I Have an Idea! Lets Stop Telling Other Moms How to Spend Their Time!Meredith Carroll
I’ve been up since 5 o’clock this morning and I still have not an ounce of work to show for it.
My daughters and I returned home from a week-long trip at around 9 o’clock last night. Both girls are sick (again!), and poor baby Peony was up at 3 and then 5 this morning in need some comfort in the form of my breasts.
All I’ve done since then is take her to the doctor (another ear infection, another round of nebulizer treatments). And yet it’s now mid afternoon and I still haven’t even been able to move the second suitcase upstairs to unpack it because the list of things to do ahead of it is just too long. I don’t have anything material that I’ve accomplished to account for my time, but I can tell you not a moment has been idle.
While I appreciate and admire that cloth diapering and baby food-making is so easy! and so quick! for so many moms, when I have a spare moment every few weeks, washing poop and pureeing peas is not how I choose to spend it.
I work at home full time and I watch my 5-month-old daughter Peony full time. My 3-year-old daughter Petunia is in preschool three days a week, and the other two days she’s home with Peony and me. I also do the majority of the grocery shopping, virtually all of the cooking in our home. Did I mention I work full time from home?
My husband is a most excellent dad, but he also works full time (and then some) — out of the home. So except for first thing in the morning and right before bedtime, I’m on my own.
A typical day starts between 5 and 7, depending on what time Peony gets up. While I’m nursing her I start working (one-handed typing is hardly fun, but it’s definitely a necessity). On most days I don’t eat until 1 in the afternoon or shower before 2. While I’m working I’m also entertaining the baby and trying to pick up after Petunia so our house doesn’t look like the forgotten victim of a seasonal hurricane 24/7. I try to cram in my trips to the store before picking up Petunia from preschool at 4, because shopping with her and the baby is about as pleasant as a bikini wax.
After I’ve done my work for the day, or however much I can get done while nursing, singing, dancing and cuddling with a 5-month-old and trying to maintain some semblance of sanity in my house, I spend the late afternoon and early evening feeding, bathing and directing traffic for everyone. When everyone gets to bed, I’m often finishing up my work and trying to get ahead for the days that Petunia isn’t in school. That means I’m also working on the weekends, sometimes up to 10-12 hours a day.
While I appreciate all of the comments on the posts I’ve written about how easy and quick it is to cloth diaper and make baby food, disposable diapers and jarred baby food work just fine for my family. The hour a week or a month or whatever everyone claims is how long it takes for those DIY projects is an hour I’d rather spend reading or, even better, staring off in into space and doing nothing.
There are plenty of moms — married, divorced, widowed, single, working, stay-at-home, part-timers — who cloth diaper, make baby food, knit clothes for their entire family. No one said it would be easy, but what I find downright irritating (particularly when I’ve been up since 5 and have nothing to show for it because I’ve been doing stuff that needs to get done but can’t be seen) is when other people think that what they do is easy (or desirable) for everyone else. And to suppose that anyone really knows just how much free time — be it 5 minutes or 5 hours — that anyone else has? Particularly someone they don’t even know? That’s just silly, don’t you think?
I think we can agree that we all have our own definition of quick and easy. For some women, working from home is neither quick nor easy. It’s certainly not for me, but it’s important and worth it for me to do it since I don’t want to leave my kids in someone else’s care. We all have our priorities. I know I’ve found mine, for sure.
Thanks for the helpful hints, but I’m quite fine with store bought food and store bought diapers, and my decision to buy both of them also lets me sleep well at night (or as well as Peony lets me).
Do you sometimes wish that as well-meaning as they are, some people would spend their two cents in a store other than yours?
Image: Meredith Carroll