The Parent Trip – Why Don’t You Just

Last week I found myself in a situation I haven’t been in for a while. Six was sick. Like, not moving off the couch sick.

  • May. 15, 2015 8:00 a.m.

Submitted by Shelby Cain

Last week I found myself in a situation I haven’t been in for a while. Six was sick. Like, not moving off the couch sick. For the first time in a long time I was home for the week. The first couple of days I tried to take advantage of my temporary circumstances. Get as much done as possible while she watched Bee Movie on repeat. I cleaned my boot room. Dusted. I even finished the laundry. But by day four an old, familiar feeling came back to me. Exhaustion. When you have little kids, you’re at home more than you might care to be. Their napping and feeding schedules are very restrictive. But even though you’re home all day, sometimes it feels impossible to get anything done. Anything on your ‘To Do’ list, that is. So here I was again, home day after day, being berated by a nagging guilt that kept asking, “Why don’t you just … do something?” That question. Possibly the most dreaded question a woman home with kids can be asked, with the exception of, “Did you eat that whole thing?”  And the only thing worse than asking yourself is having someone else ask you. There’s something about being home for an extended period that can drain any domestic motivation you may have previously possessed. Yes, it is actually possible to be incredibly busy all day and not have a clue what you did. Besides keeping small people alive, I guess. Sadly, there’s no list we can cross off for that. So the answer to “Why don’t I just?” is “I don’t bleeping know!” On that fourth day I found myself wandering from room to room, unable to settle anywhere. I had things to do. Drawers I could’ve cleaned, gear to organize, sit-ups to perform. But I’d lost my mojo. And as hard as I tried, I couldn’t get it back. I kept thinking, why don’t I just get going?  Be productive. Accomplish stuff. I know I’ll feel better. Have you ever looked at one of those moms in a cute outfit walking down the street with a chariot full of cute kids, bikes, and healthy snacks and thought to yourself — she’s nailing it. Totally nailing it. How is she doing that? Well, here’s a little secret. Someone has looked at you and thought that. Shocking, isn’t it? It’s true. One day when you just had your hair done or your kids actually let you hold their hands as you crossed the street, someone saw you that day and thought — she’s nailing it. We all have our days of feeling a little lost. If today is one of those days for you, hang in there. They pass. Just promise to never ask yourself “Why don’t I just…?” again. You will. When you’re damn good and ready.