Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Babysitter's Back (and you're gonna be in trouble...)

Not really. I just wanted you to sing it to the right tune. Am I the only one who thinks like this? Yes. Okay.

Yesterday was Maren's first day back to the babysitter after a week and a day's absence due to swine flu. (Not Maren's. Not the babysitter's either, her son's.) I wish I had taken a camera. No child has ever in the history of the world, been so thrilled, so uncontainably excited to see another human being. She jumped, she squirmed, she squealed with delight. She was more than happy to show off her new walking skills and scream DAAA-DAAAA at the top of her lungs.

She's pretty much always like that on Monday mornings, just less so. After our last vacation, I saw it a little, but she was much younger then. This was... incomprehensible.

And I feel that it should make me sad. I feel like it should drive home that I don't spend enough time with my darling. That this foreigner in our family gets the same (if not more) affection than I do. But the truth is, I'm glad. I'm glad that she loves her caregiver so much. That she's so happy there that she gets sad when she has to be away.

Also, I spent Monday home with her all day, and frankly, I'm glad someone else does that most of the time. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids. I think that if I could be a stay-at-home-mom, I would choose to in an instant. Then, I would immediately start trying to figure out what methods I could put in place to keep me sane, because let's face, I? Just not cut out for that.

On Monday, Maren hit her head 7 times, bit her tongue once, fell off the bed once and nearly ate a Polly Pocket dress 1,748,934 times. I accomplished pretty much nothing all day. I did some laundry. I had to put her in her high chair to do it, but I did. I got no cleaning done and she ate babyfood and I ate pizza rolls for lunch because there just was no other way.

I have this crazy stir-crazy thing, where I have to leave the house at least once a day and get OUT or I get all crazy and weepy and over-critical. Maternity leave nearly killed me. At least the part where I couldn't drive because I might rip open my internal stitches. Whatever. I would have preferred massive internal hemmoraging to sitting in my living room all freakin' day long. Monday night, I had a huge breakdown and went to Kroger at 10:00 p.m. (I really did need to go because we forgot Brynna's snack day.) I had been out of the house that morning though. I took Brynna to school and went to the library. Not enough, it turns out. I needed more escape than that.

I also need some sort of validation outside of motherhood. I know I could get that as a stay-at-home mother. I could volunteer. I could write more. I could maybe add AdSense and get paid for these ramblings (cents! I could be a centionaire!!) I could make it work.

And I would if I could afford it. I would in a heartbeat. I would love to be home with my kids. I'd love to be able to take them to all the library activities. I would love to go to the library when it isn't filled to brimming. I would love to go grocery shopping at 8 a.m. I would love to bake bread and learn to knit and keep my house cleaner and all the other things I imagine I would have time to do as a stay-at-home mom, but acknowledge that I probably wouldn't.

But, for now... I am secretly glad that I can't afford to be a stay-at-home mom. Because, even though I get frustrated and hate living in a pig sty and want to learn to knit and hate the library for only having activities during the work day and find yeast to be a wonderful-terrible mystery, I find my life pretty satisfying. Hectic and sometimes miserable, but mine and satisfying.

And if that means that my almost-eleven-month-old likes the babysitter better than me, well, screw it. It is what it is.


ShellSpann said...

Oh how I can relate! My kids love their babysitter (I've used the same one since my 6 year old was a few months old). While I miss them dearly, I think they are better off with her during the day. I can't afford to not work anyway, but even if I could stay home, I think I'd still at least work part time.

Suze said...

Funny. You can't afford not to work outside the home, and I couldn't afford to have an outside job. That's just how it goes, I guess.

Your house doesn't get cleaner when you stay at home, though. It just means you're around to mess it up for more of the day. Sigh.

Mrs. Allroro said...

I know my house doesn't get any cleaner when my husband stays home from work. Just more dishes to wash (or find in odd corners of the dishwasher, if he helped).

As for the kid being excited about the sitter, at least there is another human witness this way. I think if I had that much excitement/affection lavished on just me, especially when noone else was around, a. I might be in a bit of denial "Surely this isn't as cute as I think it is." b. I might not be able to receive it really--to take it all in, accept it, and appreciate it--I might become cold to it becuase I'd know I didn't really deserve it, or c. I'd think "is there something wrong with my child? Is she out of touch with reality? Understimulated?" But seeing it for the sitter, I think it would just be validation for me "I chose a great sitter." Again, I'm not a mom. Is it that obvious?

Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

There've been a few times in my life when I've been unemployed, and therefore a default SAHM. I also have (and do) work outside the home. I have found that - in my contrariness - when I'm at home for extended periods of time, I get antsy and really want to work, to have some validation outside of being a mom. But, once I have a job and am working insane hours, I wish I could be a SAHM. My latest desire is to be a SAHM so I could homeschool J. Well, that is, before he started his awesome magnet school program. But when he was in elementary, and things were just so miserable for him...(sigh) I really wish I could have been a SAHM then. But anyway, I feel your pain!

Cathy said...

Listen to Suze! I once worked for a whole year only to discover that after I had paid the babysitter, gas for my car, and lunches, I was bringing home a mind-boggling $63 per week! I found another job because I was the mother of a very (!) active, talkative boy. (I went to work to rest!!)