This is a question that I, as a stay at home parent have been asked before. Seriously. And yes, the person who asked it did leave my presence with their head attached to their body by the grace of God. Granted, the question was posed by a man who was pre-children. Now that he has kids of his own, I guarantee that he will never again ask that question because, DUH. Even though I wanted to slap him in the face when he asked me with the tone of, “you’re probably just sitting down watching soap operas and eating bon bons,” (side note, what is a bon bon?) if I’m honest, it’s a question I’ve even asked myself.
Last week, I had a moment with myself. It was 3:00 in the afternoon, I was still in my PJ’s from that morning, and I felt like I had done nothing but try to get a baby to go to sleep. Living in the days of Pinterest and other social media outlets is awesome, but so hard. Every day we are bombarded by unnecessary comparisons. And I feel that a lot of these are trending toward women, specifically moms. When you hit up Pinterest, for example, what do you see? Perfect dream homes, put together women with amazing hair, makeup, and outfits, and also the most creative kid activities ever.
Like many moms I’ve talked to, I am NOT crafty. The best I can do is print off a few free coloring pages and let my kiddo go nuts. Woohoo! So last week, I started to get down on myself about it, amongst other things. I thought to myself, I have no profession currently, I am the furthest from crafty, I am breastfeeding/postpartum so a fancy wardrobe is just not in the cards (seriously, dressing for easy access to the ta-ta’s is one of life’s most difficult things. And “nursing tops,” ew), and hair, well…sometimes it gets brushed. Yikes.
I have been battling a little bit of postpartum depression, and because I am nursing, I cannot take anything for it, so I’ve been doing a lot of other things to combat these feelings (playing music constantly, working out here and there, and of course wine…after the kiddos are asleep…come on now). They don’t entirely work, but for now, I’m surviving. So after last week’s breakdown I had a heart to heart with myself and said, nope, I’m not succumbing to these doubts. Well, honestly I do every day, but thanks to this little exercise, I can put those demons at bay when they inevitably creep up every afternoon.
Last week I kept a list of everything I did before lunch. I’m going to share it with you, but not to say, “oh look at me.” I’m showing you to say, “hey you other parent out there reading this, we do a lot of stuff.” Even when it doesn’t feel like it, we do! So…before lunch I did the following:
- Nursed a baby an ungodly amount of times
- Constructed, tested, and deconstructed three different types of Marble Run
- walked the dog with two kids in tow
- did dishes
- fixed dinner (thank the Lord for the invention of Crockpots!)
- baked cookies (thank you, Judah, for leaving me hanging on that one…)
- wrote emails
- bathed child
- dressed two kids
- changed three diapers
- applied a sleeve and chest piece of Lightning McQueen temporary tattoos
- caught up with family
- showered and dressed
- fixed lunch
Parents–here me out. We DO things ALL DAY LONG. Just because you stay at home doesn’t mean you loaf around. You work hard. You raise babies. And, for those of you who work all day (such as my handsome husband), and come home and do this, I applaud you with a standing ovation. I cannot even fathom. You are parental rockstars.
So…what do you do all day? Keep track, and use it to remind yourself that you are 100% amazing. Seriously, this is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself and my confidence as a parent. Also, please remind yourself, as I have to do multiple times a day, as a parent your job is NOT to entertain your child. You do not have to do 10,000 crafts. You do not have to do anything other than make sure your child is safe, fed, and clothed. Accomplish that, and hats off to you.
Go forth and make your lists, and if anyone, including yourself, ever asks, “what do you do all day?” you show that list to them.