Wednesday, September 21, 2005

So you think you can be a S.A.H.M, huh?

I'm having second thoughts which really pisses me off. I LOVE staying home with J all day and I feel very fortunate I'm able to. I would probably cry daily if I had to leave his side for an extended period. I feel it's best for him for me to be home with him and I feel we're doing OK. So why the second thoughts?

I can't stand feeling like a failure in every other aspect. It's bad enough I try to raise him when I feel like I don't know what I'm doing. But then I feel like I'm not qualified for the stay-at-home career. You get the hubby implying the house should be clean, you get the mother encouraging you to "make nice dinners" for said husband and you get your own guilt feeling like you aren't pulling your weight.

My social calendar has been a bit empty the last 2 weeks mainly in an effort to make this feel less like a jet-set lifestyle. But then spending 50 hours a week with only an infant as your source of interaction can take a toll on your ability to form complete sentences and not refer to yourself in 3rd person. "Mommy is changing J's diaper" turns into "C would like a hamburger" said in the same high-pitched voice when ordering at a restaurant. So I've been feeling a little isolated and yet I still have the same guilt. Guess that isn't working.

If I happen to have a fun, laid-back, stress-free day I feel like it wasn't enough "work." I feel like if I go out for lunches with friends I'm being extravagent. If I take a nap I feel like I'm being a lazy housewife. But you know what, I do nap. You know why I nap? Because for some reason or another I haven't been able to sleep at night. And when I can fall asleep I have to wake up for a feeding. So yeah I nap. And going out for lunch is not always as carefree and fun as it sounds. There is a lot of stress involved taking a baby to a restaurant. You never know if you'll actually get to eat the food you paid for or even converse with your friend. You may end up having to entertain a baby the whole time to keep the peace. I find myself holding my breath the whole time trying to make it through without a baby breakdown. Or mommy breakdown for that matter. Even with a baby as good as J it's always a risk.

How do people do this? How do you get things done like cleaning and cooking? Do you have dinners ready for your husband when he gets home? I have yet to figure out how to cook and watch a baby at the same time. I cooked Monday and it was an all day event. I had to start it at 1pm just so it was done by 5:30 and that was for just hamburgers, vegetables and a salad for shits sake. I don't feel that was quite the gourmet meal worth spending 4 1/2 hours on. J isn't old enough to entertain himself. I don't want to dump him into a swing all day or some other contraption. I don't feel holding a baby while cooking is necessarily the safest thing, especially if you are me. So when I asked my mom how I'm supposed to cook dinner with him, she didn't have a response. I guess women are just supposed to know how to do this shit. Sorry for the disappointment, I don't.

I've been able to keep up on the laundry but folding it is another story. But HOW am I supposed to scrub toilets and bath tubs with J around? Or is that yet another talent I should have naturally been born with? Or am I supposed to get all this done while J is sleeping? What ever happened to the "you sleep when they sleep" rule? Or does that just apply for the first couple weeks? Because I don't know about you but I'm still just as tired now as I was then.

I still think it's best I stay home with him so I know I won't change it. And when I think about my time with J it couldn't be more perfect. It's unfortunate all this other bullshit brings me down.


Blogger fuzzypeach said...

I sooooooooooo could've written this. I feel like a pathetic loserhousewife myself. So I officially announced that baby was my priority and have been trying to stop worrying about it.

My mom had SIX kids. I don't know how the hell she did it. The house was always pretty clean. There were always homecooked meals. My dad did not help out at home. The older kids did help out with chores some... but still.

I'm sorry you're not getting sleep at night - if that's the case by all means continue napping with him, and don't feel bad about it! You need your rest. I do indeed do what little housecleaning I get done when Pearl is asleep - AFTER I eat or pee or whatever else I need to do, taking-care-of-myself-wise. Baby comes first, I come second, house comes third. Husband ranks about 2.5 when he is home, lol.

When he is home, he will watch her while I cook or do dishes or something else. Cooking at least is a nice break from baby. Dishes I don't enjoy so much.

