In which I am eaten alive
ACK BATHROOM REMODEL

SAHMing, and realizing the end of an era quickly approaches

I'm feeling extraordinarily proud of my momming today, you guys. I took Emma to the local library story time, which she loved, and then there was crafting, which I actually participated in, and then we picked out books and now we're home eating lunch. I feel like a proper stay at home mom instead of a mom who stays home and spoils her kid in coffee shops every morning and spends too much money at Target. 

Now that it's January I feel acutely aware of how much full time momming I've got left. Emma's birthday is a few weeks past the kindergarten cut off date, but in the opinions of me, Phillip, my former teacher parents, and my current teacher friends, she will be totally ready for kindergarten in the fall. (WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE POTTY TRAINING ISSUE, which we will discuss in a moment.) So if she actually does go to kindergarten in September, I've only got six months left of Big Kids Go To School, Little Kid Hangs Out With Mommy. I expect All Kids Are At School to be really really different. Moms already in this position tell me that I won't have as much time as I think I'll have, but I still expect it to be DIFFERENT. The preschool driving back and forth, the figuring out what to do with us on not-preschool days, the eating lunch together, the snuggling in bed and waiting until the absolute last second to pick the kids up at the bus stop... those days are quickly flying by and I'm feeling the pressure to Cherish! Every! Moment! 

And I WANT to. I'm not being obnoxious or sarcastic. Even on the rotten days when my kids are horrible and I'm exhausted and out of patience, I've been thankful for the option of being a stay at home mom. I quite enjoy not having a boss or responsibilities to other people besides my family. It's given me space to devote to the not-paid things I'm really interested in doing. I am a terrible housewife and a lazy mom, but I'm good at lots of other things (and other aspects of being a mom!) and I can do all of that because I stay home. I'm suited to it, which really does surprise me, and because I stay home my career-oriented husband has had near complete freedom to pursue his goals. I struggle with not earning money and the paycheck=worth feeling, I sometimes feel useless or not as accomplished as my working mom friends, and the full-time working husband/stay at home wife dynamic can be confusing in 2015. But ninety-nine percent of the time, I'm confident in my role. 

So what will it be like when Emma goes to kindergarten?!?!

I've had MANY more-experienced-parents say to me that as your kids get older it becomes more important to be around for them. I... am not sure about that! I mean, we'll see how it goes, right? But just on a daily taking-care-of-everyone's-needs basis, it seems like things are only going to get simpler. (Until my kids start demanding to be driven to sports and social engagements, I suppose. I'm sort of hoping they are couch potato nerds on that front.) People might start being actual helps in the taking out the garbage department, the cleaning up of the kitchen department, the laundry department, and the - could it BE? - cleaning the toilet department. (All things I am notably lazy and bad at, btw.)

And when all three kids are in school I expect finding time for bakery emails and the gym and meeting up with church people and PTA social media and whatever else I've dipped a toe in to be MUCH MUCH EASIER. I will probably not go back to work, the big reason being that I don't have a Work to go back to. I was "in publishing" (the scare quotes are super valid) before and have no interest in going back. The career-type jobs that interest me (design, coding, user experience stuff) feel very hard to get into at age 36. I think I missed the boat on those things, which is probably just how it goes when you have absolutely no idea what you want to be until you're no longer in your 20s. And the stuff I'm ACTUALLY interested in (almost all church-related things) aren't paid. Ha. Honestly, if I went back to work it'd probably be as a part time admin or a barista or some job at the kids' school, something where I would leave all my work at work and still have enough time to do the things I'm involved in now. And I could see that happening. If something presented itself, I'd seriously think about it. Grad school? HA HA HA. What for? I can't justify however many thousands of dollars for an MFA, which is really the only degree that sounds awesome. Phillip went to the iSchool (I like to think of his master's degree as my third child, Emma being the fourth) which could potentially be up my alley, but again, I don't think I want a Real Job. Maybe some sort of spiritual direction type certificate, but when I'm, like, 50. That's got plenty of time to percolate. 

