this blog is long and jumps topics several times. i apologize for this, but this is what happens when nap times of littles coincide. i can write...and i try to write quickly so as to get other things done during nap time. i'll try to round it off near the end of this blog, but like i said, it's lengthy and i climb a little on the soap box. no apologies for that. enjoy.
almost 9 years ago, i used to dream of being a stay at home mom. i looked at those who did/could with great envy and sometimes a little anger and jealousy. they would speak of how "busy" they were. how they didnt have "time" for anything and it would honestly piss me off.
try working nine hours, paying for daycare, and still having to come home and do all the crap every mom does. i was very bitter about working. i know the stress that comes with a mom that works. i know the feelings of guilt...and that guilt flies both ways.
what happens when your child is sick? you get a phone call at work...you must leave...you must care for your child...and eventually send a child on the mend back to daycare (often times that child will be crying and begging to stay with you) while you must leave them and head back into the land of working adults...
and those working adults often look at you, working mommy, with disdain. (or at least it can feel that way)
"wow..must be nice to leave work no matter what's going on because your kid is running a fever.." or whatever ailment your kiddo caught. you ride both sides of the fence. it's a constant battle...that NEVER ends.
child cant sleep? doesnt matter, you're still up before dawn, and heading to work on minimal sleep and dont expect a lot of sympathy from the work force. (unless you are blessed with a fantastic work environment!)
and to top it all off, you will inevitably have stay at home mom friends who will at one time or another....complain. at which...you sigh...and wish quietly for that lifestyle.
at least i did.
and then, whether by divine intervention (believe me, i prayed to stay at home) or by force of nature; while pregnant with Amelia, i was put on bed rest. i was forced out of the work force, so to speak.
i thought i would welcome bed rest with open arms, but as the days crept by, i began to wish i could go back to work. but it never happened. so boredom got the best of me and i started budgeting. we were barely surviving but we were surviving.
when amelia was born, i didnt want to go back. i couldnt fathom leaving her. so arnie and i talked and talked and talked...and we decided that between paying for daycare and other bills, that it wouldnt be worth it for us for me to continue working.
so i became what i always wished i could be....the holiest of holy grails: a stay at home mom
and life continued to happen. it took me a while (months and months) to adjust to the idea that i was not going back to work...and each time i told myself that i wasnt going back, my heart skipped a beat.
what would i do with all my time??
see, i had told myself while working, that if i ever became a stay at home mom, i would do house chores with glee. i would happily do piles of laundry and mountains of dishes if i could just stay home.
and here i was...staying at home.
amelia was only 4 months old when we became pregnant with cain. see what happens when you cut your budget and there isnt cable tv? ;)
being pregnant, dealing with morning sickness, and a baby, and the house's demands (we had just moved!) was insane. i sort of went insane. arnie was home very little in those days as his job as a truck driver meant unpredictability so he had to make hay while the sun shined. i let my hormones rule the house. i was scary mean some days. where was the angelic me that i had promised would be around, should i get to be a stay at home mom??
i'm sure my husband was begging for an answer to that question.
and then...i added more to my plate. i wasnt juggling enough balls. i needed more things to do...so while lily's school pushed and pushed about her behavior, i stopped listening and decided to home school her. i was "home" after all...why the heck wouldnt i choose a God centered education that would focus 100% on lily's pace of learning??
so i did. and then i decided to cut out more budget eating monsters,: i would cloth diaper. two babies equal lots of disposable diapers..and they arent cheap. so cloth diapering became part of our lifestyle too. mountains of laundry? yep, i was climbing Everest at this point.
now, i need to stop at this point and talk about something. at walmart, i started off an evening worker and i worked my way up from there. i invested 8 years of my life into that company and was promoted from evening worker, to meat dept associate, to dept manager of pets, to dept manager of toys, to Zone Merchandise Supervisor, where i became responsible for all of Grocery, beer, pop, and water, paper goods and chemicals, pets, over the counter pharmacy, and health and beauty aids. when someone asked me what i did, i had no problem telling them. i had a lot of responsibility...and a lot of stress.
