Learning to Appreciate the Unwanted Attention

I’m a stay-at-home mom. That means I’m with my toddler All. The. Time. Now, I don’t mean to complain. I know there are lots of women who can’t (or don’t) spend as much time as they would like with their children for one reason or another. But I guess I am going to complain a little…

I want “me time”. I want to use the restroom without an audience. I want to binge watch “The Good Wife” every now and then. I want to enjoy my morning mocha before it gets cold. But what I have is a 2 year old. One who has recently learned how to open doors. Bathroom doors, in particular. One who wants to watch “Peter Pan” on repeat. And one who insists that each of her action figures and stuffed animals have a meet and greet each morning. In which I absolutely MUST be an active participant. 

Some days, as I’m trying to load the dishwasher amid “helping” hands that are unloading the dishes as I put them in, I want to tell her to “Go play”. On days that I’m simply exhausted and all I want to do is stare mindlessly at a screen for a little while, it would be so easy to say “Please leave Mommy alone for a few minutes”. Some days, I want hide all the toys so we don’t have to go through the same “Hi Spiderman. How are you? My name is Rainbow Dash. Can I have a hug?” that we go through every morning. But most days, I try to remind myself that one day she won’t even want to talk to me. The day will come much too soon that I will be begging her to give me a hug or let me read to her.

Yes, I am covered in bruises from being climbed on all the time. Who knew tiny elbows could dig in so deeply? Yes, I’m exhausted all the time, from waking up throughout the night thinking I hear her crying, from trying to make sure her days are full of enriching activities, from trying to keep everything in some semblance of order. I have chronic tendinitis in both elbows that the doctor attributed to “wrestling your child” (his words)– he even referred to it as mommy elbow! 

But I am grateful for all these aches and pains and minor frustrations. I endure them because there is a tiny human who loves me more than anything. On the days it feels like too much, I try to step back and remind myself that all this unwanted attention is because she wants to be with me. So instead of telling her to wait outside, we sing songs or practice counting while I use the restroom (I can’t wait until she’s an obnoxious teenager to remind her of those moments). We watch “Peter Pan” and march around the apartment with the Lost Boys. Every morning, all the toys become reacquainted with each other.

I know I’m not the only mom who struggles with trying to appreciate all the unwanted attention that comes with small children. So take a deep breath, and together let’s raise our cold cups of coffee and say “Cheers!” to the fact that, for too brief a time, our “me” time will be “us” time.

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Originally from Dauphin Island, AL, I am a stay-at-home mom who likes to do anything other than just stay at home. My husband and I have lived in 5 states together and are in the Atlanta area now for the second time. I have a Master’s degree from GSU in Multiple and Severe Disabilities and was a special education teacher for 8 years before deciding to work with adults with autism and then becoming a SAHM. I now work as a preschool teacher and fitness instructor. I enjoy spending time with my daughter at parks, libraries, and anywhere else that we can explore our world.


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