After I made the decision to stay home with my our daughter, I thought to myself: How wonderful that if I get pregnant a second time, I get to be home rather than stuck in an office! Wouldn’t life be so much easier?!
Because now that I am pregnant with our second, I’ve been reminded that it’s hard to know the challenges of something until you are full-on immersed in it. I want to first be very clear that, good god, I am grateful to be at home, and I am well aware that it is a privilege. But being at home also has its own set of battles, and while it’s easier in some ways, as with most things in life, everything is a trade-off.
So if you are in an office having daydreams about being at home with your toddler all day as your beautiful bump grows before your eyes accompanied by visions of healthy home-cooked meals and a constant state of Zen, have no fear: I’m about to shit on your fantasy parade.
Because being pregnant at home still sucks and, in many cases, the same way it did the first time around when I spent my days in a cubicle. Only now I fantasize about putting my phone on DND mode and hiding in the bathroom, but I can’t. So here we go:
1. You have to listen to people whining.
How nice that you won’t have to deal with whiny co-workers this time around, right?! Annnd, wrong. Because guess who will have already earned a director’s title in whining by 18 months? That’s right, your precious little bundle of big-sister-in-training. You can try telling her that you have a meeting or that you are terribly busy, but like your former co-worker who can’t read social cues, she will totally ignore you.
2. Indulging in your cravings takes calculated effort.
This one sucks way worse being at home, and here’s why: At work, when my hunger went from 0 to “holy shit, I need food right now or someone is going to get drop-kicked,” one of two things happened: 1) a sympathetic co-worker may have offered to pick up lunch or share the contents of their snack drawer with me, or 2) they would run from me like a herd of terrified villagers, at least providing me solitude. But one thing they would never, never attempt to do was take my food. Only an asshole would do that! And a toddler. Assholes and toddlers steal food, which does not bode well for a pregnant mama who needs to snack basically all day long. My solution is distraction by launching dry cereal at her, then running the other way and ducking into a closet to indulge in the good stuff.
3. Aw, you have a headache? No one gives a shit.
During my first pregnancy, I suffered from horrendous migraines so bad that I had to unscrew the office lights above my cube because I could swear they were stabbing me in the temple. Did that stop anyone from tossing assignments on my desk or asking me to stay late to complete projects? Not one bit. At home now, the second time around, the headaches have come on again. And as much as I hoped my own daughter would be more compassionate and tone down the shrieking and jumping to stop Mama’s head from pulsing, she hasn’t—not even an ounce. At least my co-workers got up on the desk to unscrew the lights for me, whereas my daughter has pretty much learned how to tell me to screw myself, via the art of interpretive dance. And by dance, I mean full-body tantrums.
4. You still deal with other people’s crap.
Remember when you thought being pregnant at home in your little bubble would be your get-out-of-jail-free card in this department? Wrong again. But this time, you are dealing with crap in the literal sense—like all day long. (And good thing your sense of smell is extra sharp these days!) Maybe you’re a brave soul who is attempting to potty train your first while pregnant with your second, in which case you are directing her to put her crap in other places. But, just like certain co-workers, she will still put her crap where it doesn’t belong (and it will likely fall into your lap).
5. Your ‘lunch breaks’ are often unproductive.
This time around, your “break” might come when your firstborn takes a nap. But again, just like at the office, it is time usually spent wolfing down food, taking care of mundane tasks that are necessary for your household to function, and worrying about all the things you couldn’t get done in that small window of time. Don’t forget to take a few minutes to self-deprecate about not being efficient enough to squeeze in a workout. And there’s always the chance your lunch hour will be hijacked by a last-minute meeting or a disgruntled and needy coworker (I’m lookin’ at you, nap strike).
6. You’re never really resting.
During my first pregnancy at the office, even on a slow day, I had a ton of things to do. Being at home, I am constantly reminded about the dishwasher that’s full, the laundry that needs to be folded, and the floor that is so desperate for a cleaning I swear I saw it flash the vacuum a nipple. And I’m always on the move now, chasing our daughter around. At least I could shut my computer down at the end of a crappy workday, but since I’m now shitting where I’m eating, it’s all one giant blur with no beginning or end. In the office or at home, it’s all the same: You will be exhausted, and your work is never done.
7. You still have to get dressed.
Ah, sweatpants all day, ponytail, no makeup—no one would even know if I showered! That would all be possible if I were both home and alone all day, but this tiny little human ball of energy is throwing a wrench in my plans. She needs things like “stimulation,” “connection to the outside world,” and “social interaction.” Pfft. I tried reasoning with her to be content relaxing at home, but she told me she wasn’t interested. And by “told me,” I mean, she went batshit crazy and started climbing the walls. So most days I have to pull it together enough to not be arrested in public for indecent exposure, which is pretty much how I approached getting dressed for the office while pregnant with my first.
8. You can’t hide in the bathroom.
Just like at the office, people will look for you. They will find you. And they will talk to you through the door. Trust me.
9. You’ll have to lug things around.
During my first pregnancy, I felt like all I did was lug things around with me—my heavy laptop bag in and out of my car every day, my water bottles, pocketbook… Good thing I won’t have to deal with that this time around, right?! Wrong again, because I didn’t account for lugging around a flailing toddler (up and down the stairs, in and out of a car seat, etc.), diaper bag, sippy cups, groceries, and the weight of a growing human in my belly. I was so thankful for the woman who helped me to my car with all our grocery bags the other day I could have kissed her, even though she has no idea how close she came to being puked on.
10. You’ll develop adult ADD (if you haven’t already).
Purple. Did I leave the coffee pot on? Mickey Mouse Club. Oh, I want an eggplant parm sub! Did I take my prenatal? What the hell did I walk into this room for again? Hey, how did you guys get here?! I’m sorry, what was I saying?
Never mind. Just know that we’re screwed no matter what we do, none of it is easy, and you’re never really off the clock—unless of course you get to be home while pregnant, not taking care of other children, without the pressure of work, and with a cleaning woman at your disposal. In that case, I hate you. And I’m secretly jealous of you. And you probably aren’t even reading this because you are riding around on your giant unicorn farting fairy dust on the rest of us. Carry on.