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Brainless stay-at-home-Moms?!

Stay at home with my kids, I said.
It will be awesome, I said.
What greater job in the world can there be? I said.

BOY am I eating my words today.

I love my girls - more than what is actually healthy I think - but when you have had three hours of disrupted sleep and had such a productive day planned... I do wish I had a day job I could escape to.

I remember being a teacher and having a 'free period' where I would prepare a lesson, clean my classroom, mark some books... given that now, I would sleep. We also had two breaks during the day. These were for tea and lunch. I would actually use those breaks to drink some tea, (hot tea, not luke-warm, tepid tea, in a mug lifted high above my head so that my baby doesn't grab it after I have fetched it from the coffee table on the other side of the room where it was put so that my toddler doesn't bump it over!) and I would eat some lunch. Yes, it is almost 3pm and I have not yet had lunch. What would I do without mom's group and the mountain of popcorn I ate while pushing toddler on a swing this morning?

And as for the holidays.... Sigh. 

So today I do kinda wish I was teaching, but only for the free periods and the tea breaks. In part, and putting finances aside, I understand how being away from home for a few hours may make you a better mother. 

The escape. 

I have been so tired, having a teething baby and a whingy toddler for the last five days, that I have not even been for a run this week (day five, and counting.)

But I need to sound less ungrateful.

Being at home with the kids comes with far better perks than teaching ever did. Right now my kids also need a Mom a lot more than your kids need me to be a teacher. 

If I had been at school today, (Grumpy toddler, teething baby, no sleep etc...) your child would have suffered, I think. Hate to admit it, and total respect to my colleagues who have gone back to work with small children at home, but you can make the best of a bad situation if you are not forced to be in a classroom moulding young minds, and distract a grumpy toddler with treats.  

My toddler and I danced around the room to the soulful tunes of Baloo in the Jungle Book today. The digitally remastered DVD has just been released. I remember so clearly watching it with my grandparents, when I was a whole lot younger, and it was very soon one of my favourite movies. Like I have said before, it's about making moments.

When toddler decided it was time for a sleep, (yes, she decided for herself!! Progress perhaps??) I had two quality hours playing with baba. She is getting cuter by the day and I really feel blessed to spend time one on one with her that isn't just feeding.

So what started off as a shitty day: tired, lazy, late and grumpy; has progressed quite nicely into a fairly pleasant one. I also got some great work done in the garden and chatted to our roofing guy about some ideas to make the replacing of the roof a little less costly to hubby. And I started writings blog post and read the notes on my next novel. 

If I was still a teacher, I would be at home now, (its 4pm,) with a pile of books to mark that would keep me up tonight and maybe busy this weekend. It's trial exam time, so I may even have had a pile of exam papers to mark or moderate and that would be a long, hard slog.

Teaching is an enormously selfless profession. Which is a lot like motherhood. Teaching is also exhausting and rewarding at the same time. They say, a moment with a good teacher can give you hope for the entire future. This, I believe to be 100% true. But the role of the mother has been documented for centuries as the most important bond a child can develop. Not to decry teachers, but Mom trumps teacher every time. 

And you know what? In ten years' time, the kids who's exam paper I had sacrificed a weekend marking and grading, will think back and say, "Who was my teacher for English in Matric, again?" Or maybe, "Who was that crazy chick who tried to make us like Shakespeare?" That would be me.

At least the kids who are keeping me exhausted and depleted and busy and up all night will remember who I am in ten year's time. And for that, I am truly grateful. 

However, today someone said something that irked me and fanned my liberal flame to inferno status: "It must be awful staying at home letting your brain go to waste. You must miss teaching." Readers, this comment came from a woman not a man. Infuriating, right? Firstly, the statement is flawed because it assumes that if you're a teacher, you are automatically using your marbles all day, which is unfortunately not always true. But, it implies that I do nothing but play all day, (Sod off, woman, I've just published a book!) It implies I watch moronic television all day, (Sod off, woman, I read two books a week!) It implies I have no opinions of worth, (Sod off, woman, have you read my blog?) 

I would expect that sort of ignorant, short-sighted, condescending statement from a woman who has opted to have career instead of a family. Or from a man who has long forgotten what it was like to have little children. But from a fellow mother! Oh sodrightoff. 

Moms need to be smart: Do you know how many questions an almost-three-year-old asks in one day? Moms need to stay on their toes, because you need to be in three places at once: following baby, playing with toddler and trying not to pee in your pants. Moms need to read a newspaper or a book and contribute to conversation on a meaningful level with their husbands. Moms need to run a house in an ever increasingly expensive world on an ever increasingly restricted budget. Moms need to have their brains switched on and in high gears all day long. That's if they want to be good moms, that is. It's a 24/7, 52 weeks a year job. And you don't ever get to retire. 

Teachers, well, they get breaks and free periods. And of course, the holidays. 






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