Coveting Alone Time (Why I can’t be a SAHM and why I think all you SAHMs are a combination of brave and crazy)


Anytime I meet a stressed-out SAHM, my first comment is “Get a job!” I happen to be in the camp that thinks staying at home is way harder than trying to figure out that so-called “work-life balance.” A job: Where you can talk adult-talk. Where you can get out of your messy house. Where you can go to the bathroom by yourself. I’m not even thinking about the economic issues here (especially since for many of us the cost of childcare easily eats up the second income). I’m talking about sanity.

This was my first day of work at my current (wonderful!) job. Note the piles of laundry in the background. I was so excited to GET! OUT! Bu-bye, messy house!!

At almost 2, Baby MoFo is still babyish. Apart from general cuddliness and the inability to pee in the toilet, he pretty much refuses to talk. I call him “The Artist.” He knows to clench his fists and growl when he sees a picture of a lion. And he has the essentials: I (iPad), Elmo, Uno, more, mayonnaise, shoes, . . . that kind of thing. And “no,” which he uses frequently. For a long time we thought it was only “no” and not “yes,” but recently he surprised us when asked a series of yes/no questions:
“Are you a good boy?” “No.”
“Do you love your mama?” “No.”
“Do you love your brothers?” “No.”
“Did you make a kak?” “No.”
“But you stink.” “No.”
“Are you lying?” “No”

[Change poo]

[Cool J, in the meantime, is trying to translate for his baby brother. “He says ‘NO’ when he means ‘YES.’ He just doesn’t know HOW to say ‘YES.’ Watch this: MoFo, can you please give me that Mario Kart toy?” MoFo: “No.” Cool J yanks the toy out of Baby MoFo’s hand and Baby MoFo starts to cry. Cool J: “He’s crying because he tried so hard to say yes, and he couldn’t. Thanks for the toy!”]

“Are you scrunching your brothers?” “No.”
“Stop scrunching your brothers!” “No.”
“Did you make your brothers CRY?” “No.”
“I’m going to give you a time-out! Do you want a time-out? Are you a bad little baby?” “Yes.”

Well, there was that.

Mostly, he just motions to us when he wants to communicate. Like on Friday, when I went into Cool J’s school office to talk to them about billing, and of course, Baby MoFo came with me. That’s what the SAHM life is all about. You go somewhere, baby goes somewhere with you. Baby MoFo was waiting, not so patiently, digging around in recycling bins, digging through my pockets, opening my wallet, dumping its contents on the floor .  . .As I set off to leave the school, in the pouring rain, I reach into my pocket to take out my car remote and do a quick click-click to open up his door, when I discover my pocket is empty. Wallet, probably missing a credit card or two, is in one pocket, and the other pocket is empty. I rush back into the school to look for my keychain holding my car remote, car key, and house keys. It is nowhere to be found.

I look suspiciously at the baby. “Do you know where the car keys are?” No answer.

“Where are the keys?” No answer.

“¿Dónde están los llaves?”

“Ou sont les clefs?”

“?איפה המפתחות”

“Ha a kulcsok?”

We try all the languages of the house. Sometimes we think he’s not an artist, but perhaps English is not his first language.

No luck. And then, suddenly, he races into the school office and points at the radiator. We look inside. Nothing. We get a flashlight, look in it, over it, under it, behind it. Nothing.

Sometimes his non-verbal communication is not great.

Which is unfortunate, because The Scientist was out of country, and we were locked out of house and car for many hours.

*         *             *                  *                       *

This morning the non-verbal communication was not great, again.

I dared to go to the bathroom alone. It’s risky business, and I knew it.

I was in there for 1 minute.

I spent the one minute thinking of all the mischief Baby MoFo might be up to. Mostly I was thinking about my cup of coffee sitting on the table not too far away from my laptop.

When I emerged from the bathroom, Baby MoFo looked pretty innocent. Also, naked. He had, in the one minute I was not watching him, taken off his footy-pajamas and diaper. So cute.

Except. What’s that? A ball of kak on the floor.

“Did you kak?” “No.”

“Did you make a kaka?” “No.”

“Is that kaki on the floor?” “No.”

“Is there more kaki?” “No.”

As I crawled around the house, picking up balls of kak, I thought about my new semester starting up again in a little over a week. A lot of people who teach get anxious as the new semester rolls around (I was just reading a post by one of my favorite bloggeristas– MannahattaMama –about this feeling). I get excited. Work? Work! Work!

And then I see another kaki ball. And another.


4 responses »

  1. Oh no! But too funny, I had to laugh. Our 16 month old also doesn’t say much yet either. He loves to grunt and point as his form of communication. When we ask him to say something, he always says “Da”. It’s too funny. Hope your day gets better 🙂

    • Da. That’s cuz Dads are loved much more. My sister, Nancy Botwin, just told me her husband went away, and she said to the 4 kids: Hey guys, Papa is going away so we’re going to have a big party–play games, watch movies and eat lots and lots and lots of junk food!! And they said, Yay!!!!–but can you go away instead of Papa?

      • Oh no! That’s the worst 😦 My son says “Ga” now instead and the only 2 words that he says are “Ma-ma” and “ball”. So I’m starting to feel a little better… lol

  2. OH no is right! I am starting to think the same thing about staying at home … I think that is an “all-work” situation, whereas working (sometime) out of the home makes for a better “life” balance. Ha! Hope the rest of your week is good before you go back to teaching kids you are not related too 🙂

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