“What did you do today?” The one question my husband can innocently ask and I will instantly become defensive. The truth is, most days we don’t leave the house. We have slow mornings that creep into nap time and then it’s a quick afternoon and my husband is home and asking the dreaded question. I know I did a lot, but most days I can’t even list of more than three things. I used to feel guilty and defensive until I realized it is okay to stay home and I have nothing to be ashamed of. I don’t know what I expected life with two toddlers to be like, but I can guarantee this is not what I had in mind.
Getting out of the house requires extensive planning, coordination and patience; three things I don’t have everyday. I have to figure out if we’ll make it home for naps, if not, then I have to brace myself for the inevitable fall-out around 5:00 PM, when poop will hit the fan and I will wonder if my kids are tiny humans or wild animals. Then I have to get ready. I don’t know why, but whenever I step into the bathroom and pull out my makeup bag, my kids instantly turn needy. “Mommy, I need ______.” Over and over again. My daughter will ask for some “pretties too” and my son will find something to destroy in that time. After my face is painted I have to find clothes, which is usually just black shirt and black yoga pants (sometimes the same ones from the day before because #momlife).
Once I’m ready I move on to the children. One has to go potty, the other needs a diaper change. If clothes are clean and put away, this step isn’t usually so bad, but we all know that sometimes (most of the time) laundry is definitely not clean and put away. My three year old usually has input about the ensemble I chose and has to find something different. My 18 month old can’t sit still long enough for me to put on a sock and getting him dressed is similar to what I can imagine dressing a drunk octopus would be like.
After the circus that is getting dressed, we have to find sippy cups, snacks, toys to take in the car and whatever else is required for the outing. I try to keep my diaper bag stocked at all times and always hang my keys on the hook so I know those two things are done. It’s my only secret to a successful life. If we’re fortunate enough to make it to the car, I have to get my son in his car seat while simultaneously yelling at my daughter to stop climbing into my seat, playing in the dirt or finding something hazardous in the garage. The minute it’s her turn to be buckled in, she usually bolts in the opposite direction and we play an extremely annoying game of chase. I’m sure my neighbors love the entertainment.
By the time we’re all in the car, I realize I’ve forgotten my phone or something equally important and have to go back inside. The minute I put the car in reverse my daughter asks for a snack, regardless of when she last ate. Around that time my son decides to throw his pacifier beyond his reach and I have to stretch my tiny arms to get it or endure a car ride of screaming. Did I mention my three year old has very specific tastes in music?
All of those steps to get out of the house. It’s usually to somewhere mundane like the grocery store, which sometimes, is the highlight of our day. I haven’t even gone into the fun that ensues once we reach our destination. For the reasons listed above, we stay home… a lot. My kids have a room full of toys, shelves of books and movies and a yard to run around in. I’m less stressed, which means I’m in a better mood and a happier mom (mainly because my coffee pot is at home and I give myself free refills).
I’ve learned a lot about myself since becoming a stay-at-home-mom and the biggest surprise of all is that I am now content at home. I think my pre-baby, social butterfly self is the one giving me a guilt trip, because my husband has never actually said anything about whether or not we stay or go. Once I shut her up, I realize my babies won’t be babies long and I won’t ever get this time back. So for now, I am going to stay home and let them be little. It works for us and that is all that matters.