**Disclaimer: This is my view.  MINE.  This is how I define being a stay-at-home mom.  This is what it means for me, and me only.  It in no way, shape, or form, is meant to imply that mothers who stay home are superior to working mothers, or that our jobs are harder, better, or otherwise superior, either.  This is just my portrayal of a day in the life of a SAHM.**

          I am a stay-at-home mom.  I work as a doula, but I don’t even consider it to be a part-time job because one month I may get 20 calls from prospective clients, and the next month, I may get none.  I may have to refer clients out due to conflicting due dates, or wonder when I will even get called again.  It’s unpredictable, at best, and the money is definitely not going to help us buy a house or even make things easier on a day-to-day basis.  So yes, I consider myself a full-time SAHM.

           This is an example of a good day…  Tomorrow I will write about a bad day.

          I get up every morning and get Mega.  We get dressed, empty the potty, and run to Skeeter’s room.  I change Skeet’s diaper, dress him, get his cup, and we all go downstairs.  I get clean cups and fill them with fresh milk to keep the little vultures children at bay while I make breakfast.  We can’t have cereal every morning because they get bored, even with the 10 kinds of cereal I allow in the house.  So one morning, it’s eggs and potatoes, another it’s oatmeal, sometimes cereal, sometimes muffins and bananas, and other mornings, apples and bagels.  It’s a choice and effort.  It’s running distraction if it’s anything that has to be cooked because there is no way to block off the kitchen without damaging the cabinetry, and we’re not paying for that when we move.  We eat together at the table, which usually takes anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes.

         "Skeeter, plate down.  Mega, please use your fork.  Do not throw the cup.  It is not an ‘Uh-oh!’ when you throw it.  If you throw it again, you will not get it back.  Mega, please use your fork.  No, you may not have more until you finish what is already on your plate.  Dumping it on the floor does not count.  Now you can sit there until we are all done.  Let me know when you’re done crying.  Skeeter, plate down.  No, you may not have more.  You don’t get more when you throw your plate on the floor.  Skeeter, plate down.  Look at me so I can wipe your face.  Right hand, please.  Left hand, please.  Thank you.  You may get down and help Mommy clean the floor.  If you don’t want to help me, you may stand in the corner for 2 minutes.  Turn around.  It’s not supposed to be fun.  Turn around or the 2 minutes will start over and you will stand there longer.  Skeeter, plate down.  Skeet-you’re done.  Lemme get that face, goob!  Turn around, Meg.  You may get out of the corner now."

          Then we play for a little bit downstairs.  This usually involves at least 2 epic battles for a single toy, despite the very well-stocked toy bin and multiple other toys that are too large to fit in the toy bin.  It also usually involves Skeeter hitting Mega with something and Mega hitting back, and then shooting me a deer in headlights look when he realizes I saw him hit his younger brother.  It also usually involves at least one time-out or detailed explanation as to why Mega cannot just take the toy or why Skeeter doesn’t nicely hand something to him when he asks for a turn.

          "Weebles!  Good job!  Show Mommy how the Weebles slide!  Yeah Baby Skeeter!  Mega, can you let Skeeter do it this time, and you can show Mommy how the Weeble does it next time?  Mega, he doesn’t understand because he’s little.  You’re a big boy and you have to help Mommy teach him to share, okay?  Okay, Mega’s turn!  Go Buddy!  Good job!  Skeeter, no throwing.  Are you okay, Meg?  He didn’t mean it; he doesn’t understand that that hurts you.  No, he can’t take a time-out because he’s too little, but that’s why Mommy took that toy away, okay?  Mega, please do not take things out of his hands.  He was playing with it first, so you either need to wait until he is done, or find another toy.  No, you don’t have another one.  You don’t always get to ‘have your own.’  Mega, come and sit here for time-out please.  I just asked you not to grab things out of his hands and you didn’t listen.  You don’t tell Mommy no.  Sit down, now.  Two minutes, please.  No, you don’t get toys in time-out because TO is not supposed to be fun.  The more you cry, the longer you will sit.  Skeeter, leave Mega alone; he is in TO.  Come this way, Skeet.  Mega, two minutes.  SIT.  If you move again, your two minutes will start again.  SIT.  No, Skeeter.  No throwing."

         At this point, I have had enough and we change the pace.  I put some music on and we sing and dance and have some silly time.  This is usually pretty problem free until Mega gets jealous because Skeeter likes to dance with me and only me.  I can usually see that coming and either pick them both up to dance, or just change the pace again.

