There is nothing quite like stay at home parenting to make a person feel an overall sense of deja vu. My routine, for the most part, is pretty much the same, day in and day out. The list of my core duties goes on and on, but I won’t bore you with the details of it (it’s not necessary for this post).
I will say that of the number of mundane things I do each day I feel the strongest sense of deja vu while sweeping the floor. I have to sweep the floor every morning, because we have more pets than sense, and therefore a pet fur carpet if left unswept more than a day. (Go two days and we begin to get tumblefur.)
Lately I have been feeling an increased sense of having done this all before. This feeling is stronger than “Oh yeah, I did this yesterday!”. It’s a deeper sense of bone weary repetition. The mundane daily chores of life leave me feeling a distinct lack of …well distinctness in my day. It’s as if the days in my life are all merging into one, and I am living that one day over and over again. Like Bill Murray in Ground Hog Day.
I am sure this feeling is not mine alone, and is shared by other stay at home parents as well as people working outside the home. After all, there is nothing like a mundane 9-5 office job to make one’s days pass in a blur. However, I think the isolation of stay at home parenting increases the sense of futility that comes with these repeating chores. I mean, except for tumblefur, why bother sweeping the floor when I will only have to do it again the following day? Why wash the clothes when they will only get dirty again? All the work I do all day has no lasting accomplishment. I can’t point to it say “Look! I spent x hours building this amazing thing that will stand for all eternity!” I can say “Look! I scrubbed the floors last week with a new cleanser, and now they are… crud, now they are covered in pet hair and juice spots again.”
It’s a strange feeling, this sense of not doing anything lasting. Intellectually I recognize that raising my children and caring for them is lasting in a way nothing else really is, but that doesn’t mean I am able to step back and admire my handiwork at the end of a long day. Usually, I am only able to collapse on the sofa and mumble “the kids kicked my ass today… would you please get me a beer?” to my husband at the end of a long day.
There is no milestone for stay at home parents, nothing that makes us recognize that all our hard work has paid off this month, or this week, or this year. We get to share in our kids accomplishments, and our those of our partner’s, but let’s face it, there aren’t a lot of childhood dreams that center on being house bitch, so no one is out there creating any House Bitch of the Year recognition plaques.