Throughout my many years as a stay-at-home mom, I’ve been on the receiving end of those oh-so-annoying questions that normally well-mannered people feel compelled to ask.
The most common and probably least offensive: “What are you going to do when all of your kids are in school?”
In my mind, I think: Well, let’s see…shower uninterrupted, not be embarrassed by my screaming toddler at the grocery store, have more than one room of my house clean AT THE SAME TIME, and if I’m feeling really crazy, I may just finish my first to-do list in over a decade.
Most people think that school-aged children means the end of the need for a stay-at-home mom. I kind of did too…that is, until I was a working mom, and I soon learned that between sick days, school holidays, school events, and summer vacation, my kids were not in school as much as I thought they would be. Also, the older the Heathens get, the more activities and schedules I juggle. Let’s not forget the hour and a half a day I spend carpooling, and the sentient laundry pile that stealthily reproduces when no one is watching.
But, I did knit a baby blanket for my neighbor during carpool, so that’s something:
So, the long answer is that, no, I won’t be living the life of leisure whenever Bean starts school. I’ll continue to keep this zoo running, maybe just a little better than before. However, since most inquirers don’t want my dissertation on why a return to full-time work is not practical for our family, I simply answer:
“Eat bonbons and watch Oprah.”
That’s probably what they are thinking anyway.
From those with significantly less manners, I get the next stay-at-home mom staple question: “What do you do all day?”
If they ask that, I already know what they are thinking:
Eat bonbons and watch Oprah.
I could list all of the chores, meal planning, couponing, bill paying, budgeting, errand running, carpooling, and minutia to account for my days but it’s all of those time and soul-sucking things that really eat up the hours. For example, “fold laundry” turns into fold laundry, then refold the laundry that the toddler got into and threw everywhere like confetti. Those perfectly mopped floors will need sweeping again before the afternoon is out. How about the time spent putting on then taking off the dress up costume over and over and over?
Or that hour I spent on hold with the phone company? Or all of those half-finished chores that were halted so I could chase said toddler before she throws another toy in the toilet? While the reward for this hamster wheel is getting to be here for my kids, it’s hard to measure tangible accomplishments when the room I cleaned this morning will look like a toy tornado ripped through it by the time my husband gets home.
What I do all day is awesome, essential, important, and makes our house a home. However, it’s also frustrating, isolating, often invisible, and lonely.
So, instead of letting those lame stay-at-home mom questions irk me, I think I’ll start coming up with the most ridiculous answers I can.
“What do you do all day?”
I teach Bean the fine art of combat so she’ll be ready for the imminent zombie apocalypse. The better question is, what do YOU do all day?