Okay, so I kind of knew that staying at home would be an adjustment for me. The whole no work thing is pretty great, I must admit. That adjustment took me about 2 days. No boss to tell me what to do, no feeling guilty because I wasn't around for my family and kids. I can take time to clean my house, garden, go on field trips and I don't even have to fake an illness to do all these things. In fact, I like it so much I am nervous that when I finally do have to go back to work I may go into a deep depression (guess I will have to win the lottery between now and then).
The whole being home with the kids thing is much harder to get used to. When you are a working mother, you are jealous of all the stay at home moms (at least I was). I would head out on my lunch break and see moms who didn't have to return to the office in a hour, who were free to run their errands when they wanted to. I would see moms with their toddlers taking them to lunch, and it made me miss my kids. So when I was recently laid off, with summer just around the corner, I figured this was a great time to take some time off. I would take time to look for the perfect job this time and enjoy my kids in the mean time. Hah! Was I wrong!
I will admit that I have had moments in the last month or so that I know are precious. I love taking my toddler to story time or the park and just being able to play with him. I don't have to rush him through our adventure to get somewhere else. It has made me slow down and enjoy the world the way he does. I love that I can have my ten year old come home after school and if he begs me enough, I might play street hockey or hoops with him in the driveway. Its nice to be able to go on his field trip with him even though he threw it at me last minute, no vacation days to worry about. But along with the wonders comes the pain in the ass.
I know there are a lot of stay at home moms that do so because they don't want strangers to raise their kids. I feel exactly the opposite. Strangers are doing a great job raising my kids. They are singing songs with them, teaching them their alphabet and even letting them paint. I think they are even feeding them much healthier food than I do. I, by contrast, am happy when a show comes on TV that holds their attention for any length of time. It's not that I don't love my kids or want to spend time with them, but I am just not a fun mom when it comes to the day to day. I can plan a great outing, but at home I am a dud. And strangers definitely do a better job at disciplining my kids and dealing with the melt downs. They have a bit of an objective take on the situation and I know they don't break down and yell back (even though I know I should just walk away).
Someone I know has often said that kids are assholes. If they were adults and acted the way the do, we would never want to be friends with them. And this is definitely true. But lucky for them, all their friends act exactly the way the do, not so lucky for us.
So here I sit, two weeks from summer vacation, worried out of my mind how the hell I am going to make it through ten weeks when I can't even survive one harmless afternoon without wanting to kill my kids (not really, but you get the idea). I know it's still better than going into an office every day, but I definitely wouldn't say it isn't work.
To all you parents out there, just trying to get through the day. I feel your pain...