That title up there? That is sarcastic. See, it refers to what people tell me when they hear I’m a stay-at-home mom. “You’re so lucky that you get to stay home with him!” (Well, that’s aside from the people who make snide comments behind my back, thinking that they know the whole story of our family’s situation from the few comments or rants I’ve let slip. Why yes, I do just “refuse” to get off my ass and do “real work!” And you’ve caught me — I really do love sitting here in front of my computer, day after day, idly reading blogs and completely ignoring my child. I don’t know how you people figure these things out!)
Actually, what I am is so stressed out. So bored. So isolated. So guilty. So tired of endless days without change. So sick of stagnation and financial strain. To say I’ve been having a hard time with this lately is a bit of an understatement; you see, after six or seven weeks without ever once leaving the house, you tend to get really fucking depressed.
I’ve been trying as hard as I possibly can to make this whole working-from-home thing, well, work. It isn’t yet. I know that it takes time. I know that it takes a long time, and a few weeks certainly doesn’t begin to tip the iceberg. (Er, so to speak.) I know that this is what I signed on for, and I know that if I really wanted to, I could just get a job outside the home and — oh, wait. There aren’t any jobs outside my home. There aren’t any affordable daycares outside my home, either, since the amount we can afford to spend on daycare (given two incomes) is $0. Okay, okay, maybe $100 if we stop putting gas in the car.
I hate this stupid cycle. I hate waking up every day with nothing to look forward to, and I hate feeling guilty for it. I love Connor more than anything in the entire world, but it is very hard to appreciate the joy that he is when we are just stuck in this miniscule apartment with nothing to do all
day week month year. I love our giggle-laden morning ritual — diaper, breakfast, clothes, then a movie for Connor while I send out resumés. I hate the heart-pounding anxiety I feel toward the end of that ritual, that dismal and frantic feeling of now what? What can we do, how do we interact, when we’re both so sick of coloring and racing and petting the kitties and playing with toys and all four of his movies and looking at things on the computer and building boxes out of forts that we could (and sometimes do) scream?
I hate myself for feeling this way. I hate that sometimes I snap at Connor, so full of my own frustration that I cannot handle his. I hate that I end up just letting him play alone in his room for two or three hours per day because it’s better than giving him an endless stream of no — “Can we go to the park?” No. “Can we go to Wal-Mart?” No. “Can we go see the red dollar store?” No. “Can we go see Cree?” No. “Can we watch the Wiggles?” No.
And, of course, “Why?” Why can’t we do these things, Mommy? Well, let’s see, son: because your mother is a fucking failure. Because Mommy can’t find a job, so we don’t have the money to do anything fun. Because we can’t afford cable. Because I can’t get the car fixed and we can’t spare any gas anyway. Because Daddy’s at work and I can’t find us a ride. Because I haven’t seen anything other than you and the computer screen in months, and I no longer have the willpower to maintain enthusiasm for coloring and tickling. Because, even though I do nothing all goddamn day long, I need a break.
I need out of here. I need something, anything — either a part-time job that pays me very well to do work that’s not too degrading outside the home, or a full-time job that pays me well enough to do work that’s not too degrading inside the home. I honestly don’t care which; an outside job would afford me the time away that I so desperately need, but a freelance gig would at least afford me some cash with which to get us mobile. We both need some freedom, something different from living room-kitchen-bathroom-bedroom day in and day out.
I feel like such a terrible mother right now. I’m wasting precious time with my kid every day and I know it. There are mothers who would commit murder to be able to spend this much time with their kids; there are mothers who do this for years without ever resorting to, “Please, just go play in your room for a while.” There are mothers who never even notice the isolation, the loneliness, the sameness of every day, because those days with their children are more than enough. I wish I was one of those mothers. I wish I could be okay like this. I wish it didn’t bother me when people said horrible things about my laziness and snobbery and standards, because I wish I didn’t think for a second that they were right.
Mostly, I wish I could get out of the house for a while, leave Connor in someone else’s competent hands and go blow some cash — a haircut, a nice lunch out, a little shopping — and come home refreshed. I wish I could get out of the house for a while, take Connor with me to a jazzy sandwich place and eat lunch in their courtyard, then go for a long drive while we look for tractors. Anything, anything, other than this.