A week ago, I became an official stay-at-home mom. Not a mom on maternity leave, or a mom that was going to be working as soon as I found a job -- a mom that, for the foreseeable future, is staying home. I have been wanting this for years, and I am so grateful. It feels so good to know that I am going to be home every day, that I don't have to plan errands around work schedules, that even when Nolan wakes up a lot at night, I am still going to catch at least a few hours of night time sleep.
It is also so. hard. Which I knew, of course. Even when I was working full time, I still spent more days at home than at work. But there is something about being so fully immersed in it, knowing that I am not going to be spending the next day at work, that is different.
The kids are hazing me. Nolan has a raging case of bronchitis, and the only way he will sleep is if I walk slowly while bouncing him for at least 20 minutes. Then I might be able to get him to lie down for 1-2 hours. He won't even settle in our bed, previously our strategy of last resort. And Cal pooped his pants down his leg today and then pooped again in the bathtub. I don't know why people are in such a hurry to potty train. It is so much better when the excrement is contained in the diaper.
In a funny way, it reminds me of work. There were shifts were I had time to catch up on emails, continuing education, and work projects. Shifts where the kids took their oral meds without a fight, where I didn't have to do a blood transfusion (or two or three), where everything happened smoothly. And then there were shifts where the kid coughed up their NG tube, or yanked out their central line, or needed platelets every six hours, or needed busulfan levels (think lab draws every 15 minutes), or needed thiotepa baths, or were getting their bone marrow transplant, or needed PRN morphine every 2 hours, or ALL OF THE ABOVE. Those days, you have to just keep going, praying that you don't cause anything bad to happen and that you can give those patients enough.
Motherhood is like that, except you don't get lunch breaks. You don't get to go home and watch a television show without interruption. If you're like me the last few days, you aren't going to shower or change out of your work uniform (yoga pants). You might be able to count on 45 minutes to try and wash bottles and do dishes and shove some food into your mouth, and then it's going to be back to the slow, bouncing walk, one finger holding the pacifier in.
But then, just when you think you can't take any more, your three year old tells you you look like a princess or that he loves you to pieces, or your baby touches your face and giggles and then sleeps for an 8 hour stretch. The sleepless nights will come again. I'm probably going to get spit up on a few more times before I change this shirt. I may not have scrubbed all the poop out of the tub before the baby started crying, and I definitely didn't sanitize the potty (that's ok, it didn't get used much today!). But there is sanctification in this work, for all its frustrating moments, and I am grateful that it is now my full-time job.