diaper/clothes for the day. This is usually when I go running.
10:45-11:45: Run/Park time. I throw some toys in the stroller and he (usually) has fun! He loves the park more, however.
11:45-12: Story time/wind-down for nap.
12-1: Nap time/my lunch time. Sometimes I get a chance to keep working…sometimes he falls asleep right away, sometimes he doesn’t. I’ve had a few lunches where nap time has just turned into quiet time for ten minutes while I inhale some lunch.
1-1:20: B eats a third time.
1:20-3:30: This time is usually up for grabs. Sometimes we go to the museum. Sometimes we go visit friends. It all depends on the little man. We read another story and try to get him to take a third nap.
3:30-4: SOMETIMES B takes a nap here. The last two days, he hasn’t. I’m not sure if that means the days of 3 naps are over (it was wonderful while it lasted). I use this time to straighten up the house/do food prep for dinner and work on my manuscript again.
4-4:20: B eats a fourth time.
4:-20-6:30: B is up and playing like a champion. He gets pretty fussy around then, so we usually make a rotation between the jumper, his anywhere chair with toys, quilt on the ground, rocking chairs outside, a brief walk in the carrier, or late afternoon activities close by (if I have to get anything at the store…) Dad usually gets back home around 5:30 or 6 so they play while I finish dinner. They watch the Paul Finebaum show (the only TV B watches all day).
6:30-6:40: I inhale dinner, usually through little B whining/crying, but not all the time. I have started to give him little bits of what we’re eating. He seems to like that much better than pureed vegetables/fruit.
6:45-7: Bath and story time. Pajamas on.
7:-7:30: B eats a fifth and final time. He usually falls asleep in my arms. Best feeling ever.
7:30-10:30: B usually gets up/cries at some point during this block of time. I walk in one last time and put his paci back in and put my hand on his belly. He usually sleeps the rest of the night. During this block, I clean up from dinner, load the dishwasher, wipe down the counters, and turn down the bed. I try to stay awake and spend time with my husband. Sometimes I can stay awake until 10…most of the time, I’m in bed by 9:30.
These times are usually punctuated with a second change of clothes and at least 8-9 diaper changes throughout the day.
So, really, I have the BEST job ever. I get to care for and play with my favorite little boy in the world. Still, I work all day. There isn’t a moment when I’m not moving, unless I’m writing. Sometimes I feel like it is a job, but most of the time, I am doing what I love the most. Despite lingering insecurities where I feel like I have to qualify what I do, I know that I have a real job; the BEST job; a job I wouldn’t trade for the world.
Take that, pre-baby-Bekah.