Today’s questions is from Jessica:
I recently had my second child and left the corporate work force to stay at home with my children. Do your readers have any advice to make this transition go as smoothly as possible? I want to maximize my time with my children (2 years and 3 mo.) since I have been blessed with this opportunity.
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You’ve heard that the years fly but the hours crawl? I think that might be especially true when you are spending the majority of a child’s waking hours with him. :). Keep in mind that those early, impressionable days for a child are really a short chapter in the child’s life. It is a huge blessing that you are wanting to stay home to raise your kids.
There are so many great comments here. One I would add is: give yourself time to adjust to this. The first months especially may seem thankless and unproductive compared to your former work environment. For me, the finances were also an adjustment because I discovered I had a real feeling of ownership about MY pay check. Time and openness (with my husband) helped me make these transitions. Give yourself time. Realize that returning to work wouldn’t be all peachy either.
Enjoy watching your family grow up. Love & respect your husband. May God bless you.
I have to tell you this was my favourite response as I have struggled with being at home with our daughter; I do work part time as a pharmacy technician but only about 8-12 hours a week. I have found that I struggled with who I was as a person, coming from a busy, stressful corporate job before having her. Soon we are hoping to have another baby and I will be at home full time at that point. Thank you for the suggestion to allow time to adjust because that is a difficult thing to do when your life beforehand was very different.
After staying at home with my child during her preschool years, When she entered first grade my husband and I went to school with her! We both taught at a mission school. So we were all at school during the day. I know this is kind of backwards from what you are asking, but this is an observation that may help. I noticed when we were all gone all day, the house did NOT get very dirty. Cleaning was a breeze. We would all get home together and work on dinner, laundry, etc. Our life was very scheduled. When school was done for the year, bang, the house started getting dirty, our lives lost some of the scheduled rhythm that we had before and housework overwhelmed me for a little. Till I got back in my old (pre-teaching) rhythm again. So what I am saying, be prepared for your house to get messier. But that is ok because that means you are actually LIVING in it! That means that you are getting all the great times with your children instead of them having good times (and making messes) at the baby sitter. Before I was married I did day care and I know how it broke my heart sometimes that the child I cared for did everything first at my house. She popped her first tooth, said her first words, crawled, walked, everything first at my house. And I felt sorry for her mom, because she hated missing all these things. Sure I tried to grab the camera and record them, but it is just not the same. So along with messes and mountains of laundry and days that can seem all out of whack, comes some huge blessings you will never regret.
Do try to get a little schedule in your life but don’t kick yourself too hard if it doesn’t seem to work for awhile. Give yourself grace because any major change needs time for a transition and change is never very easy on any of us ladies. 🙂
Jessica Norris says
I did the same thing almost a year ago when my third baby was born. The one thing to remember is that it IS a different routine, and it may take a while to get the hang of it! When I was working, I felt like I had a pretty good handle on the kids’ routine and cleaning the house, etc., so I thought when I stayed home that it would be a piece of cake because I had so much more time. Well, it definitely takes a while to adjust! You’re home with the kids all day which means they’re also home making messes all day, and you have to get used to a new routine. Please don’t take this negatively, though – I LOVE being at home! I’m so happy that I did this! I just remember feeling discouraged at first because things didn’t fall into place the way I imagined they would. My husband reminded me constantly that it was like my first year on a new job – you know how it takes you a long time to adjust and get used to things? It’s the same with staying home. I feel like I’m finally getting into a good routine with them. Enjoy your time with your kiddos! 🙂
Theresa L says
Find a group of moms to just hang with. I joined a MOPS (www.mops.org) group and the love and support there was invaluable. The adult interaction will get you through those long days.
I wish you all the very best in your new transition.
I would agree with the comment that it’s OK to let people into your house when it is messy. You might be the pioneer in this one in your circle of friends, but once that expectation is broken, you will be surprised and amazed how much more relaxed everyone can be when they come into your home! “If she can be real…maybe I can too!” and then conversations can actually become more real and meaningful. Sounds like a silly thing but what we try to hide by having a perfect house can be a reflection of what we might try to hide in our hearts.
