Friday, January 23, 2015

On Staying at Home and Not

This is mostly so I can remember, as the rest of this blog is.

So, first caveat, I have the best job ever: I really only have to be in the office two days a week, and those aren't even 8 hour days. Today I had a meeting on a Friday and my chair hired childcare so I could bring my son with me and play in the next room. I didn't have to go back into the office until four months after Baby Leopard was born and had only a little work from home after his birth. Second caveat, I have the best husband ever: he works from home a lot of the time and helps out a ton--makes lots of dinner and breakfasts and lunches--sometimes all three in one day if I'm lucky.

That said, staying at home with Baby Leopard was really hard--being responsible for his well being 24 hours a day, 7 days a week was really grueling. I have no idea how people do it with two kids or three or four. At some point the kids start helping, but I think it takes a while. Just feeding Baby Leopard and myself while trying to recover from giving birth was often all I could do. Also, I have no idea how people take care of babies with husbands who work long hours. The first day that Baby Leopard went to daycare and I worked on my own work was blissful and felt easy in comparison to what I had been doing.

I really do want to be working in addition to mothering. I love my work--I love teaching and writing and reading. I'm grateful to continue to do the old things that I love, even post-Baby Leopard's arrival.

BUT teaching and prepping and grading, not to mention trying to publish (haven't even gotten back into that yet), is a lot to do while taking care of Baby Leopard and trying to occasionally clean and do laundry and go to the grocery store. Just basically survive and not smell like baby throw-up. Rather regularly I'm overwhelmed with how I'm going to manage. It's hard to have two things that you care about, but good, too. What I'm saying is, pray for me. And really pray for those moms who have five kids, because it makes me tired just thinking about them.

Also, this is a long-winded explanation of why there were no pictures of Baby Leopard in the last Parenthood post: I haven't remembered to take any and mostly he just wears pajamas when we're at home, anyway.


Hannah said...

I'll be perfectly honest, it's nice hear someone say that staying home with a child is hard! For some reason, people don't talk about it. And of course, our culture wonders what we stay-at-home moms do all day...

It really does sound like you have a nice balance. Being able to spend so much time with your son - but also do the things you love (not to mention, get a break). I'm so happy that it is working out so well for you!

Emily Hale said...

Thanks! I think it's the hardest thing ever, especially because I'm used to thinking about achieving goals and my day with Baby Leopard is about entertaining him and being with him and playing with him and it just doesn't always involve checking things off a list like I'm used to. Does that make sense?
I wonder how stay at home moms even get food on the table, honestly.

Hannah said...

Totally makes sense!! Some days, I have to put everything aside and just be taking care of/playing with Zork. That is so hard for me sometimes!

And agreed. We almost always have dinner after Zork goes to bed. I find it tedious to basically make two dinners (Zork's is much simpler of course), but I have NOT figured out how to make dinner while he is still up and Jayber is still working.

Emily Hale said...

Well that makes feel a little better (about myself, although I feel bad for you!).

My mom is visiting this week and it's the best thing ever--she's taking care of Baby Leopard and cooking while I have meetings with students. I wish she'd just move in...