Someone once stated, in regards to new mothers and their daily routines, “I don’t understand what all the bitching is about. Just put the baby on the couch next to you – in a seat, whatever – and go about your business. How hard can that be?” I was pregnant at the time. And I remember thinking I was about to find out.
I broke up with all of my remaining clients this week. I have been trying to make the mother thing and the work thing coincide since Emory was born. And for a week or two at the very beginning I thought it might just work. But then everything started to change. Emory began demanding more from me as he grew older. And that made juggling work and paying attention to the baby really difficult. But the even harder part, and its not what I would have guessed prior to having a baby, is that it’s even harder to work now that Emory is paying attention to me.
I’m not sure if it’s the guilty catholic thing I have ingrained inside of me or if it’s just the simple fact that ignoring someone who longs for my attention while I stare at a computer (or TV) screen seems irresponsible and depressing. But I just can’t bring myself to prop the kid up on the couch next to me, grab some lunch, and stare straight ahead at a glowing screen while he stares longingly at the side of my head. Which is why it can take 3 hours spread across a few days to watch a half-hour TV show in this house. Granted, even the potential TV and/or computer staring scenario doesn’t come around all that often. Time is usually spent feeding, bottle washing, adult dish washing, catching up on laundry, baby changing, hanging up clothes, feeding myself, pumping breast-milk, washing myself, paying the bills, and general tidying. Basically, there are a whole bunch of other things that must be taken care of before watching TV or working. The good thing about most of those things is I can talk (or sing) to him while I do them. Chores don’t take much attention. TV and design work does. So, I don’t feel badly doing chores while Emory stares at me and I tell him stories or sing him songs.
About two weeks ago, as the pieces of my work life began to fall to the floor around me, I realized that the whole working while mothering scenario simply was not going to work for me. I had to make a move. I had to break up with my clients. “It’s not you, it’s me.” And, “I just don’t have the time to be in a committed relationship right now.” weren’t just clichés. They were entirely true.
There’s a misconception that being a stay-at-home mom is some easy thing people do and that it’s not really work at all. I thought this way at one point in my life as well. I mean, how hard can it be, right?
It is hard, people. Moms have tough jobs. Not only are we juggling chores so the house doesn’t end up in shambles, but we’re also taking care of a really [insert any adjective] baby. My baby happens to desire constant amusement. If it’s not amusement on his mind, it’s food. And what’s more? He doesn’t speak english yet. So, sometimes “AHGOOOO!” means, “FEED ME!” And sometimes a “AHGOOOO!” means, “Dance for me, woman, DANCE!” I just never know.
So, no, it’s not possible to just put the baby on the couch next to you and go about your day as you once had. It’s far from possible, which is why I am going to do this full time until further notice. We may end up monetarily poorer as a family but Emory will be a lot richer as a baby.
Hat knitted by Nora. Yay, Nora!