Having a plan was critical for me. My kids are now 13 and 10 and they still like routine. It works well for all of us! Every fall I used to set up an Excel spreadsheet about what our week would (generally) look like…even when they were 4 and 1! Then I would send it to my husband so he knew what we were up to during the day. Even things like mealtimes, naptimes, etc. were put in there so that I could look forward to an hour in the afternoon of time to myself – whatever that looked like! Sometimes sleep, sometimes prayer and journaling, reading a book, whatever sounded good on the day!
Downside: being at home with my kids all the time means they have come to depend on me for making their meals. If I could do it differently I would have worked harder to make them more independent in the kitchen. This is my new goal for the summer!
Plus side: my kids can clean their rooms, do chores around the house, fold clothes and put them away, independently load and unload the dishwasher, etc. I worked really hard on this one and it is paying off. Next step – laundry from start to finish!
There are so many amazing comments here, I hope they help you find your way on your new season of life!
My last day at “work” was May 30. I thought my house would be cleaner and my kids more independent. Ha! Honestly, the best advice is to be flexible and don’t beat yourself up if things don’t get done as planned. Housework gets done eventually, but kids will never be young again. Yes I do what needs to be done in the house, but they are my priority. My 5 year old loves to help and some days he really makes a difference. Other days it feels like it’s his goal in life to get me to admit defeat. Love them, listen to them and be thankful. I never understood how to truly be thankful until I stayed home.
I have been staying home with my two little boys (18 mo and 4.5) ever since the second was born. I had gone back to work full time (teaching first grade) when my first was 7 weeks old. It was a HUGE adjustment for me to all of a sudden be home full-time with TWO little boys, when I hadn’t been home with one! My husband is also a teacher, so I’m getting a “break” this summer with him home to help. I feel like I am finally in a groove and I won’t be on the verge of a nervous breakdown when my husband goes back to work in August (which cannot be said of last Aug!) = )
I think it is also hard for me because we know I will have to go back to work when my oldest begins kindergarten and we will only have one in day care. I want to make the most of my time with them, but I was trying to “do it all”, rather than easing myself into things. So hard to be a perfectionist! Most of what I have to offer has already been said, but the following are the key points that are making me feel more successful in this new career…
1. Remembering that this is a new job, and that there is a learning curve to any new task. My first year teaching was no bed of roses, and I was still continually improving during my 12th year… Why should I expect myself to be stellar right away at this job?
2. Pray throughout the day. As much as I tried, I couldn’t be consistent with getting up extra-early to have a long prayer session before my kids wake up (at 6am daily!?!?), so I stopped beating myself up over it, and I am okay with talking with God all day long, a few minutes here, a few seconds there! He tells us to pray without ceasing. = ) When I’m having a rough time, focusing on asking God for help and recounting the ways He has blessed me, can help pull me through. I pray for wisdom, strength, and patience often! (Before bed, I find time for devotions and more prayers, but I do fall asleep in the middle of it often…)
3. Get up, get ready before Wild Kratts ends. For months, I tried to get up and be ready before my oldest came bouncing in at 6:20 (the longest we could get him to stay in his room) every morning. But being up all night with the baby, I just wasn’t able to drag myself out of bed soon enough. Then I would feel like a failure, get mad at myself, and start the day grumpy. Bad plan! New plan: We moved a TV into our bedroom, my son comes in, talks my ear off while I attempt to wake fully, he hugs Daddy goodbye, and happily watches PBS while I get dressed. Then we get the baby out of his crib together. (Moving my shower to evening helped me speed things along in the am. I have had to do a lot of schedule-rearranging. When little one learns to crawl out of his crib, I will have to revise again!)
4. Be willing to change my routines, schedules, and plans on a very regular basis. Teaching, it is good practice to do this, and no day ever went exactly according to plan. I would adjust and tweak things as the day unfolded. Every single day. And I felt successful because I was meeting the kids’ needs! But as a mom, I felt like a failure when my plans didn’t work and I had to change things around. When I accepted that my own children needed me to be as flexible as my students had, that I was being a better mom by doing so (even if it meant not getting to make play-doh, eating PB&J AGAIN, or having to re-schedule an outing), our days became a lot less stressful for me and a lot more fun!
