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!”

On Guilt

When I decided to be a SAHM, I sort of didn’t really get to decide. If you have been following along for any amount of time, you might know that I was fired from my position two days after announcing my pregnancy. I was a good worker. I was the one chosen to train new employees. I was on TOP of shit. And then, all of a sudden, I was pregnant. And I was left without no insurance and a baby on the way. This was a giant mess. On top of never wanting to have kids in the first place, I was without a safety net. I went through so much during my pregnancy with L. I was depressed. I felt hopeless and alone and generally lost.

And then I saw her face.

And then all was right with the world. I decided, right then, that not only did I want to be with her every minute, but I wanted to give up working. At least for the time being. Because what the hell is a job in comparison to raising a child?

And then I found out I was pregnant with Baby O. Right about the time that I had decided I was ready to start looking for a part-time job to get out of the house a little bit. To make some money. To feel like a person again. Even a person who was stocking shelves or running a register. Just something else. For a couple of hours per week.

And then there Baby O was. With his little, toothless, juicy face. And again, I didn’t care about anything else.

And now, O is eight months old.

And I am lonely. And exhausted. And overwhelmed.

The babies are beautiful and healthy and so freaking fun to be around. But I am functioning as a married, single mother. And I am running on fumes. I feel my blood boiling if the kids won’t go to sleep and give me the 30 minutes of silence I so desperately need to remain sane for the rest of my 16 hour day. I feel myself grinding my teeth at the 32nd diaper change and sometimes feeling the urge to lock myself in the bathroom for six hours to avoid tantrums. And I wish desperately, sometimes, that I just had to go to work. Because, at least, if I were at work, there would be no tantrums (well…in theory) and there would be no diaper changes (I hope…). Because, at work, you just get shit done. And then you go home and it is over. When you are a SAHM, it is never. fucking. over. You just go and go and go and go. And you drink coffee at 4pm so that you don’t fall asleep on the couch, allowing for so much mischief and possible death. Falling asleep could cause a house fire. It is proven fact that, as a SAHM, if you fall asleep, it will trigger some sort of natural disaster. Hurricane Katrina? Yep. Some poor lady, after four days of dealing with a toddler and a teething infant, fell asleep at 3pm and BAM! Worst storm EVAR. True story.

Anyway. Yeah. I am super tired. I miss sleeping and nights out with friends. And riding in my car without babies. I miss reading books and talking to adults and blogging. Oh my god, you guys, I MISS BLOGGING. (Because, I used to have shit to say…) I miss sleeping until noon and going to brunch. And the beach. And…SO MANY THINGS.

And I feel guilty. Because I love my kids. I love them so much that I feel like my heart will explode when L says, “I love you”. Or when O’s eyes get all big and bright when I pick him up from his crib in the morning. I love that they love me so much and I can SEE it and FEEL it and TASTE it in every tiny thing that they do. But oh my GOD, I want to go to work. I want to speak to people without having to add a “y” to the end of words. I want to have relaxing lunch dates, wherein I gossip with some petty girl about some coworker. (I know, it is awful…but it is also strange what you miss when you don’t have it. And I am more of a listener, anyway.) I want a mimosa. On a beautiful, sunny day. In my coastal town. WITH ADULTS. And no curfew. I want, I want, I want.

And there is guilt. So much guilt.

A Dare

So, I haven’t really written in awhile, about how life is as a mother of two UNDER TWO. And that is mostly because, as a mother of two under two, I have  ZERO time to do so. Which, I am sure you might have expected.

I am, by no means, some type of domestic goddess. In fact, I am quite the opposite. I hate dirty dishes, but if I use my muffin pan to make the delicious and healthy oatmeal cups (for which, the liners will not work) for my daughter so that she doesn’t have to eat crap food for breakfast, I will pretend not to see the muffin pan sitting in the sink for days and use the excuse that “it needs to soak” to avoid scrubbing the shit out of it. I do assloads of laundry but frequently leave clean clothes in baskets until I can no longer stand to look at them. I sweep 471 times per day but can never seem to get everything. And I routinely bribe my husband with anything I can think of to scrub the bathtub because I fucking hate doing it.

