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Stress is the New Black

I think I wear stress like some people wear their favorite outfit. I’m just used to it. Like when you wear sweats a lot and you lay them at the end of your bed when you go to sleep and then it just seems easier to put them back on then go find something else to wear. And since we’re still using this analogy, I’ll let you in on a little secret – this goes for shirts as well. I know. Kind of gross but who’s smelling me – grandmothers at the park? I hear your sense of smell tends to diminish with age anyway.

So everyday I just become stressed again because it seems easier than actually making any drastic changes to my life. I could put the kid in daycare a few days a week or really get serious about getting a job or…or…start doing activities that other SAHM’s do like museums or picnics, indoor playgrounds, music groups the list is endless. But instead I do the same old stuff, well, I should cut myself a little slack. I did buy an inflatable pool the other day at Target for 9.99 and it has really enriched my baby’s exhibit (this is a term used for zoo animals that get bored. I learned it from watching my husband work on a documentary about alligators).

The thing I’m starting to come to terms with is that maybe I’m not cut out to be home trying to create activities. It’s not my strong suit. In fact, at many menial jobs way back in the day the biggest critique I got was that I “didn’t show enough initiative” – granted it’s tough to show initiative when you work in the deli dept. of a grocery store – unless you consider adding a pickle “taking initiative.”

Some people love to do all types of kid related stuff. I do too just in smaller doses – I need to lay down in between play-doh and the blow up pool. I have to read US Weekly between dinner and bathtime and not being able to do that makes me stressed. So, I’m stressed a lot. I know we all can relate which is why blogging is such a great time cause you all get it. But I can’t help but wonder what this all says about my maternal instinct. I love my daughter (can I ever write a fucking post without defending that fact?) Obviously I love her or I’d have gotten her into baby modeling or some other money making venture. Here’s the thing though. I love her but she’s not a good conversationalist yet. And you know when you’re sitting in the car with your husband and you aren’t talking but it’s totally comfortable? Well, when I’m pushing my 18-month-old to the park, sometimes I just don’t feel like making conversation with myself to which the only response I’ll get is “doggy.” It’s not that fulfulling. And then I feel an uncomfortable silence because I should be talking to her. There is no answer right now because all the advice in the world about fun stuff to do with her is just not going to sound boring to me. I’m weird that way. Of course if I become gainfully employed then I will miss my daughter like crazy and long to hear her say doggy the way a Kate Moss longs for a nice pile of white powder.

So, I guess, like black, stress is just never going out of style with me.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on June 2, 2006 7:30 pmUncategorized20 comments  

20 Comments

  1. Jess said,

    I’m not very activity-oriented, either (this is a nicer way of saying that I am sadly, pathetically lazy) and I get tired just hearing about these moms who are all creative and get up and go. I don’t have kids, but last night as I was folding laundry I was wondering how I will ever cope once I do have kids—how will I watch my shows? Exercise? Have that extra glass of wine? Stay up all night reading a great book? I used to think that maybe that stuff stops mattering when you have kids. Maybe not?

    | June 2, 2006 @ 10:12 pm

  2. sunshine scribe said,

    I have a friend who has the opposite extreme of stress. She over plans her days with her kids and jam packs in so many hundreds of activities that she is burnt out and ends up not enjoying any of them. I say wear what you want and if you are comfortable with it then that’s cool. When you are in heels you always long for flip flops and when you are in flip flops you can’t help but oogle the great shoes in the window.

    | June 2, 2006 @ 10:54 pm

  3. Imperfect Mommy said,

    Oh how I know what you are feeling… I am so lazy. I basically gauge the success of our day if we have done one thing. Go to preschool — she must be tuckered out. She had a gymnastics class — we better go home and watch a movie. She played in the back yard — naptime for mommy.

    And the conversationalist thing doesn’t get better soon. Sorry. Now mine can carry on huge conversations and never ever shuts up. And it’s all “mommy pretend I am 2 and my name is Panny and my brother is 6 and he is Max and Max is jealous that I am riding in the car seat and he pinches my cheek…. and on and on and on. Tonight while making dinner I felt like stabbing my eyes out with the sheer boredom of it all!

    | June 2, 2006 @ 11:12 pm

  4. jackt said,

    No worries on not being big on creating activities. I always seem to think that was a weird thing.

    Funny what you said about baby modeling. Ever since we moved back to LA a few years back we’ve been running into it. I don’t care how cute the kid is- It seems kinda twisted on the parents’ part.

    | June 2, 2006 @ 11:58 pm

  5. webhill said,

    There is a song by a band called Big Jim’s Ego called “Stress” which goes “I’m addicted to stress, it’s the way that I get things done, if I’m not under pressure than I sleep too long, and I hang around like a bum, and I think I’m going nowhere and that makes me nervous – everybody’s out to get me but I feel all right, everybody’s out to get me but I feel all right, everybody’s out to get me but I feel all right – everybody’s thinking about me!” and I think that says a lot.

    | June 3, 2006 @ 12:04 am

  6. AngiR said,

    I can so relate. I have been a SAHM for 4 1/2 years and ,wow that was alot of time home keep my kid busy. Now it’s Daddy’s turn and my turn to work. I love my son, but at this point Cartoon Network is like Chinese water torture.

    | June 3, 2006 @ 1:28 am

  7. surcie said,

    I feel ya! Just wait ’til she can talk enough to tell you that whatever you have planned for entertainment sucks! Gets old real quick. On any given day, I kind of have to balance out my kid’s needs with my own in order to keep my sanity. This morning we went to a playground where I pushed him on swings, etc. This afternoon he played in the backyard with the hose while I lounged on the screened porch and read my Domino magazine. Thank God he’s able to self-entertain to some degree.

    | June 3, 2006 @ 2:37 am

  8. willowfae said,

    My son is 3, and I always wanted to stay home. But now I am finally starting to realize/ admit that it is a good thing I couldn’t afford to. Because I get impatient after about 4 hours and start snapping at him. I need a nap. I need time to watch TV and read. I like talking to adults. It is a good thing there are gifted preschool teachers out there. Unfortunately, I couldn’t ever be one of them.

    | June 3, 2006 @ 3:45 am

  9. Krisco said,

    You have completely summed up being a stay at home mom. Honestly. Perfectly.