5. Find other moms! The hardest part for me for months was feeling lonely, yet never getting to be alone. Teaching, there were many, many days when I only had two minutes at recess to use the bathroom- but at least the students didn’t follow me in! = ) And even if I ate lunch in my classroom to finish up work, I still got to vent to my teammates and chat with parents after school. We need fellowship, companionship, to talk, vent, and laugh with others in the same boat. I knew I needed “mom friends”, but all I had were teaching friends-busy at work teaching…A teaching friend recommended Moms Club (you can google it), but knowing I’m only home for two years, I didn’t think it was worth it to pay a fee…My sons have asthma and are constantly sick, so I knew I would miss meetings and play dates all the time! I tried MOPS at our church, but missed more than half the time due to the boys’ illness. Befriending the other moms at my sons’ preschool by chatting before and after school was what worked for me! Just talking to a fellow mom out grocery shopping can be enough to save my sanity and remind me that I am an adult. = )
6. Giving myself grace. I am not perfect. No one expects me to be! It’s okay. My kids and husband don’t want a perfectly clean house. They don’t mind PB&J. They prefer the day old reduced priced bread from the grocery store to my homemade version. Cereal, milk, and fruit for dinner makes them happy. My 4YO didn’t understand why I needed to put away laundry the other day, as my entire bedroom floor was literally covered in stacks of clothes I had sorted and folded. He just wanted to read books with me during his brother’s nap. So, I put away the stacks blocking the door and we read books together. I’m making progress- with the laundry, and with figuring out this most important new job!
Good luck with your new ventures as a SAHM!!
Here is the advice I have as a woman who went from being a single career woman to wife and mommy in under a year:
1) Make time for yourself. I love my children and husband and wouldn’t trade them for anything. That said; I miss my “Me Time” so much that I got ill – not just physically, but spiritually and emotionally as well. I put my family first all the time and brushed off “Me Time” as a selfish desire.
Yet, without that time to have quiet thoughts, to pray and meditate, exercise, eat the “rabbit food” I like, indulge in my hobbies, tend to my garden, meet a girlfriend for ice cream and a walk, take a bubble bath (or at least a shower that lasts longer than ten minutes) … Without those things, I eventually stopped being the person my husband fell in love with and didn’t have the reserves to give my children the *loving* attention I wanted them to have.
I didn’t like who I became and realized that the real selfish action was to ignore my personal needs. By not taking care of myself by “indulging” in Me Time, I robbed everyone of the loving, joyful, grateful, and vibrant Being I used to be.
So, for the benefit of your whole family: Make the time regularly to pray/meditate, go for a walk by yourself in the early morning or after the kids are in bed, curl up with a book/knitting/crocheting/etc. … Do the things that bring you peace and helps you better yourself.
2) Flow like water through the day and around the obstacles you face. Have a schedule, but make it a loose one, so you don’t bind yourself tightly into a routine that becomes a stress-maker. Know what needs to be done each day – make a checklist, even. But, flow through the day. Do those things when they happen, not by the clock. We have a whiteboard on the wall with everyone’s names and a short list of the important things that have to happen each day. As they get done, we check it off and go on with the day. No panic or stress (any more).
3) Don’t stare at your kids through a camera or cell phone lens. It’s nice to have those mementos, but it feels really bad when you realize that you didn’t actually *SEE* and experience those moments, because you weren’t really present.
4) Spend one-on-one time with each person daily, even if it’s only 10 minutes. Give them your full attention and love so they know how special they are to you by your actions and not just words.
5) It’s okay to say, “I don’t know”. As long as you do your best and what you believe is Right, True and Just, it’s enough.
6) Don’t watch, listen or read the news anymore. The world is NOT as horrible as the media would have you believe. Your life will be stressful enough, you don’t need the added worry. And, I guarantee that if something is important enough, someone will tell you, whether you want them to or not.
I completely agree about the news. My friends joke that I don’t know anything unless they tell me. It usually isn’t a problem, though I learned to watch the weather reports as I almost missed the news of a major snow storm headed our way last winter. 🙂 But, I’m more relaxed without that daily constant dose of negativeness, especially when most of my other conversations are with preschoolers.
Allie L says
In April, I went from being a full time working mom to a part time SAHM. I work from home two days a week while the kiddos go to daycare and then stay at home with my 3yo and 1yo the other days. I am still looking for ideas myself, but I can share some of the things that help my day go smoothly…
– My husband gets up early for work and I always get up with him and get showered and dressed and made up just like I was still going to my old office job (except I put on yoga pants and a tee shirt as my new mom uniform!). It makes me feel ready for the day and keeps me from sliding into a weekend mode all week long.
