“What do you do all day?” my (childless) friend asked me one night while she sat at my dining room table, eating food I’d made her. My first instinct was to slap her — I mean, the nerve, right? Then I mumbled something about volunteering and blogging… I felt so embarrassed. Like maybe what I do isn’t very impressive or even all that important. Does she think I’m getting a free ride because my husband is the sole income contributor to our household? OH MY GAWD!!! Does she think I have a sugar daddy?
There’s been a lot of talk recently about what stay at home mom’s do all day. Radio host Matt Walsh wrote about it on his blog last week and I was transported back to that fateful night — I wanted to read said friend that article and say “HA! That’s what I do all day!” Finally, it seemed, a man was praising my efforts to keep my family running relatively smoothly. But then my friend and fellow blogger, Jennifer Pinarski, wrote her point of view for Today’s Parent. And I started to back pedal on my rejoicing.
Walsh advocated putting SAHMs on a pedestal — but honestly, I don’t think what I do is pedestal worthy any more than I think it’s unimportant. There are days when I can’t remember why I gave up my 9-5 job to make food my kids won’t eat and clean a house they’re just going to dirty up again. But then, there are also days like today, when my kids run up to me and hug me while I serve breakfast at their school.
I think being a stay at home mom is a job like any other. At the moment my job benefits my family but if circumstances were suddenly to change and we needed my income more than we needed me to be home with the kids, I’d try to find a job in a heartbeat — and I would still love my kids just as much. I wouldn’t be a better mother, I’d just be a mom who was doing her best for her family. Just like I am now.
And as Jen said in her blog, I wouldn’t get offended if someone asked me what I did all day when I was an editor. I’d just tell them. SO, with that in mind, here’s what I do all day as a stay at home mom.
6:30 Wake up Drink coffee — lots of it. Eat breakfast before my kids wake up.
7:00 Make three healthy peanut-free lunches for my kids who all like different things. I will try not to give Charlotte dressing for her salad — lest I ruin her day — but inevitably, she’ll get the salad with dressing because I will make a mistake when packing up the bags
7:05 Kiss husband goodbye.
7:15 Start trying to get my kids up in a kind, gentle manner “Get up, breakfast program’s today and mommy has to go!” Kiss, kiss…
7:30 Start yelling at my kids to get up, because we’re going to be late. Assure Charlotte that she doesn’t have Strep throat today, just like she didn’t have it yesterday, or last week. Charlotte is always “too sick” for school, until she gets there.
7:31 Yell more, Carson comes downstairs dressed. What a sweetie.
7:35 Yell again, go upstairs and dress Peyton, who is still asleep. Throw clothes at Charlotte, still in bed, and threaten to leave without her.
7:40 Shove their stuff into their backpacks and vow to make them do it themselves tomorrow.
7:43 Search for my car keys. Why aren’t they where I left them?
7:44 Find keys in the front door. Left them there last night. Whoops.
7:45 Get kids in car, leave for breakfast program.
7:50-9:15 Make and serve breakfast to 70 kids, including my own, in our school gym.
9:15 Come home and send emails regarding the breakfast club. Enjoy the silence.
9:20 Check facebook and goof off.
9:30-10:30 Go to Weight Watchers. Call my mom on the way there because if she doesn’t hear from me she will worry.
12:00 Go to Yoga. If I skip yoga I feel guilty, but maybe I can grab coffee with a friend who also has time off during the day. They’re few and far between but those few minutes with another grown up can make my day.
1:30 Eat lunch and shower. Panic because I still haven’t cleaned my house or made the bed
1:45 Check facebook and maybe write a blog.
2:00-2:20 On bad days I try to take a 20 minute nap. It helps.
3:00 Look at the clock and realize that the interwebs has eaten up my afternoon. I still haven’t cleaned anything and now it’s time to pick up the kids and take them to swimming or some other extra-curricular activity.
3:15 -5:00 Try to help children have a good life full of outdoor play and free time.
5:00 Make a healthy dinner for my children who don’t eat it because they hate everything except for pasta with butter.
5:05 Mid onion chop the phone rings, it’s the Canadian Diabetes association. Gah! Why did I answer that?
6:00 Remove lunch bags from backpacks. Oh, what a surprise! Nothing has been touched.
6:03 The phone rings for the 12th time in an hour. This time its a relative and I don’t pick it up, because what if they want to talk? I don’t have time!
6:05 Try to make children do their homework. This can take up the remainder of the evening if the child who has a learning disability has any homework because we have to scream, fight and yell.
6:30-8:15 Shuttle children to various extra-curricular activities while still trying to get remaining kids bathed and all homework finished.
6:35 Neighbors child knocks on door asking if kids can play. They can’t, causing much wailing and gnashing of teeth!
7:30 Husband comes home and asks “What’s for dinner?”
7:35 Clean kitchen for the first time all day
8:00 Attempt (half-heartedly) to clean the house. It doesn’t work.
8:30-9:00 Bedtime! HOORAY! Read stories, lie with children while they tell me how about their days and often, how much they hate school/friends
9:15 Talk in panicked tones to husband about a problem (because there always is one) one of the kids is having at school
9:17 Write note to teacher explaining homework isn’t done because we had to cry instead
9:20 Look at my sad doggy and realize I didn’t walk him today. Bad Mommy!
9:30 Fall into bed exhausted, maybe read and check facebook again.
Hmmm. What I do all day isn’t very exciting and I don’t actually get much accomplished. Definitely not pedestal worthy! My house is still a mess and I haven’t watched TV (with the exception of kids shows) in about 7 years. Oh well, at least there’s tomorrow. I can clean out the closets, scrub the bathrooms and finally get all those baby pictures developed. You know, in my spare time.