Where the Green Grass Grows

This is another wonderful piece written by Melinda Foster Sanders.

I have been a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) for six years now.† If you are picturing me sitting on the couch, eating bon-bons, and watching soap operas, let me quickly rectify that thought for you.† I donít even know what a bon-bon is, but if itís something sweet, my kids would rip it out of my hands and scarf it down before I even had the chance to count and make sure I still had all my fingers.† Also, most days, I donít even see a television show that isnít animated, much less one of my choosing.

I wasnít supposed to be a SAHM.† In fact, I pumped and froze breast milk in preparation for the big return to work.† I had so much milk stored in our freezer that it would have made a cow jealous.† My mother-in-law was all lined up and ready to watch my son–her first grandchild–for me once I went back.† I even loved my job.† But as it got closer and closer to the end of my maternity leave, I just kept getting sadder and sadder.† I kept thinking about missing his first steps and not hearing his first words.† My heart felt like it was breaking.† I cried for two weeks straight.† The day before I was supposed to return to work, my husband came to me and said I didnít have to go back.† He said we would somehow make it work and we have.

Itís not been easy.† We donít have loads of extra money.† We make ends meet.† Iíve had many women tell me how lucky I am and itís true, I feel very blessed that my husband made enough money so that I could be the one to raise my kids, but itís not all luck and happiness.† Iím the first to deny myself any extras.† Iíve been driving the same car for the last eleven years.† I donít buy new clothes unless itís a necessity, like bras or underwear, and I use my make-up until the last drop is gone or the mascara is gluing my eyelids shut.

Everyone has what they need and the kids have most of what they want, but obviously some sacrifices are being made.† I make those sacrifices willing and without complaint because what I get in return is more than worth it for me.† I recognize that this is not an option for all women.† If my husband didnít make enough to cover our necessities, then all the crying in the world would not have allowed me to stay home.

Now Iím going to answer a question that I know is burning in the heart of most of you readers; no I do not get bored.† My kids keep me unbelievably busy.† Between cleaning up after them, cooking for them, doing laundry, refereeing, and playing with the little boogers, Iíve got a pretty full day.† I do long for adult interaction and most days I would kill to go pee by myself, but bored?† No.† Believe me when I say I have more than enough stuff to overflow the hours of the day and thatís just a normal day.† Not one of the days with scheduled play-dates, doctor appointments, or grocery shopping.

Even though Iím not bored per se, I do wish for some time to myself and some activities that do not revolve around the kids.† I go through most days without a thought for myself and without doing anything for myself other than the bare necessities.† Even going to the bathroom is a team sport around here.† God forbid I make myself a Lean Cuisine for lunch because the kids will eat most of it and I may be left with a noodle to scrape up the little bit of leftover sauce.

The main problems arise around here when I try to get something done that is not kid related or kid friendly, like making dinner or writing.† The moment my attention is not one hundred percent focused on the kids, the carnage ensues.† If I can just accept the fact that the earth, moon, and stars all revolve around these two kids, then all is well, but the really stressful times for me are when, in my head, Iím thinking about the list of things I need to do.† Thatís when I stress.† Iím trying to do the dishes and every five seconds cries of ďmommy, I need youĒ are coming from the next room or Iím working on an article and Iím being interrupted more often than I take a breath to look at a new mark made on a coloring page, thatís what drives me to the breaking point.† The days when I can forget I have other responsibilities and just BE with the kids are the easiest really.

Iím not implying that being a SAHM is more difficult than being a working mom.† Iím actually of the mindset that weíve all got it tough and should just support each other the best we can instead fighting over whoís got it better and whoís life sucks more.† I know there are many of you who would love to be a SAHM, but I also know many of you who donít have the aptitude for it and would actually see it as one of the lower circles of Hell.† Thatís OK.† We are all doing the best we know how for our kids and for ourselves.

I feel guilty because I donít bring monetary income into the family, but if I was working outside of the home eight hours a day, I would feel guilty for not spending that time with my kids and Iím sure many of you face that same conundrum. The honest-to-goodness truth of the matter is, my kids are going to see me as the best mom in the whole world, not because I stayed home with them, but because I am their mom and your kids will see you the same way. So let go of whatever guilt you have.† Enjoy your time with your kids and try to understand that the grass isnít always greener on the other side.

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