          Snack time.  Diluted juice and graham crackers, goldfish, pretzels, fruit slices, raisins, string cheese, Nutri-Grain bars, or some other little snack.  We may or may not sit at the table, so we may or may not repeat the scene from breakfast.  Usually, snack time is on the run and they’re munching in the living room to avoid the repeat breakfast scene.  However, that means I also have to vacuum immediately because I can’t stand to see crumbs ground into the carpet, or left for the voracious ants next door to find them.  The boys hate the vacuum, but sometimes I can make a game out of it, and we dodge another bullet.  Other times, if they are truly going to melt down, I wait until they are napping.  Mega has usually gone to the bathroom once or twice, and Skeeter has been changed once, but if not, he gets it done now.

          This is where I back off a little.  I usually let Skeeter play a bit while Mega and I do something like work on shapes, colors, letters, and numbers, color together, or some other activity for just the two of us.  After about 20 minutes, Skeeter gets jealous and wants back in on the action, so we go back to doing something all together.  Every now and then, we can sit quietly and read a story or two.  Usually, it’s time to wrestle.  I can usually tell when one child or the other has had enough, and will call it quits before someone gets careless and dives head-first into the coffee table or someone else’s knee.  Everyone now and then I miss the cue, more often with Skeet than Mega, and someone gets bonked and it’s over. 

          Back to running distraction while I make lunch.  This is usually my weak point.  I am starting to get tired, started to get annoyed by all the things I see that need to be done, and generally in need of a free minute.  Sandwiches, quesadillas, hot dogs, nuggets, mac-n-cheese, pasta, left-overs, soup, fruit, veggies, whatever I can come up with quickly is what we eat.  It seems like no matter how I time snacks, lunch always comes with dire hunger.  No matter when it comes, the children were moments away from perishing from starvation!  It always seems to be a mad dash.

          Back to the table for round 2 of the breakfast conversations.  TO isn’t a part of every meal, but a plate on the floor seems to be.  Usually, it’s Skeeter, and "plate down" comes out robotic now because it’s an automated response to the plate rising more than 3" from the table.  I think at this point, Skeeter is testing the system, too.  *sigh*  So we wash hands and faces, clean the table and seats, and put more dishes in the sink. 

         Free play.  This is when I do laundry, change sheets, vacuum again (if necessary or it didn’t work out before), wipe down the coffee and end tables, feed the fish and/or clean the tank, wipe down the kitchen and bathroom counters, dust, or whatever else is driving me crazy at the moment. 

          By 2:00, we’re ready for naps.  Potty/diapers, fresh milk for Skeeter, in bed in 10 minutes or less, guaranteed or it’s free! 

          Nap time is generally when I try to pay bills, or do anything else that requires mental effort or concentration.  I read for my certification, catch up with friends and family, work on scrapbooks (HA!), organize the pantry or make a grocery list, work on Christmas cards, fold laundry, whatever.  I admit, I play Halo sometimes, too.  Heh…

          After an hour, I start working on dinner.  By the time it’s ready, the boys are awake.  If DH is home, he gets them while I make their plates.  We all sit down and now there are 2 voices telling Skeet to put his plate down and not throw his cup; there are 2 voices telling Mega is not polite to talk with food in his mouth, he should use his fork, and chew with his mouth closed.  In other words, twice the fun!  DH does the dishes and usually puts the food away when he’s home.  We clean up the kids and if there are errands, we usually do them now, unless it’s Grocery Day, which is a horse of a different color all together.  Wal-Mart for milk, bread, eggs.  The mall for shoes.  The library to exchange books.  Blockbuster to return our mailed movies, etc.  The bigger trips are made during the day when DH is gone and it’s just the boys and I, unless it’s close to the weekend and we can wait for DH to make things easier. 

          By the time we get home, it’s almost bed time.  Baths or more wrestling, depending on the night.  A story.  Bedtime.  We usually watch a bit o’ the box, or a movie, and DH passes out while my insomnia kicks my ass.  Mega usually wakes up and cries for who-knows-what-reasons around midnight.  By 2 or 3, I am out, and then Mega wakes up and cries again.  DH leaves around 5:30 when he’s home, which kicks off the restless morning sleep.  By 8-8:30, we’re all up and at ’em again. 

          I don’t get sick days.  I don’t have family that can take the boys if I do get sick.  Usually, one of us gets sick, and then the other two.  Sometimes it’s easier if we call get sick at once, because then we’re all laid out.  Other times, it’s easier if we all take turns so that I am up and running full speed to take care of the boys.  But, I don’t get to choose how it happens.  I don’t get to say we can only be sick when DH is here to relieve me, either.  As things would go, we usually only get sick when he’s gone, of course!

          I have bad days.  Some days, I am so tired I wonder how I will even open my eyes, let alone function.  I can’t put together a coherent sentence, let alone a meal.  But I can’t tell the boys they’re on their own for the day, now can I?

