Being a stay-at-home mom means sacrificing yourself to the child gods almost every minute of every day. Honestly, there isn't much left of me at the end of every day. It's taxing, draining, and though ultimately rewarding, staying home with your children is just, well, a lot. I've been a working mom, too, and that's a whole other conversation with a whole other set of stressors. Still, some of the reasons a stay-at-home mom isn't going to call you back has a lot to do with stress, and while they might be weird, confusing, and oftentimes ludicrous to any outsider who can't say "I totally get that," it's so damn valid it hurts.
As a mom who stays at home with her children, I often get the question, "What do you do all day" from those who've never experienced life as a stay-at-home mom. While I want to empathize with their naivety, it's really freakin' hard. The easier question to pose would be, "What don't you do all day?" From chef to maid to psychologist to lawn maintenance, I've fulfilled every role possible. I've truly been the CEO of our family (so good luck replacing me) with next to no kudos, aside from the occasional Mother's Day celebration.
Before I worked from home, I had a job at a running store, and before that I was purely a stay-at-home mom with no supplemental income. I've done it all, been it all, seen and, of course, heard it all. Of the people who call me on the phone most, the ones who still don't get how I fill my time make me feel the worst. I'm so sorry I missed your call, and I apologize in advance on not returning your call, but some days there's no time left to spare.
Here's the thing: I'm busy. Like, really damn busy, Where it might seem like I have all the time in the world to make fun calls all day, I'm actually picking peanut butter off my socks from an earlier incident as I type this very sentence. There are no "free" minutes to chat "for a few," nor do I prefer to spend any rare "free" minutes holding the receiver to my ear while you vent about the news or random musings about what the hell ever. I don't want to be rude, but I'll call when I call and that's that. Here's some other reasons a stay-at-home mom probably isn't going to call you back today. Well, unless you're a rep or congressmen — then I'd like to have a word.
Because She's Scraping Food Off Her Clothes
If I had a dollar for every time I've picked something food-related off my clothes each day, I'd be an actual billionaire. It may sound like a lame excuse, but I have kids and kids make messes. Sometimes those messes end up on me or, when they're feeling creative, on the furniture. I really can't get to my phone right now though, thanks.
Because She's Fishing Things Out Of The Toilet
Kids — specifically younger ones — like to see what can flush. Thankfully, my kids haven't been too infatuated with our toilet, but when they have it's always something interesting and unexpected (like a fun surprise) such as a handful of Legos, a Hulk stuffed toy, or the toilet roll holder.
Because She's Unclogging The Toilet (Again)
I'm sure all moms get that most things in life with kids involves toilets. Mostly, my kids can't stop clogging them. Lately, we've had significant overflowing with the clogs (and yes, it's as appalling as it sounds). There's no delicate way to handle such disgusting circumstances, so if you've called, it's going to be awhile before I can get back to you.
Because She's Cooking Several Meals For Picky Eaters
My daughter eats mostly what I offer her, but my son is notoriously picky. He prefers to eat from certain plates with a specific arrangement of pre-discussed, approved foods. Some days I'm in the kitchen for a significant, almost ridiculous amount of time, all in the hopes of pleasing everyone. I get that I could make one thing and tell them to eat it or go hungry, but the times I've tried that particular tactic amount to hungry kids. It just doesn't work for us, and while I don't mind making a few things, it leaves no time to return calls.
Because She's Picking Up Copious Amounts Of Toys
No matter how often I clean this damn house, I turn around and there's a new mess behind me. Children are miniature tornadoes. So please, don't ask what I do all day if my house is a mess, because I can guarantee you I just cleaned it two minutes ago.
Because She's Taking A Breather In The Bathroom
Some days, all I get are five beautiful seconds to myself. Let me have them.
Because She's Crying In The Bathroom
Other days, I spend those five seconds hiding and crying because being a stay-at-home mom is exhausting in every way. Talking on the phone is literally not on my radar when I'm barely able to hold myself together through another episode of Ninjago.
Because She's Cleaning Another Round Of Vomit From The Carpet
We have cats, and I love them. Sometimes they eat a little too quickly and the end result is another batch of throw-up ready for me to either step in or clean up. I hear my phone ringing, sure, but I can't get to it at the moment.
Because She's Doing Her 478th Load Of Laundry
I only have two kids and have to do a million loads of laundry a day, so I can't imagine how families with more children do it. Between food on everything, stepping in all the cat vomit, and then some, we go through our entire wardrobes every few days. I'm sure other moms can relate.
Because She's Folding That Laundry
Once the laundry is clean, it needs to be folded, right? Then put away, too? Like I said, it's a lot. The job never ends. Please stop leaving voicemails to call you back. It'll happen when this laundry ends, which means never. It is never going to happen.
Because She's Vacuuming Up Goldfish & Legos
Remember the throw up I stepped in? Some cats like to eat things they shouldn't.
Because Her Kids Are On Summer Break
School's out, which means my time to answer calls went from zero into the negatives. They're home all day long, you guys. Aside from finding time to do necessary chores and work, they're asking for things constantly. Sometimes they're even playing games on my phone so I can function. Do you see what I'm getting at here?
Because She's Playing With Her Kids
Believe it or not, while I survive the trails and tribulations of being home with my kids, I like to spend quality time with them each evening, too. It's the only real time we get to connect and talk about whatever I put off through the day. If I call you back now, I'm taking time away from them.
The roles of a stay-at-home mom are a great responsibility. We dedicate so much of ourselves to our children, so the little things often slip through the cracks. If I have to choose between a relaxing hot bath or returning a phone call when I have 10 minutes, know that the hot bath will always win out.