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Posts Tagged ‘sahm’

Sometimes I like to dig through my old blog posts and see what kinds of gems I can find. After all this space has served as a sort of diary for me. Well sometimes I stumble upon junk, trash even. And I don’t know whether to shake my head, laugh, or cry at some of the things I put to pen.

Several years ago, way before I had kids, I wrote a blog post asking what stay at home moms did all day. Feast your eyes on this snippet: “It’s not like you don’t have a choice in the matter, and at the end of the day many say it’s the best job in the world. The best?… Maybe. The hardest?… Not buying it.”

Ouch right? I went on about how all you have to do is feed the kids, bathe them, maybe clean up a little, try to teach them a thing or two and play with them. As if all those things could be done in half and hour and then you could sit down and enjoy a book.

I hadn’t a clue.

I’m still getting hate mail for that post.

Not only did I not stay at home but I didn’t even have kids. I didn’t realize that just because you can stay in your PJs all day, doesn’t mean you have an easy job to do.

As a teenager, I worked in a daycare for a few years with kids between the ages of one and three. I suppose this made me feel like I was qualified to guess what motherhood was like. I followed a schedule stapled to a bulletin board and had nothing to do but focus on the kids 100%. We did a daily craft, sang songs, played games, had snacks and lunch. I even put all 8 to 13 kids down for naps by myself. How could motherhood be much harder?

Honestly, I still don’t know how.

But it is.

Cleaning at home isn’t as simple as dumping toys in a plastic bin and disposing of food scraps in the cafeteria. And oh yea, I wasn’t even in charge of the menu or food prep back then.

After just one year into my adventures of being home with my two kids, I was singing a different tune. I quickly learned in that same eight-hour span of being awake with my kids, answering their every question, finding ways to entertain them, giving them food and snacks, I was stretched pretty thin.

Perhaps part of this is because I care so much. I liked the kids I watched every day at the daycare, but I was no one compared to their own mothers. I was a stand-in that hugged away boo boos, changed diapers, and kept babies happy while their moms took care of work for 40-50 hours a week. But I wasn’t mom. The kids knew it, the moms knew it, and so did I.

How to take a DSLR selfie: Self portrait photography ideas and ways to get in the picture with your kids. Remote DSLR tutorial.

Love alone is exhausting. It’s tiring caring so much about these little people I’ve created. Caring about what they eat, what they watch, answering my daughter’s every question because I don’t want her to think I’m ignoring her. Picking my son up any time he asks because he won’t be this small forever.

This is my official apology to any stay-at-home moms I may have offended. I’m one of you now — and it’s not as easy as I thought.

My husband and I made an agreement… I get up at 6am, and I can work six hours straight, then he needs to go. Part of me thinks that’s uncool that I’m on the unpleasant end of the schedule, but I’ll take it.

I’m get time to do what I need to do–Yes, and I don’t even have to lock myself in a room to do it (that never really works anyway). I thought of going to my station to write and edit, but even the office has it’s own slew of distractions. I decided to a restaurant with wifi, where no kids (who need me) can bug me, and no one I know will talk to me.

Peace and quiet. Alone time.

I would have never thought that I–The most social person on the planet–Would covet time alone so much.

So excuse me while I polish off my egg mcmuffin and wash it down with OJ. It may be the buttcrack of dawn, and slightly sad how excited I was to wake up and drive to a fast food restaurant to work. But I’m alone, and I’m lovin’ it.

If I had a nickle for every time someone congratulated me on becoming a stay at home mom, I could make a living wage and consider myself a work at home mom, collecting interest from my funds.

Okay, I kid.

But really, people seem to be very excited about this! And I am too. But I can’t help but feel a slight urge to correct someone when they call me that.

Most of the time I let it go. Cause really, I was in the office a whopping 15 hours this week. Five of which included having my kids there with me. It’s quite the shift, just a third of the time I’d normally spend there. But it was three days in the office, and another day and a half I was working on a freelance project from home. I don’t really feel like a stay at home mom. And even if I was exactly what people call a SAHM, it sorta implies I never leave the house.