now, i was staying at home. it was a shock. i had to stop myself when someone asked me what i did from saying nothing. i know i wasnt doing "nothing"...but i struggled with it. what i was doing 'in home' was much more important, but it's still a fight in my head to see that i'm not taking the easy road. i'm finally doing the work that i love and i'm not getting paid for it. i'm being loved in exchange. i'm seeing my children grow and that's something i'll never regret or question.
i fight a lot in my head about what i'm doing. i've locked myself into this position of being a stay at home mom. i'm somewhat anchored to the house and tethered to our children. so where a working mom can go out and have "adult" lunches through their work week, i'm making spaghettios, cleaning up cheerios, and dancing a silly dance to keep a baby laughing. if i put forth a lot of effort, i could go out too, but most days, i'd rather be here.
so...what do i do all day? i wake up when Amelia and Cain wake up. usually around 8am (on a good day)
i change them, get them dressed for the day, and spend about 20-25 minutes in our nursery/closet (while they play on the floor) putting away all the clothes from left over laundry. we are blessed enough to fit all the family's clothes in that room nicely and i cannot stress how convenient that is!--no trips up stairs!!
we move into the kitchen where i wash sippies and any other left over dishes from the night before while the babies snack on cheerios and play on the floor. i make my breakfast (usually bacon) which is shared with both Amelia and Cain now...two bacon lovers after my own heart.
i then start laundry and about this time, Lily comes downstairs for her breakfast..and unless i'm feeling particularly froggy (making pancakes or something), she has peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, toast, applesauce, or cereal- something she can easily obtain herself.
once Lily is finished, school begins. (although now school is done) it's also time for diaper changes.
i try to balance entertaining Amelia and Cain while overseeing Lily's online work/book work and reading with her where ever i can..and doing all testing that's required. About an hour to two hours into this it's diaper changing time and nap time. Amelia goes to her bed and Cain gets held until he falls asleep and then he gets laid on his daytime "nest" in the living room.
Lily has lunch, i have lunch, and while the babies nap, i do laundry - if it's nice, i hang clothes to dry. if the babies arent napping together, Amelia walks outside with me to hang clothes while Lily watches Cain.
we finish up with school, we do some play time. i do any additional dishes. *note- i dont like to let dishes pile up on me, i do much better with small amounts of dishes...which is why i do it this way. i also put up any laundry that has finished drying in the dryer if i can (mostly towels, socks, and underwear, which are kept in our bathroom- which we've been blessed to have such a spacious one that all that fits comfortably in!)
this is the time in which i can do God time, light cleaning, writing a blog, or reading a book.
IF both babies have napped, they tend to wake up at the same time and when they do, it's diaper changing time and time for them to eat.
here's where a day gets dicey. it should be about 3pm or 4pm and here, it could go two ways. if lily has practice or a game, we begin packing and getting ready to leave. if lily doesnt have a game, then we fly by the seat of our pants. if it's nice and everyone's in a good mood, it's outside time! if it's raining, it's movie/book time until about 6-6:30...
then diapers get changed again...and i attempt to make a dinner for when arnie will be home. then eventually, we have dinner, we watch a movie or two or play a game, do more diaper changes...and bed time happens...at which point it starts all over again.
everything changes if we have trips to town, which tend to happen directly after waking up in the morning- that way, by the time we get home, it's nap time and it just makes everything easier.
i guess i'm busy..but i'm not, "oh my gosh, my day is so full, i never going to get anything done- 'busy'". every mother, i'm sure, is different...and has tons of different things they're juggling. my days are pretty easy when i compare them to working at walmart. and i can deal with a toddler's screaming fits much easier than i can that of an adult whose badge was bigger than mine, metaphorically speaking. there are stresses everywhere. i enjoy these stresses of home life much more.
i'm blessed that i can be here and stay home, and i try not to knock it too much or complain. i have the utmost respect for working moms. i've done that shift, and i know your heartache. all i can say is if you are happy where you are, then dont let anyone- anyone- give you guff for it. you are doing the best thing you can do for your baby (or babies). and if you still feel that ache inside you that tells you that you should be home, then sit down and work out the numbers. have long talks with your spouse about expectations should your situation change. make phone calls, look up research online (there are tons of staying at home when you can barely afford it links)
bottom line is: know what will make you happy and fight for it. in the end, you'll feel and see the difference in your life.
happy home making folks. :)