– After I am ready for the day, if the kids aren’t up, I *fly* around the house doing chores they can’t help with and getting things ready for the day. This time makes a huge difference in my productivity.
– My 3yo is completely capable of helping out around the house, so some of the time we spend together is dedicated to training him to be a helper. He loves to help vacuum, do the laundry, and pick up. Honestly, I think this is just as good for him when it comes to 1-1 time as playing together.
– I have been trying out different activities during the week. We have gone to the local parks, museums, toddler times, etc. Some are great for all of us (running around at the local zoo) and some are a total bust (quiet story time at the library). You won’t know what works until you try it, so be open to different things.
– I have to third the comment about asking your husband what he prefers when he gets home. My husband leaves the house every morning to go to work to support our family, the very least I can do is make him comfortable. My husband prefers to come home and have the kids ready to spend time with him, dinner at 6, and the house reasonably clean so I can relax with him after the kids are down. Helping to facilitate his time with our children, working on our relationship, and family meals makes me happy.
– Some days everything will be off and your children will wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Give yourself some slack if its all you can do to pour some cereal and set them down with crayons or even a TV show (I know, I know). But, it happens and it’s OK.
– Take care of yourself, too. Raising your children well, caring for a home, and supporting your spouse’s career is a difficult job! I run with the kiddos in the stroller for exercise, paint my toenails during nap times, and try to eat well.
Enjoy! You have just accepted the most awesome job in the entire world!
*Don’t let anybody else’s accomplishments as a mom get to you. God gave you these kids and your primary responsibility should be to raise the future leaders of this country. We need them!!!
*Don’t be afraid to let friends into your messy house. Everyone with young kids has a messy house…your mom’s house is neat because you moved out 🙂
*Let your kids play by themselves and explore safely. You can have serious stress burnout trying to keep them entertained and well-educated. If they spill everything and throw everything else all over the floor, it will get cleaned up eventually….one thing at a time….
*I wish I had all of the above down, but I still get frustrated and fly off the handle. Don’t let the devil tell you that everyone else has it under control. We all need help.
I actually just made this transition at the beginning of the year and it was a huge transition! My biggest piece of advice is to just not let yourself get discouraged when you have one of those days where everything seems to go wrong and you start to question whether being a SAH mom was actually the best move.
Staying at home with my kids has been one of my biggest blessings, but it is also way more challenging than anything I did when I was working full time. Just cut yourself a lot of slack as you make the adjustment and don’t expect to have all this time during the day to get everything perfect. That never happens (at least not for me).
I could have written every word of this comment! I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I didn’t really think that it would be THIS challenging… I had thought teaching 26 first graders all day was hard. HA!
I had so many expectations of myself, but when I let go of about 80% of them is when I stopped feeling like a failure on a daily basis and began focusing on the blessings around me!
My mother used to tell me about my grandmother and how she stayed at home, raised six kids, kept a spotless house, cooked every meal, ect. I originally thought that was how it was going to be. After all, I only have two kids. Well, I can tell you now that I haven’t even come close to that.
You are exactly right though Kelly. You have to let all that go and then you do start realizing all the blessings around you.
Think hard about what needs, besides income, your employment meets. For some it is adult interaction, a sense of productivity, putting one’s education/ training to use, helping time pass, helping others, etc etc. Meditate on how you can either meet those needs or table those needs for the time being as you SAH.
I think you have a lot of freedom to make of it what you want. Crystal has long encouraged me on her blog to take an inventory of my roles and responsibilities, as well as my interests and areas to serve. I have done that at each transition in my life, which in the last five years has been each time we added a child to the family. Doing that inventory gives you a sense of where to put your time and energy, which is not limitless for anyone, regardless of their occupation.
I have three children, and am a stay-at-home mom, after working professionally for 6 years after college. I would say the bulk of my days involves taking care of them, playing with them taking care of the house, grocery shopping and other errands, and preparing dinner. As my oldest is entering kindergarten, our days will start to include more homeschooling. I’m someone who enjoys being at home with my kids, and not running around all week. So, I have kept my involvement with moms groups to a more limited basis, but have enjoyed what I have had with them. I think if you have a good understanding of your own personality and what you’re working for the next few years with your husband as far as family life goes, you can start to make sense of what your day today will look like. For example, do you like to do your household chores in the evening? Then that will give you more time to do different things during the day.
