"It's a LOT of togetherness," I often hear myself saying in conversation when I'm talking about my life as a stay-at-home-mom.
"A LOT of togetherness."
I wouldn't have it any other way.
But, man, is it ever a lot of togetherness. Oy.
Here's the thing that you aren't supposed to say about being a stay-at-home-mom:
Being a stay-at-home-mom is kind of driving me crazy.
Don't get me wrong...I LOVE my daughter. I love love love love love her. I love her like I've never loved anybody. It's an intense, crazy, deep love that makes me ache when I look at her. How did I get so lucky to be the mom of this amazing person??? When I see her wicked smile and her dimple. Omigod...the dimple. It's the cutest dimple EVER. And I hear her laugh. Pure joy. It fills me up. I know that I am the luckiest mom on the planet. Bar none.
But then she has one of her spectacular meltdowns. Omigod. The meltdowns. Brutal. For both of us.
Or we get done with swimming lessons at 10:00 a.m. on a Wednesday morning. We get ourselves dressed and I look at the clock to see that it is 10:52. Dear God...WHAT am I going to do with this child for another SEVEN HOURS AND EIGHT MINUTES until we have dinner???
Or the day where we have NOTHING on the schedule and she flat out refuses to go to gymnastics open play or Kidz Wurld indoor play center.
And the fact that she stopped napping when she wasn't even two and a half years old. What kid stops napping that young???
"Oh, he naps for at least two hours everyday. Most days it's closer to three," a mom I meet at gymnastics open play tells me. Her kid is four and a half.
Four and a half years old and he naps for THREE HOURS???
In my dreams.
Moms hate naps at first because infants take so many of them which makes it hard to schedule your life. But then as life gets crazier when the kid starts becoming more mobile and active, moms come to appreciate and NEED The Nap. The Nap gives moms a break from the togetherness. You use it to clean the house, have a cup of coffee, sleep, or sometimes just sit and relish the quiet.
When my kiddo officially gives up her nap I feel like I might actually
have a nervous breakdown.
No napping leads to a LOT of togetherness.
Twelve straight hours of togetherness most days.
Without a break.
Here's something that many people don't know about me: I'm an introvert.
You wouldn't know it about me because I am super chatty, I like to meet new people, and I do like to be out and about. I have decent social skills. I'm not a typical introverted introvert. I'm an extroverted introvert.
But I need alone time.
I need it. Crave it. Have to have it.
Serious quality alone time to recharge my batteries.
Alone time where I have an opportunity to be quiet and creative. When I can make art, write, read, and use my brain in a different way than when I'm in mom mode.
But with twelve hours of togetherness with my three and half year-old daughter...there ain't a lot of quality alone time to recharge. I'm pretty much totally exhausted at the end of every day. So my end of the day alone time isn't quality alone time AT ALL. I collapse in a heap on the couch where I watch television as my body twitches and vibrates because I am over-tired and over-stimulated. Watching television doesn't really help much, but in general I have little brain power for anything else at the end of my day.
Here's the other thing you aren't supposed to say about life as a stay-at-home-mom:
Being with a small child for twelve hours a day is a grind.
Wiping butts, cleaning up crayon on the walls chasing your kid through the library to get her to stop running and yelling, searching for the same lost toy every single day, watching the same episode of Curious George for the 47th time, keeping your kid entertained and clean and fed and engaged every single day, being the primary educator and disciplinarian every single day. It's. A. Grind.
Please, don't get me wrong...there are SO MANY parts of the day that are also TOTALLY AWESOME. I love watching my kid running and jumping and walking the balance beam at gymnastics open play time. And our couch tickle fights are spectacularly fun. Hearing her whoop with excitement when she hears the theme music for her favorite cooking show, The Pioneer Woman. Listening to her tell her hundreds of stories everyday is the stuff that makes life with her the best. Watching the wheels in her brain turn and seeing her learn something new. Completely awesome and amazing.
However, it's a lot.
A lot. A lot. A lot. A lot of work. A lot of togetherness with no break.
And I know...this is MY choice to stay at home with her. Please, no one needs to remind me. I chose this life. I choose this life everyday even when I think I might have a nervous breakdown because of it. I choose to be the person who raises my daughter. I choose the grind. And I am SO LUCKY that I have that choice. That my husband earns enough to keep us in house and home so that I can spend twelve hours a day with our kid. That my husband is OK with me "opting out" of the work force to be a "SAHM." I KNOW that I am lucky.
Really. I do.
But, man, it's still a LOT of togetherness.