From the moment I decided to be a stay-at-home mom earlier this year, I knew life would present adjustments. There would be good days and bad, I told myself, and hoped that the good would outweigh the bad. So far, in two weeks, the good days have far outnumbered those less-than-good ones, but I still have found myself anxious at times, particularly after car trips that took too long, a lack of synched nap times, and unexpected hot and humid May days.
During the majority of my home-alone time with the kids, life is grand. We spend lots of hours preparing and eating food, playing outside–at walkable parks and on our porch and patio, creating an at-home Gymboree, reading books, attending playdates, and making craft projects. I have learned that Nora loves an early-morning craft project, but that she’ll run through it rather quickly at her age. I have also learned that she will clean up the living room a lot faster in the evening when we have Gymboree bubbles and songs following the “Clean-up Song.” We rarely turn on the TV but I will put it on after a long nap if Nora’s a little out of it and on the cranky side. Carson seems to roll with the punches on anything, so not a lot to report there right now!
What have I found stressful so far?
- Life at home is much more solitary, which I enjoy at times, but can make me a little crazy.
- Shopping for and completing large, conceptual projects is next to impossible while trying to keep an eye on two kids, which I learned both when shopping at Target and while trying to map out a larger-scale craft project this week. I can grocery shop from a list if necessary or bust out a quick construction-paper mosaic, but deciding on a closet storage system or making Modge-Podge fabric beads is not going to happen unless I am by myself or with Steve.
- Carving out “me” time has been elusive. I am really tied up with daily tasks, so my hopes of carving out time for myself hasn’t materialized as I had hoped. I feel like I am losing a bit of myself as I helm the role of household manager–wiping tushies, floors, and countertops; running the vacuum; and planning activities.
Given these lessons I have learned so far, I need to find some SAHM mojo, where I am motivated to blow-dry my hair, map out some time to exercise or read or craft or even cook beyond our standard weekday fare, and investigate things to do beyond my current knowledge.
So, here are my SAHM goals for weeks three through seven (I’ll take a break in July when Steve and I take the kids to Boise):
For the kids:
- Establish a more solid routine for naps (fewer car trips, more in-crib/bed snooze sessions)
- Leave time in the day for low-key play around the house (including hosting at-home playdates)
- Tell more stories (from my childhood, the news, books, etc.)
- Make a new snack every week
- Walk to a local business and treat ourselves to something small once a week (a coffee and water, an ice-cream cone, a hoagie)
- Engage in nontechnology-related hobbies (crafting, reading a book, exercising) daily
- Track what I am putting in my mouth (I thought I would magically lose ten pounds, but that hasn’t seemed to happen yet!)
- Give myself credit for keeping the kids alive and happy and for keeping the house somewhat clean, rather than feeling guilty for not giving my children the all-organic, all-handmade childhood that Pinterest and many blogs I read espouse!
- Stop feeling guilty that I am not earning a paycheck. This has come into my mind several times this week, and I have to remember the $$$ we are saving by me being at home, the cost of our sanity, and the happiness of our children outweigh the paycheck I was earning. We made this decision very carefully and decided that my presence in our home was essential for our family in the short and long term.
Since this is our first slow weekend since the stay-at-home routine started two weeks ago, Steve and I have been putting some plans into motion with the extra time this holiday weekend brings. We built a train board out of long-owned Thomas tracks (in large part thanks to Steve), bought some new developmentally appropriate puzzles and activity sets for the kids, and decided to spend the weekend predominantly as our family of four, which is helping me take a deep breath in preparation for the busy month ahead.