I never thought I could go from working outside the home to staying home with my girls. I thought I wasn’t the type. That I wouldn’t enjoy it. I’d want to pull my hair out daily. (I was right about this one). When my girlfriends and I would talk about our lives, I’d tell them I just wouldn’t be happy staying home. I just didn’t have the right personality.
Oh, how many times I’ve been bitten in the ass by “never say never”. (Mini-van is another one of those “nevers”. Greatest purchase we’ve ever made, FYI.)
It turns out I can stay home with children and be happy. But there are a few things I need to supplement that happiness. This blog is one of them. I need a project; something to work towards. I need to feel like I’ve accomplished something. I have a running to-do list for 2 reasons: 1. So I legit don’t forget everything. 2. And I can erase whatever I finished so I can see something tangible from my efforts.
Staying home with children really is one of, if not the most important jobs there is. But some days it just doesn’t feel like it. Like when your spouse asks what you did that day and you just stare back. Because how do you explain to someone that really “adulted” that you:
- made breakfast
- played Pat-a-Cake
- read the same stupid book 15 times
- made lunch
- did dishes
- wiped butts
- did 4 loads of laundry
- wiped noses
- broke up 67 fights
- wiped away tears (and possibly your own)
- cleaned up dog puke
- picked up the same toys 5 times
- heard “mom!” 576 times
- maybe ate a cookie will hiding
- and made dinner
So they wouldn’t have to. Or pay someone else to. And above all, because it mattered dammit! But you just don’t want to have to say it. You’d rather just feel the mutual respect radiating off your spouse like a space heater. So instead, you reply, “Oh, not much”.
My life has changed. My daily role has changed. For the most part, I love it. I can’t imagine going back to a 9 to 5 (more like 7 to 5) job. Not right now, anyway. I’d kick and scream if someone made me. So don’t do it unless you want throat punched. Besides, I’m still repairing my soul from the last gig.
But I digress. Here are a few ways I’ve changed:
Social – Hey friends! I’ve mentioned this before. We didn’t have much of a social life prior to our moving. Between a lack of opportunities and just plain being exhausted from work, we were real homebodies. Now, I can’t wait to get out and get some adult interaction. Bring on the friends, laughs and brews.
Social Media – To go along with being more social in person, I’m more active on social media. It’s my way of feeling connected with the “outside” world. I’m not posting stuff every day but I’m interacting way more than I did before.
Don’t watch, read or listen to the news – I used to do all 3 before. Call me an old-soul but I was a talk radio fan and it was mostly news. I read the daily happenings of the world via articles while at work. And I’d watch the news when making dinner. Then there’s all the stuff on social media. Talk about depressing. It’s ignorance on my part not to pay attention but I’m fine with that. I think everyone’s gone crazy and I can’t handle it. I enjoy my new-found bubble.
Sleep more – When I worked outside the home, I woke up at 4:30. That’s the time I had to get up in order to get myself ready, breakfast ate, my kids ready and to daycare so I could be at work at 7:00. I’m exhausted just typing that. Now my alarm goes off at 6. I’m usually out of bed by 6:30 or maybe 7:00 . . .
Don’t need to drink coffee – Some moms are rolling their eyes so hard I can feel it. Before, I couldn’t function without coffee. Nobody would like me if I had tried. Now, I still love me some caffeine action but I can make it through just fine without, thankyouverymuch.
Laugh more – Try spending mass amounts of time with 2 toddlers and not laugh at the stuff they do. I dare you. I also dare you not to cry or have feelings of utter rage. Double dog dare you on that.
I Get bored – I didn’t have time to be bored before. Unfortunately, my husband and I put in a lot of hours. That didn’t leave much home time. Boredom wasn’t a thing. Now, some days I run around like crazy. Some days I’m not sure what to do with myself and 2 little girls. This winter will be tough. But not dragging them out into the dark, freezing morning to go to daycare will be a giant plus.
More active – I had a desk job. I sat a lot of my day. I’d read those studies about how bad it was for a person and cringe. I was that person. Now, sitting? What’s sitting during the day like? We’re currently in a split level house. There are stairs everywhere. Every time I need anything in a different part of the house, stairs are involved. I’m surprised I don’t have a stairway into my bed at this point.
More patient/less patient? – When working, I thought I’d have less patience when it came to my children. But I only had a short amount of time with them and tried to maximize it. I had my bad days of course. But I made a real effort to be patient and not be a parent that yelled. Now, I still try to do those things but when it’s for 12 hours out of the day instead of 2, it gets a bit more challenging.
I know my children better – Nothing will make a working mom feel worse than not knowing if her child is sick because they’re not old enough to speak for themselves. And they have to decide to risk sending them to daycare or use up a vacation day. (Or worse, go unpaid for the day when there are bills coming in). She’s left drowning in her own tears and guilt. It’s terrible feeling like you’re not around enough to know your children. Currently, my one year old’s vocabulary is exploding. I don’t have to look at my husband blankly because we have no idea what she’s saying. For the most part, I know what she’s chatting about. I get to be the one yelling from the other room, “More. She’s saying she wants more!”
There are other, different ways I’ve changed. I’m sure of it. But I don’t know how to put into words the ease at which I can tackle my day now. Oh, there’s challenges, frustration and loneliness in this business. And I’m still left feeling exhausted at the end of the day but I can handle it. I won’t regret doing this. I can feel it deep down in my soul that I won’t regret this. I don’t know how long it’ll last. Maybe by next summer I’ll be working full time (From home. Dear God, please from home.) But for now I need to take deep, patient breaths and realize how blessed I am. And maybe eat another cookie. This time with a glass of wine.