    I find it really REALLY hard to come up with imaginative things for them to do. In fact, I never do it.

    And I totally get that it just won’t sound fun to be reminded of the bajillion activities you could take her on.

    (And “environment” is the perfect way to describe their…environment.)

    Only because someone else told me this one, and it might buy you twenty minutes of magazine time (as long as you keep one eye on her), fill that self-same tub with dried beans sometime, a LOT of them, and give her a bunch of tupperware to pour them all between, and she (and you) will be in nirvana for at least a few minutes.

    (But keep an eye on the whole choking-hazard thing if she’s still at the stage where eveything goes in her mouth….you may need to wait a few months….)

    | June 3, 2006 @ 7:01 am

  10. Krisco said,

    And – she is a cutie!

    | June 3, 2006 @ 7:04 am

  11. Haley-O said,

    In this day and age (pardon the cliche–it just fits…), it’s pretty much impossible not to be stressed. It’s in the air. As a SAHM, the thing I try to do is things that make both of us happy. For example, yesterday, I took Joey to Starbucks. I sat at a table across from her (in her stroller). I rocked the stroller back and forth with my foot and just people-watched, while I sipped my hot chocolate (that’s my coffee…). It felt really good. I gave her a paper bag to play with, so she was happy.

    I know, Joey’s only 10 months–so, she doesn’t even say “doggie,” and she can entertain herself a little differently than an 18-month old. But, doing things that you and she can enjoy is the idea….

    She is SOOOOO cute, by the way! And, you don’t need to defend your mothering. You’re an honest person (with yourself, etc.)–that alone is good mothering.

    | June 3, 2006 @ 1:58 pm

  12. Misfit Hausfrau said,

    Take a mom who doesn’t like to be very activity oriented, and a 16 month old who wants nothing more than to go back into the womb. I can’t sit down EVER while she is awake to read my beloved Wall Street Jounral (or the label on a soup can for that matter) without her crawling up to take the newspaper (or the soup.) Then the 3 1/2 year old hears the giggles and runs in because she is jealous and wants in on the fun. It goes on an on and on.

    I was just getting ready to write about this very topic.

    | June 3, 2006 @ 2:50 pm

  13. stephanie said,

    I said it to my friend Kat the other day who is a SAHM, I could never do it. I’d be a horrible mom, losing my shit, not knowing what to do.

    We all get it, and understand.

    Hang in there, it does get easier.

    | June 3, 2006 @ 4:11 pm

  14. Irreverent Antisocial Intellectual said,

    You know what? I am SO SICK of those “activity” MomBots. I am SO SICK of the playdate MomBots. I am SO SICK of the friggin’ standard we’re supposed to live up to.
    Shit. We do the same old thing every day, too, primarily b/c Genius Child likes what we do. She has and easel and paper and crayons set up by my computer and when I write, she draws and colors. That’s about as artsy craftsy as I’m gonna get.
    As for all those friggin’ enriching trips to different places, why? Will she remember it now? Probably not. Is it just as fun (and educational) as sitting in the back yard picking dandelions and watching bugs crawl? Shit yeah. And I can have something to read near by.
    So, in my IAI opinion, you’re doing fine – look at the kid’s happy face in the picture! And once you (and we all, dammit) get over those friggin’ have-it-all-supermoms who are probably so doped up on Wellbutrin cocktails, life is a lot more pleasant/
    (I’m pissy today, can you tell?)

    | June 3, 2006 @ 5:21 pm

  15. sarah said,

    mine is a month old and I already worry about how I will fill the hours of his toddler-hood. I fear the mommy-groups and the whole “stepford” feel of them, but I fear going it alone as well…WHAT is to become of me??!!

    | June 4, 2006 @ 1:39 am

  16. Neil said,

    Couldn’t you just read US Weekly to your child rather than those boring children’s books?

    | June 4, 2006 @ 11:17 pm

  17. Crazy Mama said,

    Hi I was just stopping by! Love the site!

    | June 5, 2006 @ 1:47 am

  18. Mrs. T said,

    I am a teacher, so I do the SAHM on a part- time basis. One thing that makes it bearable is to hook up with another SAHM who is of your ilk and get togethter so the kids can play and you can talk and drink coffee, dish about old boyfriends, whatever, just let the kids play on their own. Seriously- I am totally with you on this- I have sworn off children’s museums completely. I will gladly shoot myself if I have to go to another one.

    | June 5, 2006 @ 2:45 am

  19. Michele said,

    I have such guilt about this same thing but then I figure that my kids need a happy, calm mom more than they need a creative, engaging, entertaining mom.
    I have twins, so they entertain each other. Which is great, because I get bored really easily.

    | June 7, 2006 @ 1:35 pm

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