          I lose my temper.  About once a week or so, I go a majority of the day without saying please or thank you because if I have to pretend to be Miss Manners once more, I might crack.  I get tired of being a shining example; it’s a bit annoying at times.  I yell.  I tell Mega he’s going to get a TO if he throws something in the house one more time, and then get so frustrated, I forget to keep track of the time and a 2 minute TO turns into 4 minutes.  I get tired of telling Skeeter not to throw Weebles, and tired of taking them away when he does it, so I smack his hand.  Once in a blue moon, I smack harder than I mean to and his little hand is red for a few minutes.  I lose it sometimes.

         I "give up" lots of things that we could afford with two incomes, like nice dinners out, just DH and I, while we hire a sitter, or that $50.00 sweater I want.  I give up free time with friends my own age.  I give up the ability to just pick up and go without a second thought.  I give up free time with my husband.  I give up the ability to be selfish whenever I want – though sometimes, it is perfectly okay!  I put my career on hold.  I put my social life on hold. 

          In return, I get healthy, happy kids.  I get a husband that loves me and is eternally grateful because he knows our kids know him and understand that he’s gone a lot because he’s doing what is best for all of us, while serving his country.  I get kids that feel secure because they know someone is always there for them.  I get kids that hug and show affection freely.  I get "please," "thank you," and other respectful phrases.  I get unconditional love.  Best of all, I get kids that forgive me when I f*ck up because they know that even though I may lose my cool, I would never hurt them or let anyone else hurt them. 

          The whole point in writing all of this down was to show other moms that we all do it.  It’s normal to lose it a little bit.  I’m not saying it’s okay to beat the crap out of your kid because you had a bad day, or not feed them for a day because they throw food on your floor.  I’m just saying that I bet if we all talked about those moments a bit more, we’d all have less Mommy-Guilt.  We’d all feel better knowing that there is someone else standing there when we feel we’ve gone over to the dark side.  Our children are resilient.  We may make them feel bad, or hurt their hands or back-sides, but at the end of the day, our children know we are always going to be there.  They know we won’t give up on them even when they screw up royally.  They know we love them and while we may give their hides a tanning, we would never hurt them.  A lot of us joke about therapy-funds for our kids, but really, we all do the best we can with what we have, right?  It’s when you don’t care or give up that you’re a bad parent.  It’s when you know something isn’t working and you don’t seek advice or help for another way to solve the problem.  A bad mom isn’t someone who loses her temper or gets frustrated.  A bad mom is someone who doesn’t care enough to do either.

          I understand why most mom don’t share their "Bad Mommy" moments.  We all fear being chastised, made to feel inferior, or the guilt alone keeps up silent.  It was difficult for me to write my response to the question below without feeling like I had to justify myself.  And unfortunately, with so many parents being against any form of corporal punishment, many of us don’t even feel safe talking about our disciplinary actions.  So while I was hesitant to write the next part, I think it will be very therapeutic.  If I am the only one that benefits, great.  If it helps someone else feel even a little bit better, stellar.  The more we talk about our not-so-shining-moments, the more we will all see it’s normal.  Everyone has moments of weakness, and so long as they are the exception and not the rule, we’re on the right track.  We’re not all June Cleaver moms and those who think they are, are full of sh*t.  🙂

          And, for Tertia’s Mommy Guilt, I will remind you that we all say things we regret.

          What was your worst moment as a mother?          

** When Mega was almost a year old, he wouldn’t stop crying.  He didn’t have colic – it hadn’t been more than 2 hours, and it was mid-day.  I tried everything.  I couldn’t get him to even calm down to where he was sobbing.  He was almost purple from crying so hard.  I checked him over head to toe and nothing seemed "wrong" or off.  I put him in his crib and thought he’d cry it out in a few minutes, but it didn’t make a difference.  I got so frustrated, I smacked his little face and shouted, "What is WRONG with you?!  Just stop crying!"  It must have stunned him because we’d never done more than pop his hand when he repeatedly touched things we told him not to, and I tried very hard not to raise my voice unless he was doing something dangerous (like trying to pull the TV on his head).  I immediately started to cry, ran out of his room, shut the door, and fell in a heap in the hall.  I couldn’t believe what I had just done.  It took me what seemed like forever to compose myself, but it must have been only a few minutes.  I went back in his room, and kept apologizing.  I picked him up and snuggled him (which I had tried before) and he settled down.  I rocked him for about 20 minutes…  We got a bottle, and I put him to bed.  He slept for almost 3 hours while I cried over what I had done.  But you know what?  When he got up, he was just as happy to see me as he had been every other afternoon.  His face wasn’t red and there wasn’t a mark on him.  Was what I did okay?  No.  But did he recover?  Did he get over it?  Will he hate me forever?  I will never forgive myself, but he did.  I didn’t damage him forever and he has never been afraid of me, nor will he ever be.

Tertia’s Related SUPER GOOD post