You know those times in life when you have
to smile (not all that genuinely), for what feels like forever and then your face hurts. Like family pictures. Or some work event where you have to entertain people you don’t know for hours on end and be really happy about it. Or even at a friend’s party where you’re being introduced to twenty new people. Maybe you don’t feel all that gleefully happy, but you look it!
Just as a side note, I do so hate the moments where you have perma grin and you have to make really bad small talk. Not that all small talk is bad, but sometimes I’m really bad at it.
Anyway, the point I am making is this: Sometimes being a stay at home mom feels like one of these events. Because you want to have your game face on, to appear as if you’re not totally exhausted and overwhelmed. Even for your own children. They don’t need to know that you can hardly stay awake or that you have a million responsibilities on your mind. So when you hear “mommy, build a tower” for the eightieth time that day, you try to smile and say “okay, sounds like fun.” Even if tower building is not the most exciting or challenging event you have a desire for. You love that little boy so much, you pretend that building a tower is better than chocolate cake or a long cozy nap. And when your baby wakes up from a twenty minute nap that should have been two hours long, you smile at him because he’s one of the best things that has ever happened to you, not because you’re happy he doesn’t like sleeping.
Even if your back is aching from all the lifting and standing, you give your boy a piggy back ride and laugh while you do it.
Even if your eyes are burning and your brain isn’t working because you only got three hours of sleep the night before, you grin from ear to ear when your baby experiments with spitting infant cereal in your face.
Many times our smiles are truly genuine. There are so many things that children bring to life that make you feel truly happy. But there are the days when you do have to fake it a bit, and I think that’s just fine. Who wouldn’t need to fake it a little, surviving on caffeine and limited adult conversation, while climbing out of mounds of laundry to wipe up the latest mess that’s attached itself to the kitchen floor?
What amazes me is that most moms who have chosen to stay home with their kids, if I may speak for us, are
truly happy. Maybe not moment to moment, but overall. Sure, it provokes a bit of insanity most days, but there’s something so beautiful about all of it, the good and the bad. I don’t think I’ll ever say I wish I wouldn’t have been home when my kids were tiny. I know I’ll look back and be thankful that it was possible, especially when time has flown and my kids are grown. Some days it sure is hard to remember that, but I’m trying. That’s all we can really do anyway. Try. Even if trying means throwing in a little perma
grin every once and again.
I did not have to fake the laughter today with this boy in my house. He is such a ham and a half.