I don’t think you should do anyone thing just because other moms do it, say, regarding playgroups or kids classes or stroller groups etc. When I had one baby, and then when I had a toddler and a baby, I gave myself a lot of flexibility and freedom as far as how many mornings went and the course of our day. If I felt like having a slow morning and not getting dressed right away, I was fine with that. Gradually, over the years I have cultivated more disciplines to get ready sooner and to be more productive during the day. I don’t regret my more relaxed schedule with fewer children, I think it helped me enjoy them and not feel like I have to do 20 things in one day. However, I have really appreciated the list that Crystal made a couple years ago that I think is on her website somewhere, called the Daily Docket. It’s a great printout to make your daily to do list and with the advice to keep it simple and short. As your kids grow, involve them in chores and teach them how to do things with you, and give them their own simple chores to do. There are a few different sites that list age appropriate chores. I think one of the ways to, in essence, keep on top of things when you have young children is to equip them as they grow to help out around the house. Do not be the one who does all the cleaning and all the picking up and all the dishes.
And, I strongly feel that kids do not need to be played with all day long with their parents. It’s very good for them to learn to play independently and to be challenged in that, and even find times when they get completely bored and get creative with their play. If you teach that when young, it will really pay off when you are involved in particular tasks that you simply must do, or are involved with a young baby, or other things where they just need to be able to play quietly and independently. Hope that helps! I think being a stay-at-home mom is absolutely a fluid job, depending on the season of life, the season of the year, and the seasons of children’s lives. I can move and adapt with what you have going on and your family.
Lastly, I recommend getting involved in a Bible study. If your church does not have a daytime study with childcare, then I recommend Bible Study Fellowship (BSF), and there are meetings in host churches all over the country. It is free, and there are kids’ classes with biblical content, and it’s an excellent way for a stay-at-home mom to be challenged to get into the word throughout the week and have a couple hours one morning a week to talk about God’s precious word. It runs during the school year.
I think you have a lot of freedom to make of it what you want. Crystal has long encouraged me on her blog to take an inventory of my roles and responsibilities, as well as my interests and areas to serve. I have done that at each transition in my life, which in the last five years has been each time we added a child to the family. I have three children, and am a stay-at-home mom. I would say the bulk of my days involves taking care of them, playing with them taking care of the house, grocery shopping and other errands, and preparing dinner. As my oldest is entering kindergarten, our days will start to include more homeschooling. I’m someone who enjoys being at home with my kids, and not running around all week. So, I have kept my involvement with moms groups to a more limited basis, but have enjoyed what I have had with them. I think if you have a good understanding of your own personality and what you’re working for the next few years with your husband as far as family life goes, you can start to make sense of what your day today will look like. Do you like to do your household chores in the evening? Then that will give me more time to do different things during the day. I don’t think you should do anyone thing just because other moms do it, say, regarding playgroups or kids classes or stroller groups etc. when I had one baby, and then when I had a toddler and the baby, I gave myself a lot of flexibility and freedom as far as how many mornings once and the course of our day. If I felt like having a slow morning and not getting dressed right away, I was fine with that. Gradually, everything years I have cultivated more disciplines to get ready sooner and to be more productive during the day. I don’t regret my more relaxed schedule with fewer children, I think it helped me enjoy them and not feel like I have to do 20 things in one day. However, I have really appreciated the list that Crystal made a couple years ago that I think is on her website somewhere, called the Daily Docket. It’s a great printout to make your daily to do list and with the advice to keep it simple and short. As your kids grow, involve them in chores and teach them how to do things with you, and give them their own simple chores to do. There are a few different sites that list age appropriate chores. I think one of the ways to, in essence, keep on top of things when you have young children is to equip them as they grow to help out around the house. Do not be the one who does all the cleaning and all the picking up and all the dishes. And, I strongly feel that kids do not need to be played with all day long with their parents. It’s very good for them to learn to play independently and to be challenged in that, and even find times when they get completely bored and get creative with their play. If you teach that when young, it will really pay off when you are involved in particular tasks that you simply must do, or are involved with a young baby, or other things where they just need to be able to play quietly and independently. Hope that helps! I think being a stay-at-home mom is absolutely a fluid job, depending on the season of life, the season of the year, and the seasons of children’s lives. I can move and adapt with what you have going on and your family. Lastly, I recommend getting involved in a Bible study. I have loved going to Bible Study Fellowship (BSF), and there are meetings in host churches all over the country. It is free, and there are kids’ classes with biblical content, and it’s an excellent way for a stay-at-home mom to be challenged to get into the word throughout the week and have a couple hours one morning a week to talk about God’s precious word. It runs during the school year.
