One of the first real fights my husband and I had while we were dating was about being a stay at home mom. My husband told me he really wanted to be able to provide his future wife with the ability to stay home with their kids. I went all women’s lib on him and gave him my two cents on my career and my desire to want it all. In my memory, I see myself standing on my couch with one foot hoisted on top and arm pointing in the direction of the future like Washington in the boat on the Delaware. I’m not sure if it’s accurate but in my mind that’s how I felt and looked. 

Now granted my ‘career’ at that time was working at a non profit that I didn’t care for and I was in the biggest state of limbo of my life. I had just left the world of academia and I was still reeling. That sofa I gave my impassioned speech on? It was a ratty hand me down from a friend, my table was a collapsible card table, and I may have been sleeping on an air mattress which I hid from my future husband as long as I could.  I was not in a pinnacle of any kind of career. 

I likened my departure from academia to a divorce: I had devoted everything to my graduate work. I literally sold all my belongings before I began. The decision to leave was heartbreaking. I realized during my doctoral work that I just wasn’t willing to keep giving up everything for my career. No control over where I worked, no time to do anything but research and practice theatre. A dream of a girl in her early twenties became a nightmare of a woman nearing her thirties. As I watched my friends get married, have babies, and face the mortality of their parents, I felt adrift and alone. When I met my husband, I was a recovering academic and it was so ingrained in me to fight for my career that I didn’t even see the irony that I was fighting for a career I didn’t have and didn’t like.

Now I am a stay-at-home-mom, a SAHM, an acronym I never imagined for myself. And don’t get me wrong, I love being with my girls. And I don’t mind being at home. Before I had my first daughter, I was working from home as a freelance writer and I had this naive idea that I could somehow maintain my level of pitching and writing while tending to a baby. To be fair, I did manage to write a cookbook with my first daughter at home. She tested recipes with me and I got a sitter when I had to write. We made it work. With the birth of my second daughter, I struggled to find the time for anything let alone writing, but as you know if you read my blog, it didn’t happen much. 

So I am a stay-at-home-mom, and that’s fine. Where I really struggle is everything that comes with being a SAHM: the housework, the cooking, the cleaning, the drudgery of the routine. There are some who relish on being a homemaker and I am not one of them. After having my first daughter, I was approached to join a Domestic Goddess club where we would meet to discuss cleaning techniques and crafts and I laughed out loud because I thought it was a joke. 

There are times that I feel like a lost kid dying to ask people: How do you do it? How do you get the laundry done? How do you find time to match socks? Do you have a system? Does it work? Do I really need to flip my mattresses? Should I be cleaning my screens? How do I get my clothes to not smell when I forget to move my clothes to the dryer? How do you remember to move the clothes? Where do you hide your clean laundry that’s not folded? Or the dishes when you don’t have time to unload the dishwasher? I hid mine in the oven, but I am always afraid I’m going to accidentally turn it on….

I am constantly trying to find my groove as a homemaker. And what does that even mean? Do you make a home by keeping it neat or make a home by creating a space where people are welcome and loved? And when you have small children, is it even possible to do both?

As it stands, I do best when I compartmentalize. Mondays are my cooking days where I prep stuff for the week (or at least the next night). Tuesdays I try to get a handle on laundry meaning sorting, doing, and beginning the daunting project of folding and putting it all away. Easy meals for Wednesday and Thursday, though given my latest FODMAP issues, I don’t get many shortcuts. Friday for whatever the heck I can pull together at the end of the week. Weekend is when my husband and I try to catch up on whatever fell apart during the week and prepare for what is to come. And as for cleaning? I prefer to hide and conquer. And please don’t turn my oven on without asking. 

For the end of this post, I want to give you some hope. Because, quite frankly, I felt like this was a downer post. So this is a song that reminds me of being a SAHM minus the pirate swashbuckling stuff. Brought to you via My Little Pony. And PS, I want a first mate named Mullet please. 

[RAINBOW DASH]

I know the world can getcha down
Things don’t work out quite the way that you thought
Feeling like all your best days are done
Your fears and doubts are all you’ve got

But there’s a light, shining deep inside
Beneath those fears and doubts so just squash ’em
And let it shine for all the world to see
That it is time, yeah, time to be awesome!

[PONIES]
Ah, ah, ah, ah – awesome!
It’s time to be so awesome!
Ah, ah, ah, ah – awesome!
It’s time to be so awesome!

[CAPTAIN CALAENO]
You’ve no idea how hard it’s been
This dull routine we’ve been forced to do

[RAINBOW DASH]
Don’t let them rob you of who you are
Be awesome, it’s all up to you

[CAPTAIN CALAENO]
I feel the light, stirring deep inside
It’s like a tale still yet to be told

 
 
**********
Scallywags, go be awesome today.
 
And if you have a secret sauce recipe for how to get laundry done and you know, ‘make a home,’ tell me all about it. Because, frankly I have no idea what I’m doing. Ever. 
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