Does acknowledging the term brand me into a category of mothering?

mom labels

I love wearing my babies, and talk about it all the time, but you’ll rarely (if ever) catch me calling myself a “babywearer” or “babywearing mom.”

If you asked me if I’m a stay at home mom I guess I’d say yes. But I’d probably say yes if you asked if I was a work at home mom, or a work outside the home mom. If you were to ask me what I “do” I’d probably say I’m a freelance reporter, assuming you mean for money. But please don’t make me choose a four letter acronym to define myself. I’m so much more than that. We all are.

I have friends who are concert pianists, have landed record deals, won Emmy’s, baking awards, have degrees, know sign language, and teach yoga… All extraordinary mothers who shouldn’t be confined to such an ordinary phrase.–As if you’re putting a period at the end of a simplified definition of ourselves. I prefer an ellipses.

Get to know me.

And trust me… You can’t fit all this *hands hourglassing down my waistline* in an acronym.

I mentioned the big changes going on for my family. Last Friday was my last day of full-time work, yet this week I’ve gone into the station twice, had a handful of meetings, scheduled some assignments and and accepted some new ones.

This not working thing isn’t working out so well.

I’m still strategizing a plan for which days I’ll go into the office. It’ll most likely be two, maybe three days a week. In my case, being a freelancer is not so much a random “we’ll call you when we need you” kind of thing, but an actual part-time schedule. It’s really a dream come true. Problem is, I have a really hard time saying no to each and every other opportunity that comes my way, and things are quickly turning into another full-time schedule.

On the mom front, I already have play dates scheduled, and I’ve literally mapped out every single nearby weekly story time and put them in my calendar. I also feel like I want to try to teach my daughter to read this year. Because, what better to do with all this time we have together?

On the days that I’m home, I try to exhaust her during the day, so at night, I can get some work done. Which usually consist of writing, setting up future stories, or video editing.

-1Getting my weekends back for the first time in years meant a date night for my husband and I on Saturday. We beat each other up then went out to dinner.

It also meant Sunday we went to church and I was asked about a thousand times if I was new. And had to explain a thousands times that no, I wasn’t, but that I’ve been working Sundays for the last five years and come on occasion when I’m not working, or sleeping after working all morning. Of course my husband didn’t have a thousand people come up to him though because he looks like every other dude at church. And because he’s good at staring at corners and avoiding eye contact so people don’t want to talk to him.

I had a break down on the way home, and he promised to shield me from some of the madness next week. But hopefully only 500 people who didn’t get to talk to me last week will ask me if I’m new next week, then the excitement over an unfamiliar brown face will die down and I can worship in peace like everyone else.

Friendliness overload aside, it was really really good to be back. And I’m excited to join my family there every week again.

So week one of sorta-stay at home mom-hood is going well. I’m waiting for things to slow down, but I’m not sure they ever will. All I can hope for is a quick adjustment to all the change, and that we’ll all be happier with my change of pace.

Aug
15
2013

Embracing change


Every week I drive by our lot where our new home will soon stand. I’m tempted to drive by every day, but I’m trying my best to resist and save a bit of gas money. The builder will pour the foundation sometime this week, and before we know it, we’ll be planting our roots in our new home.

our-new-home-2

A lot of people don’t like change. My husband loathes it. I love it.

I like moving new places, meeting new people, learning new things. That could be why I’m more excited than nervous about our move. But I am a little anxious about so much changing at one time.

Next week, I’ll no longer be a weekend anchor. The week after that I’ll be a part-time employee and full-time mom of two. If you asked my 20-year-old self if  I wanted to be a stay at home mom I probably would have laughed in your face. And now, here I am, staring at that reality.

I feel like all of these changes are giving me a chance to kind of re-define and  re-discover myself.

