Saturday, July 07, 2007

Like/Don't Like (SAHM Edition)

I like the mornings, when I can drink my coffee and read the paper while the kids run around in their pyjamas. Hubby has been leaving for work half an hour earlier this week, since there’s no delivery to day-care to worry about, and even so the mornings are far more relaxing than they used to be.

I don’t like the 9:30 boredom that sets in, when the children take turns stealing each other’s toys, pushing and biting, while I belatedly try to get dressed and figure out where we’re going (the park? the bookstore? a playgroup? the back yard?).

I like how different things are now from what they were a year ago, the last time I was at home full-time. When I say, "Do you guys want to go to the library?" instead of blank stares there is a pounding of four little feet down the stairs and much shouting of "Good idea, Mama!" and "Where are my sandals?" They can put their sandals on with only minimal assistance; they can climb into their carseats with only the occasional boost; they can hold hands as we walk from the car to the grocery store. Where a year ago I had two miniature tornadoes to manage, now I have two verbal, interactive, independent agents to negotiate with.

I don’t like the reminders that some things haven’t changed a bit. Bub still fights every transition tooth and nail. He fixates on particular books and refuses to leave them behind. He has to be carried, screaming, to the car while the Pie takes advantage of the moment by running away and hiding.

I like seeing all the milestones Bub is passing with startling rapidity. Climbing up rock-walls at the park. Asking "why" questions. Peeing on the potty.

I don’t like the challenge of mopping my kitchen floors while the Pie "helps" by dipping her plastic broom in the soapy water and Bub follows us shouting, "Oh no, it’s wet!" and trying to dry the floor off with a hand-towel.

I like the mental space that has opened up in the sudden absence of lectures to prepare and essays to grade. When I make social plans for the weekend, I find myself stressing about how I’ll get any work done – and then I realize, oh yeah, there isn’t any work to get done.

I don’t like the aimlessness, the great swathes of time that only I can figure out how to fill.

I like having the space in which to realize how much I truly enjoy my job, how creative and independent and non-annoying it is.

I don’t like the thought of all I will miss when the children start day-care (and JK) in the fall.

37 comments:

Bon said...

you know, i loved this post and all the little moments encapsulated in it (the ones you'll miss...they're vivid here, you bring it home) but really, all i'm left with at the end is...

you mop your floors?!?!

like, more than once? like on such a regular basis that since you've been home full time it's happened more than once?

the part of my self-esteem which likes to think of itself as clean and domestically goddess-like is now suffering.

Becky said...

I, too, have a kid who doesn't transition well, and I still don't quite know what to do when, in the end, I have to carry a crying/screaming/kicking/all of the above child away from an activity. I despise the "one more minute" negotiations, even though we enacted that practice to help with the transitions. "One more minute" is never in our favour.

And I am a teeny bit jealous of your not having work on your mind while you're parenting. It has occurred to me that this may be why I can never fully embrace being a mom - I'm always on the lookout for a way to multitask, and when that's not possible, I'm anxious that I should be multitasking.

painted maypole said...

oh, i'm with Becky on the multi-tasking thing. So here's MY "Don't like" I don't like that when I'm playing with my daughter, I'm feeling guilty about the things I could be doing aroud the house, or even wishing I could be doing something else (although, you know, if I were allowed to come up with my own dialogue when we played Barbies, you know, good old fashioned improvisation, then I might be a little more enthusiastic. I don't like being told what to do and say all the time when we are playing) So I guess that was 2 "don't likes"

Sober Briquette said...

Sip. sip. sip. Yes, I like the unhurried morning. A little too much, so that it always devolves into screaming, hitting, and a mad rush to head it off, wishing I'd gotten in gear just 15 minutes sooner.

And the mopping with assistance? Nailed it. (Reminds me of your description of playing in the snow - all getting dressed and undressed, not so much playing.)

mamatulip said...

Oh, the 9.30 boredom is the bane of my existence...

metro mama said...

I love the slow paced mornings. I'm doing my best not to schedule any early classes in the fall (but I think I'll be stuck with at least one).

The key is to leave the house before the 9:30 boredom starts.

thirtysomething said...

I am envious of your chance to be with your children all day. How mush I feel like I miss during those hours they are in someone else's care.

thirtysomething said...

edit my response--"how much I feel as though I miss while my children are in someone else's care during the day"...as I was typing my youngest was having a meltdown! Guess we are approaching the 930 boredom time.

JMA said...

Great post.

Time at home with the kids is such a double-edged sword. It's so lovely to have a long stretch of day sprawling out before you with no agenda. Too bad that the children don't embrace the concept of "nothing to do" as enthusiastically as we. To them, it's just plain old boring.

*sigh*

Mouse said...

Scooter loves the dishwasher and always wants to "help" with pulling the top and bottom out--usually too exuberantly. And then there are the knives and such to keep his little hands away from. We frequently end up with both adults in the kitchen when he helps.

Aliki2006 said...

The mopping part really spoke to me...

And the inability to transition well!

Patois said...

I've now been not working for one year (and two days). My life is so different in so many good ways. But, oh yeah, there are times I miss being out of the house, away from THEM when they have their inevitable moments.

I can relate to your post very much.

Lawyer Mama said...

Ah, that sounds lovely, tantrums and mopping and all.

That's how my weekends are except I always have this niggling worry in the back of my mind about all the work I need to get done the following week.

Sigh.

Jenifer said...

I mop during nap/quiet time...much easier.

I agree with the 9:30am wall we hit, if we are on our way out it is fine. If not, it becomes a pajama and TV morning all too quickly.

