I know that there is a lot of controversy over working moms vs stay-at-home moms. Most of it stems from the age-old question: Who works harder? I have been a SAHM since (before) Mikey was born. I know first-hand how hard it can be to stay at home, caring for a baby 24/7. I recently have started working a few days a month again (mostly to be able to save my sanity!) and so I also see how hard it can be to be a “working mom.” However, I must say that many of the women who do choose to work full-time (and I know many are the sole breadwinners in their homes and do not get a choice in the matter.) do not take into account that a SAHM does not just sit around the house and watch soap operas all day long (well, I’m sure some do, but not me!).
My typical day at home with Mikey goes something like this:
5:30-6:30am Wake up. Attempt to move. Fail.
6:30-7:00am Baby wakes up and wallows all over me, forcing me to get up
7:00-7:30am- Cuddle time and morning sippy of Pediasure. Watch some Jake and the Neverland Pirates.
7:30-8:00am Attempt to feed Mikey. Depending on his mood, this may or may not result in being covered in pop-tart goo, powdered donut crumbs, eggs, oatmeal, or a variety of other edible things.
8:00-9:00am Clean up Mikey, change diaper, sit on potty (yeah, we’re potty training…yay), get Mikey dressed for the day.
9:00-10:30am Attempt to straighten up living room, sweep floors, vacuum rug, and generally make it look clean(-ish). Have a “helper every step of the way undoing what you have just done.
10:30-11:30am Attempt a morning nap as Mikey is getting increasingly cranky, throwing fits, and rubbing eyes. (This may or may not be successful.)
11:30-12:30 If baby is asleep, sit down and relax for a little while, preferably watch some Grey’s Anatomy or an episode of Glee.
12:30-1:30 Baby is awake. Check diaper, change if necessary, sit on potty again. Congratulate on using potty. Chase child around the house and take dog food away from him. Deal with inevitable fit. Check time. It’s not time for either a nap or for daddy to be home. Sigh.
1:30-3:30 Feed Mikey, clean up mess, do a load of dishes and wipe down counters. Sweep kitchen floors. Sweep living room floor again. Pick up toys again. If nice out, take a walk outside to get the mail and have some exploratory playtime. As you go back inside, pass by the laundry room and remember that you need to fluff the clothes in the dryer from the night before and change clothes over and put a new load on to wash. Do that. Go back inside, attempt to keep child from climbing and falling off of the coffee table, box, dog, chair, etc. (You will not always be successful at this.) Forget about laundry outside. Get a snack. Catch child throwing things in the toilet, get him out of the bathroom and declare it’s naptime. Spend the next 30 minutes or so fighting squirming child to get him asleep.
3:30-5:00pm While child is napping, attempt to lay him down in his bed. Child wakes up. Spend another 10 minutes getting him back to sleep. Just hold him. Watch Netflix and/or HuluPlus and attempt to figure out what you want to fix for dinner. Text husband and ask what he wants. Make grocery list. If lucky, take a small nap with child. Wait for child to wake up/husband to get home.
5:00-6:30pm Husband gets home. Hand child off to hubby to watch and go make dinner. Eat dinner. Try to get child to eat what you are having. Clean up mess when child throws food down on the floor for the dog to eat (assuming that the dog has not already eaten it.) Give child bath. Get him dried off, lotioned, changed into pajamas, and a sippy of milk. Let him play. Talk to hubby about how his day was. Tell him about whatever cute/annoying/new thing child did that day. Husband gets a shower. Change into pajamas and promise yourself that after you get the baby down for the night, you will give yourself a well-deserved bubble bath.
6:30-9:30pm Watch TV with husband while child plays happily. Get on to child for eating dog food. Again. Somewhere around 8:00, try to get Mikey settled down. Fight him to get him to sleep. Sigh after 15 minutes of him pulling your ear, poking your mouth/nose/eyes while he tries to not go to sleep. Finally win the sleep battle. Hold him for an additional 10 minutes, just to make sure he’s REALLY asleep. Ask hubby if he’s ready for bed. Lay child in crib, climb into bed, talk to hubby for a little bit, kiss goodnight, go to sleep.
Somewhere around 1:30am: Child wakes up for no reason other than to cuddle. Because you are basically a zombie at this hour, stumble over to his crib, pick him up, locate paci, and bring him to bed with you. Try to get back to sleep while child flops around trying to get in just the right position for optimal sleep. Finally get some sleep.
Repeat schedule from the previous day, with minor changes if child (or you) have a doctor’s appointment, need to get groceries, etc.
Now, I know that I CHOOSE to stay home with my child full-time, and I only work a few days of the month outside the home. However, I thought that it would be nice to point out that my “work” never ends. No matter the time of day or night, I do not get a quitting time. I do not get sick days, vacation days, or any other time off. I do not get paid, unless it is in love, hugs, smiles, and a happy family. I am happy to be home to raise my son. I love being a stay at home mom. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and upset. I would love to have just an hour or two where I was not responsible for anyone but myself. That will never happen, though. Even if I have girl’s night with my friends, or even just go to get my nails done, I will always be responsible for my husband and my son. Whether it’s making sure that they have what they need before I leave, or getting a babysitter, I will never have just myself to care for or worry about anymore. And that’s okay. I don’t see it as a sacrifice, because that’s what being married and being a mommy is all about. It’s not about you anymore.