I Am Not Cut Out for This (SAHM) Role
This post has been brewing for two years. I knew being a momma was going to be WORK. I knew it would be HARD work. Did it really ever sink in that the work NEVER ENDED? That it goes on, and on, and ON, and ONNNNN>>>> all day, every day. "Of course, you ding dong," is what you are probably saying right now, but I don't think it hit me until baby number two, or until this toddler stage with Remy came along.
I am on my toes folks. From sun up, until they are napping, and then on guard again until they are down at night. At night, the worry sets in, about their futures, our futures, security, faith, friendships, relationships, family, war, finances...the worries and the thoughts, and the thoughts of how I could have done parenting differently that day. I have had some ROUGH days these last couple of months. I thought it was supposed to get easier, but for me it has become harder. I DO NOT have things figured out, schedules are CONSTANTLY changing, adapting. No day is the same. My children are constantly changing.
A couple of weeks ago was one of the roughest I have experienced. Arlo, as it turns out, has this thing where if she starts a crying fit, she has on occasion passed out from not taking in air. It has only lasted a second or two, but enough to scare the life out of me and have me running through public spaces, sorry Tattered Cover, screaming and shouting and carrying on with a limp baby in my arms, for that second that feels like ten minutes. Arlo likes to climb. And climb. And climb. She has shown signs of being way more into stuff than Remy ever was. So here I was at Tattered Cover one morning with a friend and she was crawling up a children's chair and standing on it. Over and over. She does this at home with Remy's chairs. So, I THOUGHT, rather than taking the chair away and having her scream bloody murder, only to have her find it again, or something else, I let her climb on it, and wedged something behind it so it would not tip. Brilliant right. "You idiot," you are whispering to yourself, I know I KNOW. I turned to put a book away and no sooner had Remy done a big sister thing and pushed it over with Arlo standing on it. It made a thud. I raced over, yelled at Remy, NO!" Then picked up Arlo who was fine besides the fright. She was so scared she cried, and cried, and then.... no air. "Arlo, Arlo, ARLO!!!" She went out for a split second. I panicked, my hands were shaky. I sat immediately on the couch and whipped out my boob to nurse her. She was completely fine afterwards. I monitored her throughout the day and her activity and behaviors were completely normal. Laughing, playful, coherent and sharp as a tac.
Two days later, I find myself in the back of a gymnasium listening to orientation for Remy's new day school- YEAH! See, that change I was telling you about! I have a Day Schooler! She will attend classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9- 12:30. We are only in the second week and still figuring out the new routines. I thought it was hard getting out the door before! Ha! Now we have to do it EARLIER! (More on school in another post).
Anyway, Remy had a sitter this particular night, husband had an obligation that prevented him from joining me, so here I was wrangling Arlo, while trying to take in all this new information while trying to make a good impression on my new community. She did AMAZING the entire time, UNTIL I let her wander a little further... She crawled right up to an empty folding chair and pressed just so on the seat- BAM! It closed up and fell on top of her. The floor was carpeted and I raced over, grabbed her and made a bee line for the doors leading outside. She cried, and cried, and cried... no air... limp. Then up again. I nursed her, shaking, sitting on a tree stump outside by a dumpster. After this episode I called the pediatrician the very next day. It appears there is no cause for concern, just a reaction to fright that some babies can get. They cry so hard they lose their breath... wonderful. I remember she did this once on our road trip in her car seat and I leaned over in my seat and pulled her out until she took a breath. They say kids grow out of it...hoping sooner rather than later on this one.
That Friday night we were eating on the patio and Remy was goofing off. She sat on her little push car and out from under her it went! She fell backwards. Cried, cried, cried until she too passed out... She was fine too, no blood, no bruise, no signs of anything serious, just scared her. AND US! My heart you guys. Parenting hurts. I want them wearing helmets and padding and hopefully they take up safe sports like knitting or turtle racing. My heart can't take this! I am on gray hair search.
I believe it was this very same week that I had found myself on the phone with a dear neighbor, balling my eyes out in the middle of Target. I was having a bad parenting day, week, who knows how long, but it added up this particular day, as it had before on aother occasion I can recall phoning a friend. I remember telling my neighbor that it was hard, that when you have a baby it is a clean slate and your parenting track record is perfect and then with each month, each year, gosh I am only at TWO, the mistakes add up. The yelling, the disciplining, the things you wished you hadn't done (letting your kid climb on a chair), the things you wished you had done, (put more sunscreen on her that one time), the lack of patience, the unhappy moments, they all start to build up and I HATE that! Just like time, just like the things that happen in your own little world, tiny regrets, choices, free will, all of this, but now, NOW, you have to do it for, or with, little humans! The responsibility is HUGE! I don't think I can do it. Not all day, every day. I don't think I can... I can't do it with the grace I thought I could. I am not doing it with the joy and the love I know I want to; not all day, every second of the day. I am good for like 80-95%, MOST days, but I have these ugly moments where I am losing my patience over silly things.
