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Thursday, May 30, 2013

I am a Stay at Home Mom Who Sucks at It

Disclaimer: I love my children more than anything else on this Earth. I am blessed beyond belief that I have two girls and two boys and they are healthy and so full of joy. It is not a slight thing that we are in a lucky, amazing position that my husband is able to work hard everyday outside of the home and I am able to work inside the home. Every. Single. Day.

The thing is, I pretty much suck at it. While I don't consider myself in the shitty mom category, I wouldn't exactly nominate myself for a mom of the year trophy either. I get antsy being at home for long stretches of time. If the weather is calling for a blizzard, while most people are stocking up on essentials, I'm looking for a sharp utensil to stick in my eye. We experienced more illnesses this winter than we have ever had. The kids were dropping like dominoes for a good three month period. They were sponges that absorbed every possible strand of strep that could be found on any child within a 30-mile radius. The bulk of our winter was spent between the pediatrician's office and inside our home. In some ways this was positive (we completed jigsaw puzzles, I found the bottom of the laundry basket and I started this blog) but in many ways it was negative (so many days of school missed, loneliness and consumption of too much wine, chocolate and television).

I have come to realize that I thrive in being a part of the outside world. I crave girlfriends, chopsticks, the smell of coffee shops and bright but not too bright, shiny store lighting. I feel alive when I can breathe people and places in. I take my kids with me everywhere because I want them to feel that same sense of vivaciousness that exists all around us. But it is exhausting to take this eight and under generation out into the big beautiful world. It is sometimes hard to have appreciation for the ducks eating bread at the water of the city dock when one twin is headed for traffic and the other wants to try to fish for a floating Bud light can. When we go to Target we average four bathroom trips before checking out. The majority of our "quality" time spent in the mall is to backtrack stores where my kids "borrowed" items from (hair clips, toys, small live animals- I now have to frisk them before we leave any stores, the little thieves). The stares I receive from waitresses, retail employees and fellow shoppers is a magical blend of both sympathy and terror.

I do have a certain adoration of this seemingly painful form of entertainment or I wouldn't put myself and nearby staring strangers through it. I will take a double twin kicking, screaming meltdown in the nut aisle (pun intended) of Trader Joe's than to have an uneventful day at home. Call me insane but I usually find more joy in our adventures than embarrassment. Steve and I want our children to value going out to eat, how to order, sit still and to feel the bliss that comes with not having to clean the kitchen every once in a while. It is important that children learn how to behave in public and be a functioning member of society, even if it takes a couple of spilled drinks and bowls of overturned spaghetti to be able to be on their way.

And it has gotten easier. And I know (a girl has to never lose faith) that it will continue to be less and less like taming wild beasts at every public outing. The day will come when we will not be a walking ad for birth control. I wonder if I will miss it. No. I know that I will.

The everyday moments are often the ones that are the sweetest and most fleeting.
Standing in pajamas, holding a sock monkey, barely tall enough to see what lies on the counter.

The alone time that I so deeply currently crave will be abound and the energy and laughter that fills my days will be in the better part of my life's memories. I believe selective memory is the key to happy parenting. Maybe I don't suck as much at this parenting thing as I think that I do and you know what? You don't either. Maybe it is having witnessed enough of your own childrens meltdowns and to see enough of other people's to realize that we are not alone. The wildness of the child-raising experience connects us if we allow it to. The fact that it is fleeting reminds us to hold small hands while we can. It is not a sugar coated experience; cavities will always emerge in one form or another. But if we are honest and can tell the stories and laugh through the journey we will go through it smiling, or at the least, believing that we will make it.

We are going to be okay.

Happy almost summer rockstars...


  1. You are doing a wonderful job! My sister in law and I just had a conversation about this and our kids are constantly moving and having meltdowns...while we watch our friends kids sit still and think what are we doing?. But then we think our kids are curious little adventurers discovering the world around them and we do not want to stop them! so keep rockin' hard ya lil' spazzfreaks we love you all!

    1. Those little adventurers sure to keep life interesting don't they?! Never a dull moment...