As a stay-at-home mom, I'm naturally on the move constantly. When I'm outdoors, I'm walking Monkey to school, taking the kids to play dates, pushing the stroller while jogging or chasing Munchkin at the playground. If we're home, I'm settling sibling battles and managing dinner, bath and bedtime alone. The energy and drive I inherited from my mom serve me well at these times. But what do I do when I'm home alone?
It's a novel--and fantastic--dilemma that I'm lucky to have. With Monkey in school until 2:30 five days a week and Munchkin in daycare two days a week, I have about 10 hours of time without them during the week. I want my first priority to be writing. Writing GoodMomvsBadMom has been a terrific outlet and given me the freedom to discuss topics that don't revolve around teaching a 3-year-old how to share nicely. But then there is laundry to be done, dishes to be cleaned and errands that can be tackled more easily without a double-stroller full of children. Can I just write and do research for five hours or must I divide my time evenly between GMvBM work with house work? Am I a failed mom if the kids get home and the clean dishes are *gasp* still in the dishwasher and their dinner isn't 100% ready?
Then there is the question of rest. It's been three weeks since school has started and I have yet to take a nap in those ten weekly hours. Am I "allowed" to watch TV for a while? Can I go get a haircut or go to the spa or do something--anything--mildly relaxing? If being a SAHM is a job, shouldn't I be "working" the whole day, even if I’m alone? Or is that outweighed by the fact that most days I don't get a lunch or coffee break during the day, rarely get a full night’s rest, never get to call in sick and am usually on the job 24 hours a day?** Even the busiest cubicle dwellers get time to surf the internet or take a personal call in peace. What are the rules and regulations for being a SAHM?
I feel like I should keep moving at all times, but for all the times I squeeze in two days of work into five hours, there are days where I just can't function any more and I slowly sink onto the couch. Just don't tell my mother.
*My father also contributed to the household--he loved to cook and fix up our antiquated house--but at least we could count on him to sit still, if only to watch the news and L.A. Law.
**In the spirit of full-disclosure and kind-wife-ure, I do get one weekend morning to sleep in, courtesy of my husband.