Monday 21 October 2013

The stay-at-home-mum conundrum

 Lately, I've been feeling overwhelmed about how much I have to do. It's stressing me out, and compounded with jet lag (my stupid experiment DID NOT WORK,), toddler jet lag, the flu, no preschool this week... well it's all getting a little much!

Before you start laughing and tut-tutting about how I'm a stay-at-home mum, and how could I possibly be that busy anyway, and that my busy-ness is just an excuse not to catch up with you childless folk, you should read this hilarious (though incredibly accurate) account on why us stay-at-home-mums are so busy. You should also refer back to my previous posts regarding disaster adventures involving toddlers; as any stay-at-home mum (or dad) knows, your plans are contantly derailed by surprise vomiting, refusals to eat all food except camembert cheese, refusuals to wear clothes, insistence on taking out 15 toys when you are going for a 5 minute trip to the shops (this takes a long time to pack the stroller, and then not lose any of the said toys). Indeed, walking to the bus stop which is 300m away usually takes 25 minutes because said toddler insists on singing "Elephant"and stopping to look at dogs and leaves and cracks in the ground, and then refuses to walk at all, instead throwing himself onto the footpath, screaming his head off so that every passerby can admonish me for my bad parenting.

Don't get me wrong, I feel very fortunate to be in the position where I am able to be a stay-at-home mum. I have many friends who don't have that option, and I can understand how they must envy my so-called "busy" life.

However, it doesn't mean that I feel any less frazzled!

Today for instance, in addition to toddler wrangling, on my to-do list today today (other than the usual cooking dinner etc), in no specific order, is:

1. Update blog.
2. Pitch new freelance articles.
3. Finish writing 2 other unfinished articles to submit to editor.
4. Talk to running coach re new program and race plans.
5. Clear house of all junk food, and find out, and potentially buy, healthy food to replace said junk food because I am trying to clean up my act.
6. Unpack suitcase.
7. Get curtains made because our house is too damn hot.

Henry sleeps for on average, 2 hours, but with the jetlag, it is very difficult to tell how long he will be out for. This means if I am lucky and get the full two hours, I have around 17 minutes for each of these tasks. Apart from unpacking my suitcase, I don't think I can complete any one of these things.

And today is by far one of my quieter days with much less to do. Not only do I have a shorter to-do list, but I also don't really have to go running; I'm usually smashed from a really hard track session and a second recovery run.

Of course, none of these tasks are "essential", however, for my own sanity and mental stability, they are necessary.

To explain:

Unsurprisingly, because my daily companion is only semi-verbal, I find I need some additional mental stimulation. (Though his conversation is hilarious at times. Today he used his toy phone to call up "Bandaid". Bandaid then went "Up, Up, Up on an aeroplane." Henry's foot then became the aeroplane, which became the train, which went driving on my leg. Are you following? It all made perfect sense at the time.) Hence points 1, 2 and 3.

I also need personal goals, other than, making sure my son is well brought up, and supporting my husband's career. Hence point 4. Not that both of these two things are not extremely important to me - of course they are - but damn it, I'm not a 1950s housewife, and I want something for myself. And so selfishly or not, I'm making, and taking that time for myself.

As for 6 and 7, and about a hundred other things like this, that I could do and probably should do, these fall into my homemaker duties. I'm not sure at what point I became a homemaker. It wasn't a conscious decision. It probably started sometime before I subscribed to Martha Stewart and Real Simple magazines (I can't believe I just admitted that), but somehow, these things have crept up on me, and now that I spend a significant proportion of my time in The Home, I feel like I should make it look presentable, and also that it should not be hot like an oven, or skanky like a share-house.

For now, as far as the toddler wrangling goes, which obviously takes up the great majority of my day, suffice to say, that "the days are long but the years are short". I read this in a great book, by Gretchen Rubin. If you've ever had much one-on-one time with a small child, I'm sure that this will ring true.
Do you know how many activities it takes to keep said toddler occupied for say, an hour? With an attention span of anywhere between 2-10 minutes, it takes a lot of activities. There are many waking hours in the toddler day. And toddlers like repetition. These activities tend to be quite monotonous. For example, "drawing" usually involves me tracing around Henry's hand, about 8 times, until I get fed-up (it is kind of dull.... have you ever tried tracing someone's hand 8 times in a row, after you have already done it that morning, and the day before, and the day before that? It gets a bit "same-ish" after awhile. I lose patience for it.)

So this is the conundrum that I arrive at is this:
That I have so many hours to fill, and yet I still can't seem to get anything done.

No comments:

Post a Comment