Stay At Home Mom/Home Renovator-Decorator/Property Manager/Writer.
But do you still qualify as a Stay At Home Mom when you do all of these other things? Because there isn’t much staying at home lately. And I don’t technically get paid for any of these so shit. If a tree falls in the forest, does anyone actually hear it?
In fact, as I write this I’m an hour from home base at our Ventura property, the scene of the renovation, house decorating, property management challenge that I *hope* doesn’t turn out to be a disaster. Toddler is asleep on a blow up mattress in the master. The dog is next to me on one side and husband on the other on a brand new couch I tried to return, but now have decided I love. We’re trying to determine if he should go get me Benadryl because I’m having an asthma attack and lost my inhaler. This is the first asthma attack I’ve had in MONTHS and it appears that dairy is bothering me yet again. Bahumbug. I love the way it tastes, but hate the way it makes me feel – all mucousy and chest burny (those aren’t real words in case you were wondering). Why is it back all of a sudden? Pregnancy? Probably. Just in time for the return of my appetite.
And man, I’m feeling spread thin.
There’s just so much to DO always. And yes I’m grateful and appreciative of every moment of it, but dang I’d like to have 5-minutes to stop and smell the roses, because there really are so many of them!
Here’s what happened today, which to varying degrees, about sums up my life lately.
3:00 AM – Wake up because I can’t breath through my nose. Lips are dry and cracked from mouth breathing. I’m thirsty, but out of water. Up for more, then to the bathroom. Back in bed, can’t get comfortable. Spill water all over while reaching to get my phone. Fill water back up. Pee again. Go to D’s bed, cuddle up next to her, since she’ll be waking up for me in a few hours anyway. Still can’t get comfortable. Back to my bed where Merp and the dog are sound asleep.
4:00 AM – Finally back to sleep after googling pregnancy rhinitis, a mission that returned many useless articles that all said basically the same thing. Exercise is one of the brilliant *breakthroughs* they list as proven to provide “some relief.” I doze off remembering what it was like to feel good enough to actually do that. But more importantly, I wonder: will I ever actually sleep through the night again?
6:00 AM – D comes to get me, light sneaking in through our blackout shades. She refuses to join Merp, the dog, and I in our bed. She insists I follow her back to her room. I do. She passes out on my chest as I lay awake wondering if laying flat on my back is cutting off air flow to my poor oxygen deprived fetus. I finally fall back asleep too. On my back. Ugh.
7:15 AM – D’s up demanding num nums (she wants breakfast), which means I’m up too.
7:30 AM – I pour some dry granola in a bowl and feed my demanding spawn half a banana, while I stumble around our filthy kitchen (I was too tired to clean up the mess on my birthday) and drink the dregs of Merp’s french pressed coffee. Between demands for “Elmo,” not the show, but her Elmo spoon with which to fling, I mean eat, that delicious dry granola I mentioned earlier, I sit and browse through emails I need to return, trying to resist the siren song of Zulily, while D begins her life’s work – making the house more of a disaster than it already is.
8:00 AM – I begin the rip roaring good time that is cleaning the kitchen, after changing an awesomely stinky diaper. God I hate the way peanut butter sticks to plates like glue. God I hate the way toddler poop smells in comparison to newborn breastmilk poop.
8:45 AM – Our house guest, my best guy friend, stumbles downstairs from a looong restful slumber inquiring about coffee. There isn’t any left. He turns on the Los Angeles news and we immediately start making fun of how ridiculous it is, while I suck at cleaning.
9:00 AM – Merp surfaces. He’s been on calls all morning in his home office. He’s hungry. House guest is hungry. I’m hungry. And of course the toddler is hungry. I begin making the kitchen a mess again. I stop half-way through to change another stinky diaper.
9:30 AM – Scrambled eggs, organic sausage, avocado, and sour dough toast are had by all. It’s not enough. I’m still hungry, but have to move on to laundry because D is out of pajamas and I’m out of underwear. Joy!
9:45 AM – Laundry commences. Then back downstairs to clean some more. All this while carrying a 22 pound toddler under my arm half the time and trying to remind her that binky is only for bed time (it’s a never-ending game we play and it’s not very fun, if you ask me. She’s so darn cute, though, that I refrain from yelling “DEATH TO ALL THE BINKIES” at the top of my lungs).
10:15 AM – Back downstairs for the second kitchen clean up. I’m still in my pajamas. D’s still wearing the dress she wore to bed (she fell asleep in the car on our way home from Ventura the night before and there was no way in hell I was waking her up, especially when she had no clean pajamas left except for the 12-month Spider Man ones Merp bought her).
