Maybe I’m Doing it Wrong?

I don’t know whether or not being a stay-at-home parent is the hardest job in the world. I haven’t had every other job in the world. I have had my fair share of jobs. Jobs that I was fairly successful in. Jobs that I was pretty confident in. I know that, in comparison to those jobs, this one is definitely the hardest. Definitely.

Staying at home with my kids is undoubtedly the most rewarding thing I have ever done. It is also the most thankless, frustrating, lonely, isolating, and lowest paying thing I have ever done. And I know that I just made being a SAHM sound like the worst thing that anyone could ever do. And it isn’t. But it is, to me, definitely all of those things. But, obviously, that’s just the stuff that makes me want to stick my head in the oven.

Having a toddler is like trying to ride across country on a stationary bike.

I wake up, change her, feed her, play with her, clean up after her, try and deal with 17 tantrums before lunch, feed her again…you know…lather, rinse, repeat. But no matter how much I clean up, she is one step ahead. Destroying some other part of the house. And all that food I just swept up from under the high chair? I think someone just retrieved it from the garbage and placed it right back where it just was. And there is screaming about nap time. And the Today Show. And tooth brushing. And rain. And a closed door. (Like, if there is a closed door ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, my daughter knows about it and she HATES it. Which reminds me of this giant, orange cat I used to have.) I, now, fully understand these “Terrible Twos” I have been hearing so much about. And I hate them. (And then people tell me that THREE is worse. Which is SO AWESOME, because by the time I have a three-year-old, I will also have another two-year-old. I really screwed myself here, didn’t I?)

But this whole merry-go-round of crazy is sort of what I expected to happen with her. I mean, I have met toddlers before. I know they can be pint-size jerk-faces with wicked tempers and strong little wills. I knew that. What I wasn’t expecting, and what I couldn’t have expected not knowing exactly everything about everything, was how hard it was going to be to do all of this toddler stuff, while somehow also managing to keep a very large infant alive. You know, and sometimes even HAPPY.

What I’m saying is that I do all of that toddler stuff. And sometimes I do it while carrying a 25 lb infant. And sometimes there are two VERY unhappy kids in my house, both screaming for me at the same time. One is screaming because “OH MY GOD, THE TODAY SHOW!” and the other is screaming because “OH MY GOD, THAT OTHER SHORT PERSON IS HARSHING MY MELLOW*!” And then I want to cry. I try to hide in the bathroom for sixteen seconds but as soon as the door closes, almost to the point of the click of the knob, there is more screaming. Then more screaming from the other one. I have been discovered trying to sneak away. A door has almost completely closed. GASP!

There are still infinite bottles to wash and fill and feed to the baby. And there are infinite Cheerios and there are infinite tantrums and faces full of spaghetti sauce and diaper changes and nap-time battles and night wakings and sometimes, Mommy just straight LOSES HER SHIT. And sometimes I just wish that I could have A WHOLE DAY wherein no one spoke to me. No one asked me for anything. No one bothered me at all. I would sit by a pool with a book and a cocktail. And I would remember what those days were like when I didn’t have someone attached to me every second of every day.

And then I know I would miss all of this stuff. Because the babies laughing, you guys? The best sound in the world. And I’ve never had a job that paid in baby laughs. (I am not sure I would have accepted that job, though? I mean…that’s a confusing thing to think about. Because I really also like to get paid with money.) And okay, maybe I wouldn’t miss diaper changing. And temper tantrums. But I would TOTALLY miss playing and giggling and hugs and kisses and all the twirling I get to do with my little lady.

But seriously, you guys…hardest job I’ve ever had. And the noisiest. Holy shitballs. The noise.

*Seriously, if you know which movie this is from, you’re as sad as I am for quoting it. Yep. I said it.

**I just read this post by AM and this is absolutely not a rebuttal. I laughed my face off when I read her post because I was halfway through this one and thinking, “Dammit. What am I doing WRONG?! And I wonder if she would come over and show me how to work it! Ooooh! And maybe she’d bring booze!”

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8 thoughts on “Maybe I’m Doing it Wrong?

  1. You’re not doing it “wrong” every mom is different, every kid is different. And you have TWO. Under TWO. Dude? I have one. Just one and some days I cry because I have to cry or I’ll KILL the tiny ankle biter. It’s a HARD FLIPPING JOB. Ok, non-job. But everybody is different because we all have our own set of circumstances. Circumstances that can make it harder or easier depending, when you’re comparing yourself to other moms remember their situation is not YOUR situation. You know? I’m always looking back instead of forward, because my life was simpler before baby. Not better. And that’s the truth. You’re not doing it wrong, you feel this way because you care to such an extreme about someone(s)who is as of yet incapable of realizing it. And some days are just harder than others. So for that I say, this too shall pass. Chin up, warrior mom.

    • I think back to those days when I just had ONE and I’m like, “I could totally do that shit in my sleep” and then I remember that I never slept then either. I really always look back too. And I really try not to compare myself to other moms, but sometimes, I’m all, “seriously? I’m I the only one who has been trying to figure out how to fit into that tiny space in the back of the closet to hide?” Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m so lucky to have you! (And everyone who reads and comments here and keeps me sane!)
      Job or non-job. It is ridiculous. And my kids had better appreciate this. Because…wow. Just wow.

  2. I had That Moment earlier this week. That toddler moment when I had to just cry. I had had an intensely stressful day (I was waiting to hear back about the job), PLUS I was getting sick, PLUS I was trying to pack for our move, PLUS C was feeling my stress and responding by acting like a little you-know-what. In the 15 seconds that I didn’t have my eye on her that day, she managed to get an ink pad, rip it out of its little plastic holder thingy, and insert the ENTIRE THING in her mouth. And when I saw her and ripped it out of her mouth, she started tantrumming and I couldn’t take it anymore and I started weeping right along with her. Like, ugly tears. Uuuuuuuugly. Right in front of her. I ended up calling my mom and putting C in her playpen by herself in her room, where she cried bloody murder for no less than an hour. But I had to do it. I was losing my mind.

    That said, I tooooootally feel you. You are doing a wonderful job. I know it doesn’t feel like it, but you are rocking it. You owe yourself a cry if you need it. Hell, you owe yourself a cry even if you don’t need it. Crying rocks. Just ask our kids 😉

    • Ohhhhhh, Emily….this made me feel so much better. But also made me feel like crying for your “that moment”! It has been that kind of week. And I am seriously sure that I’m not, like, the only one who goes through this. But it is SO. FREAKING. AWESOME. To hear people say that I’m not the only person ugly crying somewhere over some giant mess or ridiculous tantrum. Thank Cheesus. And thank YOU! (And so many congrats on the new job!!!)

  3. girrrrrl. I’ll come and bring the booze and we can hang out but you are certainly not doing it wrong! You’ve got two young crumb droppers so close in age – you possibly DO have the toughest job!! I admire that you find time to blog more than me – I have one and by the end of the day I barely have the energy to fast-forward commercials during Dance Moms! Maybe I’m doing it wrong because I am so lax! 🙂

  4. I have a 3 yo and a 2 yo, and tantrums and all, it is easier than having children almost 1 and almost 2. In my opinion. They can be told they need to ask nicely and at least the older one understands. They can explain what they want. They understandThey can wait a little. They can play on their own a little. They both can walk. It may also help that I nowadays work, so at least there I get to use the bathroom alone and without anyone screaming behind the door. (Am i describing a heaven to you? But then there is the constant rush to pick up from daycare, stress when kids are sick and there would be work to be done, and omg how much one can miss little kiddos when away from then aeveral hours every day!)

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