Weekend mother

After months of being a regular office grunt with a day job, I found myself with a few free days out of the office this week.

Today happened to coincide with my sitter’s day off and the next thing you know, it’s 10 and the kids aren’t dressed yet and Sage hasn’t eaten breakfast and the TV’s been on pretty much forever. Then it’s 11 and Sage is still refusing to eat, although Thalia tells me she’s now ready for “her second breakfast” which is apparently a frozen waffle. Then it’s noon and I realized that Thalia still had to eat lunch before getting to school at 12:20, and she’s hungry but she’s not and now Sage is hungry too but just wants Care Bear Snacks, whatever that means (thanks Nate).

Also I forgot the hair brushing.

I think it comes down to the fact that I am just not a great weekday mom.

You full time stay-at-home moms, you are my heroes. Because I cannot do it. Cannot. At times I wish I could, of course. I love the romantic notion of spending all day with my kids, planning nutritious meals, turning vaccuming into a fun family game, and creating a new macaroni necklace each day, or whatever the hell the 21st century version of that is. (Penne perhaps?) I can only imagine what it would be like to actually have clean floors and a sparkling bathtub and still have time to be that mom at school who plans the auctions and the fundraisers and knows exactly who is responsible for bringing the mylar balloons and who is bringing the latex ones.

I won’t ever be that mom. I won’t ever be that person. I can’t even get my kids fed in time for school on a regular old sunny Thursday. (Which..shit. I think I’m supposed to be picking her up now.) I love my work and I believe it keeps me balanced. Even when I seem unbalanced because of it.

Sorry Thalia and Sage – at some point I know you’ll wish I were “like the other moms.”

And then one day you’ll realize that instead, you got the mom who lets you watch the Wonderpets at 8PM because she feels guilty for working all day, once in a while gets you on TV or in a cool music video, allows way too many animals in the house because man you love them, and is willing to carry you the extra three blocks to Haagen-Dazs on the first warm spring weekend for double scoops of peanut butter and chocolate.

The weekend mom may not know a lot, but at least she knows that life’s too short to eat crappy ice cream.


63 thoughts on “Weekend mother”

  1. Learning the difference between good ice cream and bad ice cream is an incredibly valuable life skill.

    And I loved when my mom let me stay up late to watch tv.

    Oh right, she never did that.

    See how cool you are already?

  2. Oh, I laughed at this post. The secret is that even weekday moms have days just like that. What counts is that your children know you love them, and I’m sure yours absolutely do. Even when you forget to have them brush their teeth before bed or accidentally let them walk into school with their pants on backwards. (Strangely, when they’re five, they can’t feel that?)

    … also, I wish someone would walk *me* to Haagen-Dazs.

    ;D – Julia at Midwest Moms

  3. I am a stay at home Mom and while I’m thrilled to be anyone’s hero, I have to admit that my bathtub has never been described as “sparkly.”

    But I do know a thing or two about good ice cream. Just ask my hips.

  4. I actually admire working mums for fitting it all in, time with their kids,earning money,taking care of the home , finding time for hobbies.
    I could not do that.
    But then,we are homeschooling , so one ofus has to stay home with the little ones anyway.

    (what’s going to work?

    …we are tv free, you know?
    but NOONE can escape the wonderpets.

  5. I’m a full-time stay at home mom with a 2, 4, and 6 year old. Let me tell you that there’s nothing romantic here. Does bologna, cheese, chips, and apple count as nutritious? Vacuuming wasn’t a game it was a fight over whose turn it was. We never made a macaroni necklace either. As for clean floors and a sparkling bathtub. Ha-ha-ha. ROFL!

    Don’t try to be that other mom. Be your own type of mom. It doesn’t sound like your kids mind.

  6. Love it!

    Of course, I’d like to be *that* stay-at-home-mom, too! But sadly, my floors are far from sparkling (does spilled sugar count as sparkling?) and we have junk for lunch as often as anyone else. Alas…

    I send props to the working moms. I can’t imagine getting everyone up and ready in time for a normal work day.

    And hell yes, it’s important to have good ice cream on perfect, sunny days.

  7. I would completely love to be that mom too, but even though I’ve been home with my kids for almost 25 years (my youngest is 6), I have never met her.

    Give yourself a break. We all do the best we can.

  8. Oh wad some power the giftie gie us, to see oursel’s as others see us.

    You look like a pretty damn fine mom from over here. 🙂

  9. I’m a weekday Mom, and I’ll be honest…I have those types of days ALL the time. Sparkling floors? Vacuuming? Ha. HA. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    I’m JUST figuring out how to fit in grocery shopping with my kids, and they’re almost 4.

