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When my first child was a baby, before I started working again, my husband and I had the co-parenting thing down pretty well — at least on Monday. By Friday, though, it was a different story. My weeks tended to go something like this:
MONDAY: Baby wakes up, Dad gets him, changes him, takes him downstairs. Mom steals an extra few minutes of sleep before Dad leaves for work. Baby plays on floor while Mom makes coffee, thinking about how lucky she is to not have to squeeze into a suit and sit in traffic. Mom whistles, baby giggles. Both are clean and dressed. Meals go smoothly, naps are on schedule, and Mom might even get to the grocery store and make dinner.
TUESDAY: Baby wakes up, Dad gets him, changes him, takes him downstairs. Ten minutes later, Dad claims he has to leave early to pick up the dry-cleaning. Mom attempts to get a few more minutes of sleep with the baby, but baby is not interested. He IS exceptionally smiley and dressed in a cute outfit, though, so Mom doesn’t mind. In the afternoon, naps go well and Mom gets some stuff done around the house. Dad makes dinner.
WEDNESDAY: Baby wakes up, Dad gets him, but doesn’t have time to change him or take him downstairs before work. Mom reluctantly gets up, wrestles baby into his clothes, and attempts to keep him from diving into the empty tub while she goes to the bathroom. Downstairs, Mom pulls baby away from plugs, oven, dog bowl, and trash can while she fixes breakfast. Morning nap lasts 12 minutes. Baby’s new favorite game is “Bash Heavy Objects Against the Dishwasher Door.”
Unshowered and dressed in sweats, Mom drags baby to the mall to get out of the house. Dad works late, Mom misses yoga, and there’s nothing for dinner except peanut butter sandwiches.
THURSDAY: Baby wakes up crying at 4:30 a.m. Dad goes and rocks him back to sleep. Baby wakes up again after Dad has already left for work. Baby is soaked, crib is soaked, and the dog has peed on the kitchen floor. Mom reheats day-old coffee and throws some Cheerios on the highchair tray to soothe crying baby. Both Mom and baby are wearing dirty pajamas and could use a bath. It’s too cold to go anywhere. Naps turn into hour-long wrestling matches. The TV stays on all day long. Dr. Oz is actually pretty interesting.
FRIDAY: Baby wakes up crying at 5 a.m. and stays awake. Dad says, “You can get him this time,” then rolls over and sleeps through his alarm clock.
The box of wipes is empty. Baby head-butts Mom in the nose while trying to jump off the changing table, then manages to slam his fingers in a drawer. Mom feels like the worst Mom ever.
There is no coffee and no milk for breakfast. Baby alternately fusses, cries, and shrieks throughout the day. No naps are taken. In a last-ditch attempt to get baby to sleep, Mom takes the long way to the grocery store and sits in the parking lot until baby wakes up.
On the way home from work, Dad stops at the liquor store and the barber shop WITHOUT ASKING. Mom passes baby off to Dad, then stomps upstairs to sulk and send out her resume for jobs involving extensive overseas travel.
Later, after the baby is fed and in bed, she goes downstairs. Apologies are made. Takeout is ordered. A movie is rented. Another week in the life of a stay-at-home mom has come to an end.
Stay-at-home moms, can you relate? What was your experience like?