Yesterday was one of those days that perfectly illustrates what makes being at home full-time with small children much, much harder than any old office job. Yes, this is an old saw of mine, but it's true, so I'll keep repeating it. And OK, maybe if you're an ER physician or the Attorney General or an air traffic controller your job is harder than being a stay-at-home mom of little tinies. MAYBE.
It wasn't a bad day yesterday, it was just what ends up being normal when you've got one child starting (?) to potty-train and one child who just learned to crawl, and who has decided that her ONE GOAL IN LIFE is to explore two particular forbidden places in the house as many times, in as short a period, as humanly possible. Those places being: 1.) behind the TV, where she likes to pull out handfuls of the cat's fur (to stuff in her mouth, natch) and also gnaw on the electronics cords with alarming ferocity, and 2.) the gas fireplace, the metal frame of which she is systematically working on dismantling by yanking repeatedly (yank, bang! yank, bang! "Vivi, NOOOOOOOOO!") on the lower strip with her sweaty, stubborn little hands.
But that's just it. It wasn't a bad day. It was a totally normal day, and for me, totally normal included plopping the big girl on the potty chair, running in the other direction to catch the baby, yelling over my shoulder, "OK, so just try and go, honey, OK? It might take a minute! Try a little longer, OK? A little longer! Wait, a little longer!", repositioning the baby near us with appropriate toys, only to have her turn her sassy little hips and wiggle away on all fours as fast as she could go back toward the TV, the fireplace, and oh yeah--the dirty shoes on the boot tray (yum yum)--over, and over, and over again. If there were ever a time (and there have been many, actually) that I've thought longingly of my husband's seemingly sweet little gig--you know, where he goes to work and sits at a desk in front of a computer, no one hanging on him or whining at him or nursing off him, iced coffee at hand, and SITS STILL for much of the day?--well, yesterday was it.
And yet, let me repeat--it wasn't a terrible day. It was a fine day. The girls (eventually) napped. We took a walk in the morning, and the weather was glorious. We played outside in the backyard. We read books, sang songs, kept up the house (me) and played house (Julia). It was fine. It was just---demanding, in a quotidian kind of way--to a degree far greater than my work life ever was in the past (at least, not since my clinical psychology residency at a ridiculously demanding urban medical center where interns proved themselves by seeing more patients than their supervisors).
I don't need to end this by reiterating that it's all worth it, do I? That I chose this job for a reason, that the rewards outweigh the exhaustion? I don't, do I? Because if you know me, you already know that's true. You already know, I'm sure, about that moment Julia took my hand and said, "Mama, you're so pretty," and about how Genevieve gave me three open-mouthed kisses in a row--big, enthusiastic, love-all-over kisses with much sloppiness included--and about how Julia wanted to hold Genevieve on her lap at morning naptime, and recite the naptime storybook herself, and how Genevieve kept turning her head to look up at Julia and grin at her.
I know I don't have to tell you.