5:04 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Cara, Cara, Cara,

You've only been at this for what,2 and a half months?? Sheesh, give yourself a break! Do you think Martha Stewart built her empire in 2 months? Just as you probably started off your working career in a lower position... your career as a stay at home mama will evolve as well. J has been teaching you loads ( no pun intended) in just a few days. Give your brain some time to adjust to all the new info, then you'll master the multitasking thing before you know it. Maybe a class of some sort ( mommy and me yoga or the like) might introduce you to some local moms who may have stuff in common with you. Motherhood isn't always like jail, and failure is a part of learning. Take a deep breath, throw all those negative judgemental ideals ( no napping... clean clothes... warm dinner on the table @ 5:30 pm sharp)out with the next poopy diaper, & enjoy ( and sometimes hate... it's okay!) your new job.
let me know if you need anything. Sorry about the super sized pep talk. I'm not usually this cheery. I swear.
now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go give a major time out to a set of twins who are grating my last nerve w/ their bickering and arguing... and at the same time fold a load of laundry... heat up dinner and feed the dogs.


5:35 PM  
Blogger Veronica said...

I'm not a SAHM but I know its alot of work. Hang in there, you new at this. Oh and tell you hubby if he brings home the bacon, then he needs to cook it. =)

6:38 PM  
Blogger Stefania Pomponi Butler aka CityMama said...

Firstly, nap. You must nap. Don't let ANYONE make you feel guilty for napping. It is the only thing keeping you coherent enough to be able to type your latest post, so nap. No guilt! Nap!

Ok, now onto the cooking and cleaning. Oh, it is so hard to cook with a new baby. I found myself starting dinner at noon because it would take me that long to chop some celery.

You will hit your stride and it will be ok. Cook when you have pockets of time. Make the salad during naptime (if you aren't napping), try using a crockpot. Cook things that can hang out on the stove for awhile and don't need much attention (stews, chili, soups) and whatever you do, make twice the amount so you can freeze half. Anytime someone offers to bring you food, say yes. Keep cold cuts, cheese, and crackers on hand at all times, so at least if you don't feel like cooking, you will have something tasty to nosh on. Always have garbanzo beans on hand so you can make hummus...that and some veggies can be dinner...Breakfast can be dinner too.

Cleaning: what I did so that I didnt feel soooo overwhelmed was make a cleaning schedule. It looked something like this:

Tue-laundry, vaccuuming
W-wipe down kitchen, mop
Tue-laundry, dusting
Fri-water plants
sat/sun--no housework, family time!

I felt really bombed by the constant laundry so limiting it to two days really helped me stay sane. And even if the bathroom was hideous looking by Thursday, I would just leave it knowing that Monday was my day to take care of it. Most chores didn't take longer than 15 mins and I tried to do it in the AM while my husband was having some babytime.

Once we had two kids, though, we broke down and got a housecleaner. They come every 2 weeks and do all the big jobs. Wouldn't trade that for the world. If you can afford it, don't even fuck with cleaning. Just hire someone to do it. Spending time with your family is more important.

You'll hit your stride soon, mama. Until then, don't be too hard on yourself. Being a SAHM is like doing 2 full-time jobs without getting any breaks.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Carol said...

Wow, Cara I can tell you that you are FANTASTIC at one thing, no doubt. And that, my dear, is berating yourself. If I was standing next to you I think I might just give you a nice swift kick in the ass! LOL

First of all, what Amy said! You haven't been doing this for very long and I think that all mother's can attest to the fact that a baby ROCKS your world. Give yourself some time to adjust to things! Seriously, about a year.

Secondly, who says SAHM's have clean houses and bake/cook? Heh! Don't forget - you have a lot of delusional women out there who like to pretend that they're Martha Stewart and Mrs. Brady rolled into one.

Guilt is a wasted emotion. Invest your time in something worth while. Oh, and then tell yourself what I tell myself: I stay at home to be with my kids, not to clean my house.


7:39 PM  
Blogger Melinda said...

