I Didn’t Want to Be a Mother

“Mom?”

“Mahm?”

“Mom mom mom mom mom mom…”

Fingers press beneath the door and bodies bash against the wall near it. A few seconds of proximity results in my four boys turning to their neighbors in frustration.

“Don’t shove!”

“Gerroff!”

“I didn’t; you did!”

They all seem surprised when their goal, Mom in the now-unlocked door, stands before their wrestling pile. Written over most of their faces is confusion. Why is her face red? Why does she look sad? Was Mom crying?

Their confusion is warranted. I live in a nice house, am able to be the stay-at-home parent, and have access to health care, good food, and kind neighbors. My family lives close enough to visit occasionally. I even finished reading a novel sometime this year.

As my husband also confusedly wonders, “Why is Mom sad?”

I’ll tell you: I didn’t want to be a mother.

I wanted to be an artist. I wanted to be an engineer. Heck, I wanted to be a fairy. My wants and desires and future goals changed as I grew, morphing as my interests and aptitude emerged; as my exposure to reality and opportunities increased.

Really, the only consistent life goal I had was to never do housework again.

-Which is depressing enough in itself that I am now the primary housekeeper around here.

But the real rub is what I wanted to do; to be. I did not want to only be a mother. Perhaps I didn’t expect to attract someone with my mediocre appearances. Perhaps I thought motherhood was only dishes and laundry. Perhaps I saw women tied to the occupation as somewhat brainless and clueless; those tied to real occupations were intelligent, impressive, talented, and noteworthy.

I mean, how many quotes from just mothers do we read in school? How many do we post as uplifting messages on walls or social media?

I wanted to make a difference. I wanted prestige. I wanted my daily tasks to be laudable ones, not unseen ones. I wanted I wante I want….

Why is Mom sad?

Because, years ago, a tiny infant began growing inside me. He came out, squawking and gasping and clawing at the world. In his first, completely helpless month I had to make a life-altering decision: live for me or live for him.

I chose to live for him. To live for my husband, who wanted more of them. To live for the more of them that came after.

I had to.

Because if I had chosen to live for myself, I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself.

So, Mom is sad. Mom is depressed. But, they have a mom. That’s what’s important, right?

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—————

Sunday, September 15: “We Don’t Point Guns at People,” my brief discussion about the realities of boy children and our realistic rules.

Monday, September 16: Wrote a poem titled, “Happy Hour of Parenting.”

Tuesday, September 17: Shared a funny meme.

Wednesday, September 18: Plated a dinner tip involving butter.

Thursday, September 19: “This Space Reserved for Fetus,” a snippet concerning baby movement during pregnancy.

Friday, September 20: Shared Dude-Bro Dad‘s tweet about picky toddlers.

Saturday, September 21: Had no advice in “I Have No Advice.”

Sunday, September 22: That’s today!

 

Photo Credit: Zach Lucero

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

“Work at Home,” They Said

I sit to type this on a momentous day: the first Friday my newly-christened Kindergartener does not have school.

I spent half an hour typing that opening sentence.

Why? Why would it take so long to type ONE SENTENCE? For those who don’t have children at home right now -laying on your shoulder, touching your touchscreen laptop, eating toast onto your head, and whining, “What should I doooooo?”- you have no clue.

No, not even if you have a cat. Or cats.

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Not that cats aren’t cute…

“Mom, guess what? Once, when I was playing Minecraft, Brother#1 made me go up a lava fall and I popped up under a villager’s house.”

Yes, my five-year-old literally just interrupted me to tell me that. Getting half a page typed before that isn’t bad; probably because he was eating toast. Yes, onto my head.

In my unicorns-and-going-to-the-bathroom-alone dreams, I keep thinking I can have it both ways: raise the kids AND work from home.

Like most people who live, breathe, eat, shower, and occasionally sleep; I need money to fund my lavish habits. We’re lucky that my husband has been the breadwinner for all the time we’ve had children. However; since we also have children who live, breathe, eat, sleep, and occasionally shower; I’ve picked up a side job here and there to help.

“Guess what a mothership is supposed to be? …A mother in a ship.”

Now we’re onto Starcraft 2, a computer game involving war in space.

*Sigh* Maybe we’ll have nap time today.

Maybe I’ll stay awake during it.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

“Mom, What Can I Do?”

My five-year-old has a habit, lately, of laying on me and asking, “What can I dooooooo?”

