Ahhhhhh. Soaking in the moment when I am DONE for the day. Scarlett is in the crib, Brody's gone outside and had his snack, dishes are all done, humidifiers filled and all chores have commenced ... until tomorrow morning.
It's so funny how you can read a million of those articles/blogs titled something like I may not have a job but I work just as hard as a stay-at-home parent and not realize that it's completely true until you actually become that parent. You get whacked with that realization * omg YUP, so true *... and then you wonder how you didn't see it before.
I really had no idea how consuming being a stay-at-home-mother can be. Year one didn't feel so crazy. Things were moving at a slower pace. Sure, Scarlett was growing and changing rapidly but she wasn't really mobile or terribly demanding. Year two sped things up drastically, leaving me to count on one hand the amount of times I sat down in a day. Year three is proving to be a weird mix. Scarlett can play by herself for longer periods of time and I don't have to watch her as closely in some situations. But she's still in diapers, fiercely stubborn, very energetic and a daredevil. Mealtime can be exhausting. Bath-time can be frustrating. Nap-time has turned into Scarlett's own Broadway show but at least it gives me an hour break. Add in heaps of laundry, swiffering and vacuuming dog hair, preparing meals, paying bills, running errands, cleaning, washing dishes - it's go, go, go until bedtime. We read books each night (she always pushes for 'one more') then we sing songs (again, 'one more') and then she cries when I put her in the crib - for just a minute or two. (She's never ready to rest). I head down the hallway and down the stairs and sigh. That sigh is not because I'm getting rid of her ... but because I'm getting time for myself after a long day. I love her like mad but need to be away from her too. To replenish my patience at the very least. Because let's face it, spending time with anyone for thirteen hours a day can be pretty trying.
I spend the first hour of my day drinking coffee and watching Today (or Roseanne). I need that little wake-up time before I start the grind. Scarlett's up by 7:20 so I am up by 6:20 every day. There are no days off, there are no weekends. She's not going to get up and make herself some eggs. She's not going to change her diaper and get dressed. She needs me. And I love that she does! I treasure that moment when she sees me open her door and announces, "MAMA!" with her great big honest grin.
And I treasure it even more than when I close her door at night - no matter how exhausting the day has been.
My motto to share with new parents (and old pros) everywhere is 'just hang in there'. Every dreadful phase passes and every tiring day/night comes to an end. The amazing thing about being a parent is that for all of the frustrating and trying moments there are countering lovely moments. You just have to be sure you're soaking up the lovely ones more than the ones that wear you down. So the next time you're admiring your little one as they play quietly to themselves - soak it up. The next time they giggle at something silly with their amazing honest giggle of crazy happiness - soak it up. The next time they hug you, kiss you or hand you a soggy pretzel to eat - eat the soggy pretzel, kiss them back and squeeze them tighter. Soak it all up. Those moments will power you through their next meltdown - or yours. ;o)