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Click to read today’s post- on the calculated risk of being a SAHM.

I’ve moved to my own domain. (Sounds powerful, doesn’t… not so much, I didn’t get a castle- just a site hosing bill;P.)

“Whaaaaa! Whaaaaa! Whaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!”

In my dream the sound was a siren. I was getting pulled over for speeding. In real life, the sound was my newborn and his siren cry was pulling me out of bed for a feeding.

I ricocheted down the dark hallway like a pinball.  “Bump. Bang. Bump. Bang.” (Which could be lyrics to a Black Eyed Peas song.. but alas, they are not.  They are  the sound of a mom- literally bouncing off the walls.) A Great Salt Lake of tears streamed down my face.  Not from the pain of ricocheting off walls… but from the pain of sheer exhaustion.

“You can do this.. you’ve done it before…this season of mothering doesn’t last long and  you’ll miss it when it’s over.  It’ll be ok.” I mumbled as I bounced.  I considered slapping myself for being unsympathetic. Instead, I argued back:“I don’t care how long it lasts.. or if I’ll miss it eventually…I’m TIRED, NOW.  I need sleep or I’ll lose it!” ( Just a tip… a sign that you’ve already lost it.. is when you are arguing with yourself and feel fully justified in slapping yourself. )

I took a deep breath before I picked up my little hunger siren.. I mean, my newborn.  Together we headed for our nursing spot on the couch. I wondered if I’d be able to go back to sleep when we were finished… (ok- I desperately hoped we would.) I had to force my eyes to focus on the glowing read out on the stove top: 4:43 a.m. “I need to get up to get the other kids ready for school by 5:30.”  While settling into the miraculous comfort of nursing…I struggled to do the time-math… “It takes 45 minutes to nurse…so I’ll have  …UGH.  2 minutes to sleep. There is no point going back to bed.”

Which is the last thing I remember before being awakened by my middle schooler. “Mom, Am I going to school today?” He asked-in a tone that communicated he was hoping the answer would be: “No.”

I looked at the cable box...”Crap. We’re gonna be late.”

It was 7:15. “UGH.” Somehow (more…)

I had it all planned out. There would be: fresh baked bread and  dinner in the freezer ready for when we brought the new baby home. I dreamed of  coffee with friends in the mornings and  cuddling and reading with my baby in the afternoon. I envisioned smiling-clean children welcoming their Dad home in the evening.  In my Stay at Home Mommy-hood dream, I am always dressed in mommy-professional attire and feeling completely fulfilled in my role as Mommy and Wife.  I sing like Snow White while I vacuum.

That picture of mommy-hood perfection lasted the first 13 days of my first pregnancy. At which point Mommy-hood went High Definition.  I was put on bed-rest. My planning and preparations came to a screeching halt.  

Suddenly, every bumpy, lumpy, hard and wonderful pixel of motherhood came into sharp focus.  My longing to protect my little one… the pain of facing loss, the excitement re-building at each Dr’s appointment when I found out I was still “expecting.”  It was hope, fear, trust, pain, joy all rolled into one. It was  motherhood condensed, and I hadn’t even had a baby yet.

My preparing for baby dreams of ready made meals and hand stitched baby clothes instantly changed to spending my days crying through Oprah, as I watched the laundry and dishes pile up around me.

I’ve been trying to “catch up” with my housework, ever since.

Don’t get me wrong…there have been moments that look a lot like the picture I had in mind.  Stories shared, children clean and smiling,(especially when they are both clean and asleep.. those are moments of dream become real.) There has been bread baked (the crust of which no child would eat.) meals served (even if it’s mac and cheese)  and  Daddy welcomed.

But there have been lots of things that were not part of my SAHM dream.. Like struggling to pay bills on one income, split lips and screaming kids, sibling fights and late nights. My “mommy professional attire” is most often comfy sweats with something spilled on them. The busy-ness has been shocking.

as I’m working on the “Mile in her shoes” project and thinking about being a SAHM….I have a few questions for you: (whether you’re currently a SAHM or were previously every mom’s voice matters!)

