About a year ago, an acquaintance and I were talking about staying at home with our children and she said, "If you're a stay at home mom and you're bored, then you're doing it wrong." I was so shocked by her frankness, I had no idea what to say.
I still have no reply to it. It obviously hit a nerve because for nearly a year it has been eating away at me and I cannot get that statement out of my mind.
Do you think it's true? Does the fact that I'm bored to tears while singing "The ABC's" for the billionth time mean I'm doing it all wrong? Does the fact that I'm often bored at home mean it's time for me to go back to work? I just don't know.
It's not as if I let the boys watch TV all day while I read or get on the internet. We play with blocks and cars, we read books, we go to the park/library/zoo. Granted, I find myself not reading to the boys as much as I did with Sydney (my bad, I know), but I certainly don't ignore them. In fact, I think there's quite a bit of merit in making them learn to entertain themselves; after all, of the three kids, it is Sydney who had my undivided attention for so long and now has a really tough time finding things to do on her own.
I've spent a lot of time lately thinking about going back to work. I would love to be able to have adult conversations every day; you know it's bad when you look forward to grocery shopping so that you can have a two minute exchange with the sales clerk. I would love to be able to contribute financially to our family, too. For six years, Ryan has been the breadwinner and he has not complained one bit, but I still feel guilty about spending money and not earning any.
But then, there's the guilt of daycare. The dreaded daycare decision. For both boys to go to a good, full time daycare, my entire paycheck would be eaten up, so, really, what's the point of going back to work? And there's the issue of sick kids. All three of them have been sick a lot in the past few weeks and it has been convenient that I've been home to take care of them. Mind-numbing, but convenient. Had I been at work, either Ryan or I would have had to take off to stay home with them.
But I am bored a lot. I just don't have the energy or even the desire to entertain/teach my kids all. day. long. I would love to be one of those moms who home-schools and loves spending 24 hours a day with her kids, but that's just not me. I'm a certified teacher and I know I could do it, but it does not interest me one little bit. In fact, I am more than happy to send Sydney off to school each morning and the ten hours that Liam is in Mother's Day Out each week are almost more precious to me than ten hours of sleep, and you know how much I love my sleep.
Most days, I feel like if I don't get a break from my kids, I am going to lose what's left of my mind. (And for those of you who would say something to the effect of, "Children are a joy and blessing. I just don't understand why you don't want to be around them all the time!" I would counter with something like, "I love my children more than life itself, but I dare you to do what I do day in and and day out for years with no end in sight.")
So do these thoughts make me a bad mom? Should I throw in the stay at home mom towel and go back to work? Should I suck it up and pretend to be thrilled to read "Goodnight Moon" for the 6,789th time? Or should I just stop whining about it all and shut up about it?
I just don't know anymore.
Two Weeks Later
4 weeks ago