How to be a reluctant stay at home mom

Anyone who's read this blog knows one thing for sure. I write feverishly, several posts in a short time span and then totally stop. Its all part of this ongoing head dialog I've had since I was a kid.

"Why are you writing this? No one cares."
"Seriously, isn't Facebook enough?"
"Undersharing never killed anyone."

In moments of confidence I change my mind and decide that writing makes me happy, seeing people comment on my writing makes me happy, and well, it's about the extent of my adult conversation during the course of the day. So, here we go again.

Since my last blog:

We found out we're expecting another baby! Some may consider it tacky, but I'm not ashamed to say that unplanned pregnancies are kinda my forte. I know for sure I'd never be brave enough to plan one, so I guess we're supposed to have three babies. We found out about this little surprise December 14th. The same day as the horrific shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Bittersweet and mixed emotions. How scary it is to be bringing another child into this world with a capacity for evil that is incomprehensible. What a blessing it is to celebrate life once again.

I got a job that I loved working at a little country feed store that is so different from the community that we're living it. Stepping inside that place was like coming back to Oklahoma every day. The thing about working for me is that I've always been pretty good at it. Its been a way for me to use my brain for things deeper than infant and toddler nutrition planning. Not that developing meal plans and watching them get thrown to the floor isn't difficult, it's just different. Unfortunately, it was costing more to send kids to daycare than I was making, which we could deal with for a while. Then they changed Jameson's teacher and I began noticing changes in him. Not good changes. We couldn't deal with that; so, I decided to leave. My last check just came in the mail and written on the back was, "Come back, we miss you!" I miss them too. I miss talking to people about layer pellets, horse feed and dog vaccinations. I was close to tears when a woman came in with a several day old puppy with a stomach obstruction and a vet who wanted several thousand dollars to fix it. Life happened in that store.

Life happens at home, too.

Which brings me to being a stay at home mom. See, I thought I hated it. What I realized is that what I actually hate is that I'm not very good at it. I get bored easily. One of Jameson's grandmas seems to get infinite joy from building Legos with him for hours. Sigh. Wish that was me. Its not. I love to read him books and teach him new things, but I don't enjoy playing. I never have. I was the kid who stayed inside for recess to go to the library and read. I never learned how to play, which is why I have to force myself to sit on the floor and play with my children.

It wasn't that I didn't find joy in taking care of my family. Its that I wasn't finding joy in not taking care of my family perfectly. Getting three loads of laundry done didn't matter if there was still another left at the end of the day. We might go on a nature walk and learn about neat bugs but all I think about is the thirty minutes I let him watch T.V.

Cianna is a wonderful little girl. Cutest to kind-of-walk this Earth if I say so myself. She's also either very happy or very, very unhappy. She clings to my leg for most of the day and her temperament is intense. She tests my patience everyday. What a terrible thing to say about a one year old. Its the truth. She has a disorder in her hemoglobin typing that we found out about during her routine newborn screening. They know very little about it and we are in the process of seeing a geneticist to find out more about what it is going to mean for her long term. Doesn't feel so great getting frustrated with your child, especially when they have a health concern. It happens though. I am only human. There is only so much crying and clinging I can take.

Ever heard that saying, "Cleaning the house when the kids are home is like brushing your teeth while eating oreos?"  I would say its nearly impossible to get this entire place cleaned at once. When I was single and working I cut myself a lot of slack in this department. Now I don't have a job. Cleaning this house is my job. Except that its not. Raising my children is my job. Teaching them that cleanliness is important is my job. Also important though, is teaching them that things don't have to be perfect to be good.

I came up with rules about how to be a reluctant stay at home mom, just in case you want to worry you're screwing up your children for life like I do:

1. Let your kid eat as many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as he wants. At least he's eating, right?

2. Have a mini melt down when the baby refuses to eat her own cut up into quarters grapes but will happily grab the whole ones off your plate. Stare at her intently ready to bust out the heimlich at the first sign of gagging.

3. Scour the internet for days trying to find a more natural source for Iron supplementation only to give in to the nasty black drops manufactured by the formula companies you've come to despise.

4. Change your mind a thousand times about whether to wean your baby as soon as possible. Then feel guilty about forcing her to grow up because of a coming sibling. Repeat.

5. Hate your husband's job for pretty consistently keeping him away from his family while simultaneously being thankful for the food on the table, insurance it provides for your family and the happiness he gets from it.

6. Miss that husband all day then be cranky when he comes home because its after 10, again.

7. Listen to people who don't have kids tell you exactly what you should be doing with your kids and how thankful you should be for every poopy diaper. Definitely true, once your uterus has expanded to the size of a watermelon or you start getting up with a baby five times a night, we'll talk again.

8. Burst into hormonal pregnant tears when you get to the exit for your new "home" after taking a trip back to your actual home. Extra points if your husband just said something really sweet about how happy he is that you're back.

9. Have the best husband who always knows the sweetest, most perfect thing to say. Never know what to say yourself, and look like an idiot for saying, "me too," for the fifth time.

10. Enjoy and love it when you can. Fake it until you make it when you can't. Its not like you've been doing this forever.  Keep practicing. You'll have it figured out by the time they leave for college, surely.

p.s. Oh good lord, college. Are we saving enough??