Will I join new neighborhood play groups, and make friends with people in our new ward (church congregation)? Will other people on our street have kids my children’s’ age? I feel like it’s a chance to start over. If that makes sense. Not that I don’t like the way things have been going, or that I’m embarrassed by my past. But in a way it is like starting a new life.

Lately I’ve been debating changing the name of my blog. I’m not sure if I’ll be making any more babies. Definitely not anytime soon. Not ever if it’s up to my husband, but I’m not convinced he can’t be persuaded in another four or five years. But if my baby-making days are over does my name just seem silly?

I’ve been toying with other names for my blog. I love living life to the fullest, capturing moments, taking risks and leaps of faith. I bought a new domain name with these things in mind but I’m not sure I’m ready to make a permanent change just yet.

Another blog change I’ve been battling with is occasionally posting more sponsored content. A reader recently shared her annoyance with the more frequent sponsored posts. To be honest, I used to hate them as much as everyone else. And with how frequently I updated my blog, they got watered down and they weren’t as noticeable. I just haven’t had as much time to post my everyday thoughts, but my “assigned” things keep me on tight deadlines. I used to avoid them at all costs but quitting my job puts us in a place where we could use all the help we can get. I definitely don’t want to sacrifice my blog or have it turn into a review hub. I probably get close to 100 pitches a week. Seriously! And I rarely give most a second glance, but the ones I do share here on my blog have to meet certain standards: 1. Awesome 2. I’d buy it 3. A win/win for myself and my readers.

our-new-home-1

My blog has always first and foremost been my journal, and a scrapbook for my kids but I also need to consider what it can provide for my family. Going forward, I’ll keep them limited, relevant, and try not to loose my voice in them.

My voice. My self. It’s something I’m desperately hoping to hang on to as my world changes. I’d be lying if  I said the thought of being home with my kids almost all the time isn’t somewhat terrifying. But I’ll be there helping lay the foundation for their lives, which for now, is where I feel I’m meant to be.

Halfway into my maternity leave I was beginning to doubt my abilities of being a good stay at home mom. Now, as I prepare to return to work tomorrow, I’m almost certain I’d make a terrible stay at home mom.

temporary sahmI’ve been noticing differences in my daily routine working vs not working, while keeping in mind that I only had one kid before (not two) and I’ve been treating FMLA leave more like a vacation than a permanent situation (and I’ve been giving myself a bit of a break because hey, I just had a baby). That said, there are some things I love and some things I loathe.

There’s nothing as heavenly as sleeping in with my family. Since being home my daughter has started sneaking into our bed in the middle of the night. She wanders down the hall and into our room, then squeezes between my husband and I. By morning my son is snuggling with the three of us as well. I’m going to miss that this Saturday when I’m already sitting at my desk at 4:30am.

I love having the freedom to make the plans to do things whenever, and not having to work around my work schedule. I love being able to meet up with friends, stay up late, and not have to worry about waking up early for work the next day.

I love spending more time with my kids. My son is literally growing before my eyes, and he’s getting more expressive every day. He’s such an easy baby. Seriously perfect. And watching my daughter learn new things before my eyes is amazing. She is picking up so much and is like a little genius. I can’t get enough of them. No wait… I take that back I CAN.

You know how the saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder”? Well when you’re never absent, you can’t grow much fonder.

Being with kids all day every day from sunup to sundown is freaking exhausting. I like to think of myself as an extremely patient person but I’ve found my patience is wearing extremely thin these last few weeks.

As a working mother, when I’d hear stay at home moms say “I never get a break!” I wondered what in the world they meant. How hard can it be? And it’s not like I got a break. At work I was working and the moment I picked my kid up I was giving her 110% and doing the house stuff once I got home. Now that I’ve been home for a few months I can break it down.

When moms say “I don’t get a break” they mean “a break from my kids” and everyone needs a break from their kids. A break from constant questions, and requests, and demands, and meltdowns, and meal-making.