    Never mind what you feel your shortcomings may be, those girls will know just how much you adore every inch of them, and in the end, isn’t that what really matters?

  10. Working in and out of the home moms should all compare- what is the current state of
    1- your kids clothes today
    2- your bathrooms
    3- your refrigerator (contents)
    4- kid’s last meal
    5- date/time of last fun moment with kids

    We’d all probably fall somewhere short of perfect. If we were perfect we’d hate ourselves.

  11. I’ve gone through this myself. No sense beating yourself up about it. When you read the stats about how much children benefit from just have two loving parents, I find it takes the pressure off.

    Also, I like to make up < HREF="http://www.canadianfamily.ca/blog/familyjewels/guest-blogger/2009/03/24/childs-play/" REL="nofollow">effed up games, that are not really games<> but ways to make me feel like I’m actually parenting.

  12. I’m in the WAHM crew and it is nuts. I at least can promise my house is not sparkling, TV does exist and my meals aren’t nearly so perfect. I have come to accept that no combo is perfect and hardly any are as magical as they seem when being looked at from one of the other positions. Just trying to love where I am and am sure you are awesome at your parenting-mode too.

  13. For a long time, I desperately wanted to be a stay-at-home or at least work-from-home mom. Then my husband got a potential job offer. There was a whiff of possibility that I could stay at home while he went to work full time. My reaction? Panic. Pure panic.

    That’s when I realize I actually love my weekend mom status.

  14. That weekday mom you mention? I’m home and I’d never want to be her! Macaroni crafts? They give me the heebie jeebies. And, since I now pay someone else to vacuum my floors, you can be assured that it was never all that much fun to do in the first place.

    It seems ironic but I homeschool so that I can BE like you describe—in PJ’s until 10, breakfast at 10:30, lunch at 2, school worked into the day as it goes along. The only difference is that once the weekend comes, I’m dying to get out alone for a while.

    I think this just goes to show that there are a zillion ways to be a mom. And eating bad ice cream is a terrible way to live.

  15. This is a great post. I’m glad I’m not the only one that feels that way. Thank you for sharing!

  16. I like to know what SAHMs you been hanging around with, because I don’t know anyone like that. Hell, my bathtub doesn’t sparkle, but that maybe because everytime I bend over these days I get a kick to the ribs. And hell yeah, I would walk the extra blocks for some good ice cream and drag the kids with me. Mamma needs ice cream!

  17. I AM a stay at home mom and I’m still not “that mom.”

    I actually think if I had a job I could be a waaaaay better mother.

    Dang it, this dumb economy is holding me back.

  18. Liz,

    I’m a stay at home mom and my apartment is often a wreck, and my bathtub has never been described as sparkly.


  19. Liz, by now you’ve heard from plenty-o-SAHMs that your fantasy is sweet yet unfounded. The only difference in your described day is that it happens to me 7 days a week instead of 2. Oh, and I know where the Care Bear snacks are kept.

  20. There’s a SAHM at school that goes into the classroom once a week, does crafts constantly with her kids and with the class, bakes a ton, runs, is gorgeous and always looks perfect, and her house? Immaculate and full of pictures that clearly show how much she loves her kids. When I first met her, I thought omg I will never measure up – yes, I work from home, sometimes 12 hours a day, and I do manage to keep some semblance of order and nutrition around here. Now that I’ve gotten to know her, I realized she doesn’t always look perfect and her house gets messy just like mine.
    My point was something about not judging the SAHMS and WAHMS and work-out-of-the-home-moms (WOOTHM?) because at the end of the day, we all have those guilty feelings and let our kids stay up late or eat ice cream with us while watching Hell’s Kitchen…oh shit HK is on NOW! BYE!
    Sorry for the novel but I really related to this one sugar!

  21. This perfect mom you describe, is my sister. It pisses me off. Her bathtub is always sparkly, she does crafts with her kids, and volunteers almost every day at their school.

    I’m jealous. But I could never pull it off. I’m about as crafty as a left handed monkey. =)

  22. Thank you Jenny for speaking the truth – there are moms like this out there! I’ve seen them. I know them. Do I <>really<> want to be them? Of course not. Because I get more joy out of waking up late with my kid on my chest than waking up with a sparkly tub.

    But God, I love that none of the readers of this blog are like that.

    Then again, those moms are far too busy actually paying attention to their children to read Mom-101, right?

  23. I stay home and your romantic notion is so much better than my reality. I agree, that I admire the working moms for all you do. I think the both types of moms often envy and admire the others, don’t you think? No one ever told any of us how hard being any kind of Mom really is, and we wouldn’t have believed them anyway.