When and if my kids take naps at the same time, I prefer to spend that hour (USUALLY LESS) watching the reality TV on my DVR and playing Candy Crush. Because, we all have our guilty pleasures. And while I wish I could say that I bust my ass during that time, I would be lying. Because it rarely happens and Mama needs her Mob Wives fix. And I won’t apologize. Because, as chaotic as I knew all of this “mother of two” shit was going to be, I HAD NO IDEA what I was getting myself into.

I have a friend who was pregnant with her second child when I was pregnant with L. Her kids are about 17 or 18 months apart. I always marvel at her because, though we share a bunch of frustrated, “WHY WON’T THESE FUCKING KIDS SLEEP” texts (DAILY), she seems to handle it all so much better than I feel I do. I mean, it could just be that I am more willing to say things like, “Seriously. My kids are being assholes and they are trying to kill me” or “If they don’t STOP THIS RIGHT NOW, I am making them sleep in the yard”. It just seems to me that, through the frustration, she finds grace. And I find myself wanting to bang my head against hard things.

Being a SAHM is completely ridiculous. I mean, there are moments that I am SO grateful for. Like, when the kids interact with each other and I get to catch what seems like this private, brother-sister moment. Or when L says something really awesome like the other day when she said, “Hot mess!” when I was trying to scrub syrup off of her chin. I am grateful that, in her, I can see so much of myself. She speaks with my inflection (and hopefully doesn’t start integrating my HORRIBLE language! FUUUUUCK, I have to stop swearing so much!) and it is all because I am the one she hears the most. And that is pretty awesome. Dangerous. But totally awesome. I would say that about 85% of the time, I really enjoy my time with my kids. But that other 15% makes me want to run screaming from my house and never come back. I don’t know if it is okay to admit that. But screw it. There it is. If my bosses in the workforce ever worked me like this, I would have stabbed them in the neck with my staple remover. But, you know…my little slavedrivers are the loves of my life. So, that’s like, a get out of jail free card. Lucky them.

I am more patient than I have ever been (although, my husband might tell you differently, but what does he know about anything? He gets to leave the house without two tiny people hanging on him.) and I am mostly happy with the decision I have made to become this person. Mostly. I miss interacting with people who can utter at least four-word sentences (we’re so close!) and drinking coffee while it is still hot. I miss lunch breaks. I even sometimes miss waking up to an alarm and not an infant demanding food. (I never thought I would say that I miss my alarm. Seriously. Who says shit like that?)

But this shit is hard. I am exhausted and am currently nursing L back to health from strep throat and dealing with Baby O’s third round of teething. I am averaging 3 solid hours of sleep per night and eating frozen food while I make 17 different dishes for L who is entering the terrible twos. I drink entirely too much coffee and spend entirely too little time with my husband. (who is currently out of town for work for two weeks. Just in time for the strep and teething. Lucky bastard.) I haven’t painted my toenails in weeks and my hair desperately needs a trim. I need to lose the last ten pounds I gained during my last pregnancy (plus about 30 more) and I need to take better care of my skin. But the kids. Oh my god, the kids. They are so much fun and so adorable and so time consuming that I barely remember that these things are…well…things.

It is a balancing act. And I am working on it.

So, there you go, internet. Go ahead, have two kids in the span of 13 months. I dare you!

Life Suckage

Since before I had Baby O, MB has been looking for a new job. One where he wasn’t working so hard that he was too sore/tired/dirty to hold the kids when he got home. One that paid a little more and would afford us the luxury of THE ZOO or THE MUSEUM on weekends. Not that we couldn’t do these things before, but recently, after his job didn’t pay him what they were supposed to for being home after the birth of our son, we were playing catch up. Like CRAZY. And it was too much. MB found another job, put in his notice, and then his previous employer of 5 years let him go. So, we had another two weeks of ZERO income. Which, by the way, was AWESOME. So, my stress level was off the charts. And for me, that could really just mean that its Tuesday, but…you know. Two weeks of CODE RED stress makes mommy a little…well…crazy-pants.

