I consider myself lucky. Between my fourteen week maternity leave and teacher's schedule I spent almost six months at home with Baby C, while receiving a paycheck and benefits all the while. As a part-time Stay at Home Mom, I have a perfect balance between my family and my career, a difficult balance to strike for many women.
Now that summer is here, I have two and a half months to enjoy time at home with Baby. I sleep an extra half hour every morning. No longer do our mornings resemble a three ring circus gone haywire. I am able to eat breakfast with C at our kitchen table, rather than scarf an English muffin in the car, desperately trying to avoid spilling jam on my work clothes. I watch Baby C learn new things every day. Last week, she learned to snap her fingers. Yesterday, she said our puppy's name. We spend our days playing and taking walks. In the evening, I have time to make a fresh, nutritious dinner, rather than microwave a depressing plate of three day old lasagna. I do not need to prepare lunch for the next workday, or make a million bottles for Baby to bring to Nana's house. My house never looked cleaner. Our refrigerator is stocked. I am home. I am lucky.
But sometimes, I get an itch. An I-Am-Not-Busy-Enough itch. Sometimes, while watching Baby C play with blocks for hours on end, I wonder "Isn't she bored of blocks? Because I am." Sometimes, I concoct pointless errands as an excuse to leave the house. "Husband's one shirt looks a little bit wrinkled in back! Quick, to the dry cleaner!" While walking through our neighborhood, I hope to run into other Stay at Home Moms and make friends, but the streets and sidewalks are empty. Then I remember, most people are working.
When I feel desperate for adult interaction, I reach out to my Stay at Home Mom friends who live in nearby towns. Most of my Stay at Home Mom friends schedule so many activities into their weeks (baby yoga classes, swimming lessons, baby sign language, and on and on), they do not have time for a casual lunch or walk. Last night, I asked one of my Stay at Home Mom friends if she wanted to meet on Friday. Her response, "We have so many classes, how about July 27th?" I am serious. I suspect the over-scheduled baby is due to Stay at Home Moms' need for adult contact, rather than to truly enrich their baby's development. At least Baby C and I have swim lessons beginning in August.
I expect the beginning of the school year will bring feelings of depression and a longing for more time at home. However, I also know I need to work. I crave time with adults, away from all things baby, just for part of the day. I am not ungrateful for my time at home. I am not a bad mother. I love spending time with my daughter. But, this stint as a Stay at Home Mom makes me realize I could not do this all day, every day. I hugely respect moms that can. As for me, I am just a Part-Time Stay at Home Mom.