It’s been a rough start to the week, with February blowing out in a flurry of snow and ice and cold temperatures (nothing new here) and my head feeling like a drifting balloon due to the fact that I’m hyped up on Mucinex (thanks to my first big cold of the winter…woo hoo).
I have two kids that should be sleeping–one my own, the other my friend’s baby (who I watch twice a week).
Our living room floor is a minefield of Mega Legos and library books, but my head hurts too badly to do anything about it, just like it’s conveniently ignoring the fact that Raven is in her crib singing Once There Was a Snowman to herself rather than sleeping.
It felt like I waited a long time to be a stay-at-home mom (although it wasn’t long at all, not really even a little bit—just 9 and a half months or so). I still sharply remember the bleary working days of waking up at 5:15 every morning for my teaching job and squeezing in more work before 11 a.m. than most people get done in a day.
I remember longing for days that I didn’t have to wake up before the sunrise, days where I wouldn’t have to worry about getting dressed in something semi-professional or actually doing my hair. I looked forward to long days spent outside at parks and on play dates, days where we could bake muffins in the middle of the day just because, and of finally being in charge of my own schedule at last.
While there are certainly days in the SAHM life that involve time at the park and baking muffins, the everyday reality is often not so rosy, and I have yet to have too many days when I feel like I am in charge of my own schedule at all.
I think I can define the stay-at-home life with the metaphor of feeling like my arms are always full—
Full of kids,
Full of laundry,
Full of dirty dishes to take to the sink,
Full of tonight’s dinner,
Full of books to read,
Full of toys that I’m endlessly picking up.
True, I would much rather have my arms be full than empty…
But if your arms are always full, it can tend to feel, well, heavy.
It can feel heavy sometimes to be the sole one in charge for those 8+ hours my husband is away, the one that has to make all the decisions and enforce all the decisions and deal with the repercussions of all the decisions.
It can feel heavy to realize that it’s been days since you’ve really made an effort to look nice, that it’s been perhaps weeks or months since you’ve felt truly beautiful at all (which you realize suddenly as you’re wiping spit-up off your shirt or the soggy Cheerios from the carpet).
It can feel heavy to have to remind yourself regularly that what you are doing is, in fact, important, because often it just feels like an endless chain of to-dos that never really seem to get you anywhere or yield you any visible results.
It can feel heavy to feel like you do so much, only to have people outside of your home and your situation think that you must just sit around and watch movies or do whatever you want all day.
It can feel heavy to be so surrounded all day long, even while going to the bathroom, but at the same time feel so absolutely, utterly lonely.
I don’t consider it a sacrifice to stay at home—in fact, I consider it a great privilege.
But I also know now that it comes with its own set of burdens, its own heavy load.
And this week, it’s just felt especially so.