Just like they say there is never a good time to start a family, the same can be said about going to the grocery store, you’ve just got to do it. Head first, no looking back. I’ve been trying for three days to put together a shopping list so that I could get to the grocery store. As a perfectionist, and slightly OCD, my list is never quite finished or good enough, and so this morning I thought, Screw it. I’ll just go to the store, grab some items, and hope I come back with enough of the right things to make at least one complete meal. And I’ll pick up a frozen pizza, just in case.
There is a huge misconception out there that being a SAHM (Oh, wait. Sorry. You probably don’t know what that means – stay at home mom, for those who have lives that do not revolve around wake times, feedings, and diaper changes.) is easy and basically opens up a lot of free time. This is not true. Small tasks have become big feats in this household. So much so that I’ve resorted to texting my husband when I’ve accomplished anything beyond caring for baby, just so that I can get an ego-boosting “Way to go,
champ wife!” congratulatory reply. Evidently, there was a time when moms would put their babies in a playpen and go about their business while their little ones played happily and contentedly in a safe, secure, four-wall enclosure. This is no longer the norm. Babies need to be free to explore, test boundaries, and practice mobility. In order for that to happen, her caregiver must trail behind her and intercept all dangers. This leaves little time to do anything else.
Case in point:
This morning, my bundle of joy woke an hour early, unhappy, and wanting out of her crib pronto. So after changing and nursing, she was ready to take on the day, while I wanted to make a cup of coffee. Baby had other ideas in mind, including going back and forth from the front of the house to the back using her walker. This would be a great activity for her to enjoy independently, but she has a tendency to steer left or right and run into the walls, cabinets, and various other obstructions that are not actually obstructing the straight shot between the front window and the patio doors.
See? Straight. Shot.
Each time, she turns and stares at me until I come and set her course straight again. And again five seconds later. And then again. And again, until she finds interest in something new. I manage to make a cup of coffee and get a few sips in before it’s time to start the day. I decide we should go to the grocery store before Ellis’s nap and forgo a possible morning walk in the park. All I needed to do was prep her breakfast that I would feed her in the cart while we shopped (pretty ingenious of me, right?). Simple plan. And so I pop a piece of whole wheat bread into the toaster, push down the lever, and Ellis crawls up my leg.
“Hi, love. Need something?”
Toast pops up. It’s barely toasted. Push the lever back down. Get distracted. Toaster starts to smoke. Out pops burnt bread. Sigh. Throw it out and insert new piece. I’ll save you time and just tell you that 45 minutes later, I had burned 3 pieces of toast, nursed Ellis, tried distracting her with Tupperware in the lower cupboard, but she only wanted to smack the ceramic bowls on the ground, not the plastic ones, and then she proceeded to spit up some of the milk she just ate onto the kitchen floor and started swishing Tupperware lids in it as well as her hands and legs.
In 45 minutes, I cannot properly toast a piece of bread, put together breakfast to go (toast and a peeled plum), and get us into the car. At this point, it’s close enough to her nap time, especially since she woke up early, so I gave up and put her to bed.
I can’t really tell you where the time goes. A lot of it is staring at Ellis, smiling, and saying, “Yes! Baby. Baby Doll!” “Ball!” “You want to throw the ball to Mommy?” “Aw. You’re hugging Alex! So sweet! Don’t poke his eyes!” Aw, you’re hugging the pillow! So sweet!” And other such nonsense like that. Then there are times where she looks like she is content to play on her own, so I will start to move toward the kitchen or in a direction opposite her, and she’ll start crawling toward me insisting she needs to be picked up that very moment. Or she’ll psych me out and let me think she is going to play independently, and I’ll get my dish gloves on and have washed two dishes, and then she’ll start climbing my leg, and I worry she’s going to fall and bump her head on the tile, but I’ve got to take my wet, soppy gloves off, but I have to balance intricately so she doesn’t fall over, and then I pick her up, and she immediately wants me to put her back down. So I start the dishes again, and back she comes. Or she’ll help me fold the laundry by playing Godzilla and tearing down the pile of 52 tiny wash cloths we use daily to clean her, and grabbing other folded clothes just to toss them because it’s fun, I guess.
None of this is a complaint against my daughter. It’s simply an explanation for all the non-SAHMs to understand why my bathtub is cleaned (sprayed and rinsed) only about once a month and why my purple office is layered in dust and old messes because I NEVER go in there any more. And why my boxed hair color job looks a little off because I was too distracted to read the directions carefully and forgot to include the “shiny serum” to the formula and then my daughter woke up just as I finished applying the last of my color to my hair but needed to wait 25 min before I could rinse it out, and I really needed a shower that morning.
Here is my daughter impersonating a velociraptor.