So, anyway, MB started his new job last Wednesday. They told him in the interview that he would be working about 60-70 hours per week. Obviously, this was a little disheartening, but also totally do-able. And the money was a pretty good motivation because he would be making about double what he was previously making for a lot less BS/injury. And we were excited. In fact, I was ELATED. I thought about these zoo trips and museum trips and weekends in Savannah, strolling around and eating delicious southern food on River Street. And then he went to work. And he was there, on his first day, for 15 hours. And day two wasn’t much better. And so on. And so on. And when they told him that, not only would he have to work 6 days per week, but he would have to work one Sunday a month, my heart sank a little (read: I envisioned myself stabbing his boss in the eye with my kitchen scissors) and all my zoo fantasies faded. So, today marks 7 straight days of MB working 15 hour days and leaving me home with the kids all day. Alone.

The kids take turns sleeping so that there is zero time for me to actually accomplish any sort of household duty for more than 30 seconds without being interrupted to change a diaper or administer a bottle or retrieve Baby L’s hand out of the trash can or stop her from trying to scale the kitchen counter. There are dishes in the sink ALL. THE. TIME. Because we are stupid and moved into a house that doesn’t have a dishwasher and there seems to be an endless consumption of food in this house for some reason. I’ve had to resort to letting Baby L watch two, back-to-back episodes of “Yo Gabba Gabba” at times, (despite feeling that if she is going to watch TV at all, it should be VERY infrequently) just so that I can pee without a toddler trying to climb into my lap. I have to shower at 5am or 10pm since the kids refuse to overlap their naps so that I can do so during the day. And showering may sound like no big deal, but it is the one thing that, I think would make me feel human. Besides coffee. And wine. But, sadly, I can’t drink wine all day or I would probably try to put mascara on the babies or something equally ridiculous.

I have been exhausted. Surprisingly calm, however. I braced myself for long days and even though I didn’t expect them to be quite THIS long, I have managed to pull of bathtimes and bedtimes and night wakings with an amount of grace that is really shocking to me. Because I, my friends, am a crazy person. And calmness doesn’t come so easily. I am just not sure how long we can go on like this. MB hasn’t spent any time at all with the kids in a week and it is obvious to me that Baby L is really missing him. Her mood is different and she seems to be waiting for him. And it breaks my heart. And it breaks HIS heart. And that breaks my heart more. MORE! So, we are sucking it up, as they say, for the time being. You know, until I find a high paying, work from home job that wants to enlist me to write snarky things about being a parent. Or about celebrities who piss me off. Or…you know…whatever.

I just know that this 90+ hours per week business is not going to fly for long or MB will miss every new wonderfully amazing thing that Baby O does for the first time. And before we know it, Baby L will be reading “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” and going off to college and MB will have missed it all. So, the hunt begins again. Either for me, or for MB, to find a job that doesn’t suck the life out of us. Because the “life” part is the GOOD part.

On Not Getting Hit with Golf Clubs. And Some Other Shit.

Dancing bears

Dancing bears (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Baby L has been a pretty bad blogger lately. It might have something to do with the fact that she has been busy trying to stand on her own and furiously trying to crawl. (She can crawl, but usually does more backwards crawling and when trying to go forward, either flops over onto her side or just lets her arms give out and starts to fuss about it. What a baby, I know…sheesh.) She’s really letting the blogosphere down. I tried to tell her that people are going to stop reading and that everyone is getting really pissed that she is so selfishly ignoring this blog. She said she’s sorry, you guys. Don’t give up on her. After all, she is just a baby.

Oh, you guys were under the impression that I was going to blog…Right. About that…Well, a lot has happened in the past few weeks. For starters, (and I know I will forget something, because I TOTALLY have pregnancy brain and am having trouble remembering pretty much everything. Especially if I have to remember it for more than 30 seconds) MB, Baby L and I moved into a new place. Before you get all excited for us and our new status as homeowners, just don’t get excited. Because we aren’t. And I am okay with it. We are renting a three bedroom house with a giant yard for a fraction of what I would have expected to pay for a place this size. Is it on the side of town that I was hoping for? No. Is the rent going to be too much for our single-income family? Shockingly? NO! Go, Team Oopsie!

