Pity Party For One…

This week, stay-at-home parenting seems like the only reasonable solution for life.

I’m hoping this will sound familiar to someone else:

We eat out an unreasonable number of times due to a lack of groceries, and of time to get any. I manage to stay on top of a few loads of laundry and a bit of tidying only by getting up early enough in the morning to be ready for work 20 minutes before I have to head out the door. I’m in desperate need of some girlfriend time, but already feel like teaching dance for an hour and maybe going to yoga once a week is the limit of time I can be away from contributing at home without feeling guilty. Our evenings entertaining friends (and I’m not ambitious here, just another couple sitting on the couch eating popcorn and chatting would be amazing) seem few and far between, almost a thing of the past. My partner and I both feel like we wake up, are in ‘go’ mode all day at work, come home to dinner/bath/bedtime for the baby, and finally plop down for a a brief period of half-focused-doing-nothing in the same room before collapsing into bed, knowing in several hours the cycle starts all over again.

I get it now. I get why for generations, and in many cultures still, the norm was/is to have one stay-at-home-parent: this whole two-working-parents standard we have is just unsustainable. A colleague who’s a grandmother says, “I don’t know how you’re making it work.” I say, “Well, you did it with your three kids,” eagerly hoping for some tips, to which she replies, “Yes, but I stayed home!” Another colleague says she only got through this stage by hiring someone full time to care for her daughters, cook, clean and bake while she was at work.

In moments of bleakness, my husband will often shake his head or dejectedly sigh and say, “Cycle of productivity.” This week, I really feel the weight of that. The crazy thing is, I don’t feel like I’m that productive, not in a creative/achieving sense. Busy, sure, and productive at work, yes, but what is this garden-variety productivity really worth if you don’t feel you have time to appreciate or savour your life as a whole?

I want to live in the moment with my son when we are home together. I want more than an hour at home with him per day that’s not swallowed up by the evening ‘schedule.’ I want to feel like I have more time for relaxing in the calm space of my home than it takes to get that home to a state of calm. I want my husband and I to have the energy to really be involved with and invested in one other after our kid’s in bed, not just find comfort in our solidarity through the slog.

I’m sure there are lots of things we could do to work towards these goals, but in moments of bleakness, those solutions just seem like something else I don’t have the time or energy for. Maybe it’s also okay, though, to spend a little bit of time having a pity party every once in a while. I know the cloud will lift eventually, and when it does, I’ll be eagerly hoping for tips again, so leave ’em in the comments, dear readers.

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4 Comments

  1. What helped for us was a meal plan for the week (we used fresh20.com)–we went grocery shopping as a family, did the food prep together on Sunday afternoon, came home from work during the week and cooked together with our kid banging around in the kitchen. Our time together as a couple came from watching each other bumble around in the kitchen while talking about our day (throw in a pre-dinner glass of wine for good measure!). Still exhausting, but there was a sense of accomplishment. You can also substitute your partner for a girlfriend and it’s still fun.

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    • raiseamother says:

      Thanks, Kylene! It’s helpful to maybe just accept that your life will never go back to ‘normal’ – we’ll have a ‘new normal,’ and it will have its own perks/joys. Sure is an adjustment, though! 🙂

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  2. @KyleneWalker – I love the meal plan and cooking as a family idea! Linds, I totally know what you mean. Especially with only one day off per week right now, I feel like I’m constantly trying to choose between getting things done (and I mean things like groceries, laundry, and cleaning the house), and spending time relaxing with my family. On the flip side, though, having less time with my husband and kiddo, family and friends, means that I really value every second. Hang in there! I’m getting the impression that parenthood is a series of adjustments to “a new normal” 🙂

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  3. May says:

    Hugs! We never did this (always have had a parent at home so far) but I can still imagine. As you’ve noted though, it is your reality… I hope you continue to find daily moments of free movement, self-compassion, silly-just-to-be-silly-silliness. “Build a life you don’t need a vacation from” is easily said… in reality, particularly with a young child(ren) there’s not even much time for building… just keeping up maintenance (and then not even that). But you know, Arlo’s growing and learning and I’m sure he’s happy and flourishing in what is for now your family reality. You are all loved. Blah, blah, blah, blah-badi-da! Mostly, I’m thinking of you and sending love. 🙂

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