  24. I, too, dream of sparkling floors and children, meals made from scratch, and coming up with creative art projects all day long. I’m a SAHM/part-time WAHM, and I can’t manage to make it happen either! My four-year-old recently caught me folding socks and watching tv at the same time and exclaimed, “Wow! You must be supermom!” Nothing like low expectations based on past job performance, lol!

  25. Boy and I with you! These days I get to leave early on Fridays and I’ve been taking Rowan to a drama class. I find myself totally out of my element with all the other moms – and I mostly end up talking with them about their husband’s jobs. I hardly know what to do with myself. Luckily, the class is offered in the back room of a bar… so I medicate with beer… which makes me…. well, I’m not sure what kind of mom that makes me.

  26. This weekday mom sometimes fantisizes about being a working mom again and having the ability to take a pee break on a whim and not have a 3 year old on the other side of the door banging and yellin “Mommy…you in there?”

  27. When I was around 6 I decided my mother shouldn’t work at her university and instead should be a stay at home mom. I whined, I cried, I yelled, “Why can’t you be here every day when I get home from school so I can have homemade Kool-aide?”

    She looked into my sad little eyes and thought, “Let’s try.” So she told her chairman she would be taking a week off.

    By the end of the week I was whining, crying and yelling, “I make better Kool-aide than you ever will, go back to work where you belong!”

    And she did.

    And we were all happy.

    The End.

  28. I work three days and am home with my two kids two days a week. I just recently realized that the past three years since my oldest was born, I’ve become extremely rigid about our stupid routine. Well, I didn’t think it was stupid until between the two of them napping turned into an all day occurrence. Now I just want to be a rebel and say “to hell with naps! To hell with toothbrushing! Let’s just walk to Dairy Queen!”

  29. Fabulous post! I work full-time, and from time to time have a day off. I am always far more exausted at the end of a day caring for my son than I am after a workday.

  30. I’m a weekday mom and my house is still a mess and my kids eat cereal for breakfast more than I’d care to admit. Life is hard!

  31. I have always felt there are women who thrive as working moms. I wouldn’t be able to do what you do. I just couldn’t. Not for altruistic reasons but because I just can’t. I pray I never have to get a full-time job while my kids are younger. I would lose my mind. So I respect and admire what you do. Thanks for the nod to the SAHM’s too even though I’m not like the one you describe. It ain’t all puppies and rainbows here! But I do love what I do.

  32. Bwahahaha! Haha! Sparkling tubs, cleanness in general! HahahaHA! *wipes tear from eye* Heh…my house is a MESS. And to help along in debunking the SAHM is easy and fun and you have lots of time myth…I just had to clean up my 4yo’s poop accident where he got poop on his hands, his legs, his face (EW! I KNOW!), his shoes, the floor…yeah…you get the picture. All while cleaning this mess up, my 2yo is trying to get a piggy back ride from me because hello, I’m kneeling on the floor, what ELSE does that mean? And my 7mo woke up needing to nurse and needing a diaper change in the middle of it.

    I highly recommend reading the book “I Was A Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids” whenever you feel this way. It’ll help. Trust me.

  33. @PSUmommy (and others) to be clear I do not in any way shape or form think that moms who stay home have it easy! In fact, the opposite. I just kind of wish that like Lucinda up there, that I felt that staying home all day was my calling. It’s not.

  34. HAHAHAHA, I WISH I was that kind of Stay at Home Mom. My floors are never sparkling, and I just posted a wonderful story on my blog admitting that *gasp* I feed my son junk food. And I never seem to find the time to do fun little crafty things with him… Although, I don’t think I want to… he’s a little tazmanian devil, and would probably end up glueing the pasta to his brother or sticking pipe cleaners through the walls…

    You gotta be who you are, cuz if you’re not doing what’s best for you, you won’t be able to do whats best for your babies! Personally I admire the moms who can manage to be away from their kids and house for 40+ hours a week and still keep it all together! Go on with your bad self!

  35. I am a WAHM, and sometimes I feel I am failing at the -AHM part.

    My tub is not sparkly. I really should shut off my computer and go clean the damn thing. It’s getting gross.

    I have never made a penne necklace. I have time to do it. My poor child and her penne-less neck.

    I’m glad to be home with my kids, but it hasn’t changed every thing about who I am. I wish I could be that crafty, cleaning woman, but I’m just not.

  36. There is no excuse for bad ice cream.

    I fight with this one on a daily basis. I am home now, but wasn’t the first oh six years of my parenting life. A year and a half later, I’m not positive that I’m cut out for it.

    Shit woman, necklaces made out of food are only done at school….or at least that is my theory.

  37. Oh, there are days that I wish I was that mom too. I love being the working mom who has energy to be fun and do crazy thing. I’m lucky enough to have a job that can flex so I can do the volunteer stuff a little bit too. Honestly, I get more done when I’m at work all the time, don’t know how, but I do.

