People often ask what I do all day. The honest answer? I'm not really sure. At the end of the day I know I've been busy but can't always recall exactly what I was busy with. I do know that my days typically include some measure of housecleaning, lots of playtime with the baby, an outing (errands, a walk, a playdate, etc.) and almost always a shower. Almost. For those who question how much work an at-home mom really does, this article answers it better than I ever could (click on it to enlarge):
For real. EVERYthing takes longer with a baby. For example, when someone is preparing to leave the house without kid(s) in tow, all she has to do is put on shoes and maybe a jacket, grab her purse and keys and she's off. When I'm preparing to leave, I have to: restock the diaper bag; make sure Caleb doesn't need a diaper change; change his diaper if dirty (and occasionally his clothes if the diaper leaked); fill up my water bottle and grab a snack (breastfeeding momma = needing water and a snack with me at all times); get him in his car seat; get my shoes and coat on; haul the car seat to the car and get him secured (though lately he's so heavy I just leave the carseat in the car and buckle him in there); go back inside to grab all my stuff; and then I'm ready to go. Leaving the house can be up to a 15 minute process. Until the weather really gets cold, I often forgo a jacket because I work up a sweat just getting stuff (read: the baby) ready. As Carolyn said, everything just takes longer.
I am the keeper of our house. I do all the cleaning, cooking and maintaining of our home. This is part of the job description that I very willingly took on. I enjoy staying home to care for our son and keep our home. No, I LOVE it. However, like getting ready to leave, cleaning the house takes longer with an infant. I wrote about our daily schedule yesterday. There are two 2 hour blocks of time when Caleb naps. He doesn't always know that, so there are times that I'm cleaning while he's awake. I don't mind being interrupted to get on the floor and play, or wipe away his spit up, or pick him up and soothe him if he's feeling lonely. It just means that everything takes longer. He much prefers to be in the same room with me when he's up. Lately he enjoys hanging out in the kitchen with me, sitting in his high chair with a toy while I do the dishes. When I do laundry during his waketime, I bring the basket and baby upstairs and put him on the bed to play while I put our clothes away. I try to do all my chores during naptime so that he can have all my attention during his waketimes. I feel guilty when it doesn't work that way, but that's just the way it goes sometimes so I make an effort to incorporate him into whatever I'm doing.
What does it all boil down to? Flexibility. If you are too rigid and can't be flexible, you're going to have a very hard time as a parent.
For example, right now is mid-naptime for Caleb. He's had trouble breathing through his nose due to a bad cold, which has made for difficulty sleeping both during the day and at night. He's awake and refusing to go back to sleep, which means I don't get to shower when I planned, which means we won't be running errands when I planned. See? Flexibility.
(Addendum: Half an hour after writing that last bit I finally got him back to sleep. I'll get that shower after all but won't have time to dry my hair. My second point: Parenting is also about celebrating the simple luxuries.)