I had dreams of my time as a temporary stay at home mom being spent sewing my daughter dresses while she napped, or making delicious new meals together. But my daughter NEVER napped. So that sewing? Didn’t happen. Unless it was between the hours of 11pm and 2am. But by then I was more afraid of waking her up again, so I instead watched marathon shows on Netflix. Not glamorous, but it was something to do alone in relative peace and quiet.

And those meals? They’d happen occasionally but it didn’t put a pause to the constant requests for other things. If I had a nickel for every time I heard “I’m hungry.” I wouldn’t have to go back to work.

When stay at home moms claim working moms get time to themselves, what they mean is time away from the kids. Time where you’re not making another snack, or cleaning up another mess.

That’s another thing. The messes. I can’t stand cleaning. I thought it would be easier to stay on top of it if I had more time at home. No. It just makes me more aggravated every time my daughter throws something on the floor moments after we straightened up. When I’m working I can justify hiring a helper but when I’m not, I feel guilty and like I should be doing it. And it doesn’t help that every stay-at-home mom’s house I go to seems to always be clean. I don’t understand how you can keep on top of it and keep your sanity.

That work–All the cleaning and cooking that kind of comes with being a housewife is exactly what I hate. Being with my kids? Love it (though I could use an occasional break from them). All the domestic chores? Lothe.

Clean when the kids are in bed? Sure. But who wants to do that when you’re finally getting a quiet moment alone? Not me. Clean throughout the day? Yea, I guess, but it’s doing that between the requests, demands and meltdowns.

I wish there was a way I could work half as much but make the same amount and see my kids more, but not too much.

I enjoy working, and I enjoy my kids.

Moms aren’t cut out from a batch of dough into perfect little cookie-cutter shapes. We all have different experiences, passions, skills. Part of me feels like working makes me an even better mom. When I’m at work, it’s on. And I’m focused on the task at hand. At home, I’m in mommy mode, and ready to commit all of my attention.

I thought I must have been missing so much during the day, while I was at work but I didn’t realize how much of the day was spent doing damage control, meal time, and napping (for the baby, not my toddler–though she would nap at school).

It seems to me that I need some kind of happy medium.

Some of my fellow working-mom friends having their second child kept their firstborn in preschool this summer. “It’s better for both of us.” I’ve been told. But here’s where I’m torn on that. If you ask my daughter if she’d rather go to school or stay home with me, she’d choose me. Every single time. I’m her mom, I’d expect as much. But if I gave her the choice between cucumbers and cookies, she’d choose cookies every single time. Sometimes they don’t know what’s good for them. Granted, I’m pretty awesome (despite my lack of housewife skills) and hard to beat, but a little time apart, a few hours a day I think would hit the spot for us both. A few hours and nine hours is a big difference. And that’s where I’m hitting a roadblock.

I couldn’t justify paying for her full-time preschool when I would be home and available for her anyway during my leave. But I didn’t have anywhere to take her when I needed to write, or read, or have a couple hours to myself. A couple hours. That’s not a lot to ask. To go from too-much time away from the kids to NO time away was quite a drastic shift, that at moments, had me on the verge of losing my sanity. And then feeling horrible for feeling on the verge of losing my sanity because really, my kids are awesome, it’s not them, it’s me…And a little bit of them.

If I ever am a stay at home mom again part-time preschool will be a must. Then I can spread my wings, still do my business things, and give them 110% after I miss them a little bit. And my them I mean her, I can handle the baby. Until he’s a crazy toddler too that is.

So now here I am wondering how I’m going to get back into the swing of things after having 12 weeks off. I haven’t been away from them for more than a couple hours once or twice. And I’m sure after eight I’ll be ready to fall apart. Or awoken to my new-found freedom. One of the two.

Since I was 16 years old I’ve always had a job. I’ve had jobs back to back while in school, through college, and every time I’ve moved. I’ve done everything from telling at a bank, to fast food, to movie theaters, day care, janitorial work, and of course all sorts of journalism jobs.

After having my daughter I knew I’d go back to work because my husband was finishing up school and looking for a new career himself. This time I’ve had a little more leeway in deciding what I want to do job-wise, but I’ve been in no hurry to leave the workforce just yet. I told myself maternity leave would be a good trial for me to see what life is like as a stay at home mom, and boy has it been interesting.

