“It must be easy staying at home all day,” said the irritating woman in line at the kindergarten fundraising meeting. I was so shocked to hear such an inappropriate, non-pc statement that I was momentarily rendered speechless. Since this woman has a child at Ryan’s school, I just smiled and turned to my other neighbor, but her comments gnawed at me all day and I just seethed. Haven’t we, as women, gotten a little further than this in the mommy wars? What I wished I could have done was whisk her back in time a few years ago when I was home with William (then a toddler) for a few weeks when we had just been relocated to a new city for Ted’s job. I was interviewing with the local newspapers, but was taking my time with it and really enjoying a small window of time with my sweet baby boy.
On this particular morning, Ted was on a business trip, as per usual, and my precious angel and I made our way downstairs so Mama could guzzle some espresso while William spaced out in front of Elmo. (Hey, it’s PBS, right?!)
The smell hit me before the sight. Our geriatric miniature dachshund (RIP, Catfish) had not quite managed to wait to be let outside to conduct his morning business. I burst into tears and then got on with it. I grabbed some Clorox wipes to scoop up Catfish’s copious poop, disposed of it, cleaned and sanitized all affected areas of the floor, scrubbed my hands, and then prepared coffee and breakfast for us.
I had no sooner gotten breakfast together when I noticed that William was in the process of pulling out every single aforementioned Clorox container. I picked those up and stuffed them back into the plastic tube. While I was putting the wipes back under the kitchen sink, I heard a shriek. William, who surely is destined for NBA greatness as his reach defies all rules of physics and proportion, had sidled up to the breakfast table and pulled his Cheerios and ice cold milk off the table and all over his head and the floor. You don’t have to be a housekeeping genius to appreciate the fact that spilled milk really is a hot mess, so I immediately set about getting that disaster cleaned and mopped up. I returned the mop to the garage with a relieved sigh and headed to my corner of the sofa where I curl up with my latte each and every morning. I was greeted with the unpleasant visual of – you guessed it – Hurricane William, who had in the meantime shimmied up onto the sofa, dunked his enchantingly grubby baby fist into my beverage, and was licking his fingers delightedly and mumbling “mmmmmmm”.
The first ten minutes of that day left me shattered, and I wound up napping with William immediately after lunch time. I vividly recall thinking how women who choose to stay at home must be NUTS because I would much rather put on some pretty clothes and get out of the house and chase a story. (I got the journalism job of my dreams a few weeks later and this little chapter of staying home with sweet William drew to a close.)
Fast forward to the present, of course, and I have willingly joined the ranks of those nutty women who choose to exit the traditional workforce. Because, while there are still many mornings/days/nights when I want to pull my hair out in despair, there is still nowhere else on earth I’d rather be. And the next time some asinine person asks me if staying home is easy, I will mentally punch them in the throat while sweetly replying, “No. It’s not easy at all, but it is rewarding.”
More in a few days,