I sit here, finally, after hours and hours of nonstop “things” to do. “Activities!” Is the general exclamation that has been going through my head as I gallop through the day. What can I do next that will entertain, enrich, and productively make use of my children’s days? Between feeding them, changing their diapers, and making my own bathroom trips, there is little room for relaxation. I have this really bad habit where sometimes I sit myself down on the couch and check the happenings on my phone for a desperate chance to unwind, yet I find myself bored and restless, and feeling guilty that I am preoccupied with my phone in the presence of my children.
Last night at 10pm, I happily prepared some homemade evaporated milk/food dye paints for my young 2 year old to have a try at for the first time this morning. Then, the first chance this morning after morning milk and snacks, I prepared the half of the table that Eva was to paint on. I taped overlapping pieces of newspaper to themselves and to the table, then taped the large rectangular white paper over the newspaper, taped some foil down next to it to catch drops of paint that would surely drip from the brush between the styrofoam egg carton paint holder and the paper. I put double stick tape under the egg carton to keep it grounded to the foil, and snapped a picture of the awesomely prepared painting set up. I was proud, but more excited to see it in action. To my dismay, when I pushed Eva up to the table in her highchair, I realized that I had taped everything about 2 inches too far away from her. Enter: several minutes of ripping up tape, newspaper along with it, reassigning tape on the corners, foil bits, and all- to stabilize it closer to the edge. Ah, motherhood. If at first you don’t succeed, have some icing on your cake and do a little extra work.
Painting was so awesome, by the way. Eva made a pink and purple masterpiece. I showed her how to “dip it” and “brush” the paper, directed her to color all the white areas, and blotted up excess liquid. With a tiny bit of my help, she created a masterpiece! I’ll definitely be framing it in the near future! For now it hangs proudly on our kitchen/dining room wall. I am so proud of her and her creation. It would make me so happy to raise daughters who can express themselves beautifully through art, in whatever medium they most enjoy.
Directly following painting came crayon time with both my 1 and 2 year old. My younger one was a little fussy and I think she felt left out, so as soon as Eva was done, I rushed to put her painting out of reach, ripped up all the newspaper in a hurry, taped down their coloring pages, and busted out all the crayons. Not quite sure my youngest is ready for painting, so I wanted to give her the creative outlet of “coloring” so she felt more included. After over a half an hour of craft time, I was ready for a break. And this was before the more thorough clean up and “almost-disaster” where Eva reached up on the counter and almost grabbed and spilled the food dye paints everywhere! The 5 second heart attack I got from that was a nice afterthought of art time. A careless placement of those paints too close to the counter edge could have cost me so much. But this time, I got lucky.
What I have described so far was a matter of minutes of my day with my two daughters Eva and Lena. Our evening grocery trip for a few basics was another very tiring hour. Both of these art and shopping events were interesting undertakings, and there were countless other wakeful and extremely busy hours that demanded my mental and physical energy. I changed about 5 poops, I hurt my back lifting both girls at once, and made the annoying mistake of dumping out some collected rainwater on my back patio at the start of our evening backyard time, which Lena decided would be fun to sit in and crawl all over. “How could I be so careless to dump that water out right there on the concrete?” I asked myself several times when I was trying to get some fresh air and “relax.” All I could think about was my mistake and how I would later go about cleaning her up since I had already made the executive decision that it was too late, I was too tired, and the girls weren’t dirty enough for baths tonight. When does it get easier? I wonder. And then I am reminded by the little baby kicks inside my belly that his journey hasn’t even really begun yet.
I could go on… I could write double or triple the amount I have written thus far, just on the “activities,” struggles, and triumphs of my day- just ONE day of my stay at home mom life! And despite the rewarding, exhausting, productive happenings of my day, I feel mentally wound up, defeated by my unfolded laundry, and somehow a little bit bored and yearning for my own version of fun. I don’t even know what that means to me anymore. Why is it that despite all my efforts, I am left feeling slightly bothered? My bed time has come, and I am glad to rest, but my calling will resume on the flip side and I won’t even get the chance to ponder it all for many, many more hours.
Motherhood called- you forgot to take a shower today.