Is this my dream house? No. But there are a few things that I absolutely LOVE about it. Like, for instance, the yard is seriously gigantic. This makes me super happy because pretty soon it will be summertime. And Baby L will be frolicking about in cutesy little sundresses and I will be prancing with my giant preggo-beast belly to Grateful Dead songs. Okay, probably this won’t happen. I mean, who wants to prance with a preggo-beast belly? And I feel like Grateful Dead prancing should only happen after a lot of cocktails or hallucinogens. Neither of which I am really allowed to partake in currently. (I mean, not that I would take any hallucinogens anyway. At least, not anymore. Don’t judge me. I was a teenager once, OKAY? I digress…there probably won’t be prancing.)

The house is pretty old, so it has that awesome built-in shelving in it. I have always loved that, because I hate putting up shelves. So I just don’t. And then I wind up with a bunch of framed pictures and barnyard animal figurines all over everything. (Okay, not so much the figurines, but I wanted to make sure you got the visual of a ridiculous and tacky clutter. Mission accomplished? I think so.)

Also, and this might be a pro AND a con for us: NO CARPET. Only hard wood! OH. MY. SWEET. BABY. JESUS. I love hard wood floors. I mean, do I really have to say anything else about it? I don’t think so.

One of the best things, though, just kind of fell into my lap. When we were looking at this house, the landlord was having a broker show it. And the broker, well, lets just say he was sort of flighty and weird and I didn’t like him. And he stood us up a couple of times before we actually got to see the place. And then, once we finally saw it and MB had decided that, not only was the price right, but that he wanted to go ahead and get it ASAP, the dude couldn’t locate our former landlord and couldn’t get a reference. When I offered to speak with the potential landlord, she mentioned that her father (who has dementia) is living alone in a house right next door and that she is not only looking for a tenant, but also someone to spend a couple of hours per week with him to cook meals and give him medications. Naturally, I mentioned that I am not currently working and that I used to work with dementia patients at a nursing home. This won her over, apparently, and we got the house the next day. And then, a week later, I had a job. Not a substantial one, but one that will help out with our bills and one that will provide me with a little purpose. You know, of the outside of the house variety. SCORE!

So, now I am employed. And, call me crazy, but I really like working with dementia patients. He tends to cuss a lot at me when I put in his eyedrops but I was warned about this. And cussing, you guys, I can totally handle. I mean, fuck, I am a sailor-mouthed mommy blogger. As long as he doesn’t bite me or hit me with a golf club, I can handle him.

So, we are no longer living with a disobedient five-year-old. And we have hard wood floors. And a huge yard. And I cook eggs and bacon for a dementia patient and try to avoid getting hit with golfclubs for several hours per week. So, that’s the news.

I don’t think that I have to tell you that I want a GIANT FUCKING BEER. Or that I still hate being pregnant and can’t wait until this shit is over. And I probably don’t need to inform you of the copious amount of ice cream I have ingested over the last month. Or that my belly is officially giant and I want to hide from the world until this kid makes his grand entrance. Because, you guys can probably guess how that is all going over. I mean, I just did this. You guys might remember all the fun that was had.

I will be posting my open letter to Baby L (9 months, totally late. Shut up.) very shortly. I just haven’t had a lot of time to write about her being 9 months old because I have been busy dealing with a 9-month-old. But I have a little more free time now that we are out of our previous living situation and now that I am not currently cleaning up after 4 adults all the time. You know…because that shit sucked the blogging right out of me.

I shall return. And sooner than you may expect.

 

Peace OUT!

 

Obligatory Valentines Day Post

Cake on Valentine's Day

Cake on Valentine’s Day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve never really understood the big deal about Valentine’s Day. I mean, I get all the love stuff. And I think all that stuff is really great. I do. But I think it is more important to be loving every day. Not just buy candy and flowers once a year and go out to dinner. I mean, come on.

MB and I have never really had a chance to have a proper V Day. The first year we were together, I had gotten my “friend” an interview at the place where I worked and she was coming in from out of town, so, naturally, she showed up on Valentines Night and was supremely obnoxious for the entirety of the night/her visit. (That’s sort of the norm for her…which explains why we aren’t friends anymore. Oh, that and that she called me her “best friend” for 10 years and hasn’t spoken to me since I lost my job. At the place that she now works. BECAUSE OF ME.) Last year was our second V Day together. And I was pregnant. And bitter. And probably vomiting all over the apartment. And, to be honest, I am pretty sure we sat on the couch and watched some idiotic reality show on TV or something. He probably got me flowers. There may have been ice cream.

