I have weekday mommy guilt all worked out. The Hero and I have wourked out a morning routine, I have started cooking for Chotu and I have set expectations at office so that I get about 3 hours of very quality time with Chotu each morning. I also come home in time to play with him for a little while and then snuggle and tell stories with the lights out. This system works (frantically knocks on wood). What I haven’t worked out yet, however, is weekend guilt. Hoo boy! That is some guilt.

Take a look at what’s on the ol’ todo list on weekends:

  • Grocery shopping
  • Vegetable shopping
  • Deep cleaning
  • Laundry
  • Tracking down the ironing guy
  • Miscellaneous tasks ranging from getting the water tank cleaned to heading to the RTO because our car loan’s paid up
  • Exercise
  • And so on…

However, Chotu tops the list and we end up postponing most chores until his nap time or until after he sleeps. That’s a terrible strategy because the only couple time we get is on weekends after Chotu sleeps. However, there are so many listicles out there telling you you’re never going to regret the state of your closet when you die* that you end up sorta, kinda, maybe believing them a little and feeling guilty you’re not out doing more awesome things.

Someone has to do it so I’m going to call bullshit. Sure, it’s possibly overkill to organize spoons by size when you have a toddler in the house (or even otherwise) but there is a bare minimum that has to be done, no? So we do the best we can.

Some of my friends do fit in their chores during nap times or they work out some sort of childcare/timeshare agreement with their spouses. Another friend occasionally drops off her child at daycare for a couple of hours. Some end up becoming supermoms who multi-task even more during the week and keep their weekends free. It’s madness!

Why do we go to such lengths to keep our kids away from the grocery shopping and ironing and tidying up? I don’t just mean taking them along to the store and teaching them (or bribing them) to behave. I mean engaging them in the tasks we are doing. Do you do that? That has got to be the only solution to this weekend scheduling guilt problem, right?

How much do you teach your kids about cleaning up and putting away clothes and buying vegetables and that sort of thing? Do you count that as quality time spent with your child? How old do you think a kid needs to be before they can put away their toys once they’re done? What do you do about the unending stream of housework?

* Conveniently overlooking the fact that you do care all those years you’re alive


Introversion and stay-home parenting

 Picked for the week of 24th March 🙂

I’ve always known I’m not really stay-home mom material and this vacation is just reinforcing that. Let’s pretend I put in all the standard disclaimers about loving my baby, etc, etc and get to the juicy stuff, shall we?

Staying home with a curious toddler all day is the equivalent of having a conversation that never, ever ends. Or even pauses for breath and a snack. Here’s a sample conversation when we were reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar for the 763,897th time*:

Source: Wikipedia

Chotu: Where is the caterpillar?
Amma: The caterpillar became a butterfly
C: How?
A: It made itself a little house and turned into a butterfly
C: Why a butterfly?
A: That’s what happens when a caterpillar grows up… Babies become boys and girls then men and women. Caterpillars become butterflies.
C: Who makes caterpillars?
A: A caterpillar comes from the egg
C: (thankfully doesn’t mention where eggs come from) Who makes the butterfly?
A: God makes the butterfly**.
C: What does God make?
A: God makes everyone. People, butterflies, doggies, cats, everything
C: Who makes steam engines?
A: Erm, people make steam engines
C: Why? Why not God? What if God? (totally lacking the vocabulary to express himself but making do with emotion)

Two thoughts that keep going through my head: How amazing is it that this little person can learn so much without getting exhausted? There should be some sort of cheat sheet to answering these questions. How am I even qualified to be answering these questions?

I’m completely exhausted by the time Chotu lunches and settles for a nap. I need to watch 4 episodes of 2 Broke Girls back to back before I can even get to Seinfeld. And then I need a few episodes of Seinfeld before I can function again and get a few chores done. By the time I’m done with my chores and ready to really relax, Chotu is up and it begins all over again. Introverts are not wired for such levels of intensive conversation with anyone. Even my lunches with friends end in shopping, silence, and small talk after an hour or two of extreme conversation.

So what does this mean? Am I a bad mother because I don’t have what it takes to spend 8-10 hours alone with my son each day while his dad is in office? That’s what everyone would have you believe but let’s be honest. We all know how much real work happens in an office.

How can a parent be expected to do so much more uncomplainingly? Not only does a stay-home mom have to be present for her child(ren) the entire day, there are other things to be done. Laundry, cooking, general tidying up, other chores, you know, the entire logistics of living don’t come to a standstill just because you have kids. Anyhow, I digress. That’s a different soapbox altogether.

The point I’m trying to make is that… I don’t know what point I’m trying to make. No, wait. Here it is. There’s nothing wrong with being a mother who needs a break from her kid(s) during the day. Not being able to do it all alone is not a sign of bad parenting. It’s a sign of honest parenting. We all have very finite resources and… No, that might not be the lesson. It remember it was something catchier.

Let me try again. Parents need to support each other the way The Goddess and her Hero do. The Hero makes sure I get some down time when I need it and last weekend I handled everything but Chotu-care. All men should learn from The Hero… No, that’s not it either.

This is the lesson: kids need school and play-groups. Only qualified professionals and other tiny human beings can keep toddlers occupied without going insane. Now I remember, this is the lesson:

A pox on all viral infections**!

If you’d like to read another introvert-mom’s perspective read the last post by noob mommy.

* The Hero prefers to take the genes activating approach. Peh, geek!
** We’re keeping Chotu away from school as a preventive measure because a particularly nasty viral seems to be going around there