Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

At home=doing nothing?

I wonder where that idea comes from. It has become apparent that since we're homeschooling, that translates to others (no names) that I'm "not doing anything" and am thus available to babysit at their convenience.
Um... no. On top of homeschooling, I do at least 6 loads of laundry, at least 7 loads of dishes (no dishwasher), vacuum, sweep, make a dozen meals or so, take the kids for walks, write out the bills, lesson plan, drive the kids to library time, Mass a couple times a week, and occasionally like to sit down and read a book or the newspaper. Not to mention Rachel still needs a nap and Dale does more often than not as well.
Individually, none of those things take a whole lot of time, but cumulatively they sure do add up to consume my waking hours.
I don't think this is just when one is homeschooling; I think it's societally conditioned that stay-at-home mothers are just sitting around watching soaps and eating bonbons while being fanned by palm fronds. That's the thought until I did it. And how many women think, "Oh, once I have this baby and I'm at home, I'll be able to finish writing my novel/clean out the garage/redesign my stock portfolio. I'll have so much time!" HA!
I've been told that this presumption of availability isn't just my family, but I'm wondering what others do when these calls happen. Any input?


At 12:24 PM, Blogger Peanut butter and sticky kisses said...

I hope you don't mind that I have been enjoying reading your posts. This one in particular strikes a cord with me. I've come to the point that I only answer the phone based on who is displayed on my caller ID. I can't believe how many people think that since I am home, I am available. I have five kids whom I homeschool, care for my mother and all her errands, and of course, my husband would like to see me occasionally...that doesn't leave much time for me to enjoy. So for myself, a person who likes to meet all the needs of those around her, must practice saying 'no'. And that, is not always easy.

At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Daisy said...

I run into this often. And I've found the best way to deal with people who think you're available is to tell them what you're doing when they call. It's pretty common for my family to ask "what are you up to?" or something after saying hello. I wasn't the first one in my family to stay home, but I'm always honest when they ask. If I'm doing laundry or something, I tell them that. Also, if I'm reading a book to my daughter, I don't answer the phone. But with the fact that most of my family has had a stay-at-home parent at least for a while, and none of us use daycare, that perception has been dealt with through experience!

At 1:49 PM, Blogger Milehimama said...

I tell people, "Oh, I'm not working anymore"... as in, I'm not taking your babysitting job!
Or, "I'm not starting any new projects this season, thanks for asking though."

At 2:58 PM, Blogger The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

I had to get hardcore with my family, all of which (my husband's family too) live in town, and assume they can "just drop in for a few minutes." Of course it's never just a few minutes, and it's never just one relative, and somehow the kids just can't keep their minds on their work when visitors are here.

I love them all dearly, but I had to actually start standing in the doorway and apologize for not being able to let them in, since it's during lessons, and maybe we can all get together this weekend? It hurt a lot of feelings, but it was necessary. You have to make it clear that what you're doing is really work, and really has to be done without interruptions.

And let your answering machine pick up calls. If it's urgent, they'll leave a message and you can decide whether to call back.

At 8:15 PM, Blogger The Mom With Brownies (The story of us) said...

Brian and I have agreed to turn the phone off during the day. If I see a message blinking I will listen to it. If it isn't an emergency I will wait to call later. My father can't stand this, and all of my friends know I'm screening so I get a lot of calls that sound like this, "Okay I know you're home. Answer the phone...Well maybe you're not home so I'll call your cell phone." LOL

I'm always honest when asked to babysit or run an errend for a friend. Even If I'm just tired from the week and don't feel like it. I will actually say that I'm whipped from the week and really need some down time. I have never had any complaints so far so I guess they believe me. :-) I really like to hear that from my friends too once in a while because it lets me know that they are not being put out when they agree to do things for me. I love honesty! :-)

At 10:15 AM, Anonymous Kheldar said...

You haven't taught Dale to fan you with palm fronds yet? Slacker!

Seriously, just tell them you're too busy. A simple "I've got too much going on" should suffice. If they ask you "what?", start listing off everything you have to do...errands, cleaning, cleaning, teaching, cleaning, cooking, cleaning, meetings, Mass, cleaning, etc. (Or just tell them to mind their own business, but in a nicer way).

Not answering the phone works, too. I do that at work when I'm trying to get things done.


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