  38. Mmm. Ice cream.

    No one is as hard of a critic of you as you are. Your kids love you, and don’t have any problem with you. There are so many different kinds of moms out there, so many different wonderful kinds of moms.

  39. What I think is starting to happen is that women are starting to <>get<> that whatever kind of mom you are is the right kind of mom to be. We gave this lip service before, but maybe now we’re finally starting to believe it. I bet this is due in part to the advent of blogging and the voices of women who have chosen to write honestly about their experience as mothers – to move beyond the sugar-coated acceptable version to something more authentic.

    In the end, our children will love us not for being perfect, but for being real.

    p.s. I’m still in my PJs and so are my kids and the TV is on and I’m thinking ice-cream is a great idea…

  40. I am suspicious of the mommy who can keep her floors clean, keep track of the balloons, brush her children’s hair and her own. The best mommies are the ones who know their talents—and their limits!

  41. <>I can only imagine what it would be like to actually have clean floors and a sparkling bathtub…<>I don’t know what SAHMs you’re hanging out with, but if those types really exist please punch them in the throat for me. Thanks.

  42. I’m so late to this post – but had to say how much I loved it because I am also so NOT “that Mom” either. I also think I could never do it, and am impressed by those stay-at-home Mom’s who make it work. I’d go mental.

  43. I am not tough enough to stay at home full time. Work is stressful, but more relaxing than chasing after two little boys, as much as I adore them!

  44. I like how you assume my floors are clean and my bathtub sparkles.


    On the internet, no one can see your piles of unfinished laundry. (Unless you post photos of them to your blog, of course.)

  45. I was a full time mom for 6 months when we moved cities I quit my job. I feel the exact same way you do – I am not cut out to spend all day at home. I am a much better mother in small doses!

  46. I love this post.

    I’ve always said that if I stayed at home, my kids and I would spend every day staring at each other saying “What do you want to do?” “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” And then we’d go to Target.

  47. Fantastic post and fantastic comments. Finally, a down-to-earth, how-it-really-is (except for the sparkling tubs part) post that didn’t draw ire from mothers on all sides, if there are “sides.”

    I’ve been a SAHM and a WAHM and, like everyone here, I’m just doing the best I can. There’s no one way to parent, and the grass is sometimes greener until you get a good look close-up and all.

    Most moms tell me the same. Nicely done and nicely commented upon, everyone.

    Jen Singer

  48. Stay at home moms don’t do all those things you think stay at home moms do… at least I don’t.

    Vacuume? Ha! as if. Nothing here sparkles. I’m too busy handing out goldfish crackers and markers and picking up pokemon cards and thomas track to scrub stuff. Stuff gets scrubbed, when it gets scrubbed at all, on the weekends when Hubs is home to watch the kids.

    Of course, it’s possible I’m deeply inept.

    Great post, btw.

  49. Love this, you speak for many. I am already feeling less guilty about this past weekend and going on the beach trip (with a girlfriend while Daddy stayed home with the kids) my husband gave to me as a suprise for the 3 1/2 past years of being either pregnant or taking care of a toddler (or both) while working and him traveling 50% of the time.

    Came back to a freezer with only chicken nuggets and fish sticks when I got back and just haven’t had the energy (or desire) to get back into the swing of things and make the grocery run.

    Do you think if I alternate for meals until Saturday it will be enough “variety”?

  50. Don’t give us STAH Moms that much credit. I work PT from home and feel like I have those days everyday! Too much TV…not enough crafts…too much rushing around to get them to nap so that you can get some work done…and not enough real home cooking. Love those frozen waffles. Cleaing the tub not so much.

  51. Thank you for writing this. I’ve been struggling with this same feeling lately and feeling very guilty for it. It’s nice to know there are others out there that feel the same.

  52. Sorry…to me “easy” means “has more time on ones hands to do things such as clean. Or shower. Or eat.” So, um, that also means that my previous comment is redundant. Can I use the I-haven’t-gotten-3-hours-of-sleep-straight-in-a-year card here? Cool. That’s what I’ll do then.

  53. Yeah–“romantic” isn’t really an aspect of the weekday SAHM. Or at least not for me. Having a nanny a few hours a day? So this mommy can have a date with a private oasis on which she can frolic nude as she gulps non-alcoholic champagne? That’s much, much closer to romantic.

  54. I am a stay at home mom for the moment, and will never be one of THOSE MOMs. But hopefully, just like you, I’ll be the frazzled yet kooky outside-the-box mom, who my son will not be too disappointed he ended up with.

  55. I just kind of stumbled upon your blog and I love it! Totally agree, I am a weekend mom too and couldn’t have it any other way.

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