  1. What surprised you most about being a SAHM?
  2. The busy-ness?  The tediousness? The loneliness? The overwhelming responsibility? The messiness?  The response of others when they learn you’re a SAHM? The joy?
  3. What do you find most difficult?
  4. Most enjoyable?
  5. How Has High Def Mothering been different from your mommy-dream?

I can’t wait to hear!  Please Comment, Twitter or email me your answers!

When the high schooler missed his bus, I thought:  “I have it under control.” That was the last time I thought that, today.

I asked the college boy to drive him to school before he left for his 8:30 class.  When High Schooler then, couldn’t find his house-key, I gave him mine. Thinking:  “He’ll be home before me, anyway.” I jumped in the shower, dressed and considered snorting a packet of Starbucks Via, before work.  I refrained, just incase I had to pass a drug test.

The youngest was less than cooperative, this morning. Of course. Between coaxing him to eat and a last-minute lunch change to bringing lunch  (ugh.)  and trying to get my hair dry, I must have lost track of time. I grabbed my keys  had Noah zip his coat in the car and tried to catch the bus.  I thoroughly impressed Noah by knocking over all 4 garbage cans at once as I pulled out of the driveway. (FYI you don’t save time by not clearing the rear window. Picking up garbage: wastes time. )

We didn’t make it.

“I don’t have time for this.” I thought. I decided to save time by not heading home for my purse or phone before taking him to school.  All was fine until I got home and (after picking up the garbage from the street while skating on ice in heels) remembered I’d given my high school son my house key. Epic fail. Locked out.  Garage door opener is acting weird and the keypad won’t work unless it’s above freezing.

It was not above freezing.

I felt defeated.  The wind I’d had in my sails (or maybe it was the coffee I’d sucked down in a rush) whooooshed out in a huff, as tears welled up in my eyes. (Bad mixed metaphor I’m too tired to fix- sorry:P) I was not finished getting ready and the dogs needed to go out before I left for the day.

I didn’t have my purse,  my cell phone or my house key.  My husband is out-of-state.

I could:

1) Break in

2) Break down

To be honest, breaking down was sounding pretty good. As a SAHM, part of me has always been afraid, that even if I absolutely had to work… I couldn’t cut it.  Here I was failing, on Day 2.

“Get a grip. Don’t panic! You can do this!” I told myself, really hoping the neighbors didn’t hear. (Unless they had a key. Which, they don’t.)   I walked around back, to check the patio door. To see if it was locked.  Just in case.

It wasn’t. Typically, I’d have been furious that the house was left un-locked.  Today, I was thankful.

I pushed past the barking like crazy dogs, and finished getting ready.  The clock kept ticking.

9:07 “I should make it if I leave now.”  I thought.

Then, remembered the dogs would need to go out before I left. “Ugh.”

I stood there, tapping my foot like the pee-pee nazi and the beagle refused to go.

Tick toc. 9:08 Getting late!

Explaining that I was late on my second day of work because: “I was waiting for my beagle to pee.” Just didn’t sound professional.  I brought her in and decided I’d have to risk the mess.

9:27 I pulled into work. Made it. Score!

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By 9:45 I met todays task: Organize the Reliable Delivery Dungeon. I mean, the uniform closet. By light of a single, flickering florescent bulb, (good thing I don’t have epilepsy, that strobe effect could have been bad.)

I sorted, took inventory of and hung up a bazillion uniform shirts, jackets, coats and hats. (On nice plastic hangers as Holly, my boss of the moment, made clear the expectation: “No wire hangers!” ) Not in the mood for a beating..(movie reference, sorry)  I complied. ;)

In other words: I counted and put away laundry, all morning.

