Now that both kids are home full time with nary a babysitter, a drop-off program or camp in sight, I can say that I, as a housewife (or SAHM), am exhausted. Sure, I get to take the kids swimming, spend much of the day outdoors and have no corporate meetings to attend. However, juggling two non-swimmers in a pool, facing the blazing sun when the kids want to go down the slide, “one more time” and not having a minute to myself are not exactly so enjoyable.
Since Monkey’s been in school I haven’t had both kids home with me full time for longer than a couple weeks. I’d forgotten what it was like to make big shopping trips with both kids. I’d forgotten what it was like to maneauver them into every store I go to, keeping them distracted long enough to make the necessary purchases. They’re great kids, but neither one of them wants to see me try on clothes*.
Then there is the food issue. As much of a pain as it is to pack lunches, snacks and drinks every day of the week for school, I’ve realized that the sheer repetition of providing healthy meals--and the table-wiping, spilled-drink-cleaning, crumb-sweeping that comes with it--three times a day is its own special hell. I can’t count the number of times my husband has come home, annoyed at the dinner crumbs on the floor when I’ve already swept six times that day.
I’ve learned that it’s good for us to go outside twice a day to keep the grumpiness away, but with each outing comes planning and packing. Swimming requires changes of clothes, extra diapers and sandals. Playing in sprinklers requires much of the same, but with water shoes and towels added into the mix. Heading to our urban beach or giant sand pit requires lots of sunblock and methods to contain the sand. All of these items, plus sandwich boxes, snack cups, water bottles and kiddie umbrellas, pile up in our entry way. Unpacking and packing all the items twice a day is a messy, Groundhog Day-esque activity.
I think the part that drains me the most though is not having anything to myself. My kids are (mostly) happy to eat their food, but then they harass me for mine. I play with them on the floor, but when I get up to use the computer, they climb onto my lap, bang on the keyboard and play with the mouse, forcing me to give up. I bend over to pick something up and Monkey tries to climb onto me for a piggy back ride. I sometimes feel neither my body, my food, my time, nor my clothes are mine and that feeling saps energy from my soul.
Despite the trials of full-time housewifery, I have really enjoyed sharing this summer with the kids. It’s be great to see Monkey become more confident in the pool and kiss Munchkin’s ouchies. I love to see Munchkin’s development and bravery at the playground and to be able to introduce Monkey to Candyland. I love it, I really do. I’m no desperate housewife, but I am desperate for a nap and a lock on the bathroom.