Self-Review: SAHM, Year One

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Like that, I’ve hit my one-year anniversary as a stay-at-home mom. While I’ve had success procuring some freelance work in the last twelve months, I primarily consider myself a SAHM, so this review will not involve my paid work for the most part.

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since I walked away from my professional life. At the time, leaving my job was exciting as well as bittersweet. Since the arrival of my youngest in July 2012, I had toyed with the idea of being home full time. However, I didn’t pull the trigger and walk away from my career until ten months later. Do I regret my decision to leave the full-time work force? Absolutely not.

Here are the skills I have acquired and refined in my fifty-two weeks as a SAHM:

  • Networking: I’ve had the great fortune of connecting with awesome moms who are willing to schedule regular and sporadic playdates–both prove useful.
  • Organization: Nothing beats my Cozi calendar, a file box, and weekly and daily to-do lists.
  • Patience: It’s like herding cats most days.
  • Empathy: Kissing boo-boos and snuggling an extra-sensitive child is just about always worth the time and effort.
  • Perspective: As many say, parenting consists of long days and short months/years. Challenging phases and hard days pass and it’s hard to remember any dark moment in this past year that has lasted longer than a day or week.
  • Scheduling: We have hit a good weekly rhythm of two or three playdates, some structured activities, and random time to dink around by walking to the park, working on a craft project, or even wrestling with a pile of pillows. The days must always include down time (usually in front of a screen) to make up for the busy hours. It’s always best to have an afternoon plan in addition to one in the morning.

While there’s more I could write, I would say that being a SAHM has given me opportunities to shine and challenges to contemplate. We’ve had a nice mix of activities this year, but we did have to drop swimming when I signed Nora up for one-too-many classes. I’ve been teetering on being overextended in my volunteer commitments, so I need to figure out what’s important and how I can cut back in the areas that don’t mean as much to me. My paid work is more in focus right now, but that is mostly because I’ve had the good fortune of clients contacting me about upcoming projects. As always, we need to be more budget focused, so I need to come up with more efficient and effective systems for groceries, bills, and those extras that take away from our opportunity to save and restock the coffers after our big move.

Personally, I’d like to carve out a little more time for fun, for reading books, for making my own projects, for spending quality time with my husband. However, I am not overly focused on these things; I know raising kids is just a brief period in one’s life, and I don’t want to wish away these early years of their development.

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