She’s Got the “Stay-at-Home Mommy” Blues

I read a post today on a popular “mommy blog” called “latte” or “cafe”  or something or other. The mother bemoaned being stuck in the house with two young kids, no education, no skills and no passion. At 25, she said, she wanted more.

I completely understand where she’s coming from. When I had little ones, I often went two or three days without a shower. If I did manage to grab one before my husband came home, there would be the inevitable banging of feet on the outside of the bathroom door and screams shrill enough for an Alfred Hitchcock thriller. (That’s the daughter in grad school now, the one who volunteers at a child psych. clinic.)

I was lucky. I graduated from college before I had kids. But that education pales in comparison to my “on-the-job” mommy training. Take hormones, for instance. Who would have thought they existed for the sheer purpose of making me wilt with pleasure at the smear of peanut butter across my bleeding, chapped lips?

To my great benefit, I joined La Leche League, a group of mentor moms who coined the phrase “Got Milk?” long before it became a commercial for the dairy industry. With these women I learned to tolerate wetness, no matter what the source.

Over the years I met other like-minded women, and some not-so-like-minded, like the unhappy mom in the blog. A few wanted me to watch their kids so they could go off in the morning and do far more important things, like flip hamburgers.  In fact, one woman insisted I watch her child, a four month, and came traipsing up to my apartment one afternoon to tell me so. “When can I bring over my baby?” she asked.

 I hid my indignation beneath a wicked smile. “Never,” I said.

Boy, did I frost her nightie. She wanted me to justify why I would not watch her child – as  I was the only mother within reasonable proximity who stayed  home.   She apparently thought I did it to cash out on babies.

She could not have been more wrong.

Actually, I did try babysitting once for a tiny newborn. The mother was a large gal, rather threatening in stature. It didn’t work out, though, and I fired both of them after one day. I had far too much love for my baby and not enough for hers.  The poor thing screamed his head off while while I nursed my own child. I blamed the prolactin seeping through my veins for sending subliminal messages.

Some of my mentors were women with college degrees, but those letters often acted like a vacuum cleaner and sucked those women right out of their rocking chairs as soon as their babies let go of the nipple. Pop! Right back to the law office or lab, or whatever planet they were on.

I knew the baby years would not last long, so instead of jumping ship for the world of work, I got creative and made do with less.    Besides, anyone who suggested I leave my babies risked losing life and limb.

So I commented to the mom with the stay-at-home blues that she might as well give mothering her best shot. I told her I took charge of my years at home, and figured I would have time away from my kids later, when they were in school.  Little did I know that sewing Halloween costumes, baking cupcakes, and researching a cure for the common cold would consume every available moment for the next twelve years. FFG

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