This is what it feels like. Being a stay-at-home Mum. I’ve never actually been one before. Since before Munchkin was born, I’ve been a student. Then I added part-time work. Spending a whole week at home is just something I’ve never done. Not even for a holiday. We just don’t have them. Seriously, we don’t. We’ve been to two weddings in the past two years, both in Australia (both my brothers). Travelling with a six month old, then a two and a half year old really can’t be classed as a holiday. Then each summer there’s been the scary and rather roller-coaster like ride that is summer work. You take every single shift you are given. Because you don’t know when there might be another one. And you really need the money, because over half your income just disappears when Uni finishes. So I haven’t really had a week at home in years. If I get a weekend when Munchkin is with my parents, I’m either doing an assignment, or building a chook cage!
So this is what it is like. The tedious, monotonous, never-ending length a single day can reach. How can a day be THIS long? The ecstasy and delight of one small boy when his father finally arrives home. The relief of his mother!
The multitude of times my boy can ask “Play with cars, Mummy!?” Seriously, left to his own interests this kid would spend about 80% of his waking time playing with his cars in one form or another. The other 20% being split between eating and reading respectively.
The delight I feel in knowing that I don’t have to do EVERYTHING today. I can do washing tomorrow. Or the day after. It can even sit on the rack for a few days (at least until we run out of something). The enjoyment of a quiet home for an hour or so in the afternoon. Munchkin in bed (hopefully asleep most days!) and Boyo at work. I loved having him around, don't get me wrong. But I was ready. Ready for him to head out and work again, ready to have some space and some peace. Not so ready for the early morning madness that is Boyo leaving for work. If you know me well, you should know that I absolutely HATE being talked to first thing in the morning. Don't expect me to talk to you until I've showered/dressed, and eaten. I think a lot. But I really, really do not want to talk. And I really don't like to be rushed. You can hurry me along the rest of the day, but not in the morning. So mornings are a little interesting just at present. Boyo and I are up at 6am. He leaves by 7:15. Munchkin gets up to see Daddy off. Mummy no longer has her breakfast, Bible and knitting time of peace in the mornings. So afternoons are now even more important.
Suddenly, I don’t have to cram a full week’s worth of socialising and ‘to-doing’ into three days. But also equally suddenly, I am responsible for being nice to a two and a half year old for long periods of time. He sees his daddy for a few minutes morning and night on weekdays, but otherwise I am it. Plus I have to do that without a car at least two of those days, and from 7am Friday through till 11am Saturday. I need to work on maintaining better quality parenting when tired, lonely, bored, and harassed by a toddler. Which basically means I just need to maintain better parenting. I do wonder sometimes if I am doing okay at this. I’m supposed to be ‘an expert’ in early childhood, right? Huh. Whatever. I’m as much in the dark about the inner workings of my toddler as any other mother down the street.
Tiredness has hit me like a train. Seriously, it is not yet 8pm and I want bed. Desperately. But I have back trouble. The sort acquired from carrying a tall boy to near full-term, then lugging him around afterwards with my tiny 160cm, 45kg frame. Back never was terribly strong to start with, now it is a bit, ah, munted for want of a better word. So I can’t seem to sleep for longer to catch up when I need it (which would be every.single.day at the moment). I am telling myself I should have expected this exhaustion. After all, I’ve about three years of not stopping to account for. And now, in many ways, I’ve stopped. I’m reading a book. Two in fact. Two very good books, which is even better! And trying to motivate myself to tackle the sewing pile. Which means tackling the garage (to clear the desk in there so I can have the sewing machine out for more than an hour at a stretch without having to move every single thing again when the boy gets up). But I really hurt my back last week. Like, to the point I was crying in bed one night, and Boyo stayed home from work the following. It is okay now, I just strained a muscle. But it’s still a bit fragile so the thought of moving boxes and furniture, when I have a tired back and an even more tired brain is just a little beyond me today. So I’m putting it off. Which I really shouldn’t. After all, I am sewing for myself. So it will be worth getting it finished. But the books require less of me just now, so I’m procrastinating.
I had two lovely friends cancel social engagements this week. Too busy. It’s that time of year, they tell me. I had to stop and mentally appraise that. Because while I do know it is heading to Christmas and end of year, and things are busy for many folks, I forget. This is the quietest my life has been in years. And probably the quietest it will be for several more to come. We don’t have work socials. I worked for private clients, and now I work for no one (other than my amazing mother!). Boyo hasn’t had work functions (his supermarket occasionally puts on food but it is all but gone by the time night shift starts). I’m an extramural student so no end-of-year things there either. And we keep Christmas pretty low-key. I feel tired enough at the end of a normal year without adding too much Christmas hype to that. And this year I’m particularly glad I don’t have a mile-long shopping list or piles of food to prepare. Simple. That suits me well just now.
I definitely could get used to this life of stay-at-home Mum. I guess it’s a good thing that it’s only for another eight and a half weeks. Otherwise it would be really, really hard to give up when study starts again. Instead, I will savour this time. Savour the time to slow down a little, the time to play with cars and brrrm round the room for ages with a small boy delighting in the attention. I will try not to be bored. I will try to see enough people to fill my talking-tank up each week (it is scary how much it needs!). And I will TRY to get some more sleep! The feelings are mixed. But that’s not a bad thing.