Ok so i know i am on a break..BUT I can totally feel you on this! I have been home now for a little over 2 years. It has gotten easier in some aspects, in others not so much! I am not naturally a supper tiddy person, its something i must work at. The fact that my most my conversations duringt the day are carried on with either a 2 yr old or 10 year old can get very exhausting! Keep napping until both you and J are sleeping thru the night! Ignore people, you are not lazy! Unfortuently most people don't understand what it is REALLY like being a SAHM but they are always critical of us! I have learned with each passing month that i catch my groove with stuff. The problem really becomes keeping the momentum and motivation for everything other than your kid(s) after all it is very very very very rare that we here "wow those toilets are sparkling" or "the laundry is so perfectly folded and put away" or even "this dinner was the best i ever had" or HERE IS YOUR PAYCHECK FOR THE 24 hrs a day YOU HAVE BEEN WORKING SINCE THE DAY YOUR KIDS WAS BORN" I always feel guilty when i start to complain to my friends who don't get to stay at home with their kids. I think GOD I AM SO i am with my kids like i want to be. But the reality is being a SAHM is the equivalent of 3 full time (if not more) jobs! Take a breather, just keep doing your best and tell everyone else to FUCK OFF!! (excuse the language!)

9:41 PM  
Blogger Kira said...

i was too tired to remember what i did the first year!!!sat around in filth and sent my husband to the store, at first.
screw cleaning. nap part of his nap(s). cook the other half. heck, i still nap with my son. sometimes HE doesn't nap but i do, for 10 minutes.i'm all for siesta, send me to italy asap.
maybe find a cheap (and entertaining) pre-teen to help.
and when he is a little older, i know this is a horrible suggestion... but... 30 minutes of T.V. makes a great babysitter (ugh, i said it)

10:24 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

oh welcome to my world Cara. It gets better then it gets worse. Being a SAHM and keeping everything well oiled is very difficult and the first year was the hardest. It really amounts to a series of small motions. Do you bbrush your teeth first or make a cup of coffee, do you wash the dishes now or take a nap...and so onand so forth. And believe me, I know all about the stress of taking kids out to eat. It ain't fun but it gets better. You learn, you adjust, you adapt. Chin up. These feelings you are having are so normal, i think we can all identify with them.

10:41 PM  
Blogger holli said...

I've said from the beginning that I need the Mommies for Dummies book.. it's hard - but somehow we all made it to adulthood.. and now we know why our parents give us so much grief. :)

Some website did the SAHM salary equivalent and it was nothing to scoff at.. it's a rough job.

You're doing great!

10:59 PM  
Blogger littlefeet said...

i wont tell you what we do in our home unless you specifically ask


you are doing an awesome job!!!

and, in my opinion, J is your #1 priority until he can do some things on his own...that means that for a while, some things dont get done...or it takes longer to get them goes on...

the people who dont like that, can either pitch in and help or shut up... :)

but i am that way...LOL


12:35 AM  
Blogger Becki said...

First and foremost, if you need to nap while he's sleeping, do it! Do you have a crockpot that you can start throwing stuff into anytime during the day and it will be done in the evening?

6:57 AM  
Blogger Brandi said...

Ohh sweetie! It isn't like he is 2 years old. Your still getting used to it all. I work full time so I do alot of things in the evening but J is also old enough to play in the other room if I need to get something done.

As far as dinner goes I do alot of cooking the night before. Last night I made dinner for today and I always make enough to make sure there is left overs!

If you need a nap then go for it. Don't worry about what anyone says. Your doing the best you can right now and they just need to deal with it! The best thing for J is for you to be home with him. I think your doing a great job and as he gets older it will get easier for you.....

7:59 AM  
Blogger dakotablueeyes said...

With J so small you clean when you can. Some cities have Mommy groups that meet once a week or so. This one doesn't but you might check on it. I also belong to a SAHM group at msn that helps. Nice to have adult conversation once in awhile I have to say.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Don't be so hard on yourself. Everything will come with time. I mean, it's only been 2 1/2 months. You'll find your niche soon enough. It took me almost a year to get it all figured out. And don't feel guilty or anything if you go will go stir crazy otherwise......

You are doing a great job...just take it one day at a time.


9:26 AM  
Blogger Pip and Tom said...

I've *never* had a hot meal ready for my husband when he got home. Actually, he gets home and cooks for me and the kids. I mean really, work is like a retreat when compared to staying home all day every single day of the month with a baby/toddler. Don't let anyone fool you; you've god the harder job. People should be cleaning and cooking for you.

1:00 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Flinger said...

Hon, you just wrote what every singe mom thinks at some point (but you wrote it really really well).

This is why I went back part time, but even still, just today, I thought, "HOW CAN I?" and "I can't STAY HERE" in the same hour. It's never easy. Nobody but a Mom could TRULY understand this. And we do. Oh, boy, we do.

12:26 AM  

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