Crystal this comment was filled with typos and I reposted…can you delete this one?
See if there is a local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group in your area. Go to http://www.mops.org to locate a group. MOPS has been such a blessing to our family. We moved out of state with a 2 year old and 6 month old and I went from working outside the home full-time to staying home with them. It was quite the transition for our whole family but the friendships my children and I made thru MOPS have been invaluable.
I completely agree with MOPS! Admittedly, the title of Mops is a little misleading as many Moms think their children need to be preschool age before joining – not so (any Mom can join as MOPS as your “eligible” with even just a newborn)! Mops has been such a wonderful encouragement for me & for so many moms when your kids are little! So many neat friendships have been developed over the years for me & for my kiddos! The neat thing about MOPS is that it’s for A-L-L Mothers…Moms who who work outside the home & Moms who stay home. (:
Amy M. says
There may be days where you might feel like you don’t know who you are anymore. I really recommend seeing this time in your life as a special season. It will done and gone one day. When it gets hard, I remind myself of that, because it wakes me up to appreciate where I am right now, and to enjoy the moments before they grow up. (And they really grow and change so fast!!!)
Also, stay disciplined! Sleep, eat right, exercise. Those three things make a world of difference!!!!
Sounds obvious but being a SAHM is your new job. Congratulations on your promotion! The pay is less and your new clients don’t communicate well and you’ll be constantly cleaning up their messes, but, hey, it’s not unlike your former job at times. I tried to negotiate keeping my vacation time with my husband when I became a SAHM but no dice. 🙂
Roles within the household will shift and if your currently working off of a 50/50 model with getting the household chores done then prepare yourselves for a change. Talking this out will help mitigate any possible future resentment towards your spouse if the dishes never get done.
Also have a weekly/ monthly money date night to help transition to one income. Being open and honest about your finances will firm up your relationship and ease you and your spouse into new financial territory. I like using a cash/envelope budget to help me keep track of purchases since I am the household spender.
What an awesome opportunity you have. Enjoy it!
I stay home with my 2 year old daughter and have a second one on the way. I’m in a little bit of an unusual situation though, because my husband is often working from home and I sometimes help him with work, so I have a little more companionship/help than some people do!
A few things that help me, for my personality:
– I have a checklist of things to do each day. It’s constant for every day and looks kind of like a chore chart (I print one out each week). This helps me stay on track and feel accomplished. It’s really basic – like “get dressed,” “drink water around 9 am,” go outside with Lydia,”, etc. As someone who used to be a high-achiever in school and work, it really helps to still feel “accomplished” and like I can mark something off on my to-do list, even if it’s just “move laundry from washer to dryer.”
– on that checklist, and even if I didn’t have a checklist, these would still be on my mind mentally, I try to include a few realistic goals regarding my time with my daughter. Sometimes, I feel guilty if I don’t spend a full 8 hours playing with my daughter. But to be honest, that’s unrealistic – there are other things that need to get done, I would get bored, and I think it’s probably unhealthy for her to have an all-the-time playmate. So right now, at age 2, here are my things I aim to do each day with her specifically:
1) 1 hour quality time/she gets my undivided attention (not trying to do chores or check email or anything like that)
2) outside time
3) read aloud to her (I “check this off” even if it’s after just one book, but usually it’s more like 15 minutes)
4) God’s time with her (some sort of activity like reading the Bible, singing songs, talking about God, etc.)
Then I have a few other things that happen naturally during the day like: bathtime, be present for her bedtime routine & pray before bed, family devotions in the morning, eat a health morning/afternoon snack, etc.
I also aim to weekly change out her toys on her toy shelves (we store most of her toys in a closet and just pull out a few books/toys each week).
For me, being realistic is a good thing. There are things I would LOVE to do with her regularly: cooking activities, art activities, go on a “date” with her, do educational/pre-preschool activities, etc. But for now, I am trying to just aim for doing a few things well, which are what I listed above. If I’m feeling really inspired to do more activities with her, great! But at least I can feel “successful” if I do those few things I listed above.