Everyone repeats this, "It's the hardest job you will ever do, but it's the best job." Is it? Can I say that? I LOVE, LOVE my girls, and I can't imagine working right now outside of the home, but some days I feel like, #momfail, could be used more than I would like to admit, but here I have anyway. Like, just tonight when I was leaving Target, my eyes were scanning for Remy, she has a tendency to wander off behind a shelf or something right as I am getting my receipt, and I am trying to hold Arlo up with the other hand, she wants to stand, of course, in the back of the cart and jump with excitement, and I see Arlo has something in her mouth. She is holding something round, and dark, and small like a ball....what could this be? What the heck? A peach pit?! Did we eat... no... was one in my bag... NO! GROSS! Agh! I swatted it out of her hand and shoved a wet wipe in her mouth! She had found, so digesting, someone's discarded peach pit in the bottom of my cart, behind my diaper bag mind you and made its way into her mouth! Classic #momfail moment. Husband laughed when I told him, but then asked why I hadn't seen it. Oh, I don't know, I plopped my baby in the seat and my bag in the bottom, while it was starting to rain, then grab my toddler and put her in the cart and race inside the store and wasn't expecting to have baby in the back of the cart and toddler running around while attempting to "shop," for something....and it happened to be the SAME color as the basket???? Don't get me started on answering the husband's "whys..."
I am mostly writing this as an outlet for my own thoughts, to look back some day and hopefully say, "Hey, you were so hard on yourself," or "Man, you were really an air head..." but really I think the overall message I want myself to get out of this is, to have FUN with it more. Fun with being a SAHM, because I really am blessed and truly FEEL LUCKY to be able to. I had that joy, that spunkiness, that new mom glow, when I first had Remy. I wan that feeling back! Is it like virginity though? Does that feeling come back or is it tarnished with time, and more babies? Stress... I love her and Arlo more and more each day, and they challenge me just as much each day. What I NEED to remember is that they are challenging me to be a better ME.
What I want to get out of the SAHM role is HAPPY, well rounded, grateful, respectful children. Will I see that? Not tomorrow, maybe when they go to school, hopefully I will be so blessed to see the rewards unfold in our future together. Am I an exemplary SAHM? There are so many versions, degrees, variations, I should say yes, but I feel so far from being equipped for this. Today I had to baby gate them in the television room with Despicable Me 2 playing so I could deep clean the kitchen floor. Is there a better way, Could I be doing that now instead of this (blogging)? Probably. All I know is that this thing, this SAHM role, has no Job Description that encompasses all of the beautiful women I know fulfilling this role right now, or the mothers who did it for us years ago. There is no formula, no recipe, no perfectly suited candidate. Some days I feel like I was handed a CEO position when I am really only barely qualified to be an intern, but I am doing the best I can.
The part I want to focus more on, no not the cleaning, although that does deserve more attention, but the FUN aspect! The days I look back on that went the smoothest were the days I was the silliest, the days I made them giggle to get them to eat their dinner, the days like Sunday when we ate messy popsicles and dug around in sand and we didn't care about the purple satins and the dirt under the nails. We have FUNNY moments throughout the day, but those hairy, stressful, tricky moments need more SILLY from me. And what of this role and what I get out of it? Don't they ask you that in interviews? "What are you hoping to gain from this role?" Well, um, a tan???? No, seriously. Sitting in a park is a luxury, truly, but what deep understandins of myself, what new discoveries about myself do I hope to uncover? Maybe just learning this, that I am good at SAHM for like three years but then I know I need assistance. Or, really grasping that these are my BEST years for ME too and I should really wok this ass out more because I have completely lost it! I think about that, that this is my "prime," and what am I DOING with that? I do have a few things in mind. Places I want to go, things I want to see and do, but really it's sort of like that split second of passing out- everything is sort of blank and on hold. Maybe I'll blink and it will have felt like a second and it really will have been five years, but that five years better have been FUN damn it!
When you put your goals in writing, a manifesto, they somehow become more achievable. Here is to injecting more FUN into the SAHM role! At least for ME anyway.
Below are some photos from the last month or so because, NO, not every day is a mini adventure, well, I guess it could be if you want it to! Mostly the park and the grocery store for us! I just HAVE to document my Remy Doo pushing her stroller all over the place. She loves when we pack it for outings, although sometimes I end up with a stroller in my stroller. :)
Also, Remy playing with the girls my husband coaches on the sidelines and Arlo looking on. Arlo's rolls though!!! I know how quickly they disappear after they start walking now, so I use every diaper change as an excuse to snack on them! She was busy picking blades of grass and handing them to a lady watching her daughter.
And, yes, sometimes I dress them up to go to the neighborhood park and Sprouts. Remy decided she was hot that day and took her shirt off. There are several photos of her running around topless at the park. Thankfully I easily convinced her to put it back on before the grocery store.
Oh the grocery store.... Remy decided she wanted coffee too, so I put three beans in this bag for her and she carried it around with her. She was tasting the basil down there...