Friday, July 13

What Do You Do All Day?

Another very well meaning person asked me that question the other day.  I smiled and answered the best I could, but every time I get asked some form of that question, I give an inward sigh.  To those who aren't parents, it seems as if with all the sleeping that a baby does, a stay at home mom (especially if the mom only has one kid!) could get a lot more done, or would need to have something else to occupy her time - something other than "just" being a mom.  So, I come up with answers - I do laundry, try to keep the house clean, spend some time on the internet (I always qualify that I could spend less time online, of course), cook dinner, always have some sort of project going, etc.  Honestly, if I get a trip to the store in, laundry done, and dinner made, I feel like I did a lot that day!

One day I even started a list of all the things I had accomplished that morning.  It went something like this: cleaned toilet, pumped milk (I'm donating some milk to an adopted baby), cleaned kitchen floor and countertops, made carrot flour, cleaned juicer, general picking up, started a load of laundry...
But then I left my red ink pen on the bed without the cap (after going in to pick up Mavry from her nap) and it made a red spot on the duvet cover, which then required spot cleaning - another thing to get done - and my admirable list of things accomplished stopped there.  I had planned on getting peanuts soaking for homemade peanut butter, checking on the pickl-its, get a plan for dinner and change the water kefir, but those were put on the mental list for another day. 

(Even as I type this, I'm thinking I need to go check on my pickl-its to see if they're ready for the fridge.  My friend Ruth reminded me of "If You Give a Mom a Muffin" that has been circulating the web recently.  It's funny because everything I start makes me remember something else that needs to get done!)

As this article attests, life with a baby (or any age kid probably!) means that it's difficult to get anything actually finished.  Oh how I miss getting things finished!  Clean laundry sits in the washer waiting to go to the dryer, or in the basket waiting to be hung to dry, peanut butter brownies (try these! only three healthy ingredients and delicious!) burn on the bottom because the timer went off while I was putting the baby to sleep, countless tabs stay open in my browser as a to-look-at-later-when-there's-more-time-list, the open box from yesterday's package sits on the floor waiting to be either tossed or recycled, something I'm sewing sits on my desk (half finished for weeks), multiple books are on my nightstand and coffee table in various stages of completion, my cup of coffee goes cold almost every morning....

This is why sometimes it's hard for me to get out of the house.  Some "stay at home" moms hardly ever stay at home, and I look at them in awe because I wonder how they get anything done!  Of course, I need to get out of the house regularly for a change of scenery and because Mavry and I both enjoy it.  We take long walks to the library on sunny days for our vitamin D and my mental health, we have occasional dates with other moms and kids, and we do the grocery trips and other errand running. 

Part of my "problem", I admit, is that we hardly buy any processed foods anymore.  This requires more food prep, which is something I generally enjoy and definitely think is worth it, but it does take time.  Other reasons are that I am overly ambitious about how much I think I can actually get done and I struggle with placing too large of a portion of my perceived self-worth in how many things I can cross of my list in a day. 

So try not to ask "what do you do all day?" (or any other form of the question) to any stay at home mom or dad.  However well meaning, it doesn't come across that way.  I love that I get to stay at home, but I still struggle sometimes with justifying how much I didn't "get done" other than being a mom all day.


Elaine Acosta said...

Happy Birthday to one of my longest lasting friends (I couldn't say "oldest" - 'cause we ain't old!). As always, I appreciate the honest look into your daily life. Others might not think you "do" much in a day, but it sounds like you're a very busy and productive lady and Mavry is thriving (and clearly very smart too). HUGS!

Lela Thorne said...

Thank you Elaine! I am so glad we have been able to keep in touch. :)

Raylinda said...

I'm right there with everything you said - It's easy to get discouraged when someone asks that questions but I have to remember that I'm doing one of the most important jobs in the world.

Thanks for helping put all of this into words :)