ANYWAY. ALL THAT TO SAY. These last (hopefully) months with just Emma and me at home, that's an Era coming to an END. I just want to be aware of it and make the most of it, while also reserving my right to fall down foaming at the mouth on Terrible Children Days. Library story time, which I regret to say I didn't even bother to look up until this morning, is every Monday. What if we did the gym after the bus stop and then headed to the library on Mondays? That would be a GREAT routine! Preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays - more gym and plenty of unpaid-work-that-I-still-have-to-get-done time for me. Wednesdays and Fridays reserved for our typical coffee and shopping, or visiting Grandma, or hanging out with Mommy's friends, or folding clothes in front of TV. 

Maybe all this stuff is also on my mind because of how BIG Emma is getting. She's just a big girl these days, with plenty to say about everything. She's the little spoiled sister in our family, but when it's just her and me I can see how much her brain is expanding: her vocabulary, her ideas, her thought processes. IF ONLY this would extend to the bathroom! I keep saying I'm going to take her to a naturopath, so I should actually get on that. I think I've been slow because in my heart of hearts I suspect this is a LEARNED ATTITUDE, not a physical issue, and I am not going to get the potty training timeline I prefer. What kid do you know who's been dry overnight with nary an accident for 1.5 years, yet will not even TELL you when she needs to go poop? (Sorry Future Emma, but the fact that I have to resort to discussing your habits (or lack thereof) on the blog is YOUR fault, not mine.) I mean, I devoted my Christmas novena to this issue. I AM PRAYING FOR HONEST TO GOD MIRACULOUS HEALING. 

Let us all direct our good juju to the potty training gods and the people who decide whether a four-year-old-but-turns-5-in-3-weeks gets to enter kindergarten in Seattle Public Schools. I thank you for your efforts. 

 

Comments

Dr. Maureen

I would just like to say that I do not think you missed the boat on computer programming. Now I am not trying to talk you into anything, but if you DO want to learn how to do that, you COULD. It would probably take forever, but you COULD. AND it seems like something you could do semi-autonomously, so it would be suited to your SAHM lifestyle. I have no idea if you could get a degree, or if you even have to have a degree to get a job. Is it something you could just demonstrate knowledge of? Or even if you would WANT a job in it. But if you want to learn it for your own pleasure, you can still do that. No boats have been missed. I think of this sometimes myself, because I kind of want to learn it too.

Carrie

I was just telling my boss the other day how different I think my life would be had the internet and computer stuff been more of a thing when I was deciding what to do with my life.

Our financial advisor suggested that I could go back to work now that the kids are both in school full time (to an actual paid job, not the things I'm doing now) and I laughed and said that I don't want to.

You'll miss Emma when she's gone. It's hard to let your little pal go to school. But this is going to be a fun new chapter for you! I can't wait to see what God has in store for you next!

AmyRyb

Two things...First, a friend of mine who has been a SAHM for a long time just got a job as a lunch lady at her kids' school and LOVES it. It's lots of cutting up and arranging things to look pretty and stuff like that, which may appeal to your party planning side? Plus she's convenient to her kids and has their same schedule. Sounds like a win to me.

Second, this is a long shot, but bear with me. Has Emma been constipated in the past? Is she still? This may totally not be it, but just in case it is...So, my 7-year-old had a lot of trouble with accidents for a long time. Generally potty trained at 3-1/2 during the day, disaster at night until he was 6. The night thing just clicked on day and he went from a soaked pull-up to dry every night within a week or two. But back to daytime...he spent a good chunk of time constipated and had rather large BMs. I had similar issues as a kid so I just chalked it up to heredity, but then he got diagnosed with Celiac disease and it turns out that was a symptom (who knew?). My point is not the Celiac, however. What we learned as we emerged from the constipation (with lots and lots of Miralax) is that when BMs are consistently large, they enlarge that whole system. And when that happens, the nerves sort of lose their ability to know when one has to poop. Their sensitivity and ability to sense an oncoming BM is decreased, which can lead to accidents. I don't know if that's her issue or she's a "poop-in-the-corner-in-the-pull-up" kid, but I wanted to mention it. It takes time to get back to normal, but accidents are a lot fewer now. I'm sorry, though. I was pretty traumatized by having kids almost five years apart and getting zero break from the diaper aisle. Delayed potty training sucks.

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