– just recently, my husband and I had a good conversation where I asked him, “What do you want things to be like when you get home?” That helped clarify some things for me – he doesn’t care if we’re dressed in nice clothes, if our daughter’s face is clean, if there’s music on, if he has a cool drink, if he gets 15 minutes to himself when he comes home, etc… those aren’t important to him. But, he would really appreciate having the house be relatively tidy, having dinner be in progress (at least started), and if I shared one positive thing about my day & tried to have a good attitude. So, I think that’s a good question to ask your husband, if you haven’t yet!! For him, it may be totally different, but it’s nice to know how you can start your evening off on the right foot.
– finally, something I am just discovering recently is that for us, I really like to be “home,” especially in the mornings. I know other women who want to be at playgroups or activities, and that’s fine! Like I said, my husband is home a little more often, so I’m not totally isolated all day. For me, I am realizing how much better our day goes if we’re home and I can take care of home things first – we go on a walk first thing before it’s too hot, we get dressed, clean up breakfast dishes, and I give my daughter that 1 on 1 attention usually by morning snack around 10 am. Then, I feel like if I want to have her watch a TV show or play by herself, or we need to run some errands or whatever, it’s okay, because we already did our “first things first.” When I’m home in the morning, I find that our house is usually cleaner, dinner is usually at least thawing or in the crockpot or I’ve thought about it at least, we have better quality time together as a family, etc. When we leave the house first thing for an exercise class, storytime, dr. appt, grocery shopping, etc., I feel like I’m behind all day long. So for me, right now, we’re trying to be home more.
I feel similar about being home, and I like your advice about talking to your husband about what he likes to come home to. I’ve done that as well and I think it’s important input to receive!
I’m hoping to be able to stay home in the future, and really love your “daily plan”, Kelly! Thanks for sharing.
Love this plan. I too am transitioning to stay at home for a while, and need to have a plan for continuing to feel like I accomplished something everyday.
I left my job in state government nearly 3 years ago, when my oldest was almost 5 and my little guy was 15 months. I was the breadwinner and more highly educated one but also miserable. My son was getting sick constantly, I missed my kids terribly and I lost any passion I’d had for my day job. About two years before I quit, I developed a side income stream doing freelance writing.
Once I did quit, I ramped up the writing somewhat. I homeschooled my oldest for a year but we realized it wasn’t for us. Now, my oldest is an incoming 2nd grader, my little guy just turned 4 and we also have a 19 month old daughter. We go to free preschool classes, we go to the park a lot, we go to the library, we cook together and color together.
Right now, my older two are playing with play-doh and the toddler is asleep in my lap. We’ve already done the laundry, made meatballs for dinner, had breakfast and lunch, went to the park and got our free shakes from Arby’s (which was one block away from the park).
I don’t miss working outside the home full-time whatsoever. I do sometimes get frustrated or annoyed with my kids, but so does any parent.
Inspired by this question and post. I am too the breadwinner, but desperately want to stay home with my kids (2 and 6). I am also ramping up a “side business” in order to stay home, but it just seems like it just can’t come fast enough. How long did you plan for this transition?
Take in every precious second of it! But, in the meantime you may feel stressed being with kiddos all day can make you really want to scream into a pillow, make sure you indulge in adult conversation daily 🙂
I’am a full time working mother. I have a 2 yo son now, but this thought has crossed my mind if my husband and I decide to have another child. Currently we just hired a Live-In nanny which was SO the right choice for our family. Having our nanny actually gives me more peace of mind with regards to my son’s well being away from me.
I know for me working outside the home is my “me time”, “social time”, and “creative time”. So knowing all of that, I would suggest that you schedule a babysitter(s)/mom’s-helper/nanny to come in on a set schedule to allow these structured times for you as well (if you need them). This could be anything like allowing you to grocery shopping alone, or exercising, or just lying down and reading a book for 2 hours. Congrats on your second child and staying home with your children!
First piece of advice is to find a group of stay at home moms that you feel safe sharing, laughing, and crying with…it has been my biggest help these past 19 months and I have a newborn now too! Knowing that I could vent to like minded mamas once a week, joke about poops, and ask for advice gets me through the tough times.