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The boy can self-play. He can group-play. He can understand complex games and is beginning to read. But I hadn’t realized, in my ignorance, that he’s developing normal childhood things like attachments, fears, and desires for acceptance. Besides those, he is the youngest child and normally has three other miniature people to play with.

When he’s stuck at home with just me, then, his options are limited to what I’ve planned. And that’s usually Wal-mart.

Yay.

Or dishes, laundry, bathrooms, floors, yard work….

Double-yay.

Perhaps due to my usual daily activities, The Bored One is an excellent worker. He comes along to the store, enjoys helping with dishes or toilets, and likes showing me how strong he is pushing his little wheelbarrow outside.

When I’m just sitting with my laptop, though, he does not know what to do. He can’t help with Mom saying, “I need to focus for 30 minutes.” Even if I hand him a coloring or activity book or an entire marble works set, he wants my attention -the very attention I wanted for writing.

So… this is the point at which I remember my priorities.

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I set the laptop aside and play a game with him. We build a tower for the marbles. Together, we draw or paint or color.

I know that some parents need to work from home. Some can’t afford day care. I also know that the work can get done and there is still time for a game. It’s what’s most important, right?

 

Photo Credit:
Magdalena Smolnicka
Image by Aline Ponce from Pixabay
Paige Cody

What Do You Do All Day?

What do you do all day?

When I was a young mom, a childhood friend asked me this. I understand that the question is among the Top Ten mothers hear, but it was the first time someone had literally asked me.

My friend had been working and going to school. She was genuinely curious about what filled my time each day since I did not have a job outside the home.

At the time, I really didn’t do much. I say that now because I …just barely sat down to eat lunch and it’s 2:30 p.m. I feel lucky that I showered this morning before everyone awoke.

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So… what do I do all day?

Just for kicks, let’s break today’s schedule down so far:

Night before: stayed up late to do my online homework after staying up late helping my second son start work on complete his science fair project.

3:00 a.m. Woke the five-year-old up to go potty because he’s had two nighttime accidents.

5:00 a.m. Woke to tell my alarm that was way too early. Went back to sleep without recalling this conversation.

6:00 a.m. Got up and showered.

6:30 a.m. – 8:10 a.m. A haze of getting four children and a husband up, going, breakfasted, clothed, up again, going again, thanking the wonderful husband for making lunches, breakfasting again, reminding boys to brush teeth, finding shoes, thanking the wonderful husband for gluing pictures and a header onto a trifold board, getting them all out to the car, and finding my coat and keys.

8:30ish a.m. Arrived at school and helped two boys carry their extras into said school.

9:00 a.m. Left school to run errands.

12:30 p.m. Came back home from errands to post office, grocery store, pharmacy, library, and pharmacy again.

12:30 p.m. – 1:20 p.m. Fed Five whilst putting away groceries and distracting him with “Curious George” cartoons.

1:40 p.m. Ignored loud ‘napping’ noises upstairs as I finally made my lunch.

2:00 p.m. Updated monthly calendar on wall with appointments and dinner plans (for three days so far! Woot!).

2:15 p.m. Sat to eat my lunch and type a blog post.

In addition: told my oldest son who called that I am not going to pick him up early from school because he’s bored.

The rest of the day is just as busy; with karate lessons, cub scouts (for the boys and for me because I’m a den leader), dinner, computer time, homework, baths or showers, bedtime, and bed.

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If you are still with me, then you can see that being a mother is busy. You probably also saw that it is mind-numbingly dull. I mean, I lived this schedule and my brain skipped as many lines as it could in reading over it.

Another, later time that I was asked The Question:

What do you do all day?

I came up with a metaphorIt’s like you’ve been assigned to keep a pot of water almost-boiling on the stove all day. You need to make sure the pot doesn’t actually boil, so you have to watch it and can’t really do anything else diverting.

I think raising a toddler is a lot like this, especially if he or she has dropped The Nap. You have to watch the toddler all the time to be certain he or she doesn’t start a fire, but any attempts to do other things lead to fires.

Now that I am older and have older (and more) children, the scenario of the pot is still true. On top of that, though; I also need to mop the floor around the stove, allow others to maintain their own pots without interfering too much, snap at them for fighting over shared space around the stove, and squeeze another pan on there for making dinner.

Having been a stay at home mother for the duration of these child-rearing years, I have a question for the parents who work on top of all that:

What do you do all day, and how the heck do you do it??

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