Just like any new job, there is an adjustment period. It has been about two weeks since I started this new chapter in my life as a full-time stay-at-home-mom. The first week was incredibly challenging and overwhelming. I was trying to wrap up tasks for my paid position and get caught up on everything at home, while my husband was working long hours. We also had my 4-year-old daughter’s birthday party, family visiting, and of course, illness. I became increasingly frustrated about not having a break to catch up on cleaning, groceries, laundry, paying bills, taking a shower, etc. That first week I really questioned if I was cut out for this and if I had made the right decision. Then, while my husband was working long hours again, my kids got sick AGAIN…and the cats. It was incredibly convenient that I was able to be home to take care of the sick kids without having to feel guilty about missing work again and without my husband having to take off of work. I was able to take them to the doctor, get their medications, and enjoy so many snuggles with them. My mom came to visit a few days early so I could get caught up. She was in my house less than five minutes before she turned into a Fairy Grandmother and granted me a MUCH needed shower and 10 minutes (okay, maybe 30 minutes) of alone time. Then she whisked me off to the Margarita Ball! Even though my children did not behave AT ALL at the restaurant, at least I was clean, had some help, and delicious food accompanied by an even more delicious drink.
When you start a new job, you also have to get your workspace set up, complete with a computer, paper, pens, family pictures, etc. right? Well, being that my house was my official office and workplace now, I needed to get it set up. After a round of deep cleaning and too much laundry, my Type-A side came out. Under the guise of “teaching my 4-year-old to read,” I labeled every bin I had just organized in the laundry room, every toy bin, and even the shelves in the refrigerator. Crazy? Yes! Necessary to try to keep my husband from putting things in the wrong place and asking me where things are 24/7? Yes! It may seem strange, but I needed to do it as a part of the transition to being home. If the house is my new workspace, I need to have some order, so I can be productive and keep inventory. Once I ran out of label maker tape, I turned my focus to my planner. I finally have a chance to keep track all the appointments, meals, grocery lists, bills, chores, etc. instead of flying by the seat of my pants at every moment. Keeping this organization is not only necessary for my own crazy peace of mind, but also to help me plan ahead to save money now that we are down an income. It was amazing how much better I felt after getting the house put together…even though it only lasted a few hours until the family came home from Grandma and Grandpa’s and toys and clothes ended up everywhere again.
There is also a training period when starting a new job. My daughter just turned 4, but acts like she just turned 14. It has been a fairly consistent pattern that her time of disequilibrium is always around her birthday. Instead of fighting with her to “just be quiet” during nap/quiet time while I’m trying to work, I can now cuddle with her while rereading “Raising Your Spirited Child” by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka (or read while they are both sleeping in the car). I am also taking an online course on Positive Parenting Solutions. I love my daughter so much, but I need some help training myself on how to parent her and her uniqueness, which is incredibly different from my 20-month-old son. I am now able to focus on how to help my daughter through these difficult phases. In just the second day since I’ve started my self “training” program, we have had way less yelling and way more laughing. This is the kind of SAHM I want to be, not the yelling, crying, losing my mind kind, that the first week brought out in me.
Lastly, I can say I really enjoy my new job! Yes, there are challenging days, but that’s why there is wine (Haskell’s delivers via the Drizly app)! Even with my older one in preschool three days a week, we have still made Play-Doh ice cream and snow people families; had lots of naked dance parties (them, not me); Olaf tea parties dressed as Anna; read libraries of books; enjoyed chalk and bubbles outside; and even fit in a day to the local aquarium. It’s certainly not easy, no job is, but I am finally okay with my decision to stay home, even if my house is a mess 5 minutes after I clean it.
The final page to my new chapter includes the opportunity to write about it as a contributor for the Twin Cities Moms Blog. This is a great way for me to process, share, find camaraderie, and have a creative outlet. My first article was posted today. Enjoy!