Return of the SAHM
This morning I woke up around 5am with my nearly-4-year-old daughter attached to my back. She has been coming into my bed in the middle of the night for the past year or so. It happens so often that I don’t even wake up when she climbs into the bed anymore, I just wake up because I suddenly don’t have enough room to roll over.
I got out of bed around 6:30 so I could make sure the 1st grader was up and dressed. Shockingly, he was. Since school started a few weeks ago, the mornings have actually been getting easier. The first week of school, when I was completing my final week of employment, he cried and stomped his feet and was otherwise uncooperative and emotional every morning. Poor kid. His days were so long – school at 7:15 and then he wouldn’t come back home until 6pm. Now I wander outside around 2:15 and watch him run off the school bus, a smile so wide I wonder why bugs don’t fly into his mouth. He is happier now that he comes home right after school.
Every morning my daughter asks me if I am staying home, and if so is she also staying home. Although her daycare teachers were wonderful, amazing people, she is thrilled to be able to be home again. The first day we stayed home together, though, I was afraid I’d made a huge mistake. From the minute she got out of (my) bed, she did not stop talking. I am NOT exaggerating. For 3 hours straight, there was no quiet. I could not watch the news, check my email, make a phone call, because she was constantly making noise.
“Mommy, watch this! Mommy, mommy, can you see me? Mommy, look! Mommy, can you read this to me? Mommy, can I play with Play-doh? Mommy, I’m going to draw a picture for you.” On and on. And on. Even the dog looked freaked out.
I counted down the minutes to naptime while using the breathing I learned in childbirth class.
I make my little boy’s lunch every morning. I pull the papers out of his backpack every afternoon, and make sure he completes his homework (yes, the 1st grader has homework). I marvel at the sudden development of neighborhood friends. I worry that he will ride his bike in the street (he does) or that his friends will be mean or exclusive (they are).
I try to plan meals that are healthy and affordable, and then grit my teeth as my kids cry and argue with me and completely refuse to eat it. I have created a real budget and understand now how to implement it – the hard part, I understand, will be following it (I have never been good at self-discipline). I try to spend moments with my daughter that are singular – undivided bursts of time in which she gets my sole attention. This is hard, not only because I am used to multi-tasking but also because I get really bored. She has begun coming up to me or my husband, randomly, to say “I really love you” while resting her little head against our bodies.
Resuming the SAHM lifestyle feels different this time. I feel more in control – not working was a choice this time, and not a sentence. I don’t know how long I will be home with my children this time. I don’t expect to enjoy every minute of it. I anticipate long days, days where my husband will not get home fast enough, days when I will think I made the wrong decision. I hope for days that are fun, days when the kids eat the meals I make and get along, days that are not rushed and dreaded, days that I feel content and grateful for my time with them.
Days in which bedtime comes too soon – those are rare days, right?
In the meantime, well, I have been asked several times to assist someone with the building blocks. I need to shower and get ready for a dental appointment. I need to get the little one dressed and off to the drop-in childcare center. You know, life stuff.