Last night, I paid a late night visit to a naturopath. As we reviewed my lifestyle, she casually raised an eyebrow, hunched her shoulders up ever so slightly and asked me about my personal stress levels.
My mind simultaneously flashed forward and backward: am I rambling too much? Talking too fast (I have a tendency to do that )? Why would she specifically mentioned stress? Do I sound like one of those people? I don’t feel stressed? Should I?
I quickly replied: “I used to have a lot of stress when I worked full-time, but now I stay home with my two little guys, so things have leveled our for me.”
As she casually rhymed off symptoms of high stress, a mental check list unfolded before my eyes. Uh huh. Yep. Yep. Check. Yup. Uh huh…
Today, I decided to pay attention to my irritable, tense, eye rubbing, heart racing moments.
Essentially, they start at 5:50 am (or around then depending on my glorious wake up call) and don’t really stop.
As I sit here writing this post, coated in the slick, stench of black licorice fennel oil (for breast milk production), I can honestly say I’m more stressed now than before parenthood.
Before I delve into things, let me add a quick disclaimer: this article in no way complains about my life as mom (which is the best journey I embarked on) or belittles those who take on jobs other than parenting.
From the moment I wake up (if I’ve even slept because my 5-month-old still wakes frequently to feed) I’m constantly on the go — and it’s not just any ol’ on-the-go I’m talking about here.
As a mom, who stays at home with a two-year-old acrobatic, electrical engineer of a toddler, and a 5-month-old baby, I’m basically in a high alert/code orange/severe terror alert state all day. And I know I’m not alone in this. Most Stay At Home Moms (SAHM) can attest to this vibe. My husband is gone 14 hours a day so I’m pretty much responsible for everything that pertains to our family’s well-being.
This means, I’m not only entertaining the kids (which some people think SAHMs do all day while eating bon bons and frolicking in the park). I’m also functioning on a nap/play/feed routine that’s imperative to adhere to.
I’ve often got one eye trained on the clock, which prevents me from truly living in the moment, while the other two (yes, it feels like I’m a freaky three-eyed mom monster sometimes) are watching my kids to make sure they don’t eat so much sand they choke, that they’re not picking up a tissue off the sidewalk for a taste, that my older child isn’t riding on the infant’s back during tummy time and so on.
It’s in those rare moments that you relax, even for a second, that you often end up with serious regrets (I’ve been to the emergency department twice already and learned my lesson).
So, in light of my naturpath pointing out that I’m a stress case, I’d like to make a motion to change the whole antiquated Stay At Home Mom (SAHM) acronym to something more appropriate — something that feels worthy, dignified and accurate.
My husband, who recently finished a four-month parental leave from his work (did that ever open his eyes — our relationship has never been more respectful and strong) and I were talking about all that a stay at home parent does each day.
We devised the term — Family Management. Okay, okay; it likely exists out there already, but this is my hope that all of the parents, who care for kids all day, change their resumes to read, family management.
My new resume would and should read something like this (after listing years of television production and obtaining a master’s degree):
Family Management March 2014 — Present. Duties include: scheduling, finances, meal planning, safety of two children, regular first aid, research, education, developmental observation and enhancement, librarian, custodian, home maker, house keeper/cleaner, sports coach, marathon runner, architect (come on, Ikea pieces got me like…), budgeting, referring, life-guarding, shelf stocking etc.
So to all of those in family management, don’t be surprised or feel isolated when you can’t stay awake on a Friday night or make it to the gym after your kids get to bed. It’s really amazing, when you break it all down, that people are in charge of keeping other little humans alive, all day, every day. It’s a huge job and often involves little contact with other adults and frequently interrupted coffee breaks.
That said, how lucky am I that I get to raise a little person 24/7? It’s a total privilege, for which I am so grateful. All I ask is to drop the SAHM crap. The last place I am during the day is at home. And, if I am, I likely want to poke my eyes out and get out of the house.
Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook