I’m so complicated. Really. I am.

I can’t recall who started it. It was trending not just in my twitter feed and on facebook. It was in my house, too. Em didn’t want to go back to school after her long break. MQD was not particularly interested in going back to work. It seemed like no one wanted to “go back.”

I have adopted a silence when people start hemming and hawing on Sunday in the late afternoon about “going back to work.” When you stay home you don’t have much to add to that conversation. Either you crack a joke at your own expense quickly or you start pointing out that you don’t get days off at all.

I usually just fall quiet. I am not trying to get pelted with bon bons from the stay at home mom crowd for saying this out loud. But staying home with my kids is so far the best job I have ever had. I make my own hours. I love the people that I work for. And I wear whatever I want. The same things that make it awful are the things that make it wonderful. I spend all my time with my co-workers. All of it.

This particular Monday I had a tougher time falling back in to the swing of things. My house is clean. My refrigerator is full of left overs. My laundry is done. A long weekend with family and  I had plenty of extra hands on deck. Christmas is more than a month away. I am not ready to start that. So, what exactly am I to do?

Lucy and I had a lazy morning. We stayed in our pajamas. We did some yoga. We chatted with a friend when she stopped by with our eggs. Late morning became afternoon and before I knew it Emily’s bus was going to be home and we weren’t even dressed. For all intents and purposes I did not “go to work” today. Sure, I kept the kiddo alive and happy all day. And on a good day that is enough for me. She is my “primary job.” But on the days when I sit back and watch her and I disengage and I wonder if “this” is “enough” – it makes my heart hurt.

Sitting on the floor in our bedroom by the window I could feel the lonely settling down in to my bones. I was trying to be light hearted when I called him. “Every one is back to work and school and I am just here. It’s so quiet. It’s like I don’t know what to do.”

He was joking.    “You should clean something.”

I wanted to hang up.  I wanted to not cry.  I wanted to not make mountains out of molehills and rail against the Universe that cleaning things is a waste of time when it will all be a mess again tomorrow.  He was kidding.

But damn that man of mine.  Even his jokes can see through me.  Surely he could hear the blue.  I don’t wear it well.

 

Not even ten minutes had passed before I ripped the covers off of the couch and put them in the washing machine.  He might have been joking, but I feel pretty fantastic. Sometimes I do need to feel like I “did” something.  And by sometimes I mean all of the time.  The washing machine will be done in four minutes.  In a little over an hour I will pull clean cushion covers out of my dryer and wrestle them back on to the couch.  And I will feel like I conquered the world.  Or at the very least I will feel like I beat back the blue for yet another day.

But it is not just because I cleaned something.  I can’t have you or MQD thinking my life is really that simple.

I also put on lipstick.  And in the spirit of giving credit where credit is due I must thank my mother (presumably) for losing a lipstick in my couch.  Because apparently it takes more than just a shower and a completed chore to make my heart sing.  It takes lipstick, y’all.

 

28 responses to “I’m so complicated. Really. I am.

  1. I don’t know this for a fact, but I think somewhere in the deep recesses of my unconscious, I pumped out 4 kids in 6 years for the express purpose of having a good excuse not to get an out-of-home job for two-ish decades. My (unconscious) plan has worked beautifully so far.

    I am an extreme introvert. This doesn’t mean that I’m unsociable, dislike people, or am socially awkward. I am none of these things. But I love love love being holed up at home. My bliss is a week where I don’t *have* to go anywhere (this rarely actually happens with 4 kids and all their various activities, but every once in awhile the stars align).

    All of my kids are in school now and I ADORE MONDAYS WITH ALL OF MY HEART AND SOUL. Love the weekend, love having everyone at home, but LOVE LOVE LOVE when they all go away for 7 hours and leave me blissfully alone in my home on Monday. When everyone starts kvetching on Sunday night about going back to work and school, I try very hard to contain my glee.

    Baby, I was made for this SAHM gig. ;)

    I have just started wearing lipstick for the first time ever in the last few months. It really is transformation in a tube, isn’t it?

