Being home all day sounds like a dream come true. And it should. Pants are optional. There’s a kitchen and a DVR. Laundry need not multiply. But there’s a myth to staying home few parents ever talk about and it’s making us all crazy.
When I worked full-time outside the home, I made a lot of excuses as to why my home and my life were in constant disarray. Without a nanny, cleaning lady, or personal assistant, I did what I could, when I could. Sometimes it was enough. Sometimes it wasn’t. But I, along with the world, understood the demands of working motherhood.
The day I quit my job I made promises to myself — a lot of ’em. I would never again microwave four frozen burritos and call them dinner. I would pay bills, return DVDs, and pick up prescriptions on time or even early because I’d be home. And everyone knows being home means having nothing but time.
Four years into life as a working stay-at-home-mom, I can tell you the myth of limitless time is a dangerous one. There are days I can barely manage a frozen pizza for dinner, let alone take a shower — and I don’t even have little ones anymore. I still do what I can, when I can. Sometimes it’s enough. Sometimes it’s not. Only now I, along with the rest of the world, aren’t quite so forgiving.
Take a look at 15 reasons I can’t seem to get anything done.
- It’s early release day at school. Again.
- The library books are due.
- The refrigerator repair man is coming somewhere between 12pm – 4pm.
- My third grader has to bring yellow Joy dish soap (absolutely no exceptions) to school tomorrow and no retailer in the western hemisphere sells it.
- People drop by unannounced because I don’t have a “real job.”
- There’s no toilet paper in the house.
- I have two school drop-offs and two school pick-ups at four totally different times.
- The dog got out.
- Solicitors won’t. stop. calling.
- My kid forgot his lunch.
- My husband’s car needs a smog check. And oh, look! There’s a recall, too.
- There’s a 10 AM awards assembly at school.
- Ants have invaded the pantry.
- There’s a sink full of dirty dishes.
- I feel a migraine coming on.
But hey, that’s just me. I asked around (because I’m nosey like that) about the reasons you can’t seem to get anything done; this is what you said:
“There’s always a PTA meeting or event. I joined because I wanted to get involved, but not at this level! Can’t I just help sell some raffle tickets one time and call it a year?” — Jennifer
“Long-distance family is always calling. They know I’m home so they don’t have to worry about the time difference.” — Amber, From Carpools to Cocktails
“When [my son] was a baby he would nurse all the time. It was about every 1½ hours for 45 minutes! I was exhausted. He also had to have tons of attention and didn’t like to be left in the playpen, etc. He had to be with us at all the times and interacted with constantly … so attachment parenting it was.” — Patsy
“My mom always stops by. She’s retired, but I’m not! She comes by almost every day to drop something off for the kids or because she’s in the ‘neighborhood’. I tried hinting around that I’m busy, but she doesn’t get it at all.” — Kelli
“My husband makes me do his grunt work because he thinks I have nothing but free time. Like I really need to be dealing with his monthly oil changes with a 9-month-old!” — Jillian
“The mess all around me. And the pull of the laundry, going to the store, needing to get errands done, and then having to start dinner before having to pick up the kids from school.” — Alexandra, Good Day, Regular People
“It’s the middle-of-the-morning phone calls from folks who feel that when I say ‘I’m busy,’ I’m really saying ‘I don’t want to talk to you, you’re bothering me,’ and interpret it as me being rude, obnoxious, and anti-social. No, no, no. .. you see, just because I work from home doesn’t mean I can have a 45-minute conversation with you about your kiddo. I have deadlines to meet, time sensitive material to cover … it’s called a JOB, and mine, believe it or not, is TRULY real!” — Laryssa
“When I was completely a stay-at-home mom, I was fairly over-committed in volunteer work (Sunday school teacher, working in kids’ classrooms, etc.) You name it, I felt like I owed it my time because … well, that’s what stay-at-home moms do, right?” — Karen
“I can sometimes feel overwhelmed by so many to-dos: my writing, homework, housework, meal prep … I try to schedule myself so I’m working on certain tasks at certain times, but sometimes the dryer buzzer goes off when I’m in the middle of prepping for a math exam and I’m torn. I wish there were task canceling headphones I could wear!” — Dresden, Creating MotherhoodMore On