Apparently people still question what stay-at-home-moms do during the day. They insinuate that we don’t “work” just because we don’t punch a clock. I guess the old idea of a woman sitting at home on the couch eating bon-bons whilst watching soap operas still lives. I think just about every SAHM mom wants to smack the people who insinuate that she does nothing. Let me share you in on some stuff.
Children are small tornadoes, roughly equivalent to an F-1 on the Fujita scale. Within 5 minutes of walking into any room, scientists estimate that children will strew at least 25% of its contents on the floor. SAHMs have the skills necessary to mitigate this ensuing carnage. We engage children in play, encouraging them to spend at least 2 minutes with a toy rather than picking it up and simply throwing it 5 feet to the left. We remind them to put things back in their place before pulling out the 16,000th toy.
SAHMs function as dramatic coaches. We are often found engaging in pretend play with our little ones. This pretend play is vital to their development (as you can read here). We can turn everyday items you might discard into life lessons.
We are personal chefs. We have a picky little eater to contend with who would make Gordon Ramsey shudder. Try feeding a picky toddler a healthy balanced meal and just getting away without wearing any of said food or getting away with your hearing. (Those kiddos can SCREAM.) Their favorite food yesterday is now something they are convinced you are trying to use to poison them.
Just to further illustrate my point – my point being that SAHMs do way more than you might imagine – let me tell you about my day yesterday.
I woke up at 5:45 and threw a load of clothes in the washer. I made a pot of coffee and oatmeal. I drank my coffee and ate my oatmeal while putting away clean dishes and then washing the dishes from the prior night’s meal. (My husband gets home so late that by the time we finish eating, I have no energy to stand at a sink.) Once that was done, I straightened up the living room. I checked my email. Then I cleaned two of the three toilets. Elijah woke up, so I went into his room. He wanted to look at his books in bed, so I sat on his floor and folded the clean laundry that was sitting from the night before. I put the laundry away, moved the other laundry from the washer to the dryer. I got Elijah out of bed, tickled him, took care of his dry skin and got him dressed. I brought him downstairs for breakfast to find out that Sovanna was planning to leave much earlier than I though. He agreed to make Elijah breakfast so I could get quick a shower. At this point it was 8am.
After my shower I cleaned up what was left from breakfast – which thankfully wasn’t much. I packed up Elijah in the stroller, put the leash on the dog, and took them on a 45 minute walk to get Spiro’s energy (and other stuff) out. (Walking these two is no small task, as just about everyone we pass mentions. Spiro just about pulls my arm out of socket several times per outing. I have to manage to keep him under control without losing control of the stroller. We’ve had some close calls.) After our walk, I swept the front entrance. There were a gazillion leaves from our single tree out front. I put out my festive wintertime sled – one of only 2 outdoor decorations we use. I threw away the pumpkins and corn from our fall decorations. Next I packed up Elijah and we headed to Giant for a few things. We got home just after 10am and got to work on brunch. Two girlfriends and their sons were coming over for a playdate brunch. I was making pancakes. Elijah was bored. I got him a mixing bowl and a wooden spoon and he “made pancakes” too. The doorbell rang; our guests arrived.
People probably think that a playdate brunch would be a wonderful, leisurely afternoon. Nope. Don’ get me wrong – it’s great. But the entire time is filled with feeding your children, eating your own plate of now cold food, chasing children, telling children “No!” and “Don’t throw that!” and “Don’t hit him!” and “Get that out of your mouth!” and “Leave the dog alone!”, not to mention cleaning up spit-up and changing dirty diapers. I took Elijah’s concrete head in the chin, which caused my jaws to clamp shut – on my tongue. Awesome. The playdate lasted 3 hours, and everyone left it tired. Meal #2 was eaten while standing up.
Elijah went down for a nap even before the playdate was over. Once our guests left I cleaned up the kitchen, put away the dirty dishes, and organized the toys. Then I washed the kitchen floor, the powder room floor, the entryway floor and the guest bathroom floor. I folded that second load of laundry from the morning and put all that away. I straightened up the master bathroom. I changed into my running clothes. It was 3pm.
I got Elijah up from his nap and gave him a snack. I packed up him and the stroller and headed down to the riverfront to run. It was nearly 70 degrees yesterday, so Jess and I HAD to run. We got in about 4 miles with our two strollers. The boys seemed to love the weather just as much as we did. It is HARD work pushing those strollers, but they kids don’t know that. They were all smiles.
I came home and figured out what we were going to have for dinner. I got the vegan scalloped potatoes going, and I moved on to making tofu BBQ burgers. I realized I didn’t have BBQ sauce, so I first had to make that. Ugh. During this time, I let Elijah watch his show (he gets one per day). I only had 28 minutes to get all this done, but then he didn’t want to wait for our dinner, and indicated that he was hungry so I had to quickly throw together his dinner and made sure he ate it all. Once my dinner was ready, he wanted to play. He didn’t want to let me eat my dinner. If I turned to take a bite or a drink, he cried. It took me more than a half hour to eat an open-faced tofu BBQ sandwich and some potatoes amidst playing car and building towers.
I was finally done eating and could give playtime my undivided attention. We played with cars and trucks. We built and destroyed towers. We put mixing bowls on our head. We read books. We played some percussion instruments. We spun in circles. I gave him piggyback rides. At one point I got punched in the eye (accidentally). This was all interspersed with periods of crying and screaming (him, not me). (He’s getting some more teeth and they seem to be giving him problems yesterday.)
At 7:30 Sovanna came home. We continued to play for a while. Finally around 8pm Sovanna was ready to Elijah and I could sit. I was reminded at that point that I am sick. The sinus congestion comes on around 8pm and stays until about 8am. WHY IS THAT??? Frustrating. I cleaned up the toys when Sovanna took Elijah to bed. I got on the computer to answer some emails and to take care of some other things. I watched “The New Normal” and then went to bed.
All in all, it was a fairly normal day. All 3 meals were eaten cold or close to it, and all were eaten while standing up or doing something else. Please, before you ask a woman if she “works”, remember that working takes all shapes. If you don’t think this sort of day is work, I invite you to try it and see how you do. It is the best job on the face of the planet, but it is still tiring. Even things we enjoy make us tired and cranky sometimes. But getting paid in hugs and kisses and little voices saying “Mama” is the best.