Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Maybe it's because we've been sick. Maybe it's because it's winter and we can't play outside all day. Maybe it's because my children have entered the most challenging stage we've been through yet (don't worry...I'm not so naive to think it will get better from here.) Or maybe it's because I have been stressed about things that I can't control anyway. But whatever the reason, it seems as though I've spent more time feeling frustrated than I have spent feeling all other emotions combined lately.

If there is one thing I've learned over the past year or so it is this: being a stay at home mom is not as easy as it seems. Maybe this transition would have been slightly easier had I started with just one baby, but as things turned out...I jumped in with both feet to an, at times, overwhelming situation. It's not the work load that gets to me. Sure...there are mounds of laundry, constant dirty diapers, planning the next meal before the current one is even cleaned up, sticky floors, dust so thick you can draw pictures in it, and rings in my toilet. But that's not really what makes it hard.

These are the things that make it hard:

The Solitude
For a person who is rarely physically by myself...I sure do feel alone sometimes. Something about spending 75% of my day with two toddlers makes me feel isolated I guess. By the time Dustin gets home, it's either almost or already dark and we just have a few hours to spend together, most of which is taken up by dinner, baths, playing with the boys, and the 2 hour bedtime war (more on this later). Don't get me wrong - I love this time, but it doesn't lend itself to a lot of adult conversation. I'm not a big fan of talking on the phone and even if I were, Eli and Landon take full advantage of the time I spend on the phone to whine and cry in my ear making it impossible to carry on a conversation. Anyone who has tried to talk to me on the phone knows I'm not lying.

The Monotony
We do the same thing every. single. day. It's just a fact - small children do better with schedules and events they can predict. Honestly...I do better with these things, too. But I also get stir crazy as well. Sometimes I feel like I'm not really accomplishing anything...I get up and go through the same routine every day and at the end of the day...what do I have to show for all that time and work? Sure, my children are still alive (barely most days). And my husband isn't starving (because he ate some form of hamburger meat mixed with a can of condensed soup). And my house hasn't completely imploded into itself (regardless if it seems that way). Some days I feel like I barely scrape through the day only to get up and do it all over again.

The Feedback
Or should I say, lack thereof. Guess don't say things like, "wow, my clothes smell great" or "this hot dog you heated up for me is delicious" or "did you clean the floors? because when I was eating off of them just now, they seemed cleaner"...they generally don't notice the little things. There's always the feedback you get in public, "you have your hands full" or "oh look! double trouble" or my personal favorite, "I'm glad it's you and not me." Wow, thank you so much for the encouragement. Just what every young mother needs! My two bosses don't operate like most's don't get a lunch break, a paycheck, an annual review, or an honorable mention.

The Mental Stress
Fact: even the happiest of babies are not happy all day every day. I consider Eli and Landon very happy boys, but they still spend a significant part of our day whining and crying. That constant feels like it just slowly eats away at me until I almost snap. At the end of the day, when I've said "No" 3,758 times, when I've listened to two babies whine and cry, when they have demolished yet another sentimental object, when they each have at least three new bruises, and when I've witnessed 49 fits...I'm just mentally spent.

Nothing can really prepare a person for motherhood. It's a joy that cannot be quantified. It's a love as intense as pain. It's an indescribable sacrifice. It's a tremendous responsibility. 

And the stakes are high. 

Really high. 
I have their minds, and their hearts, and their souls in my hands. And when I think about this stage....this season of time that will pass by all too quickly....I count my blessings because I am never alone (and I do mean never), I get to spend each day with the two most handsome and loving boys I have ever known (make that three), and the rewards are great and numerous.  Their smiles, laughs, hugs, kisses, growth, development, and happiness are more valuable than any paycheck could ever be. I love my job...I really really do.

 Maybe my frustration makes me a bad mom, but I'm guessing it just makes me...normal.


Kathi said...

Amy...I admire your post. You've just communicated a life that you love dearly but it comes with frustrating lonliness. I can't exactly know how you feel...I never had two at the same time but anyone who says it's easier to stay home than go to work is a not an honest person. You've chosen the harder path in life but from'll reap rewards far beyond all those things that are frustrating you now. I know you know that. I'm sorry that your family lives to far to make your daily life easier. I would love to live close enough to allow you to have more space. Just know that this is a phase...and instead of it happening at 4-7 months like I thought it passed many hurdles and it's bloomed later. I love you....hang in there.....*this too shall pass*

The Boyd Gang said...

You have just described my day, my emotions, my crazy life.......I totally understand the part about being lonely! I often wonder if I can still carry on an adult conversation and make some sense! You are an amazing Mom, wife, friend, sister in Christ, and woman! Thanks for being so honest and it is good to know that you are normal!!

Micah and Jennifer said...

I know how you feel...and it does get better! I remember when Ava turned one it seemed like our whole world changed, and she was tough. Micah even said that if I hadn't already been pregnant, we probably wouldn't be having another kid! She's 17 months old now, and it seems like just these past few weeks she's actually gotten better and I don't totally stress about the chaos that will ensue when we leave the house-because there is none (well, less at least). We can eat at a restaraunt, I can go shopping, and we have even been able to make it through a few church services without her throwing massive fits. It's exciting. It's also a little sad, because I know this somewhat better behavior means she's growing up, and I'm just not ready for that!

Jami said...

Amy, you have such a way with words and how things need to be "put." I love your honesty. I just read in your post what I have thought in my mind many, many times. Thanks for making the rest of us not feel like we're the only ones that feel that way!

Kristin said...

I think that is how every mother feels and it takes someone very special to admit all of the frustrations that come along with motherhood. Everyone can see the postive things about it but not everyone sees the hard parts about it. Its a 24/7 job in which there is no coffee breaks and definitly no vacation. But one day all the hard work that you and every mother puts into their children will pay off. You and Dustin look like ya'll are doing a great job. And it does get easier- at least that is what I tell myself everyday. So keep up the good work and will talk to you later.

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