Portrait of a stay at home mom with two key SAHM supplies:
I'm working on 6 months of being a full-time mom. I have memories of the not-so-distant past, telling my friends that if I had kids, I could be a stay at home mom and life would be so easy. I would work out 6 days a week, have dinner made every night, and would always be caught up with my laundry duties. I would have the picture-perfect house that everyone would want to come visit, because I would stay home all day and would have endless time and energy. Raising kids looked easy. And fun. Working a job was much harder and more stressful. Especially my job. Coordinating services in the community all day. Having appointments everywhere in the mountains, working with all different types of people. People with different needs, functioning levels, and dispositions. Going back to the office after a long day and typing about said appointments. Being a stay at home mom is easier.
Not. The reality of the situation is much different from the fantasy I had built up in my head. After Ben was born, I quickly realized that it was everything I could do to keep his needs met. Dinner that didn't come through a window in a bag was scarce around here. Laundry was piling out of baskets and onto the floor. And exercise? Seriously? Let's just say it didn't take 9 months to lose that pregnancy weight because I was too lazy to go to the gym. It had more to do with the utter exhaustion I experienced when the day was over, the baby was asleep, and there was finally a few free minutes to do something for myself. I always took hot bath over 30 minutes of cardio. Going back to work sounded like vacation. So at Ben's 10 week birthday, I was back at my desk, coordinating services and loving it. And at the end of my day when I picked up Ben from Grammie's, and eventually from school, I had a greater appreciation for Mommyhood and was fresh enough to tackle those responsibilities.
Special circumstances led me to my full-time mom situation. And it's taken me about this long to finally get the hang of it. Beckett's birth and homecoming added exponential responsibility. I thought it was complicated with one baby. Try two. Under the age of two. I consider this job to be the trickiest and most rewarding yet. It's not about making "productivity" and getting my notes in on time anymore. It's about keeping babies entertained. Having a handle on the laundry. A well-thought out dinner is icing on the cake. Exercise? Not there yet, but I did renew my gym membership. Add Beckett's colic and Ben's speech delay to the daily challenges and it's a wonder I get anything done.
But I get lots done. And it's been amazing. I consider myself infinitely lucky to even have the opportunity to stay home during the day. So many moms don't have that option. In an effort to make the most of our one-income scenario, I've delved further into our green living lifestyle. Being green is about more than being crunchy-granola and environmentally-conscious. It's cheap! Or frugal, if you please. Beckett's carbon footprint is tiny, especially for an infant. We joke that it will be confusing to look at early pictures of these two because all of Beckett's stuff used to be Ben's. Nearly all of his clothes and toys are recycled. He is 100% nursed. No bottles, formula or any other waste involved. And our latest (and greatest!) accomplishment: he is 100% cloth diapered. This has been a fun project, believe it or not, and I feel a lot less anxiety knowing that I don't have to give my money to Huggies or Pampers for 3 more years. And even by cloth diapering standards, we are using very little energy for their upkeep. I do wash them at least every other day. Stinky diapers lying around longer than that is just foul. But we line dry. And use just enough water. And use environmentally friendly (and cheap!) detergent. Being green (cheap) IS easy, y'all. I encourage anyone on the fence to give it a go. Mother Nature (and your savings account) will thank you.
Who could resist a clothesline like this one?:
Working moms and non-moms often ask me what I do all day. Before kids, I also wondered what the average stay at home mom did to pass the time. My day at work includes feeding, diapering, nurturing, teaching and loving two little boys. It includes keeping a handle on the housework. Doing endless
loads of laundry. Maintaining doctor appointments. Therapy appointments. Preparing meals. Lesson planning. Comforting babies with occasional boo-boos. Quelling not-so-occasional temper tantrums. Exhausted yet? I'm enjoying my new career so far, and am finally getting the hang of it. You'll have to check back in to find out if the exercise regimen, Martha Stewart cooking, and cleanest house award goes to me. My prediction is probably not, but my new construct of being a stay at home mom is working out just fine.