Ten Minutes In The Secret Life Of A Stay-At-Home Mom

A friend emailed me about transitioning from working-outside-the-home mom to stay-at-home mom. You know, like, WHAT DO YOU DO ALL DAY?

So I sent her our typical schedule with some tips as to where to go for fun around town.

But I left out these ten minutes. And the bonbons.

Minute One:
We pull up to the house. I have two kids who have eaten only half their lunch and two sheet cakes in the back of the car. The front door seems very far away.

Minute Two:
E: Can I have cake?
Me: The cakes aren’t for you sweetie. Tomorrow you can have leftover cake!
E: I can have cake after lunch?
Me: No. Not until tomorrow. I know that’s hard to understand.
{contemplate texting my friends and asking how them feel about receiving a cake with a missing piece}
E: OK.
Me: {gaping mouth shocked into silence}

Minute Three:
N is distracted by the plastic red coupe in our front yard. E is holding the door so sweetly for her. Until I yell: CLOSE THE DOOR as the dog careens over to greet us and check his chances of running into traffic while I pant up and down the street. I hip-check the dog and close the door just in time. But now E, myself, two cakes and Rachet are inside and my 15 month old is on the front lawn by herself. Screeching because we LEFT HER.

Minute Four:
I place cakes on the stairs in the hopes that the angle will give me the forty-five seconds I need to grab N and get back inside before the dog gets pink roses all over his face. I nail it and give a high five (to myself).

Minute Five:
I begin to make room in the fridge for two cakes until I hear THE CRASH. I immediately blame the dog because my husband is still at work. But the dog is next to me making goo-goo eyes at the ham in the fridge. So I run to the front room as N smiles over two cakes that are no longer on the stairs.

Minute Six:
I crush the already jostled cakes into the fridge as E declares: I have to go poopy and N signs for a cup.
I scoop up N and tell E to go USE THE POTTY PLEASE while I grab a cup and the rest of N’s lunch and lock the dog upstairs to the guest room because he and N have a pact to share all meals.

Minute Seven:
E and the dog enter the kitchen simultaneously. And while I’m not surprised that E’s pants are around his ankle and his butt is un-wiped, I’m a bit taken aback that my dog can walk through walls. (I may or may not have started season one of True Blood.) I march my magic dog back upstairs while insisting E wipe his own butt. I remember to close the bathroom door as well as the main door. And I reprimand Rachet for shape-shifting to open it.

Minute Eight:
E finally sits at the table to eat. But instead of eating, he demands a new cup.
And by NEW CUP, he means his sister’s cup.
I placate him with a straw.
And by placate him, I mean enrage his sister by giving him a straw.
I give N a straw too and now have to open her sippy cup so she can use it.
Within thirty seconds my daughter and her highchair are covered in milk.

Minute Nine:
E: I have poopy in my pants.
I look and sigh.
But I say: It’s hard to make the potty with diarrhea.
Diarrhea. The worst word in the English language when you have two children and are on four hours of sleep.

Minute Ten:
N’s second diaper change takes ten wipes. And a third arm to keep the dog from eating her poop. And then my stomach lurches.

I left out those ten minutes mostly because I wasn’t sure if she could get her job back. And I don’t want to share my babysitter.

Disclaimer: This is meant to be fun and funny. If you read this as a SAHM gauntlet being thrown to declare who has it worse or better, you win. Whatever you do is harder than what I do.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

38 thoughts on “Ten Minutes In The Secret Life Of A Stay-At-Home Mom

  1. Life can be like a dream can’t it…a nightmare really. And who wants to share all the gory details of a nightmare. Ooops, I think you did. LOL.

    Heart you! xo I hope the cake stayed together, in one piece as it were.

  2. Not only did you leave out those ten minutes, but also the fact that it’s not just *those* ten minutes. Take those 10. Rinse, lather, repeat.

    When people ask what I do all day, I tell them, “I put out fires while people start more fires, then while I’m putting out those fires, they light ten more.”

  3. I’m not a SAHM but thought this is one of the funniest things I’ve read in awhile – of course it’s funny after the fact. Having had those experiences what seems like a million times it’s not funny during but definitely after. Good for you for not scaring your back into work, she’ll get to “enjoy” those experiences and then after the kids go to bed you guys can get together and laugh about them too.

  4. Alex – I don’t for one moment think SAHMs have it easier than those of us who work FT. Although I don’t see my daughter much, sometimes the small window I have with her exhausts me quicker than all of the 10 hours I’m away from her.

    Your post is funny, yes (and as always). But in your shoes, probably mostly in hindsight though huh? 😉

  5. I couldn’t hide this part of motherhood if I wanted to; it was my entire day, every day when my kids were toddlers. Luckily, that phase goes by pretty quickly. Enjoy it and be glad you’re writing it down.

  6. Your 10 minutes are uncomfortably similar to mine, – and my kids are a few years older. Friends tell me raising kids gets easier, but I think they’ve all just gone loopy. My old dog still quivers with excitement when the high chair reappears for a toddling guest.

  7. This was SO funny! And you SAHMs rock, and win! But unfortunately I will probably go through the same type of antics tonight when I get home, so then we’ll call it a tie. 😉

  8. LOL! Alex, you ARE fun and funny. What a hectic 10 minutes! And I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the cakes actually survived! My favorite part is that when you heard a crash, you “immediately blame the dog because my husband is still at work.” Too funny.

  9. I’m laughing because it’s all so familiar, and it’s so much better to laugh than cry 🙂
    (I’m also kind of kidding… kind of… as I have a child pulling at me and another one trying to use the thermostat on the wall as footing for a climbing wall…)

  10. I love how true this is for almost every mom. I sometimes feel like “How did everything hit the fan in 10 minutes?!?! and how in the world am I going to make it through the rest of the day???”

  11. I totally relate, but since she is a newbie you shouldn’t scare her away. I would def. call a week later and secretly laugh to myself about the tone of complete horror in her voice as she says “everything is fine.”

    I wish somebody would’ve made me an instruction book when I decided to be a SAHM.

  12. We had a poop-in-the-pants episode today, too, but I was on our construction site rather than at the full-service house (thank you, Mom) next door. Fortunately, our home-to-be has a spigot outside, and I hosed the little guy down. No lost sheet cakes, though.
    (Today.)

  13. for the first 2 and a half years i was a stay at home mom. i got a job and i remember after the first week, i just couldn’t wait for monday, to go back to work…..for some peace and quiet…. hahaha

  14. I know you don’t want to hear it…I shouldn’t even say it…. But you know what I’m thinking is the main problem? The hairy barking creature.

  15. Bwahhahahah! SO TRUE!!!! But being a sahm is so EASY! We have time to do anything! Especially make important phone calls. LOVE IT! What HAS she gotten herself into?

  16. I know you have a jillion comments but I had to throw in my appreciation too! I was blog surfing (Don’t worry, I’m not oozing with free time — I work full-time and I am an all-day SAHM; the way you accomplish this? Graveyard shifts that let you be on the Internet most the night.) and I found you at http://sluiternation.com/recruits/. You are hilarious and I can’t wait to read more!!! I’m the newest face on your GFC box. I just started blogging a few months ago and because of people like you I am HOOKED. 🙂 So thanks!!!

  17. Why is it that every time I read your posts involving the bathroom in any way shape or form I am reduced to hysterical tears of laughter?? I love it. As always, thank you for sharing moments such as these.

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