Monday, September 22, 2014

On work release from baby jail

If there was a "Mommy Insanity Quiz,"
might look something like this...

I love being a SAHM. I feel very lucky to have the option to stay home with my kiddos and play trains, jump in puddles, swing at the park, sing silly songs, and make up elaborate stories at nap time.

I hear every hilarious thing Quinn says, and I witness every new thing Reid learns. We don't have to deal with the weekend crowds at the zoo or the aquarium or the children's museum. I get to see everything inside of Q's great big imagination, and sometimes Reid will still fall asleep in my arms. I kiss all the boo-boos and soak up all the snuggles. These moments of tiny feet and giggles are fleeting, and I get to be there for it all. Yeah, being a SAHM is pretty rad.

Until it isn’t.

There are days when the screams far outnumber the giggles, and the temper tantrums are constant and unpreventable. There are days when the 3YO refuses to listen and the baby refuses to nap. There are days when Quinn thinks everything is an eff-ing travesty (My toy
fell on the floor, now I can NEVER PLAY WITH IT AGAIN!),
and Reid thinks I'm abandoning him forever and ever when I leave the room for 90 seconds to make his bottle. There are days when the baby wakes up early and Hubs leaves for work early, and whether I can even take a shower is entirely decided by other people.

Being a SAHM is great until both kids need me at the same time (which is always) and neither are capable of reason as I explain that there is only one Mommy and lunch will not make itself. It's great until I think if Q says my name one more time, I'm going to jam this sippy cup straw straight into my eyeball. SAHM-hood is awesome until their great big emotions match my great big anxiety in a cosmic collision.

I read this article a while back, and it so accurately describes SAHM life. (Seriously, ask any SAHM how her day was, and that is everything she wants to say.) Every day, I feel All. Of. The. Things. Everything there is to feel, all at once. Every day is incredible and devastating. Every day there is hysterical laughter and heartbreaking tears. The roller coaster of emotions – plus the non-stop physical contact from another human being – can quickly become too much. By the end of the day, I’m so mentally, emotionally and physically over-stimulated, I can’t utter an articulate sentence. I don’t want anyone to talk to me, touch me, or need anything from me. I’m 100% spent.

I know how much this must super suck for my husband who just wants to chat with his wife once the kids are finally in bed. Most days, I can rally and feel rejuvenated at the prospect of just being with him, sans kiddos, for a couple hours at the end of another roller coaster day. But many days… I feel like the marathoner who crumbles right before the finish line. All of the heart and desire is there, but she is physically unable to make herself take one more step. As a SAHM, I feel like the finish line is just beyond where my weary legs can carry me. 

I found myself getting really jealous of Hubs. Even though his commute is long, and Silicon Valley rush hour traffic is horrific. Even though work is called "work" because it's a lot of work. Even though he sits in meetings all day, has to travel quite a bit, and regularly deals with difficult people. I still felt jealous as Hubs left the house every morning, all showered and dry-cleaned, to talk to grown-ups about grown-up things, while I remained disheveled and un-showered. Much to Hubs' confusion, I envied his long commute during which he could be alone with his thoughts, or at least listen to something on the radio besides the Sid the Science Kid soundtrack.

It's pretty sad when you're yearning to be stuck in traffic.

Being a SAHM is by far the most rewarding and the most difficult job, and it isn't for everyone. I tell myself I shouldn't feel guilty for not loving every minute of this, but I feel guilty anyway. Putting my kiddos in daycare and going to work full time is not for me, but neither is 24/7 mommy-ing. So I decided I needed some balance.

I decided to go back to work again.

Just like last year, it was if the universe was just waiting for me to be ready, and an email almost instantly showed up in my inbox before I could change my mind. The client I worked with last summer when I was pregnant for Reid needed my help again, and asked for a proposal.

Then a nanny of one of Quinn's classmates found herself with two free days a week, and eagerly accepted my job offer. Now she watches the boys on Mondays and Tuesdays, and they adore her. On those two days, I definitely get a shower, I wear something besides yoga pants and a t-shirt, and I don't clean up anyone's poop. Whether Reid naps or Quinn eats a good lunch is not my problem for two whole days.

Of course, I still work when I get home from work. All parents do. Being a mom all day and all night, day after day, without a break is exhausting. But at least with this part-time contract gig, I can do different work for a couple of those days, and I appreciate my time with the boys a lot more now. It's amazing what a little change of venue can do for one's attitude.

In addition to my client work, I also joined a little start up with a guy I used to work with and a couple other people. We don't pay ourselves, so it's a lot of hours worked for free, but it's good experience. It adds to my portfolio, and on the off chance we sell the company, I'll make a little money.

So while I don't get nearly enough sleep or any time at the gym anymore, at least I get to listen to 90s hip-hop and car dance while I sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic. I get to feel smart again and use that masters degree I worked so hard for.

It's very hard to juggle two kids and two jobs. In my effort to find balance, I became a SAHM, WAHM and a WOHM (which, I assume, is the acronym for Work-Outside-the-Home-Mom) all at the same time. This means that my free time is non-existent* because in all of those acronyms, I'm still Mom, and that will always be my favorite – and most important – job.

*Yes, I know, this is my first blog post in over a month. I'm so, so sorry, and I hope you're still there. A month ago, we left for  vacation, and as soon as we got back, I went to work at TWO jobs. On top of that, we’re looking into buying an investment property AND I’m planning Reid’s first birthday. All of these very important projects are seriously getting in the way of my blogging time, and all the words are jamming up my brain. Thanks for bearing with me during yet another unplanned hiatus. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so ambitious.