It’s just about 4:17 and I need to make dinner in the next 58 minutes or hungry people will start to settle around our dining table and complain.
I am currently laying in bed wearing pajamas while my two-year-old relaxes next to me, playing on my iPhone. His sister has a iPad somewhere in another room.
We didn’t homeschool today.
I also didn’t do any laundry today, I haven’t emptied the dishwasher, and I thought I was going to the grocery store but it didn’t happen.
When Kyle walks in, the house will look pretty much the same as it did when he left to go to work nine hours earlier. If he’s lucky, it will also smell like dinner fresh from the oven. Right now, I’d put my money on a dinner of leftovers, sandwiches, or cold cereal.
You might wonder why I’m writing this, since I obviously should get up and throw something in the oven, empty the dishwasher while dinner cooks, and do a quick sweep to pick up whatever the kids have pulled out today. After all, I’m the stay at home mom. If I can’t do dinner and a toy sweep, what the hell am I doing?
I’m not going to lie, I struggle with this thought a lot since I stopped doing as much writing. I wanted to step away from blogging so I could focus on my family and spend more time with my kids and I’m doing exactly that. I just…I thought it was going to be more…productive. Like we would make lots of crafts and go to the library all the time and build all these memories around the city. And we do, I guess, but it doesn’t feel the way I thought it would feel. We made a banner about Spring today but that just meant scribbling on lots of paper, fighting over the tape, and reminding the kids to complain because it’s cold outside.
We also cleaned up from breakfast, which involved spilled milk, multiple trips from the table to the kitchen, dropping each utensil eight times, and rubbing the table with sopping wet washcloths (doing nothing beyond spreading the syrup around) and then trailing water around the house as they tried to dry the table with the same soggy sticky rags.
We read books, put the books away, did a puzzle, put the puzzle away, made a train track, put the train away, etc. Ultimately, exhausted with trains and puzzles and each other, we retreated to our own screens for some down time. I should totally make them do coloring pages instead. Or we should play a board game. Or I should have them help me chop veggies for dinner so they can learn about healthy food AND life skills.
I’m not. And maybe this is why people argue that daycare is better. In daycare, every minute would be occupied with some age appropriate activity and each day would bring something exciting. I would love to do that at home, but honestly I can’t. Sometimes the trains and puzzles are all I have to offer.
I want to believe that this time is good for us. I want to believe that they’ll remember that I was home with them and that we played and read and that I let them “clean” the dining room by destroying it. I also want to believe that I’m contributing to the household just by keeping them alive while Kyle is at work, even if they aren’t reading Chaucer or starting their own businesses. But man…right now, I have to admit that it’s hard to step back and see the big picture on this motherhood thing that sometimes feels like it has eaten my life.
I hope it doesn’t sound like I don’t want to be home with them, because it’s not so simple. I love being home with them, but I don’t know how to quantify it. I can’t tell how to clock my hours here without that paycheck and a quarterly performance review. Is this right? Am I doing good work? How many points did I lose when we had chicken nuggets because I knew the kids wouldn’t eat quinoa today?
And the big question…if I’m not meeting my own low bar for parenting, how could I ever manage “real” homeschooling through grade school?