This year, I wanted to put on a pretty dress and, despite my growing bump, attempt to feel attractive. I wanted to take off the yoga pants, put on some mascara,  slip into some fancy undies and have an adult dinner with adult conversation with my husband. Because it feels sometimes like we don’t do enough of any of that. And what better day that Valentines Day? Right?

Then we started getting on this “renting a house” thing. Which was due, mostly in part, to the fact that I was, on a daily basis, begging him to take this seriously and allow this nesting urge to rage and find us a place to live that does not come fully stocked with a five-year-old. And he did it. And now, a week before we move in, I am spending money left and right for deposits and rent and odds and ends that we will need to accomodate us and Baby L and then finally Baby O. And I looked him straight in the eye three days ago, after having arranged for a sitter for Baby L and planning to take my husband out to dinner, and told him to just forget it. That we just didn’t have the time. Or the money. And I’m out of mascara anyway. And part of my heart broke. Because I DO miss the times when going to dinner wasn’t such an ordeal. And when I wasn’t shelling out SO MUCH MONEY just to live somewhere peaceful. I DO miss wearing dresses and mascara. And I DO want to celebrate this ridiculous holiday. I DO.

But I’m still wearing yoga pants. And I am totally making Sloppy Joes for dinner. Because I haven’t had them in years. And because I need to eat something that makes me feel happy.

I woke up this morning, though, to beautiful flowers, my favorite cashew turtles and a pretty hilarious card telling me that he loved me more and that I was a smokin’ hot wife. So, it isn’t all bad. And I love him so much, that I guess I don’t care about having to wear yoga pants. Maybe I will just wear the fancy new ones I just bought. Or maybe I’ll just jazz them up with some secret fancy panties underneath. Either way, I have a date with my wonderful man, my beautiful little lady, a box of turtles and some Sloppy Joes.

Happy Valentines Day, internet. I hope you stuff your faces with love and chocolate today.

Sleep? What is THAT?

sleep

sleep (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

So, MB and I have had this kind of unspoken agreement that I will get up with Baby L should she wake in the middle of the night, since he, after all, has to wake up before 5 am to make it to work on time. This went really well for months because Baby L rarely woke up during the night and I was functioning at approximately 95% (depending on how many glasses of wine I’d had after the wee one went to sleep). Now that Baby L is waking up 3,025 times per night and I am knocked up, cranky and totally exhausted, this arrangement is just pissing me off.

I know that MB has to work. And I know that he is doing so to assure that I don’t have to and that I can, like I had wanted to, stay home with Baby L and not miss any of the cool things she learns to do. (On this list of cool things, however, I did not include “learning how not to nap and then get terribly angry and stay that way for the rest of the day”.) And I genuinely appreciate this. I really do. But, internet, I am freaking tired. And not the normal, I have a baby kind of tired. It is the “I have a baby and I am currently growing another one WAY too soon” tired and I am not sure what to do about it. On the one hand, I feel like waking MB up in the middle of the night by banging on his head with rattles and the like. On the other hand I feel like I should really just respect that this is the path that I chose. I am the full-time SAHM and I am responsible for the baby stuff at night so that my wonderful husband can go to work and function properly in the morning.

And because Baby L has been a crazy, weirdo when it comes to sleeping lately, and she usually (always, at least for a couple of hours a night) ends up in the bed with us, I feel even MORE uncomfortable than I would normally be. With or without this new parasite.

I’ve tried to nap. But I am back on the insomnia train. You know the one, ladies, where the minute you actually have time to sleep, you can’t. Because your body hates you. Either that, or I fall into a deep, delicious slumber and Baby L starts to scream like someone is peeling her skin off. Because not only does my body hate me, it appears that my child also hates me.

I am starting to wonder if I will ever sleep again. I remember wondering this when I was pregnant with Baby L, but…this? This is much, much worse. What is a mama to do?