It’s been two months since I quit my job to stay home with my kids and strangely I have been feeling very un-mom-like lately. Women seemingly effortlessly care for their own children but it’s evident to me and maybe those closest to me that I am in over my head
A friend was visiting this weekend and commented that I seem more overwhelmed now than I did while I was working. He might be right.
A 27-year old nanny at my son’s gym class was commenting how hard her job was because she was “full-time.” I found out her hours are 9am to 7pm, and I really wanted to tell her she won’t have any idea what fulltime is until she becomes a mom herself.
There hasn’t been a single easy week since I’ve been home. The kids are both fighting colds/allergies and my son developed some rash about a month ago that is inexplicable even to the pediatrician and dermatologist.
My daughter, now 16 months, climbed up on the kitchen counter the other evening and set off our house alarm while I was upstairs in the bathroom with my son who had to go potty and needed help. I couldn’t initially remember the code to shut off the alarm because we haven’t had to use it before so the fire department called.
Once able to get high-level bankers to divulge details on private transactions with little difficulty, I cannot even get my son dressed for the day without chasing him through the house and pinning him down. I can’t help but wonder if I’m really cut out for this fulltime mom thing.
I don’t regret my decision to stay home. The saying goes, “Nothing worth having comes easy,” but there are moments I wish I felt a little more like myself and a little less like the snot-covered exhausted and frustrated woman that I’ve become.
Behind every great man is a great woman and behind every sane mom is a wonderful wine. I mentioned how the early evening hours till bedtime have become nearly unbearable now that my son isn’t napping. I’ve decided that the witching hour should really be called “the bitching hour” because all my son does is fight me and whine. Getting through an evening where I am faced alone with cooking dinner, feeding the kids, cleaning up the dishes and toys, giving baths and putting the cherubs to bed requires strength. And because the days are long, a little alcohol doesn’t hurt.
Wine is something to look forward to after 12 hours of nothing but kids and household duties. I take no shame in admitting I enjoy a glass or two, and there are copious articles about how many moms unwind this way after a long day.
Wine is more than an outlet for me, however. In a previous life I studied wine, worked harvest in Tuscany, vacationed in various old world and new world wine regions, and bought premier cru selections to stock in my Eurocave. Though these days I am content with affordable finds in the local wine shops or online bargains, I still am curious about vintage reports and tasting new wines.
Learning recently that frost in Champagne, Bordeaux and northern Italy has threatened the 2017 crop made me think how this vintage won’t go down as being my best either. It’s been a challenging year and we are barely halfway through it.
Perhaps there’s more to the wine-mom connection: We are susceptible to volatile conditions that can sometimes wipe us out, but there’s always the promise of a new day (or new year) to make us great again.
A funny thing happened after I became a mom. The body I thought I so badly wanted and worked out for in my twenties and thirties arrived at 40 without so much as a diet plan or exercise regimen. People ask me which gym I belong to and what I do to stay fit. My answer is simple: I’m a mom. There’s little time to sit and there’s always something to do. (And I realize I am fortunate and that genetics play a role, too).
Once wanting to look a certain way, I now want to be healthy in body and mind so I can keep up with my kids and take care of them. I attend a yoga class one or two times a week, but where I once did so for strength, I now focus on breath and recognize how vital each one is to my wellbeing. I seek a quiet mind because my days are anything but calm and reflective.
A decade ago I used to think that attaining a certain weight or clothing size might provide a sense of self-satisfaction, but these days I don’t want to be defined by the number on the scale or on the label of my trousers. Somehow, by switching my focus to something other than myself I attained what I thought I so badly wanted and now it isn’t all that important anymore.
I’ve lost more than weight on this motherhood journey. Once going out to bars and restaurants five nights a week, my social life has yielded to homebody status. Up until six weeks ago I was a full-time reporter, and proud of that title and my accomplishments. There’s some sadness and mourning of that old life.
Now I am just a mom of two silly, exhausting and amazing children. And for that I am grateful.
Without warning my three-year old decided to phase out his nap. The days have been much harder, particularly the evenings when fatigue sets in and he is falling asleep in his dinner. I tickle him and talk to him to keep him awake, but crankiness is inevitable.
He will fight me about everything now from washing his hands when he comes inside from playing to eating dinner and getting ready for bed. He loves bath time but he even fights me on that lately. When he starts to doze off, he screams at me, ” I just want to sleep.”
Trust me, that’s what I want too, but not at 4:30pm or 5pm.
The upside to no napping is that he is falling asleep quicker on his own and is sleeping until 5am most days. However, I’ll say it again, the days are much harder for me. There is no downtime whatsoever and my son and 15-month old daughter are both very busy. Even though he’s at school all morning, he comes home with renewed enthusiasm and energy, often asking, “Where are we going today?” And my daughter is into everything, especially the stuff she knows she shouldn’t be doing.
I had always considered myself a high-energy person, but I think I may have met my matches. I feel as though I’ve aged 10 years in the past several weeks of being home. I have no regrets in my decision, but I do question how I ever thought I could handle these two kids without assistance. I wonder how I ever could say that I wanted to have four children. (And while I have heard that going from one to two kids is much harder than going from two to three children, I’m willing to take the word of those who have gone before me and not find out for myself.)
I ran into my mother’s friend this past weekend who assured me it gets easier. She was a stay-at-home mom of four kids and eventually watched other peoples’ children out of her home. There’s hope in that.
I suppose in a lot of ways, my son and I are at a similar crossroads: navigating new territory. Perhaps for my son making it to bedtime also will get easier as he becomes more accustomed to life without a nap.