Most days, there’s no balance at all.Talk about work/life balance seems to flood social media, business discussions, and blog posts. At one time, I was in a position where I was able to think about my own work/life balance. I’ve come to the realization those days are over … at least temporarily. Nearly everything I do is life, but life is work as a stay at home mom, so there is no work life balance for SAHMs.
With a newborn attached to my boob much of the day, I find myself daydreaming about getting that pile of laundry put away or the dishes out of the sink. I get puked on, which just means more laundry to be done… or, at least, daydreamed about.
When there’s a short break to be had, while the newborn is napping, I can throw lunch together for myself and my daughter. Then, rush to eat and get her into quiet time, hoping not to wake the little man, or we get to listen to him scream until I can get him.
If he’s still not awake, it’s time to catch up on the housework I’ve been daydreaming of, assuming I haven’t already passed out from exhaustion.
Did I mention this is only about noon?
Image courtesy of Nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
And it only gets worse from there.
No Work Life Balance for stay at home moms
Afternoons are filled up by more breastfeeding, picking up kiddo from school or reminding her to clean up from quiet time, snack time, and preparing dinner. I might get lucky and have the baby down for another nap, but I’m probably attempting any one, or a number, of these feats with him attached to my boob again. If he isn’t, and he’s awake, I’m more than likely stressed out as I listen to him wailing, impatient that I have something I have found to be more important than him at that moment.
Heaven forbid I try to relax for one minute, or accidentally fall asleep … My 4 year old gets irritated if I haven’t done something she wants when I’m not attached to the baby in some form or fashion.
I may or may not get to eat dinner in peace and quiet. Depending on when dinner gets done, you might find me putting the little guy to bed (our babies have early bedtimes), as my dinner gets cold waiting on me. Let’s not forget that dinner time is now dependent on when that baby needs me, too. I can tell myself I’m sticking to our old schedule, but that doesn’t mean the baby is going to allow it.
And then there’s the bedtime for two kids if hubby isn’t home to help. Baby can take as much as two hours to settle in, and that doesn’t always include the time I have to get my daughter into bed. If he’s in a good enough mood and not over-tired or over-stimulated, I might get lucky enough to include him, peacefully, in my daughter’s bedtime routine. Thankfully, hubby pitches in to get the older one to bed as I deal with the little one.
Just when you think my job is done, you’d be incorrect. There’s dishes to be done, lunches to be made, and maybe time to squeeze in a shower before the baby needs another feeding or, at the very least, extra cuddles or to be rocked back to sleep as reassurance that he’s not alone.
And, when I finally get settled into bed, I know that I’m on call. I might get to look forward to a few hours of uninterrupted sleep, if I’m fortunate. It’s too early in this game to tell if little man is going to be a good sleeper like his big sister was/is once we gave her an earlier bedtime. So, I’m trying not to count my chickens before they hatch … though I am keeping my fingers crossed that there’s some truth to the magic rule about weight and babies needing fewer feedings at night.
Then there’s the weekends. If we plan family time out of the house, I might be able to consider it “life” if we’re doing something out of the ordinary and enjoyable. Though, I’m typically home doing the same routines or going grocery shopping. I’m looking forward to getting my once a month, one day racing fix, but that also means I have to spend some extra “free time” stuck to the couch pumping when I’m not feeding the little guy.
My hope (and I’m sure it’s realistic), is that sooner, rather than later, I can at least get back my evenings to play games with my family.
I wish someone had warned me about the lack of work life balance for stay at home moms