3/17/10

My Mother, My Hero


We've already established I am turning into my mother, yet sometimes things remind me that I will never be half the woman she is in certain respects.

I was truly lucky to have a mother who stayed at home with me until I was eight years old and a welcome divorce necessitated she return to work. She was a wonder mom, the type who kept a spotless house, had a home cooked dinner on the table every night, and fresh cookies in the cookie jar each week. She also was my room mom every year.

Now that I'm a stay at home mom myself I have to ask myself, do I strive to be that wonder mom? Could I even do it? I don't think I can and here's why.

I am not anyone's damn maid.

(Well, anyone other than myself and my infant son's)

Perhaps I'm just bitter. Let me clarify and say that I am thrilled I can stay home with my son. Not being able to legally work worked out for me in that aspect. I am very grateful I can watch him grow and learn every day, and spend so much time with him. Those are moments I could never give up. However, I don't understand why SAHM = maid to all.

I get it, I get that many folks think if you are a SAHM, your job is the home and you should take care of it but that means that your job is raising the kids AND taking care of the whole house. Ideally I can see that happening when Sebastian is a bit older but now, *phhhhtt*, forget it.

It's hard because sometimes Alex comes home and makes comments about food on the highchair or crumbs on the counter (not always mine)and it makes me feel like crap. I know he sometimes wonders what I do all day. I certainly don't sit on my butt and eat bon bons. Now that Sebastian is crazy mobile I literally chase him and play bodyguard ALL DAY. I can't leave him alone for a second because he'll pull up somewhere he shouldn't, be pulling books off of the shelf (having a great time while doing it), or falling over and hitting his head because he'll try to stand on his own.

He's also very clingy at the moment so most of the time I have to be right next to him or holding him. Forget peeing in peace. If I want to get anything done while he's awake I have to wear him in my Ergo.

By reading the Bump message boards you'd think my kid is an alien because unlike the two - three naps most babies his age are taking, I am lucky if Sebastian takes one, ONE! So during that one nap I have to pack all of my cleaning for the day in and try to find a few minutes for myself (like I'm doing now by writing on my blog) lest I go crazy. Plus now that it's nicer out I try to get Sebastian and I out of the house for walks or to go to the park or library a couple times a week because we both can get stir crazy stuck inside the house.

This doesn't leave much time to clean up after everyone, because that's what I am doing. Since I've started staying at home it seems I have become everyone's maid. We don't have a dishwasher so I do all dishes. I'm the only one who cleans the bathroom, the kitchen, the dinning room, the living room, or Sebastian's room. I'm the only one who vacuums, sweeps, or mops. I'm the only one who puts Sebastian's toys away, does his laundry, or organizes his room. If I didn't wash and change our sheets we'd be sleeping on the same sheets for months. It's very frustrating when there are two other adults in the house that don't help.

Now I am grateful that Alex does much of the cooking because if he didn't love it so much or do it as much, Sebastian would be living in that Ergo.

I guess my point it, how did my mom do it? How did my wonder mother not go bat shit crazy? How come women of old could do so much more than I can? Did thy hold secret resentments or did they just put up and shut up because it was "women's work" they were expected to do and love it?

We could discuss this further but Sebastian just woke up after a 30 min nap and I need to finish washing dishes, finish cleaning the bathroom, fold and put away laundry, clean the living room, get the corned beef and cabbage ready to go in the oven, prep the house for my stepdaughter's guest,.....

5 comments:

Serendipite said...

Have you asked her? This actually reminds me of Christmas Vacation, where Clark Griswold asks his dad how he got through the holidays, and dad says "I got a lot of help from Jack Daniels"

You might remember it was being perfect, but she might have a different perspective, and that could help you cut yourself a little slack. (((HUGS)))

H and T said...

I often wonder how my mom does it too. Even now. She's busy as hell, doing something every night of the week, and yet her house remains spotless and she still cooks a full meal every night.

I've come to realize that my house is never going to be that way unless I have a million dollar lottery win where I can hire a permanent maid so I CAN sit on the couch all day and eat bon bons. :)

Bexie said...

I could have written this post (well, the husband part, not the mom part). My husband doesn't understand that my job, being a SAHM... never ends. He gets to "come home" from work, have someone serve him dinner, then go relax and unwind until bed time. I, on the other hand, am working 100% of the time. My child does not sleep through the night, nor does she cosleep (my husband insisted) so I am literally working in my sleep as well. I don't get to "come home" from work. I have tried to explain this to him countless times, using various wording each time, and he still doesn't understand. He never ever will.

I previously worked full time and I can tell you that being a SAHM is more mentally and physically exhausting than working full time is.

staciemarie said...

You are a wonder mom already! Who cares if there is a crumb or two - or a bit of dust. Those will wait. Your growing boy wont wait. Spend as much quality time with him as you can and don't feel guilty about any of that other crap.
(I seem to do 90% of the chores at our house, plus work. I don't know what free time is - but the man gets time to watch his TV for hours on end every night - bah!)

poopoopoo said...

And here is another thought... I am sure your mom would be flattered that you think that she kept a clean house, but do you think that is what she wants to be remembered by? Probably not. She would rather have you remember all the fun times and adventures that you had together, and how you stuck together in tough times. I sure hope Scarlett won't be just remembering me for the way I keep house! I'd rather have her remember that her mommy wasn't afraid to be the crazy mom who danced to the bad muzak playing at the mall. Haha!