GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV)- We know parenting is hard work, but there remains the debate — is it harder to be a working mom, a work-at-home mom, or a stay-at-home mom? We know there isn’t an easy answer, it just depends on the day! We asked some West Michigan moms to chronicle a typical day with their kids to show just how tough being a mom really is. Here is Sarah’s story…
Wake up call 6:30 a.m.- “Our late day”
Being a Mom is no easy task, I know each of us face challenges daily whether we are doing the parenting thing alone or with someone. Here is an excerpt from my day.
I managed to wake at the same time the boys did at 6:30 a.m., seeing how it’s Monday our “late” day, I will wait and see if I’d be able to sneak in a shower or if I’d go all day without one. Let the monitoring begin! My two boys are ages four and six; they are 27 months apart. I’d say they get along 25% of the time and are in competition for what seems 75% of the remainder of the time for toys, attention, snacks, movies, who is going to control the remote, use the bathroom first, etc.
My four-year-old began the negotiating right away “Mom can we go to the park today?” I reminded him that he wasn’t even dressed yet and we would have to wait and see if he was going to have listening ears on. (That seemed to work for a little while.) My six-year-old tuned in quickly to ask if he could go to. I responded, “you have school so maybe another day this week or this weekend.” From then on I lost count on how many times I reminded them to get dressed, sit and finish their breakfast and brush their teeth.
I lost count how many times I reminded the boys to get dressed, or sit and finish breakfast, or brush their teeth.
The interest of the morning was watching the new Avengers movie and playing cars. At one point I paused the movie to get their attention and remind them that we had to complete our morning routine. Mondays are the only day we have like this. The rest of the week is structured where I feel like a drill sergeant as I work outside of the home two days a week, and both boys attend school the other two days I am off.
At 8:30 a.m. we were finally out the door and on our way to dropping my first grader off to school. He pleasantly got out of the car and gave us the peace sign as he parted ways running off the playground. My youngest and I were off to have an adventure. He right away said, “Mom can we go to the park now?” I responded, “No, we have some things to do.” He did not like my answer. I used the reward system. I told him if he cooperates with me today that we would eventually go do something fun.
Running errands with a 4-year-old
We started off at a local gas station where he picked out a blue slushy. He did very well accepting ‘that was what he was what he was getting’ until his straw cracked and we had to go back in for a new one! Argh! Then suddenly he seemed to notice there was an entire store. I slowly came alongside him reminded him that I told him he was awarded a blue slushy and that was “the deal”. I side noted to the clerk, “I know why you don’t see many kids inside gas stations.” She giggled.
We stopped at an auto parts store where my son made friends and helped assist the clerk with putting in our daytime running light that was out. We had a great clerk, he gave my son a Reily’s hat he was thrilled! Our next stop was the phone store which was closed when we arrived. We sat down on a bench outside to wait and see if it was going to open at 10:00 a.m.as the sign read, and he sneaks into an open door in a side building! I’m loudly whispering his name and finally he pops out with a red ball… another prize. I tell him he does not go anywhere without telling me first!
Well the phone store never opened so I then asked him to get in the car. He decides to tell me he is not getting into the car unless the next stop is the park. (4-year-olds trying to run the show) I patiently tell him that I will give him two chances and then on the third I will assist him. He finally decided he should comply.
We proceeded to our second to last stop- the bank inside Walmart. He enjoyed a visit with the greeter, a cupcake and balloon at the Astera bank where the ladies were friendly to him, and Mom rewarded his good behavior with purchasing a drink and won him two prizes out of the claw machine out of the game room. (Being a mom requires many talents including claw machines!)
Instead of the park at this point he noticed the car wash across the street so we went and vacuumed out the car together and got it washed- he was a big helper. During our vacuum session my sister called and invited us over so instead of going to the park he was excited to go and visit her. By this time his energy was dwindling slightly. His focus was playing educational games on electronics and taking an energy break.
The never-ending chore list
I did manage to get the beds made this morning, however, I left dishes soaking in my sink, and am behind on laundry by probably three loads, grateful that the weather is changing and our warm weather clothes are clean. I am learning that it’s more important to be present in the moment than it is to be consumed with all these tasks that can overwhelm us. I also am starting to involve the boys in some of these tasks. It may not be perfect but it’s something we can do together and they are learning basic skills.
I did manage to get the beds made this morning, however, I left dishes soaking in my sink, and am behind on laundry by probably three loads. I am learning that it’s more important to be present in the moment than it is to be consumed with all these tasks that can overwhelm us.
Once that break was over he wanted to be busy again. I encouraged him to use his imagination. In a little while we are going to go play outside. His brother does not come home from school til 4:00 p.m. It’s hard for them when they are not in school and missing out on the structure that day provides. This summer my intention is to let them run the parks and sign them up for a sport.
Managing two young boys
I have two highly active boys and together they can be a lot to manage and monitor. My youngest spends a lot of his time mimicking my oldest behavior and generally the stuff you don’t want him too but he also brings out the comic relief to the situation. My oldest is diagnosed Autism Spectrum Disorder and comes home after a full day of structure to release what he couldn’t while he was in school, on Monday’s he participates in respite and goes on an outing after school, the rest of the week I try to find an activity after school for the boys just to help manage the behaviors and provide continued structure which sometimes is no easy task.
Dinner has become meals of convenience mainly because it’s easier to monitor the boys that way. I have started to involve them in meal prep, and am improving at meal selection and healthier choices. I will admit there are nights I let exhaustion lead the way and order a $5 pizza or their fave is burger king lately because they get a chocolate chip cookie, although recently they surprised me and started asking for subway.
Bed time varies between 7:00 p.m-8.00 p.m. we try to read a story and say our prayers and I rub backs and my youngest will ask a gazillion times when it will be morning time, my oldest will need drinks, my youngest will be starving, but somehow they finally fall asleep and we manage to start the next day over.
I spent my twenties career focused and self focused. I was not planning that children were coming along. Than came along my thirties and somehow I ended up married, divorced, and raising two boys. I find humor in that on some days. Parenting is no easy journey. I spend a portion of my time advocating for early childhood education and most recently my oldest qualified for special education services. As a parent we will wear many hats and there will be days that exhaustion will take it’s toll. As I said in the begin whether you’re doing this journey alone or with someone at the end of the day no matter what your day has brought you when you hear, “I love you Mom” it will make every moment worth it.
Editor’s note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of WOTV 4 Women, its staff and/or contributors to this site.