To be honest, standing alone in that dark closet,I felt a few tears well up. Maybe it was  the emotion of the whole morning rush, or maybe, it was *Sharpie fumes.. but I think it was my disappointment.  This was not what I had in mind. Forget the day-dream of what working might be like.  This was a nightmare.  I wondered if this job had been especially created for me because, you know..  I’m a SAHM, maybe all I’m really capable of is laundry…

Which is when, I remembered the world doesn’t revolve around me. (Funny how I usually think it does.) This was my job for the day, and I was going to do my best at it.  I’d asked to be put through the paces as a working mom, and this was it. So,(for the second time today) I got a grip, then, got down to work.

I finished after a couple of hours. And then, enjoyed throwing the empty boxes over the rail to the floor below. (Hey- it was a highlight of the day.  They made a loverly PLOP on the cement!)

I spent the afternoon: filing, compiling and shuffling, super- top -secret -spy -documents. I’d tell you what they were, but would hate to have to kill you, afterward. (Besides, I’m way too tired.) Ok, so I filed paperwork. Hey! My first promotion! Sweet!  So much better than the dungeon.

As a former homeschool mom, my ABC skillz are par. However— the drivers at Reliable Delivery have  Driver-numbers that most things are filed by. I managed to recall the number system (I feared I’d blocked it along with algebra.) and completed that task as well. (I was a filing maniac!  I rocked the cabinet! With the exception of a small paper-cut  and twice losing the same key to the Truck Driver Records Cabinet…(No clue why that’s in caps.. but since it is a  special- locked filing cabinet -I have no idea why- it just seemed fitting.) it was fairly drama-free. Score another task done for me!

Next, I was introduced to a new hot new friend. He is big and burly and built and has more copy/collate/hole punching skillz than I could ever hope to have. His name is: Mr Minolta Copier.   I know he was was hot- because about that time, I started to feel sweat drip down my back. It only took me 2 tries to figure out how to get Mr Minolta to do his copy, sort, hole -punch magic.  (sorry about letters A and B Kathy.. I had to do them twice.. oopsy) Mr Minolta and I then made 3 copies of the next The New York Times #1 Bestseller. It’s an incredible book… I felt like a ancient scribe..recording history for posterity.

Except I didn’t, and it wasn’t. It was: “The Supply Chain Logistics Terms And Glossary.” Quite possibly, the most boring book I’ve ever seen.

62797853-335ae9683fd294db3822fbf82a3bdd9a.4b6b6c3a-fullSee?  This boring.

And so completed my second day as a working mom.

Or did it?  Because it is currently 7:24 and dinner is still in the oven.   I am still trying to capture the experience in words and I only very recently, finished cleaning the shorkie puddle I found in my bedroom. On the carpet.  With my foot. When I got home. (Hmm I sense a theme… or maybe I sense that  someone would have to be crated, if I went to work every day.)

I am: tired. I just realized I didn’t eat all day, nor stop for a bathroom break, and I am so thirsty I am tempted to drink straight from the faucet. Umm better pace myself. Tomorrow, I’ll eat lunch like a human and drink water when I need to.

FYI: I am convinced, that if I had to inventory and organize uniforms alone, in the dark, for 8 hours a day, I would poke my own eyes out with a sharpie to escape. (Just sayin.. Not a job I would choose…)

And thats what happens on Day 2 of a SAHM becoming a working mom….

Wonder what tomorrow will be like?

Tomorrow I will be working in my friend Kathy’s office. Doing data entry. I am trying not to hyper ventilate over the idea of mucking up the computer system and the universe coming to an end. I’m pretty sure it could. Or not.

I guess we’ll see— tomorrow!

side note: I have spoken to my husband for about 13 minutes total, since Monday. He’s been in California, and now Milwaukee. Between my being busy and the time difference and my schedule.. it’s been rough. If I worked like this every week and he continued to travel.. it would be hard to remember each others voices, let alone faces. UGH.