10:45 AM – Kitchen clean-ish. Back upstairs to put wash in dryer. D keeps claiming it’s time for “nai nai,” but I suspect she just wants a binky. She manages to get her hands on two, flings her self on her bed, and demands I read her stories. I do, while she sucks on one binky and plays with the other, half-asleep. I keep hoping she goes, because it would make the day SO much easier, but she doesn’t because of the darn second bink she’s fondling. 15-minutes in I take it from her and an emotional breakdown ensues. She’s overtired from a busy day yesterday. I know what’s happening here. I try for another 15-minutes to get her to nap. I lose. She wins.
11:15 AM – Back downstairs. I microwave a bean and cheese burrito from Trader Joes, and give her a quarter of it (even though I want to eat it ALL). She eats small bits, demanding more sour cream and her “elmo” utensils, between crying about God knows what. Merp comes out of his home office in response to my desperate pleas, agrees to watch her, while I run up to shower and pack our clothes since we’re headed to the Ventura house to stay the night and have to be there before 2 when AT&T arrives to set up internet. We’ve owned the house for months now, most of the work is finally done, and it’s time to get it up on Air BnB. This is the weekend.
Noon – Over-tired child fed. Finally changed out of the dress from yesterday. I’m showered. Dressed. And half packed. Merp delivers D to me while I finish packing, load the car, and get her in there too.
12:30 – We finally leave. D falls asleep almost instantly. I help Merp check his emails while we drive, cursing his small IPhone screen (I have a Galaxy).
1:30 – We arrive in Ventura, both starving (told you I was hungry ALL THE TIME), and decide on a taco place where Merp can sit in the car and take business calls and I can run in to order the stuff, while D keeps sleeping.
2:00 – Tacos in hand. D still asleep (it’s a miracle!). We run by City Hall to drop off the check for rental license (it appears that the envelope I sent them was tampered with. It has tape on it. I didn’t tape it and the original check is missing). The building in big and beautiful, and the people inside are friendly. I love Ventura! I briefly wonder if I should report the missing check.
2:30 – Back to the house. D is up. Tacos are consumed by all. House work commences, while she demands “cup,” meaning she wants us to fill up her tea set so she can pour water all over the floor. I’ve learned my lesson from last time we were here (yesterday). And so I oscillate between ignoring her requests and explaining to her that “no, she can’t pour water on the dog.”
4:30 – We’re all hungry. Again. We walk a few blocks, with D on Merp’s shoulders because we forgot the stroller AND the baby carrier, to a cafe where D is surprisingly charming. She says “hi” to all of the waiters and yells things like “bubbles” and “ribbit” at pictures she sees on the wall.
6:00 – Dinner is done. We walk home. It’s freezing. Of course we don’t have jackets.
6:15 – None of the beds are made. The blow up mattress needs to be blown up. The dog needs to be fed. There are boxes everywhere. Pictures need to be hung (and on stucco for that matter! But I guess we’re going to use the crown molding or something, I dunno), and I can’t find the diapers.
7:15 – Toddler bathed. Beds made (after much fitted sheet trial and error). Dog fed. I lay down with D to read her Oh The Places You’ll Go! for the second time since we got here. It’s kind of a great book. I consider quoting it here, but I don’t have the energy.
8:00 – She’s out. I’m wheezing. I begin this blog post. Take like 5 breaks for the bathroom and water and retrieve the leftovers from dinner, specifically the cheesecake, even though I’m already wheezing. Stupid!
9:30 – Blog finished. Benadryl obtained. It starts to kick in while husband finishes an episode we’ve already seen of Louis CK. I will be sleeping soon and I am SO excited! Aren’t you? Sleep is amazing.
So what are your days like?
Do you stay home with the kids, work from home, or go in to an office somewhere?
Do you also feel, sometimes, like you’re just trying not to fall into the black hole of responsibility? Lost forever under piles of junk mail, bills, and dirty socks.
I’m not going to lie, at times I miss those days when all I had to do was sit at a computer or camp out in a surveillance van. I love every minute of hanging with my daughter, just not all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry that comes with it. I feel like i’m never caught up enough to take an hour to work on my book. Or write a quality blog/essay any more than once per month. And forget about that dental cleaning I haven’t gotten in 3 years! Or my absolutely hideous chipping pedicure. Or my over grown bikini line.
BUT I feel like my priorities are straight. I know things will settle down, especially with this house, and I’ll be able to breath again (especially when the antihistamine kicks in), but dang. That black hole is feeling pretty freaking powerful.