  2. I hear ya. Sometimes I revel in my time at home. On my one day in the work world, I think about being THERE instead of at home, just so my next day back will be appreciated. I hate laundry, BTdubs. But it does feel like doing something, doesn’t it?

  3. I admire you. I didn’t cope well during my mat leave. I know that stay at home parents have much more emotional wherewithall than I could ever hope to have.

  4. Mothering – especially stay-at-home mothering – can be…I don’t even know…just so hard, and easy, and awful, and great, and claustrophobic, and as you have discovered, lonely. You are not alone. That is really the best salvation.

  5. Haha oh my goodness, whenever I get all my chores done ( laundry, bedding, cat litter, garbage, vacuum etc) I feel like I conquered the world for that day or weekend. I can die happy… into all the possible make up and clothes my mother and sister gave me. (‘:

  6. This is what my husband refers to as “dusting from the fetal position”. I clean when things are bothering me, like praying through a bottle of Pledge I guess. I’ve wondered or worried a lot since becoming a stay-at-home mom if just the keeping the kid alive, stocking the fridge, and sweeping some floors is enough. I have a happy kid, so I have to believe that it is. He is the first and I would guess only boss who’s cool seeing me in zit cream and fat pants.

    • I started leaping to your defense when you said “just” keeping the kid alive, etc… In my heart I respect it. I just need to remind myself of this.

  7. Gosh I wish that cleaning were my response to the blues. Usually I drink. Or something else much less productive than cleaning. I think this sounds like a great way to deal with things! Maybe I will give it a whirl next time. Like tackle cleaning out my fridge, which is downright disgusting at this point.

  8. i loved. this. post. “We chatted with a friend when she stopped by with our eggs.” what a wonderful visual gift you gave me. i too this morning dreaded the silence; i saw your tweet today about it being quiet and i was gonna chime in but then i got distracted. too easily distracted. this was a nice post and you did a great job with it. it’s hard – the same things that make it great make it hard and i too wonder if i’m giving enough or too much… they take in only as much as they can; that’s i guess when we can “overgive” … sounds funny, i know.

    nice job. -m

  9. Remember this:
    You is Khind.
    You is smaht.
    You is impahtant.
    and…
    You is a wonderment!

  10. You also accomplished being a very attractive woman. Yay! I put on lipstick TO clean. It just makes me feel GREAT. I can’t really explain it. I also drink while cleaning which may add to my euphoria.

  11. Gack! That’s my new bright blue red one — that I will presumably never wear, even if I hadn’t left it in your couch — but at the time I bought it in Harris Teeter, I too was feeling blue and thought a case of the ‘reds’ might cure me. Instead it cured you. Well, that and the cushions on your couch. I’m starting to think (well, not actually starting, but oh nevermind) that in order to feel fastastic, I need to feel the blues. For my cycle to get woohoo cheery, I need to see what the dark side looks like. Apparently so do you, Kel. And I know that awful empty feeling of stay-at-home mom when the company has left, the holiday is over, the kids are back in school and, well, you’re still standing where you were yesterday. It doesn’t feel like progress.

    Until that toddler smiles at you and thinks you’re the cat’s PJs because YOU and only YOU can get the Cheerios out of the plastic bottle with the screw-on lid. And you know just when to do that.

    A great holiday. None of the stains that hit the rug were permanent. Life is good. xoxo girlie.

  12. Just remember that neither side of the fence is easy–there are pros and cons to both. Some days I feel like a terrible mom because I have to miss some of my son’s activities due to work. I didn’t work most of the time I was married, and that was “BC”–meaning before child/children–and I had my blue days. I also found that sometimes just getting dolled up with a little makeup was exactly what I needed. Maybe June Cleaver really knew what she was doing after all! ;)

  13. You are adorable. And there is an unending supply of cleaning here, so visit anytime.

    Good on ya for beating back the blue. I know exactly what you mean about disengaging and just watching….

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