Monday, February 29, 2016

We Are Tired Too!

There was a Facebook post that was going viral earlier in the month where a father was paying tribute to his fiancé, who was a stay at home mom for their young son.  If you haven't seen it, you can read it over on  I was a little bothered when I read it.  I almost felt the same way I do when I read the military spouse advice posts... left out.

Now, I need to preface this by saying that by no means am I downplaying the amount of work that stay at home moms do in a day.  I do consider that to be a full time job in itself and have a lot of respect for those who decide to stay home.

I am a researcher.  Whenever I am faced with something I read everything, positive and negative, that I can find.  As a military spouse, I am always on the lookout for advice and ideas on how to handle the craziness that is the military.  As a National Guard family, I frequently feel like the military spouse advice I see doesn't apply to me.  We are more than an hour away from my husband's home base, and really any other base for that matter.  Marshall is the only military kid in his school and in our immediate neighborhood.  The only time they do any type of dependent meetings like the Family Readiness Group (FRG) is when the unit is deployed... not for drill weekends or annual training.  Freddy's last annual training was 4 weeks and he has another 3 week training scheduled for August.  It is difficult to find the kind of support that you read about in many of the military spouse advice posts.

Back to that viral post about the stay at home mom.  I seem to be seeing more and more of these posts and articles about stay at home moms and everything they do.  I am a working mom and all I can say is that I'm freaking exhausted too.

All.  The.  Time.

I'm up by 6:30am every morning so that I can be out the door by 7:00am to catch my 7:26am train into the city.  This allows me to get into the office by 8:45am.  When Freddy is home, he takes Marshall to school so I can get out of the house early.  When Freddy is gone, I have to get up by 5:30am to get myself and Marshall's stuff together before we have to start the morning process to get him ready and out the door for school.

My job, more often than not, is very mentally taxing.  It is usually filled with meetings and fire drills on top of my normal day to day tasks.  If I get one thing done during the day I call it a good day.

I then have to leave the office by 3:45pm in order to pick Marshall up from school by 5:30pm.  Freddy doesn't get home from his job until almost 6:30pm.  So, when I get home I have to get Marshall settled, get the cats fed (one who now requires an insulin shot after his dinner), and get dinner started.  We usually don't eat until almost 7:00pm so Marshall's bedtime process usually starts around 8:00pm.  I've gotten flack from other mom's, teachers, his pediatrician, that we start this process too late and that he goes to bed too late.  Well, when you don't get home until after 6:00 during the week, you try and make the schedule work as best as you can.  Freddy will generally take care of bath and bedtime so I can get my gym class or a run in during the evening hours.  Yes, that means that I'm at my gym or running the neighborhood after 8:30pm.  Many nights I come home and get online for a couple hours to try and get some of the work done that I wasn't able to get done during the day.  I try not to work while Marshall is awake unless I absolutely have to so that his only memory of Mommy doesn't involve her work laptop.  He does know that the small iPhone is Mommy's work phone.

When Marshall (or a cat) is sick, has a doctor's appointment, has a school event, or his school is closed for one of the 20ish holidays our school district recognizes, I either have to take the day off or try to work from home.  If you have ever tried to do anything with a 5 year old running around you know what I'm talking about.  In most cases I will just take the day off, but my work doesn't stop.  When I have to take a day off, it usually means I'm checking my phone throughout the day to try and keep up with my emails.  Sometimes that means trying to get as much as I can done before he wakes up for the day or taking a conference call at work.

My weekends are spent trying to get some housework and laundry done.  It gets frustrating when we have obligations multiple weekends in a row because then I cannot get some of my household items done.  Freddy works on Saturday mornings, which means I'm on my own for swimming class at 10:30am.  I am not ashamed to say that I still have some of my Christmas decor out because I just have not had 5 minutes to put the rest of it away!  I've been known to take a day off work just to try and get some cleaning and organizing done around the house.  Sometimes that day is spent cleaning and sometimes that day is spent sleeping.  I am seriously, and without any shame, considering hiring someone to take care of the lawn later this year when Freddy deploys rather then working about when I'm going to have time to mow.  It is all about the balance!

I struggle a lot just to get Marshall involved in things.  Most of the playdates held by mommy groups are during the week before 4:00pm.  Not many want to do them on the weekends because that is considered family time.  Many of the extra-curricular activities for Marshall's age that we want to get involved in hold their practice sessions during the week around 3:00 - 4:00pm.  We take him to the park on the weekends and hope there will be someone around his age who will let him into their playgroup.  I've tried to strike up conversations with some of the other mommies at the park but for some reason nothing really clicks.

I am not here to say that what I do is any more or less important or tiring than a stay at home mom.  I am really just trying to say that we are here too.  We are trying to get everything done and not feel guilty because we might miss something.

All I can hope for is that he is happy, healthy, and has a lot of memories from the park, vacations, Mommy at most of his school performances, and all the time we spent laughing.

But at the end of the day we are tired too.