Dear Lord.. I pray that you’d use these moments to help me learn what it’s like for other moms, and to communicate it well…. I really believe we need each other.. together we could make a better world… amen

*sharpie fumes… yes…but no actual accidental (or purposeful) getting high in the uniform closet… sorry but it was just too funny a line not to use it… :P

Tiring.  That’s what it’s like. I was up at 5:15 to get the high-schooler out the door, and allow time for the caffeine to kick in before waking up the youngest. (A necessity. Must have caffeine, to deal with Noah.)  This is a pretty standard morning for me, when my husband travels. (Which he does, regularly. Gone 3-5 days a week is pretty typical.) Not much change there.

However- I’m not usually out the dressed, out the door and arriving anywhere by 10:00 a.m. I’m more likely: checking my email, running the  dishwasher and a load of laundry while still in my jammies, at 10:00 a.m.

Interesting things I’ve noticed on Day One:

1) As a Working mom time is as much a pressure as the demands/needs of my children. I yelled this more than a few times this morning:

“Hurry up Noah, you have to make the bus, I don’t have time to drive you to school!” Typically I’d be more relaxed about time. I can drive him if he misses the bus.

2) As a Working Mom, my cell phone chime holds a whole different meaning.  At home,  I usually assume it’s my husband, or some random text.  At work, I was afraid it was the school with an emergency.

3) Prioritizing became paramount as I headed off to work this morning. I could not do everything.  Some things didn’t get done.  There is a load of clean laundry unfolded in my bedroom.  I ran out of time. (Hopefully, I’ll remember to fold it and put it away before the bad cat decides to make it “her own.” ) I did however get dinner into the crock-pot so we will have food. ;)

4) As a working mom, I have to trust my kids more with their responsibilities, instead of my standard “reminding” (read: nagging) Such as, I had arranged for my college boy to pick up the youngest at the bus.  I had to trust that he would. He’s a responsible kid, but I’m used to reminding him.   I also had to trust that they wouldn’t kill each other in the process.

5) As a working mom I would have to make some pretty drastic changes to the way tasks are accomplished at home. Divide and conquer comes to mind…

It would need to be divided.. or I would be conquered.  For sure.

So, how was my first day as a working mom?  Good. Busy. Not exactly as fun or chatty as I would have thought. But it was nice to be around other adults for a change.  I did get to wear pants, which was nice.  But, I missed my slippers and am looking forward to taking off my bra. (The novelty of wearing heels, wore off pretty fast and a real bra to contain the girls is just not exactly comfortable. I’d rather wear my comfy but not safe for work, at home sports bra, thank you very much. )

Was it fulfilling? Well, I’m not exactly passionate about paperwork. (Well, I passionately HATE paperwork, does that count?) I am also afraid of the IRS in general (we were organizing paperwork for an upcoming audit) so I wouldn’t exactly call it fulfilling.

More like: scary (ish) boring and time filling.

The ride to work..well… after much debate, I had my husband leave my truck at the airport and I have his car for the week. Unfortunately, I woke up to 2 inches of snow.  Massive vehicle choice fail.  Let’s just say driving his car in the snow, is a little more like a high-speed ice derby, than I prefer. (Especially when I’m trying to get to work on time!)

*There were no unicorns and the only poop I saw was not in rainbow form.  (Can’t people clean up after their dogs? Like my people? Just sayin.)

(*see yesterdays related daydreaming of work, post)

I can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s like… I will have a different “boss” tomorrow… and college boy has classes so we’ll have to come up with a different game plan for the afternoon shuffle….

See you then!

Edit- Winner posted below:

I’ve been wondering about the labels we give each other and to ourselves.

Especially the one I use most often for myself:

SAHM= Stay At Home Mom

I’m wondering: Is it accurate? What does it mean? If I work as a volunteer- full or part time, am I still a SAHM? If I am never home because I’m constantly running errands and chauffeuring children.. am I still a SAHM?

Does it matter?

So here’s my question:

What IS a SAHM?

Leave a comment with an answer to any of these questions- and you’ll be entered to win a $25 Visa card- contest runs until 1/15/10 @ 9:00 pm EST. Winner will be chosen by random generator.

Random number generator chose:

comment #1- Nerdmom !

