I once had a friend share her pros and cons of being a stay-at-home mom for her preschoolers. The pro was that she got to spend the day in her pj's. The con was that "every day was groundhog day."
I couldn't agree more.
Don't get me wrong. There are plenty of reasons why I love being home with my babies. In fact, I think I have the best job ever. But sometimes, it is a pain in the hind-end doing the same things over and over and over and over...
And it's not like I haven't tried to mix it up sometimes. Every now and then, I will throw in a change or two into our schedule just to keep things interesting...but then my kids have a meltdown. So mostly, I stick with a lather-rinse-repeat philosophy.
There are certain things in my house that must happen every single day or the planet will implode:
-My son will wake up soaking wet. He will immediately say, "Hi momma. I need new pants and a new shirt." I will change him and bring him downstairs where he will ask for a juice. (Need a refill there, hey little buddy?) He will drink the juice and run 29 circles around the house until I turn on The Wiggles to make the kid sit still.
-My daughter will wake up 45 minutes later, in the foulest mood you have ever seen. (She takes after her mommy in that way.) She will not greet me or her brother. She will curl up in her corner of the couch, pull a blanket over herself, and I will bring her a chocolate milk. After about 30 more minutes of silence, she will ask for a piece of candy. I will say no. She will pout. Twenty more minutes will pass and she will eat whatever breakfast I have set on the counter...and then ask for a piece of candy.
-The dog will whince at us through the back door the entire time we are eating breakfast.
-After whatever morning activity we have scheduled for the day, I will make the kids lunch that they will get to eat in the living room. I will eat my lunch in front of the computer, waiting to see if there is any indication at all that my husband might be online. I will check e-mail, Skype, Facebook. Nothing. (Maybe he got on while I was checking Facebook?? Okay, just in case...) E-mail, Skype, Facebook. Still nothing. (Third time's the charm??) E-mail, Skype, Facebook. Stupid broken charm! I will just get on Pinterest and he can call me when he's done...
-My kids will tell me they are done eating. They come to show me their empty plates. Mommy gives them hugs and kisses and "good jobs!" Then I will walk into the living room to see mac-n-cheese, apple pieces, and goldfish crackers smeared into the rug. It is now that my husband will call.
-I will talk and talk and talk and talk and talk to my husband. He will try to talk back to me whenever I take a breath, but it is at that exact moment that someone will say "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" I will miss what my husband says. I will say, "I'm sorry, Babe, the kids interrupted. What?" He will be so frustrated that he'll say "Nevermind. It was nothing." I will ask the kids if they want to talk to Daddy. Though they have pretended to talk to him on the phone or write messages to him on the computer all day, they will say no. Then the moment my husband hangs up, they will both throw themselves onto the floor because they didn't get to talk.
-2pm: my son's naptime. It is the most awful time for a nap EVER! If I miss it, he will be so cranky that we will not be able to do anything the rest of the day. If he takes it, he will likely sleep for the next 3 hours and we will not be able to do anything the rest of the day.
-My son's naptime is also my time to do dishes and play with my daughter. My daughter will want to help with the dishes, (which is sweet, but also makes the process 9 times longer than it needs to be,) and then we will go up to her room where she will ask "What do you want to do today, Mommy? Barbies first, Princess Yahtzee first, or puzzles first?" No matter what I suggest, we will always play Princess Yahtzee, then Barbies, then puzzles. (Note to self: we need to pick up some more puzzles.)
-My son wakes up from his nap, much in the mood that my daughter starts the morning in. He is soaking wet, but this time, he just cries. I change his clothes, and take him downstairs where he asks for a juice and a show. We turn on the kid's program so I can start supper. Right after I begin, the kids will tell me they are hungry. "Here, have a cheese stick while you wait..." Supper's on the table---the kids rush to the table shouting "Hooray! Dinner!" They take one look at dinner, and reach for their drinks. Suddenly, they are no longer hungry. I convince them that if they eat one bite of everything on their plates, they can have that piece of candy they've been bugging me for all day. (Well, wouldn't you know it?! Their appetites are back!)
-I clean up chocolate fingerprints from the dining table, do the dishes, and send the kids outside to burn off their last bit of energy (or, you know, the surge from the sugar rush.)
-I hear them argue with me the entire way up the stairs that they are not tired. I fight with them to put on their pj's and brush their teeth. They march down the stairs so they can have their "good night show" and milk. They are both so sleepy, I have to fight with them to get them back upstairs. We read our bedtime stories and tuck into bed. Jack will get out of bed at least 5 more times, just for good measure.
-Mommy will finish all the chores she was not able to do the rest of the day before she passes out from exhaustion.
I hate to sound like I'm complaining; this is not a bad life I have lined up for myself here. Mixed in with the mundane are all sorts of cute little moments full of tickles, kisses, funny dances, and sweet sayings. But every now and then, I find myself lusting for what it will be like when my children are grown and our schedules are more sporadic. I daydream about how it will be to wake up, drop the kids off at school, and do whatever the heck needs to get done (scratch that) whatever the heck I want to do while they are gone. But then I snap back to reality, toss another load of soaking sheets, blankets, and clothes into the wash, and thank God that I have the opportunity to hang out with my kids these first few years.
That having been said, even as a stay-at-home-mom, I don't lounge in my pj's all day. I get dressed up, fix my hair, and put on makeup every single day. It is my secret way of telling the world that if it wants to throw me a change-up, I am READY for it!