As a stay-at-home mom, one of the questions I am often asked is, ‘So what do you do all day?’ Depending on my mood you might get the sarcastic, ‘Oh you know, lie around and read magazines’ response, or the vague ‘Eat, play, nap, repeat’ comeback. But the truth is that it’s a not a question I can answer in thirty seconds.
Raising a child is not a glamorous business. It’s made up of a lot of repetitive, messy, simple tasks. So if you want the literal answer, I spend my days changing nappies, feeding Cameron, putting him down for naps and then preparing to do it all again. And then of course we play. Babies do not like to amuse themselves. They crave interaction and have an attention span of about five minutes so I spend a lot of time stacking blocks, singing songs and trying to find that magic noise or game that will make my son laugh today. If I’ve had some decent sleep the night before I will attempt to get some admin done in between, maybe cook dinner and compile a list of all the little jobs around the house that I’m just not getting to. If the previous night was a bad one, I grab sleep wherever I can, tell Colin to pick something up for dinner and collapse into an unmade bed at 8 pm. Life with a little person shrinks down to a pretty small scale, the days become fairly uniform and somehow time slips by.
And herein lies my frustration with trying to answer this question. Because while this doesn’t sound like much, there is much more too it than can easily be explained. Firstly, it’s incredibly draining and time consuming. I have almost no time to do things that interest me, and when I have the time, I seldom have the energy. Secondly, and far more importantly, I strongly believe that the investment I’m making in Cameron now will have far reaching benefits.
When talking to my husband about this he summed it up by saying that there is no answer to this question which doesn’t require a major discussion about the foundational years in a child’s life. Granted these years aren’t filled with rocket science. They are filled with small, developmental tasks that can be boring for those of us over the age of five. But security, reassurance, attention and love are vital as a basis for this and I’m grateful to be able to give Cameron those things during ‘working hours’ too.
I can’t give you a ton of information supporting the cause of stay-at-home moms. All I know is that for as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to do it. In many ways its harder to do than I thought it would be, but its also so much more rewarding than I imagined possible. It’s a special time in my life and I’m just trying to appreciate it – teething nappies and all!
So to answer your question, what do I do all day? I’m raising a child. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.