It has been a month of big changes for the Yo-Yo house. We moved back to the city after a few years in a rural mountain town. Papa Y is beginning work with his new employer, and Baby Y, who is just a few weeks from his first birthday (sniff), is looking more like a little boy and less like a baby everyday.

While I’m finishing a couple of projects from my old job remotely, for all intents and purposes, I am now a stay-at-home mom. A couple of promising job opportunities didn’t pan out, and while I’m still looking, I’m in a little bit of a funk about it all.

Intellectually, I know I’m so so lucky to have the luxury of time and choice about where and when and even whether to work. I should be enjoying this time with my son for what it is – the chance to drink it all in as he teeters on the cusp of toddlerhood. And there are some days when I’m truly, truly grateful.

Two recent outings to avoid going stir-crazy: Fun at the toy store and a picnic on the lake


But I have to be honest. There are other days when I do not know I how I can do this one more month … one more week … one more day … one more hour. Papa Y has been traveling for work a lot, so I’ve been alone many a day with the kiddo recently, which really compounds that feeling.

I’ve always been an achiever. I thrive on the feeling of making some positive contribution, whatever my chosen pursuit. And while you could certainly argue that motherhood is a pursuit, and my child is my contribution, it’s not exactly the type of work with immediately tangible rewards or feedback. (Well, scratch that. I get feedback, but it’s usually in the form of a small being screeching at the top of his lungs and clinging to my leg in the kitchen because I’m not cutting up his cantaloupe fast enough.)

When the day goes smoothly – a reasonable wake-up time, two decently long naps with a minimum of fussing, an outing or two to keep from going stir-crazy – I can usually keep a semi-positive attitude. But when things go haywire, so do I.

Today, for instance, Baby Y decided to skip his morning nap. Almost immediately after I put him down, he produced the most epic poopy diaper I’ve seen in quite awhile, and nothing I tried would get him back to sleep. So I surrendered, took off his sleep sack, and set him loose to play. Just like that, there went my morning break that I was depending on to get things done.  And as the morning wore on, I grew testy with Baby Y, who of course was clingier than usual because he was overtired. And I felt so bad, because honestly, the kid is 11 months old and he wasn’t trying to torpedo me on purpose. He’s just a baby who pooped and woke himself up.

Papa Y is a wonderful breadwinner, and he works so hard for us. Sometimes, though, I simply wish he could have a taste of unadulterated, no-help-from-mom, 24-7 baby duty for a few days, and experience how everything he wants to accomplish that day is suddenly at the mercy of things like bowel movements. And I wish he could see how much work even the best days are, and how many little course corrections and personal sacrifices I have to make to keep the kiddo well-rested, well-fed, and entertained.

In an ideal world, I would find an awesome part-time gig that would give me the best of both worlds – a couple days of career pursuits, and a couple days with Baby Y. But we all know that’s almost impossible to find – I negotiated it in my last job and will forever be grateful that I was able to swing it. I am keeping my eyes open for freelance opportunities, but the plum ones are so competitive, and it’s so deflating to put time and effort into applications only to hear absolutely nothing in return (I know … welcome to today’s economy). The kicker, though, is that I really feel like if I am going to work, it needs to be something that I will truly find fulfilling — otherwise, it would be tough to justify daycare or whatever arrangements we would need to make for Baby Y.

Even if I stay home indefinitely, if we have it in the budget, I may look into occasionally getting a sitter. Unfortunately, breastfeeding still presents an obstacle to getting away for more than 4 or 5 hours, but I’m so conflicted on when and whether to start weaning. And there’s your life lesson: it all comes back to the boobs, people.

So, I ask the more experienced SAHMs of the world: How do you keep a positive attitude when the mommy grind gets you down?