I’m not sure what I was expecting when I decided to be at home with the kids more. I knew they needed it and I needed it. In fact, the first month after I quit both jobs confirmed everything I had been thinking and feeling about staying at home.
Let’s call it the honeymoon phase.
The house was cleaner, the laundry more manageable. I was able to make time for kids and clients. I even blogged more than I expected. I was definitely nailing this stay at home thing.
Then February. An abrupt ending to my January honeymoon. Each day I felt like at best I was treading water, at worst I had already drowned and couldn’t admit it. So far, March hasn’t seemed any less chaotic. The beginning of last week perfectly illustrated the parenting highs and lows.
Sunday was beautiful. Jeff was exhausted after a long night of kids not sleeping (it usually bothers him more than me), and I was determined to exhaust them so we might get a good night sleep. So I packed the four of them in the car, left Jeff at home to doze, and took them to a beautiful local park, Maymont.
We hoofed the entire park (Langston on my back) from the Children’s Farm, through the Japanese Gardens, up the beautiful steps to the Italian gardens, past the mansion, to the visitors center and back to the Children’s Farm to say goodbye to the pig before we left. We had a great time, and the kids were happy and exhausted. Sunday was a parenting high.
Monday came around. I got the kids off to school, and was getting ready for a catch up day when I went to change Langston’s diaper. I got distracted by a messed up trash bag and in an instant, Langston flipped off the table. I picked him up to hug him before realizing blood was pouring from his mouth; a bottom tooth was out and dangling, root and all. We rushed off to a somewhat-nearby Pediatric ER (at a hospital which I knew happened to also have a dentistry practice), and I found myself standing there, unshowered and barely dressed, with a busted up baby, a shattered phone (which I had broken on Saturday) held together with scotch tape, and a two year old who was wedging himself between a side table and a waiting room chair.
WHY WAS I ALLOWED TO HAVE CHILDREN?
It just seems inhumane.
We went home, one tooth down from a set of 6; I was utterly exhausted. This was definitely a parenting low.
Tuesday rolled around and I was determined to redeem the day before. The kids were off from school, so I’d planned a great day at the zoo, a trip to Toys R Us and other fun stuff. Except nobody was excited about the zoo. One child (who will remain nameless) had been particularly sour the past couple of days, and even stepped it up a few notches… but it wasn’t just him. In fact everyone was so uncooperative, difficult, and just plain nasty that I completely lost it. LOST. IT. Lost it. I yelled. Loudly. At my children. About the zoo. They cried. I cried. It was a mess. Evidently, while trying to balance a growing list of things demanding my attention, I had been missing some big stuff bothering one of the boys. Parenting really, really low.
We took deep breaths, had a good talk, hugged a lot, and told each other we loved each other a lot. We made pancakes. We went to the zoo. We saw baby animals. We laughed. We had fun. We were on our way back up again.
The house is still a mess, and I’m behind on a lot of things (like this very blog). I’ve got my fingers crossed for a few uneventful days. In fact, I could use an uneventful month… The reality of stay-at-home/work-at-home parenting has proven to be much bumpier than I expected. So, I’m trying to hold a tight grip on the things that matter while I ride out some of these highs and lows.
Ps. Still doing dishes in the bathroom sink. Big update coming soon.