To be a stay-at-home mom, or not to be a stay-at-home mom. That is the question.

It’s almost that time of year. Back to school. I’ve ridden the roller coaster that is maternity leave for four long months. In less than two weeks’ time I must show up to work. On time. At 8:00. In the morning.

How I’m going to manage this as well as packing up the kids when I’ve been: 

1) Sleeping in until 7:28 every morning (Liam graciously gets up with the kids and lets me sleep in until the last possible minute—he leaves at 7:30);

on top of 

2) Nursing not one, but TWO children throughout the night (I’ve been meaning to wean the older. Really, I have. But I just get so lazy. And, instead of pumping to help reduce my supply—which is SO inconvenient—I just keep nursing and nursing and nursing);

I just can’t fathom.

But it will get done. Somehow, it will get done.

It’s funny. I used to think I wanted to be a SAHM (stay-at-home mom). I thought I’d be great at it. With my love of all things craftsy and my education background, I thought I could homeschool the hell out of my kids and enjoy every moment of it. I mean, who better to be with them than me, right?

But each time one of the kids was born, I was floored at how challenging it all felt. Wasn’t motherhood supposed to come easy to me? To fit so well? What was with all the impatience? The anger and rage I sometimes felt? And the noise?!? When the hell was I going to get some quiet? A break? Hmmm…perhaps I am not the best person for the job.

I know, I know. I’m too hard on myself. It’s one of my not-best qualities. I am mindful of the fact that the spring birthdays of the kiddos coincided with the busiest time of year for Liam and his job. I’ve often told him I think I could be a great SAHM, but only until 5:30 or 6:00 in the evening, the time most partners get home from work. After that, all bets are off.

To be with kids all day, every day, (or at least five out of seven days) and be responsible for all meals, entertaining and enriching, baths, tooth brushing and bedtime, never mind nursing, without any break or down time, is pretty rough. Even for a patient and unanxious person—unlike me—I imagine. I’ve had my fair share of breakdowns. I give mad props to people who have several kids and do this year round, as well as to single parents. I feel ya.

That’s not to say that there haven’t been moments tender and hilarious too. I’ve enjoyed being around this spring and summer for my kids. Going to the park, the pool, and the library. Taking walks and bike rides around the neighborhood. Staying in pajamas all day. Having breakfast for dinner (more times than I’d like to admit). Painting rocks. Painting on paper. Playing house. Watching make-believe dance recitals and Frozen concerts. 

I like to think that I’d enjoy being a SAHM once all the kids are in school full time. Ha!

Where the routine might look like: get up with the kids in the morning, prepare breakfast, and then see them off to school. Then, a short while later, sit at a table ALONE while drinking coffee, maybe go for a walk and do yoga, or a crossword puzzle. Knit. You know, all the things I dream of fitting into my life someday

Like writing for a few hours, uninterrupted. Getting a great dinner started. Cutting fresh flowers from the garden. Preserving tomatoes or pickles. Then, after all that, welcoming the kids home from school with a fresh baked, nutritious snack. Helping them with their schoolwork. This is the kind of SAHM routine I could get behind.

Alas, the decision has been made for us. It makes financial sense for me to work. So, from 8:00-4:00 each day I’ll work a job for which I’ll get paid. And from 4:00 until 8:00 the next morning, I’ll work as a stay-at-home mom, a job for which I will not make money, but provides its share of riches and blessings all the same.

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