Thursday, August 30, 2012

My First Part-Time Stay-At-Home Mom Half-Day

Yesterday was supposed to be my first day off in a new transition to part-time work. But as work things go, I was called in to cover for a few hours in the morning. Too passive aggressive to Just Say No, and in a casual show of precedence, I bring my two-year-old with me. (FYI: Uptown investment office, hosting high-profile -- re: wealthy -- international financial managers.) Yes, I'll be happy to come in on my day off, any time! This is Joseph. He likes to change activities every 5 minutes, is really good at climbing and running, and doesn't have an inside voice. I make it home by 11 AM. (Guess they didn't need me as much as they thought.)

On my way home, I write up a mental list of ambitions -- like laundry and keeping the kids alive aren't enough to keep up with. Refinish the kitchen cabinets. Take the kids to Adoration every day. Potty train our almost-three-year-old. Make real food.

Influenced by the happily obedient kids in "The Sound of Music," I want us to have a joyful, singing home. After the 10th repeat of me skipping around the table singing "I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart," Joseph quits chiming in with "Where?" and just focuses on cutting his play dough. After another 5 minutes, he asks me to stop too. "No singing in house, Mama. Sing at church."

I feel like I should bake cookies. And make an apron. And dust. But instead I spend two hours creating the perfect coupon organizer during the boys' nap time and do three loads of laundry. (Okay, to be fair, Wally started the first two loads, but as Martha Stewart always says, "The person who folds the clothes and puts them away gets credit for the load."*)

Joseph has this habit of drinking all of the holy water around our house. (You're really not supposed to do that.) And since one of my new ambitions was to become week-day regulars at church, we stop by to refill our little plastic bottles. After the third lap around the holy water font (picture a wading pool about two feet off the ground), I finally catch Joe at the back of the almost empty sanctuary, and drag him kicking and screaming into the foyer. We pass Father Michael and Deacon Phil while calmly on our way back to the car, waving and smiling like we hadn't just wreaked havoc on their most faithful parishioners' afternoon prayers.

Wally sends me a text from work: "I have cell coverage in the control room tonight".

He never gets cell reception at work, so this is clearly a providential sign that I should send him updates on our new part-time stay-at-home mom set-up. "Awesome! I'll text you and call you all evening!"

I start to pull up a picture I'd just taken of Joseph helping Joshua walk, when I get his next text: "Yeah, don't do that".

I stop by the grocery store adjacent to the church on our way home, and realize they don't have carts large enough to buckle two kids. I should have left. But darnit, I'm a stay-at-home mom now, and I can do this! In the frozen food aisle, I dump five Totino's pizzas on top of Joe (seated in the basket, since Josh got the child's seat), which apparently, makes his year. "PIZZA!!!!!! PIZZA, PIZZA, PIZZA, PIZZA, PIZZA!!! IT'S PIZZA!!!!!!!" he shrieks. One freezer over, a woman shouldering her cell phone while trying to stack Lean Cuisines in her basket shoots me a dirty look. I hold her gaze. You wanna do this? I'm a stay-at-home-mom now. I own this supermarket. 

Joshua's teething, and my work purse isn't equipped with anything to help him out. Note to self: ditch the purse for a diaper bag, woman. I must have looked like such an amateur. I give Josh the coupon portfolio to chew on. Joseph starts opening boxes in the back of the grocery basket. I try to modestly remove a tampon from his tiny fingers -- "What's this, Mama? What's this?" -- and tuck it back into its box, as I notice pieces of paper all over the tile floor around us. Joshua's shaking the coupon portfolio upside down, and it's snowing coupons, everywhere. I realize we're blocking the milk refrigerators as a crowd forms, and turn the cart, escaping down a side aisle. A helpful man follows me. "Ma'am? Ma'am, is this your coupon?" It's for feminine products, and I hastily push it back into the useless coupon portfolio.

We eat a kid-friendly dinner of hot dogs and rice, followed by the. slowest. walk. ever. We get home later than intended, because I didn't figure in Joseph's tendency to stop for every pebble, bug, and unusual piece of grass along the sidewalk. And he's carrying a piece of plumbing pipe (of course).

At the end of the day, we're wiped out from my overly-ambitious part-time stay-at-home mom agenda, but for the first time ever, Joseph poops in the potty.

I text a picture of it to Wally :-)

*That's not true. She never said that. And I'm sure she'd be appalled at my laundry process.



  1. Way to make it through the first day! That kind of stuff happens to all parents, regardless of experience. And you make it sound funny, even if it wasn't when it was happening.

  2. I really wish there had been blogging when I was going through these things. I could have written them down, but I didn't. I came up with chapter titles for a book, but that's as far as I got. My favorite chapter title was, "What's that toilet seat doing on my couch?" (Real words out of my mouth.) Some of the funnier ones are branded in my memory forever, but it's the day to day craziness that should be recorded! Because that's where the holiness is! Look at all that grace!

  3. Welcome to the adventures of being a sahm! In a little over a month I'll be joining you as a sahm of 2 little ones...although I will have girls (oh and a teenager!). Love reading your blog. I just started a blog, but as of right now it's mostly about home school preschool. God Bless!