Saturday, May 1, 2010

what to do, what to do!

I found out I was pregnant with my first baby one month after I was hired for my first teaching position. I taught half-time that first year, then switched to full time. I have taught full time for two years now, including during the pregnancy and seven months of my second's life.

To sum up, the entire time I've been a mom, I have been a working mom. I'm quitting my job in about a month when we move. I will be a stay-at-home mom from that point on.

My question to all of the other stay-at-home moms out there:

What do you do all day?

You may laugh at this question as you think of all the things that manage to fill your day, but I'd like to know.

Beyond the normal household chores, what activities or hobbies do you occupy your time with?

How do you maximize the time with your kids without, to put it bluntly, getting tired of each other?

When I was home on maternity leave and during the summers, I struggled with the boredom of having the same routine day after do you avoid that?

Any other tips on successfully staying home?


Delia said...

This is going to have to fit what you like to do so take this with a canister of salt. :) A schedule really helps me. They know what to expect and so do you. I notice that everyone behaves better {me included} when I know what is next and when I am going to get a minute to myself. So I loosely plan when chores are done, when books are read, and a little activity to do each day to spice things up. This helps immensely. I also try to make time for pursuits that interest me during naps and mostly at night. This helps me stay sane and helps me keep in touch with "me"...the me that doesn't soley revolve around kids and house work... so that I am a nicer mommy in the morning.

We have set TV time each day since my five year old does not nap. I make TV time during my baby's nap so that I get about 1 hour or more of time to get stuff done and sort of be by myself - in my head at least.

If you get bored easy, you might try planning a standard at least one outing per day rule... as much as you and your kids can manage of course. A change of scenery, even for 20 minutes to the park or grocery store can shake things up a bit. What am I talking about?No kid stays for just 20 min at the like 1 hour and 20 min. at the park can do wonders. :) Twenty min. at the store can help everyone appreciate the beauty of staying home. It works with my kids. I deprive them of their own toys by going to the store {natural consequence of course} so that when they get home they want to play uninterrupted for at least 30 min. I hope any of this is helping...because I think I sound like I don't like hanging out with my kids. I actually love them to bits. But you are can tire of even the people you love the most and 14 hours a day of being together is a long time sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Have structured days. Plan play dates. Recruit your kids to help with chores and accept imperfection while they're learning a new job. Cleaning with your small children may take longer and not get the job done as well, but they like to help mom and they learn something at the same time! Encourage independent play so you can also accomplish things you need to do by yourself. Explore local places of interest and also make trips to the library or reading groups.

Tressa said...

Great question! It helps me realize I'm not the only one who feels this way. :) One thing that sometimes works for me is to try to keep busy getting household tasks done while my son is happily playing on his own. Then I've tried to learn to be willing to take a break and spend time with him when he's wanting my attention - instead of just getting upset that he's in my way. Of course schedules can't always revolve around the kids and don't, but that is one of the benefits I see to the flexibility of being a stay at home mom. And I've realized that we have naturally fallen into a bit of a routine.

Another thing that has done wonders for me when I've started feeling stir crazy, is, like Delia said, to get out of the house. For a time I decided to do one excursion per week whether it was to visit family out of town, shopping out of town or doctor's appointments, visit to library, zoo, etc. - whether fun or not, just getting out of the house and being around other people for the majority of a day shook things up for me and helped me to appreciate being at home the rest of the week.

Lastly, learn to appreciate the little joys. Sometimes I've felt guilty for not loving every minute of being a stay-at-home mom, but I'm trying to learn that it's not meant to be perfect bliss all the time! ;) There are simple moments though that bring great joy, precisely because they are intertwined with the sometimes pervasive feeling of monotony...things like really connecting with my son or seeing him learn or do something new for the first time, or just watching him play and figure things out for a few minutes, or being surprised by getting a really great laugh out of him when I do something silly, trying in exasperation to entertain or distract him.

Best wishes with the move & adjustment!

Tannie Datwyler said...

My comments won't be too different from others....

What do I like to do other than household chores? My personal hobbies include blogging (of course), reading, playing music, and jogging. So I try to fit some of those things in every day for myself. I also spend time making online picture memory books or blog books and I think that's a good use of my time because it is fun for me and is also creating family history.

I am like Delia - although I'm with my kids all day, I do give myself frequent breaks. They play by themselves or together (without me) or watch a little TV or nap while I take a break. This keeps me from getting tired of them. :) But of course by 6:00 when my husband arrives home, I'm ready for a break!

And I avoid bordom the same way all the other ladies said - I have a schedule. Do I follow it religiously? Heaven's NO! But I do have an idea of what each day will look like.

I usually get out of the house once a day as well. Mondays I do errands, Tuesdays storytime at the library, Wednesday playdate, Thursday Ready Set School!, Friday - meh... sometimes we stay in when I've had too much GO GO GO or we go to a park.

That's the other thing - try to find free community things for your kids to do that you can do with them, that helps to keep us occupied (ie storytime at the library).

I also try to squeeze in learning time with my two kids in the morning (neither are in preschool) and then some type of fun activity in the afternoon (be it painting, playdough, chalk on the sidewalk, or a trip to the park).

Hope some of that helps...

Tressa said...

I know this post is old now, but I thought of one other thing that has helped me...
As a former teacher myself, I've wanted to keep my license current and keep up with what's going on in teaching. So, I've enjoyed doing some private tutoring at home as well as volunteering at a nearby school to get points for renewing my license. It gives me a chance to do some of what I like, interact with others and get out of the house a bit as well as "sharpening the saw" should I go back to teaching. My son really enjoys when the kids come to our house for tutoring because it gives him a chance to see someone besides me and he usually (but not always) plays pretty well on his own while we work. When I go to the school, I've just traded babysitting with friends which, again, gives him a chance to be with others and I think has helped keep him from getting overly attached to me.