Why I’ll never be the stereotypical stay-at-home parent
It is too damn hard for me.
(Thank you all for your kind comments, emails & words on my starting post here.)
I LOVE WORKING TOO MUCH
I am someone who really enjoys working, that is to say I don’t enjoy working for low pay, nor do I enjoy getting mistreated at work or having to deal with office politics, but I like feeling useful.
I like feeling like I contribute at home (50% money, 50% sweat), and I like feeling like I have knowledge and a brain that people are willing to pay $$ for.
I enjoy making money, (my OWN money), and all of that is gone now.
I don’t make any of my own money using my brain and it really sucks.
Sure, I make some pocket change here and there selling things off, but that’s all a bit of a wash because I’ve paid so much more at retail and now it’s all going for a fraction of its prices.
So right now, I feel useless. Mentally useless.
I can still obviously cover my half of expenses without much trouble, but I also feel financially useless.
BABY BUN IS NOT EVEN A SUPER WILD TODDLER
Staying at home with a toddler who is not even rambunctious, wild or super hyperactive by any account (I have firsthand experiences, accounts to prove this), exhausts me.
Baby Bun is pretty calm, low energy, tranquil, sweet, generous and helpful most of the time, but for that 15% of the time that he is not good, he is (to me) a complete monster.
Those 10 minutes of him screaming, frazzle my brain and turn me into Medusa.
Maybe my expectations of my toddler are too high for his age, and maybe I am being too hard on myself as a mother, but I really feel like I am doing something wrong here most of the time.
I guess every parent feels like that.
My only break these days from Baby Bun is when he sleeps at night (but that’s a wash, I’m sleeping too), and when he naps (which is getting worse as he only sleeps one hour now).
VERY FEW MOTHERS UNDERSTAND WHAT I AM SAYING
I hate to stereotype but it is true that most parents who stay at home are mothers.
I’m not the one who makes the rules, but there you have it, mothers stay at home.
With most of the mothers who stay at home whom I talk to, they all sort of agree that it is hard work, bla bla bla, but give me a look like I am deranged when I mention that I’d rather go back to work than stay at home with Baby Bun.
In contrast when I talk to other fathers who stay at home (the few I have met), they ALL AGREE with me that it is extremely hard, and they feel like working would be much easier and here is the key point… preferable to staying at home with a child.
Only a few mothers who are truly unable to legally work (they don’t have work visas), agree completely with me that they’re having a hell of a time and it is difficult to adjust.
(Even THEY don’t scream at their toddlers though..)
It’s like I have grown horns sometimes.
They agree, and sympathize with me, FOR SURE, as they’re going through the same thing, but the general overall response I get is:
Why would you work if you don’t want to?
Don’t you want to stay at home with your perfect bundle of joy ALL THE TIME?!?!
You’ll miss out on all of these best years!!!
Errr.. no, and here’s why:
I get that his “best years” are before 5, but my brain can only handle so much mush.
Not only do I enjoy working too much, I also enjoy him much more when I get a break from him.
My break? It’s work.
I get to interact with adults, have adult conversations where my brain is not half on what my toddler is doing or eating, and I can string together a coherent sentence without getting confused.
Otherwise, it is Baby Bun 24/7 because my partner has even less patience than I do, and he does so much more around the home than most partners/husbands I see, that most of the BunCare ™ falls upon my shoulders.
It’s a tradeoff, really and I’ve accepted that between the two of us, I am better at childcare than he is, so he does other things that I don’t do, and he knows it is easier than what I am doing with Baby Bun.
Even when I worked full-time, my Baby Bun shift at home never ended or had a break.
OTHER MOTHERS SEEM TO HAVE IT DOWN
They’re cooking, baking, cleaning, thinking up all of these amazing Pinterest-worthy arts and crafts activities to enrich their little growing toddler’s brain.
I see them in-person, this is no joke!
When their angels nap, they’re CLEANING.
I can barely get it together these days to get an outfit on without resorting to wearing what I wore yesterday.
I am always 10 seconds away from screaming at my toddler.
Food is whatever I can make in 10 minutes or less, sometimes he just gets fed bread and some fruit because Daddy didn’t make enough.
All that said, I know I am being a good mother (thank you all), and I am definitely helping Baby Bun “enrich his brain” but without baking sugar cookies that make him bounce off the walls or dreaming up these ridiculous activities to Pin on Pinterest.
He gets a books, crayons & a cardboard box, and some homemade flash cards with a zippered bag.. and he spends time zipping in his flash cards and reading out the letters to me in both languages.
That’s pretty much all I can handle these days and I think that’s enough.
This is why I not only want to get back to work, but I’ll never ever be the stereotypical stay-at-home parent.
It’s for my sanity and for his, really.
(P.S. I don’t want to stick him in daycare even though I could because he always brought home all these viruses and I hate being sick all the time, so I’m trying to avoid this when / where I can. Plus, it costs money and I have to pay half. UGH.)