Why staying at home is just as exhausting as going to work

We’ve had two snow days so far, over a weekend (so a four day weekend).  I am not complaining whatsoever.  The kids have been great (so far) and I don’t mind not having to go anywhere when it’s like this.  But to keep their interest and keep them happy, I’ve been run ragged.  We’ve crafted Valentines for their friends at school one day (thank you Pinterest) and made heart cookies another day (that came out pretty good even though my youngest manhandled them before they reached the cookie sheet).  They’ve built forts, made obstacle courses, and watched 847,389 episodes of Paw Patrol all before 8 am.  So when you come home from work, dear, please don’t tell me how exhausted you are.  I’ve been going with them nonstop since they got up at 5 am, and I’m ready to crash shortly after they are.

How do the daycare providers do it?  And do it with unflagging energy and grace?  Good God.  I can’t do it for longer than a few hours time, without losing my shit, and now that my two are a little older, I am able to tell them to “go away” from mommy for a bit so I can blog or finish up some work and they actually listen.  Yes, it’s for about 5 minutes, but at least it’s something.  I just know that the days I am home all day with my kids feels like a marathon, and I’m certifiably exhausted by the time my husband gets home.

I remember after our first was born and I was on maternity leave, my husband would get home looking like death became him.  He would do the early shift, from 7-11, trying to keep the baby away from me, and then he’d pass out at 11 and I’d keep the baby away from him so he could get a solid 6-7 hours before having to get up for work.  Then, I’d be at home with the baby all day, negotiating feedings, dirty diapers, playtime (tummy time, seriously?) and my own exhaustion due to the fact that the baby usually refused to sleep between the hours of 11 and 5 for longer than a one to two hour stretch.  So by the time he got home, we’d both be so tired.  But he couldn’t really understand why I was.  I mean, he knew that he was, but he couldn’t grasp the fact that he wasn’t the only one struggling.  “I mean, you’ve been home all day, cuddling a baby.  How can you be tired?”  The first (and only) time he said something to that effect, I think he realized by the look on my face and the daggers I shot out of my eyes that he shouldn’t say that again.  It wasn’t all soaps and bon bons.  Taking care of a newborn while not having much sleep is just as difficult as going to work from 9-5, if not harder.  At least at work, you can hide in your cubicle or office or behind your computer instead of having a wailing infant who can’t tell you what they want and refuses to give you any reprieve.

And now that they are older, the standing on my head routine isn’t to keep them from wailing.  It’s more to keep them from killing each other.  Whether it’s my 36 year old body that can’t keep up with their tireless energy, or the fact that they just are acting really annoying to make me tired and they know it, I always feel like I am running behind and can pass out before they do at night.  I saw a Facebook post that said, “I hate when I play with my kids for six hours, when it turns out it’s only been 20 minutes.”  Holy. Shit.  Yes.  That’s exactly how it feels.  So I’ve lived an entire day in about an hour.  I’m crying uncle for tonight.  So what if it’s only 10 am?

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