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I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.

Embrace

changing diapersLike a bad dream that was never going to end — that’s how sometimes I viewed my life.  An endless stream of diapers that needed to be changed, sheets that needed to be washed, toys that needed to be put away, messes that needed to be cleaned up, meals that needed to be cooked, and the ever present cry, “Mom!  Mom!”

I usually felt most like this after a foray in the world of adults.  You know what I mean — a social event where the women had neatly coifed hair and clothes without a hint of spit-up stain.  Their nails were manicured and their sentences were complete.

“And what do you do?” they would ask me, through lip-sticked lips, whitened teeth smiling beautifully back at me.

It was a stumping question.  Do I tell them that I clean little bums and change diapers? That I wipe dirty noses? That I hold sticky hands while crossing the street? Do I try to gross them out with the variety of bodily fluids that I deal with on a daily hourly basis?

“I’m a stay-at-home mom,” I answer, trying to smile just as sweetly, but suddenly acutely aware of the fact that I may not have taken the time to put earrings in (children rip them out) and that the naked little holes in my ear shout that fact to the world.

Stay-at-home mothers generally get two responses to that statement —

1.  “Oh, you are so lucky!  I wish we could afford that!”  I always want to respond to this that we can’t afford it either.  Our car has 140,000 miles on it.  I buy a lot of our clothes from thrift stores.  We’ve done without things like cable television and cell phones, and now have only the most basic plans for both.  We rarely go out to restaurants, even fast food.  We take no government assistance and live within our means.  I have baked cookies and sold Tupperware to supplement our family income.  Lucky that we can afford this?  I just smile, perhaps not sweetly, when people say that.

2.  “You must be a saint!  I don’t think I could stand to be around my children all day!”  Quite frankly, I don’t even want to comment on that.  I’m not a saint, but I love spending time with my children.

jailThere were days that I felt that my home was also my prison.  I was trapped, trapped, trapped.  Even the deck, where I could sit for a breath of fresh air, gave the illusion of prison bars.

Usually my reveries into this line of thinking are interrupted by a little voice.  No, not God’s voice — a real little voice, accompanied by a real little hand, and a real little picture that has been colored just for me, or a real little request to read The Giving Tree or The Little Engine That Could one more time.  A real little smile through lips that have no lipstick, revealing teeth that haven’t been whitened, and indeed may need to be brushed.

And I wake myself from the reverie, and tell myself, “If this is prison, I hope I have a life sentence.”

I choose not to escape, but to embrace this wonderful, wild journey in motherhood.

************

Thanks to today’s Daily Prompt: Escape! — Describe your ultimate escape plan (and tell us what you’re escaping from)

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8 comments on “Embrace

  1. JD
    April 3, 2013

    I’m also a SAHM, so I know exactly what you mean. Beautiful said!

  2. catterel
    April 3, 2013

    Domestic CEO or Side-tracked Home Executive (SHE) – I used to get annoyed when people asked me if my daughter worked. My answer was: No, she just has a husband, 3 kids, a couple of dogs and cats and a pony, a large house and garden … she doesn’t have time to work :-D. I know she made the best choice, and my grandchildren are proof!

  3. jane arie baldwin
    April 3, 2013

    Thank you for sharing this post. My daughter is 9 now and when I send her off to school in the a.m. I can get a little melancholy thinking about getting frustrated with her when she was little. Your story reminded me how freaking HARD it is to be the mother of a toddler. Truly the toughest job you will ever love. And then, just like that – it’s over and you start to get time that is your own back.

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This entry was posted on April 3, 2013 by in Miscellaneous conversations, Postaday 2013 and tagged , , , , , , .

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