Please email me (in the sidebar) with your addy and I’ll get your Visa in the mail:)


*Note: this contest is to open dialogue- it is open to Moms of all types.. NOT just SAHM’s :)** I want to know what YOU think!

You can recieve an extra entry by twittering a link to or facebooking/ blogging about this contest OR by subscribing to the blog via email in the rt sidebar and leaving additional comments to let me know what you did!

molly and her cohortsIt’s just one of the many things I am culinarilary (just made that word up- I like it)  dependant on. 

It takes up my counter space and requires constant cleaning.  (Why can’t ANYONE put paper-towel or a napkin over what they are cooking????  Including me:()

Like a magic black box- (sometimes considerably brighter than me) it heats everything from spaghettios to cold coffee-it has faithfullyu served.

In addition- as a SAHM- it is one of my few and much trusted friends/co-workers. The microwave- has just been so close to me- being in the kitchen and all— where I spend so much of my waking LIFE!) (along of- course, with the washer-dryer, the  stove, dishwasher and fridge- we also chat- but they tend to be more reserved.)

At least- it was. Until Sunday night.

When my microwave gave up the ghost. 

We (ok- maybe it was just me)  quickly went through all the phases of grief:

Shock- (WHAT? Something is wrong with my microwave?)

Denial- (It’s just a fuse- it’ll be fine) 

Bargaining- (Maybe, if I clean it- it will work…)

Guilt- (maybe I worked it too hard…I should have cleaned the vent more often.. it’s all my fault.)

Anger- (I can’t believe I ever bought such a piece of crap!)

Depression- (I have no microwave. *sniff* )

Acceptance/hope- (I can get another microwave… maybe it will even be better!  I CAN live without a microwave!)

By Monday night- I could stand it no more.  There was no popcorn… I am incapable of cooking vegetables on the stove-top and I had a pile of pans with burnt spaghettios begging to be cleaned (that part isn’t true- I swear FlyLady!- but sounded funny) …so I trudged off to Walmart- in search of a replacement.

I stood in the microwave aisle like a deer caught in the headlights of oncoming traffic.  I had no idea there would be so many demands on me so soon after my grief.  Overwhelmed, I looked from shiny microwave to shiny microwave. 

There were: White ones.  Black ones. Stainless steel ones.  Microwaves the size of my first car.  Microwaves barely big enough to make a bag of popcorn.  Microwaves with grilling capabilities and microwaves with more buttons and options and computer memory than my laptop.

I settled on a (cheap) stainless/black model with a grilling capability.  (Which I will probably never use- but- my kids (probably to bring green army men to a painfilled, melting doom) will.

As you can see in the pic above- she now proudly sits on the countertop.  Maybe, a little too proudly.  Although, she’s already proved competent in the cooking of last nights green beans, I have a concern.  She seems to be glaring at the toaster and cavorting with the coffeepot.  I think she is unhappy with the cultural diversity on the countertop. 

Apparently the toaster is not of their “ethnicity”.  White plastic is frowned upon by the much  prejudiced stainless crew.  Too bad.   It’s my house.

I like cultural diversity.

I think I need to get out more.

Instead- I’ll distract you with my  shiny pretty current knit:

flowerbasket shawl zephyr wool/silkIn a fit of unoriginal hat overload  rebellion- I cast on a new piece of lace that I plan on wering for Christmas. 

 It’s the Flower Basket Shawl- from Fibertrends/ interweave press. A very simple 10 row repeat.  I love the yarn- Zephyr silk/wool laceweight- 2 strands held together- Ruby and Garnet.  I’m knitting on US size 5 Addi Turbo Lace Needles.

Maybe this will calm my Christmas cleaning- shopping nerves…. more pics are on flickr.

Personally- I think it’s mis-named.  To me- it looks like angels with their wings raised over their heads…. like this-  but then- I think I need to get out more— or maybe use less fumey cleaning supplies;)

And now- to work on painting the trim where the bad cat has scratched away the wood AND the paint….