I thrive on routine and not having to get everyone out the door by 8:10am every morning takes some getting used to. Now though I am enjoying it.

Glad you have settled in a routine that suits you. It is also nice to realize you miss something you really enjoy too.

Kyla said...

We leave everywhere in a great fit of tears. Except the hospital...that is met with a joyous "Bye doc-dah. Later. BYE!"

The boredom is eating us alive. Even though I stay home year-round, it is much different when BubTar is in school. We have to get ready in the morning, we have to drop him off, we have to pick him up, we have to go to therapies...the days seem full. Now? Not so much.

flutter said...

This made my heart hurt, just ever so. I know it doesn't always seem like you have a graceful life, one that someone from the outside would covet, but someone does.

WhyMommy said...

Asking why questions ... oh, I envy you ... I do!

The rest of it sounds great too. Real. And wonderful. Enjoy this time together!

slouching mom said...

I am ever so happy to report to you that as your kids get older, that 9:30am boredom time?

It will become (ever so magically) an 11:30am boredom time.

Ahhhhhh...

I really liked this one, B&P. You captured the dailiness, its ins and outs, its loveliness and its painfulness both.

Julie Pippert said...

Singing my life with your words. Thanks. :)

mcewen said...

Lummy! Do they actually say that too you? 'that's a great idea mom!' Maybe I just never have any good ideas! What a lucky mommy you are!
cheers

jen said...

we don't own a mop. that said, i was on my knees this AM with a towel and cleaner. on my knees?

i loved this peek.

Mimi said...

Ahhh. Here, right about when the 9:30 boredom hits ... it's naptime! Hooray. Because otherwise I'm plum out of patience and options by then, having been in full swing since 7. At daycare, it seems they feed them at this time, likely to give them something to do ...

Beck said...

Okay, dealing with the 9:30 boredom is my area of expertise: this is when you pull out the playdough and cookie cutters, or the paint and paper. Have Bub drive little cars through paint and leave tire marks on paper, or let them throw tennis balls dipped in paint at a piece of paper taped to your fence. Give them a bucket of water and some housepaint brushes and let them paint the car. There's all SORTS of stupid things little kids can do, if you let them.

bubandpie said...

Beck - Wow. I don't even OWN paint.

Christina said...

You mean transitions don't get easier at three years old? Cordy can't handle any transitions, no matter how much we try to prepare her. Everything ends in screaming, crying, and us forcing her to wherever we're going next. It's exhausting.

I miss the free time I had when I was at work. At home now, there's rarely a free moment.

nomotherearth said...

Yeah, I'm with you on the 9:30am thing. Whenever I have days off from work, that's a problem.

The aimlessness is still something I haven't been able to reconcile, and it's not something I'm looking forward to come fall.

Mommy-Like Days said...

What? Is he peeing on the potty regularly??

Karen said...

yes, I just realized that 9:30 is the first mini-witching hour of the day - the biggest and longest lasting from 5pm til bedtime, pretty much, though alleviated by the arrival of dad. My children melt into a puddle of rage at 10am if we have not gone somewhere or done something...Beck is right crafts help. Recently we've been using huge daddy sized paintbrushes and water to paint the side walk.

Miscellaneous-Mum said...

9.30am?!!

God, my boy is scratching at the door come 8.30am!

In winter-time, that's kind of hard to handle!

(I realise out of the whole post that is rather a trivial point for me dwell on ;) :)

mamakie said...

How great to hear that 9:30am is a hard time for other people too. My kids are stir crazy if we don't have a destination planned in the mornings. Saying that now that they are older, my daughter will sometimes say "let's have a stay home day today, mama" and they manage to keep themselves busy for the most part.

My don't like is the constant requests for food. My kids ask for it when they're hungry, when they're bored, when they get in the car, when they get to park, the list goes on and on. Most days it makes me want to scream!

Great post!

Lady M said...

I'm imaging the mopping of floors and extra "help." It would be a mess in our household, that's for sure!

I answered the 8 Things meme today. :)

bubandpie said...

MLD - Hahahahahahahahaha! As if. No, he did it once. That's what made it a "milestone." (And that was three days ago, with no repetition of it since.)

Christina - Well, it does get better, especially with language. I can probably get Bub to consent to leave maybe 80% of the time now - but that other 20% is completely unchanged: heels dug in, all-out fit.

ewe are here said...

I crave some quiet time with my computer and caffeine firsr thing in the morning.

And I try to be out of the house be quarter to ten so we don't have a major meltdown....

Jenn said...

I'm envious.

Really, I am.

Not just that you have 9:30 boredom time, but that you mop your floors.

It is a double-edged sword; the pining when they are gone and you are working, the exhaustion when they are there.

If only a happy medium were easier to find.

Kelly said...

Such an excellent breakdown of the minutiae of an average day, the great stuff and the not-so-great stuff.

Like all you other readers here, I can totally relate to the 9:30am boredom, except in my house it happens closer to 8:30am. But that's because my children frequently wake at 6:15am. (Yawn...)

kgirl said...

enjoy it all.

AmandaD said...

I think to contemplate the challenges and rewards is a good thing, while answers may not spring forth as quickly as inexplicable sticky spots on a freshly mopped floor, you'll not waste this precious time of immersion in their lives and wake up one moring to realize it's gone.

Looking back I see I might have inserted a bit of punctuation to break up the mile long sentence. And to be honest in my house it's clorox wipes under bare feet and an awkward reenactment of a scene on ice from Bambie when I "mop" our floors.