I’m only six weeks in with six weeks to go and so far we’ve gone on several play dates, soccer practices, a trip to the pool, and other random outings. I always thought if I was a stay at home mom, all of those kids activities I’ve been pinning on Pinterest boards for my kids would be put to good use. We’d be doing science experiments, making our own playdough and sidewalk chalk. I have more than 100 pins on that board and guess how many I’ve done on maternity leave? … ZIP.

First of all, I don’t know how people manage to keep the house clean when they’re home all day. I admire people who can do that, but it’s just not within my capabilities. Then, when I think of doing some DIY project I have to ask myself how much messier the house is going to get. I used to just pick a few crafts up on the way home with my daughter and we’d craft it up between dinner and bed time. Now I have all day and I can’t seem to make plans to create something fun. Then there’s the planning and prep work involved in “what are we gonna do today?”

Playdates have been lifesavers for my lack of creativity. We went to my friend Taylor’s house and the kids made juice and played til dinnertime.

A few weeks ago I made a nice list of free story times around town, and other free regular events like music time, or baby day at the children’s museum. I had it down to a schedule–And I lost it. I haven’t had the energy to attempt to make another yet.

I can’t help but feel like my child is now dumber for having hung out with me for the last six weeks. The other day I told my daughter I’d help her with something in 10 seconds, and she started counting “One, three, four…” Really? Have I been that horrible of a mom to where she forgot how to count already?

I tried to make up for this, and her break from preschool by “homeschooling” with cool writing and reading ipad apps. Then I’ve been making dotted letters for her to connect on her own, spelling her name and other words. Yea, that’s about the extent of my education system during my time as a stay at home mom. I sorta suck. And she’s played with my ipad so much that it’s no longer cool anymore. She’s much rather play pretend with me or color.

I’m thinking I may end up investing in *one of these BabbaBoxes for the summer. They’re suppose to have all sorts of activities and games cut out and prepared already with different themes for each month of the summer. Less work for me! It may actually be the answer to my prayers, but we’ll see. Anyone tried one? They’re 10% off right now using the code: SURVIVE. I wonder if they’ll start making these things for moms who need help preparing dinner too. Now there’s an idea, order a box that comes filled with everything you need for dinner the whole month.

On the positive side of my stint at home, I did complete all eight seasons of Desperate Housewives and I’ve begun to embark on Scandal and Parenthood. Don’t worry… I don’t watch those shows when the kids are awake. Those are for my enjoyment between the hours of 10pm and 2am.

My husband works nights so in the morning when he goes to the gym he’ll take Lil’ J so I can try to get a little work done if the baby decides to nap. Other than that it’s just me and the babes from about noon til bed time, since he gets home after they’re asleep. So I’m counting down til his days off when I can catch a bit of a break and go out by myself or heck… use the bathroom alone.

My daughter NEEDS to start taking naps again. She did at preschool but I haven’t made her at home and I’m regretting that decision. A two hour nap would really help me get a handle of things. I could even do “lesson planning” during that time, make crack at Pinterest things, or if I get a BabbaBox to plan for me, I could use that time to sew.

I get it now. I never understood why stay at home moms said they don’t get “a break”, I mean it’s not like I get a break when I’m working then coming home to kids. But I do get a break from doing the same thing every day all day, day in and day out.

Don’t get me wrong, I freakin love my kids. They are the coolest and cutest in the world. But it’s nice getting paid while having uninterrupted adult conversations.

I’m turning things around though. I’m going to try to find a new groove and plan a schedule. Is that the key to doing this right? I’m determined to end my maternity leave on a good note, and not feel like a total loser.

How do you plan things to do with your kids during the summer, or the time you spend extended periods of time together at home?

 

*= Sponsored by BabbaCo. Click to learn more about the all-inclusive boxes filled with learning activities, books and more for the kids.

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget



I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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