I think anyone who has spent even a cursory linger or two around the blog knows that I have lots to say about the trials et al. of being a mother of the homebound variety. Sure, I mix it up with the occasional story of warm fuzzies, but there are plenty o' tales of woes and oh-no's to keep you entertained. And I stand behind them. In fact, sometimes I stand over them, mopping and disinfecting.
But today I thought I'd bring a different flavor. While I was choosing an outfit this morning (for mySELF, not even for a small person.) I thought to myself, it is pretty sweet that I get to determine the dress code for the day. Heck, I have unilateral sartorial autonomy! I'm basically a style editor and producer at the haute couture daily edition of Uebbings unlimited. And that's a cool job.
So I present to you a curated collection of 7 really cool things about being a stay at home mom.
1. As alluded to above, I have ultimate dress code authority. For now, it extends over our entire brood. Sure, my almost 4-year-old has some opinions and favors wearing his adorable (thrifted) Converse without socks, but since I vetted and/or purchased every item in his wardrobe, even when he digs through his dresser to assemble a getup that would do a drunken farm animal proud, it looks...decent.
For myself, while pregnancy and the dreaded after effects certainly have a massive influence over my options, I get to choose how dressed (or undressed) I want to be for the day. Lately I've been leaning toward the more dressed end of the spectrum, because it feels so nice to have a put together outfit on, even when I'm just running errands and hunched over a laptop tap tap tapping away on a project during nap time. My girlfriend sent me a link to this girl's daily outfit feature on Instagram (which I don't have, but she cross posts them to Pinterest) and we both fell deep and hard. So today's outfit credit goes to Karla Reed.
2. I make all the food decisions. If I don't want my kids to eat something, I don't buy it. Will they occasionally get their sugar-seeking paws on something at a friend's house or celebration? Of course. And does it matter? Well, we have no food allergies in our family, so nope, not really. 90% of our diet is under my direct jurisdiction, for better or for worse, and so for now, while they're young, I'm focusing on training up little palates to eat broad and wide across the produce aisle, and to snack on protein instead of always binging on carbs. Check back with me in 4 years when everybody's wills and opinions are stronger. I'm sure I'll eat my smug words. (Full disclosure, they're snacking out of a plastic bowl of TJ's cat cookies and Goldfish crackers I set on the front porch right now. Like stray animals.)
But still, the potential for napping exists. And my boss won't bust me if I try.
4. Leading me to my next favorite: the flexibility to pursue meaningful, soul-expanding work during the varying pockets of flexible time I find throughout the day. Since Joey was a newborn I've been editing and producing content for Heroic Media News, and I also contribute to Catholic News Agency, Catholic Exchange, and complete the occasional project for Our Sunday Visitor and Endow.
Obviously the caveat here is that writing is what I do, and it can be done from anywhere, but I truly believe that due in large part to the internet and emergent technology and a workplace made a little more humane by ever-increasing influence of the feminine genius, women today, at least in our culture, have more opportunities than in all of human history to make something beautiful, oftentimes in a non-traditional work setting, and to be compensated justly for it.
5. I can call "do-over" on a day that's heading straight to hell. 2 pm and everyone is screaming? Time for a quick trip to Target for a coffee for mommy and some dollar spot browsing for the small ones. (Lucky me, they're still gullible enough that we can return their playthings at the conclusion of our Bullseye session without actually purchasing any more crap to bring into the house. Mostly.)
This means I can hit up the petting zoo farm down the road if I feel like it and the weather permits, or I can make the proverbial 3 am phone call and load up the Odyssey for a 50 minute drive down to grandma's house where terrible coffee, a sun-drenched kitchen and a fenced-in trampoline await us. Pure joy.
6. I don't miss anything unless I want to. (Please know that I am not saying this to offend or wound any moms who choose to work outside the home or who are compelled to do so for reasons beyond their control. I respect you, my friends, and I am grateful for the unique contributions you are making to the economy and to the social order. Truly. I'm just speaking out of my experience on this one.)
This one is a fine line I stumble along every day, because on the one hand, children, give me some peace and quiet and go watch Peg+Cat or throw dirt at each other in the back yard. Please. And on the other hand, almost every night at bedtime finds me holding a chubby head against my chest and stroking soft baby hair and wondering where the days are going, and the years too, for that matter.
The truth is I have a front row seat to every milestone, every success, every tantrum, and every sibling altercation. I can choose to intervene and correct, or to sit back and let the natural order of things play out. Or I can check out entirely (guilty and guiltiest) telling myself that my physical presence is enough for them. And sometimes it is. But more often than that, they want more. They want my attention, they want to captivate me and to share the joy of learning something new about the world or about life. And I'm here to give that to them, if I can pry it out of my selfish and sleep-deprived little grinch heart. And that is such a privilege.
7. I can take the ages and stages as they come. My 2 and-a-half year old son is ready to potty train. I, on the other hand, am not. Potty training means to him, I think, wearing Lightening McQueen tighty whities and whizzing on the pine tree in our back yard at his leisure (thanks, idolized big brother). And many, many pairs of soiled pants per day. Since there's no pressure to get him up to code for daycare or preschool or really, anything, I can take my sweet sweet time and wait until he's 3. Or 11.
Right now my oldest is unbelievably snuggly. I love that he comes up to me and professes his love and admiration over and over again throughout the day. I'm so glad I can soak up this age so that when his dominant, fiery extroverted personality kicks back into high gear I have the sweet memories of a snuggle bunny who just wants to beeeeeeeee with me.
So there you have it, long winded and intensely specific to my experience, but true enough.
What are you favorite things about being a mom who stays home?