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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Homage to Stay-At-Home Moms

This is my love letter to stay-at-home moms.  I know people have done studies about how many full time jobs and what the salary equivalent would be for stay-at-home moms if they were paid; and I can  honestly concur from my own personal experience, it has to be the hardest job I've ever had.  I have the priviledge for two and half months every summer to be a stay-at-home mom with my kids, and let me tell you...I think I'll keep my day job. 
Just trying to take a shower on a daily basis is a challenge.  If I turn my attention for more than a minute, my kids are in to something they shouldn't be...not because they are naughty kids, but because they are interested and curious.  The other day, I finally got a shower at 3 in the afternoon.  When I got out, my two-year old had found scissors in my computer bag for work and cut my earbuds to my iPod in pieces.  Later he found a black permanent marker, and drew all over his face and the dining room furniture.  He's no Picaso.
I've also been trying to potty train my son this summer (which I'll write about later).  I made the mistake of trying to multitask potty training with sorting through the gazillion toys they've acquired in their short lifetimes.  I was pulling out the baby toys they haven't played with in over two year for a garage sale or charity.  Of course, these were the only toys they wanted to play with, and within 15 minutes, Dylan had wet through three pairs of Thomas the Train underwear and no successful attempts in the potty.
We try to go outside and play to run off energy.  The thing is, I don't have that much energy and would prefer to sit and watch them play and maybe get a little bit of tan in the meantime.  This also is not an option because Natalie is turning on the water hose to fill up her wading pool or drown out the bugs on the patio, Dylan is pushing his bubble mower into the street, or they are trying to coax a stray cat to come across the invisible fence line so our dog can chase it up a tree.  They also take their inside toys outside, which would be okay if we didn't have a dog that chews EVERYTHING.  I guess its just the circle of life: the dog ruins the kids' toys, they destroy my house, and the circle of life continues.  I should have waited to write this during naptime because as I'm typing, Dylan hands me his sister's Barbie boot with chewed gum pushed inside.
Being a stay-at-home mom is a constant on-the-clock job.  There are no 15 minute breaks or leisurely lunches.  I'm always thinking about how what I do and how I interact with them will influence the way that they see the world.  I'm trying to balance free play with more structured play.  We try to mix it up by doing crafts, and I am not creative or crafty.  The other day I bought some googly eyes, pipe cleaners, and construction paper and felt like there must be something crafty we can make out of these.  We like to take day trips to the zoo, the science center, or just run errands to get out of the house.  Last week our special trip was to Casey's General Store for some donuts with sprinkles. 
All of the chaotic moments are balanced by the times when Natalie says, "Guess what, Mom?  I love you."  or Dylan comes up to me with his toy phone pretending to talk to Grandma, or hands me a book so we can snuggle and read.
I just don't know how stay-at-home moms do it all year long...dealing with the pee on the carpet, the spilled milk, and the applesauce dried on the kitchen chairs day in and day out.  Not only that, but the stay-at-home moms I know make it look so easy.  I get the job done, but its not graceful or pretty.  I'm thankful that I have the ability to spend this time with my children.  Research shows that the first five years of a child's life are the most important, and I'm glad I get to have my influence on them during this time.  I'm also thankful that just when I get tired of eating fish sticks and hot dogs,  I can go back to work and look forward to doing it all over again in 192 days.

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