Sunday, February 10, 2013

Stay at Home

I always thought I’d be more successful by now, is a thought many women (and men) sometimes have at year’s end when it’s customary to consider what we’ve accomplished (bought my eighteenth pair of brown leather boots!) and, perhaps, have not accomplished (donated seventeen pairs of brown leather boots to a deserving boot charity).

I had a thought similar to this when attacking one of my New Year resolutions; well, actually, I was sharing a pop-tart with my fifteen month old—not a resolution, I’ll get to that part—and observing our surroundings. See, my undergraduate diploma hangs, there, on the wall above a gigantic teddy bear whose head nods whimsically atop his over-stuffed belly so that he appears constantly slumbering in hibernation.

Dreamy, I think.
Moo, says my son.

Ironic, is what I think of the unintentional design in my Office-converted-haphazardly-into-a-play-room. There’s tents and tunnels amongst ten or twelve variations of the Woody doll and also every size, color, and texture of ball on the market. Oh, and giraffes. Who doesn’t like giraffes? The room is seriously a couple of Duplo blocks away from an episode of Hoarders.

Anyway, I recently scribbled on scrap paper:

New Year Resolutions:
-Organize toy room.
Meaning, I had already surrendered the “Office” part. There it was in black and white: Toy. Room. Trying to create anything in this shrinking enclave of ink pens and a virus-ridden lap-top (due to neglect, obviously) is too stressful. Even the office chair, which served as the demarcation line, a clear symbol of this is office, that is playroom, had to be removed. The residents of Playroom were using it as a climbing wall. Now the desk on which the laptop sits serves as Playroom’s official Place-For-Found-Dangerous-Objects-That-No-One-Can-Reach-For-Now.

It might as well be called “don’t” and not desk: “Don’t pull on that drawer,” “Don’t touch those pens,” “Don’t crawl under there and yank out the computer cable (and all the electrical wiring in the wall).”

Over the months, the “don’t” collects old post-its littered with grocery lists, pen caps, and piles of unused or barely used journals. Leather-bound, floral, large, pocket-sized, lined and blank. Christmas gifts, impulse buys. Sometimes I kneel in front of the “don’t,” carefully open my lap-top and listen to it whirr, perhaps intending to do some vague form of work. But that’s as far as I get. The “don’t" is really just a relic like the Diploma written in Latin hanging ironically behind me.

The good old days?

No, I have the best of days ahead me. The work I do at home—supervising pudding painting (and eating), singing an off-key version of the Itsy Bitsy Spider with a few improved dance moves thrown in for giggles—is the most rewarding work I could ask for. Even the conversations I have at home that go: “Quack, Quack,” and then, “Quack, Quack, Quack,” are way more interesting than any water-cooler chit chat I’ve had the pleasure of hearing friends recount.

If work is not what makes us who we are, then I want my son to know I’m not just a stay-at-home-mom, I’m a stay-at-home-Molly. And, also, it’s not a “don’t,” it's a desk. Really. But let’s, me and you, put that part of life off for as long as we possibly can, kiddo.  To rephrase my opening thought, when I look at you, son, I’m more successful than I ever thought I’d be. And I hope you are too one day.


  1. This is great. And SO TRUE. Disorganization haunts my dreams and gives me guilt. And a headache every time I LOSE something, which is every other DAY.

    What gets me through is knowing my priority is on my KIDS, making them happy, playing with them down on the floor, etc. Hopefully they will remember THAT when they look back, and not Mommy crying looking for her lost driver's license. Again.

    1. I just began blogging this month and this is my first comment, so thank you!! Also, I think it's so great to see what lessons another pair of eyes brings to a post. I honestly never thought of the disorganization angle...isn't that funny?! And I totally agree, it's the little things that matter most in hindsight, not that you had clean house.

  2. I am writing this from my laptop at the dining room table which is covered in Legos. I sat down at the computer because the pile of play kitchen items and cardboard blocks in the next room was too overwhelming to address. I was just thinking about how much the mess sucks, but this post encourages me to look at it a different way today. I have been home with my kids for 8 1/2 years and sometimes it seems very unfulfilling. But, with my oldest already in second grade, my middle half way through half day Kindergarten and my three year old getting farther from "baby" every day, I guess I should treasure the mess. I'll be crying when it's gone!

    1. MY dining room table is covered in puzzle pieces (my own doing, so my toddler won't eat them. It's like I'm asserting that I live here too, though the toys would have you believe otherwise). I'm glad that this post encouraged you today! I often need to be reminded how fulfilling this work can be (not everyone is cut out for it!), which is why I wrote this post. Thanks for commenting!