This has been a long time coming.
I grew up with two parents who worked* and whether intentionally or not, they instilled in me a disdain for mothers who opted to stay at home. When I was younger, I would use derogatory terms for them, like Suzy Homemaker and swear I'd never be one. I needed more from my life.
When my sister had her first, and became a stay at home mom, I was shocked by how messy her house always was, how she could spend days playing video games instead of doing fun activities with her daughter, how sometimes dinner didn't get on the table until 8:00pm. Taking care of her house and child was all she had to do, after all.
Frankly, I didn't know what the fuck I was talking about - and neither does anyone else who's never been a stay at home parent.
It's hard to put into words the sheer emotional drain that's caused by being needed every second of every day, of waking up one morning and realizing that you're actually looking forward to taking a poo that afternoon, because it is the only time you'll get to yourself. Of knowing that, no matter how drained you are, how little sleep you've had in the past week (or, let's be realistic, year), no matter how much you just want to curl into a ball and do nothing for, like, ten seconds, you need to buck up, suck it up and bring your A Game, Princess. Of knowing that this is your life, now and forever, no backsies.
Not that I want to take it back. I love my son, and I'm so, so glad that I get to witness his milestones as they happen, and cherish those quiet moments that are completely insignificant to everyone outside of my family, rather than having them disappear into history unobserved. Right now, my monster is asleep in my lap, 99% calm, 1% sensing my agitation, but comfortable, content, and loved. My Dr. Pepper is getting flat and warm out of reach, and there's stuff I need to do around the house, but I'm the luckiest Mum alive, and I know it.
Today, Mr. Wolfman let me nap while he cleaned the kitchen. A gold star moment, one would think. I got up and told him thank you for the glorious nap. He told me he doesn't know what I'm doing all day, the baby was paying quietly and he managed to get the whole kitchen clean. He can't even understand where the mess on the counter came from**. It felt like I got punched in the gut. May as well tattoo inadequate on my forehead right now.
Yes, I'm mad at him. Yes, I've told him. But I can't work up the red hot ire that's become part of my day-to-day the past few months, for a couple of reasons. 1) I don't have the energy and 2) He doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about. Oh, the baby was good for you for a whole hour and you got the kitchen clean? La-dee-frickin'-da. Now try not having a full night's sleep in over a year, spending months not being able to walk properly, give up half-your caloric intake to someone else and while you're at it, scrape some teeth across your tender nipples like ten times a day, and then clean the fucking kitchen.
Pity partying and ranting aside, it got me to thinking about how judgmental and ridiculous I was before having the monster and how completely ignorant I was about stay at home parenting. So I'd like to take a moment to sincerely apologize to every stay-at-home parent who I secretly judged, thinking that they had it easy, thinking that I had it harder as a working singleton. Please forgive me; I knew not what I did.
Honestly, I feel like being a working parent would be easier in a lot of ways, but in no way can you quote me on that; I'm done with making assumptions and talking out my ass.
*My mom was and has always been a huge workaholic, my dad has always worked long shifts to make ends meet.
**Um, that would be from cooking pasta sauce from scratch at your request, only to have you order takeout, decide to eat it later, then not eat it later, as well as cooking a separate batch for the monster without salt or onions, only to have him throw it all over the floor the second it was placed in front of him, thankyouverymuch.