Wednesday, September 26, 2012

10 Things I Wish I Had Known...

With all the "Today: Begin"ing I've been doing lately, you'd think I'd learn something along the way.  Like how to make dinner with an impatient, cow's milk intolerant, 1 year old DYING to open the refrigerator and roll in every dairy product inside.  Or what's the best park in my area, what time to go, and the best way to get there to beat traffic.  Or maybe the best blogs on the world wide web, how to link up to them, and how to draw them into reading MY most excellent blog.  Well guess what, I haven't learned any of those things.  But I am learning.  I'm learning a lot actually.  So I'm going to start recording the things that I am learning, in lists of 10 things I wish I had known prior to my most excellent adventure and the knowledge gained whilst participating.  Follow me?

So here you go.... 10 Things I Wish I Had Known Prior to Becoming a Stay at Home Mom:

1.  It's hard.  Entertaining a 1 year old is not easy.  When I was working, I only spent time with Logan about 3-4 hours a day on weekdays.  In those 3-4 hours was dinner, bath time, story time, and bed time.  Also, Daniel was there.  So I pretty much thought taking care of Logan was easy.  Guess what! Now that it's just me 24/7-IT'S NOT EASY!  1 year old attention spans are very short, 1 year old messes are very large, and 1 year old temperaments are not always delightful.  Thinking of things to do all day can sometimes be a challenge.  And adding variety to your days can be difficult.  Life as a stay at home mom is monotonous.  And that's just taking care of the kid!  Then there's cooking, cleaning, running a budget, paperwork, errands, etc.  I will admit, I'm still adjusting and it's a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. 

2.  It's easy.  Makes no sense, right?  Is it hard or is it easy, Amanda?  Make up your mind!  Well- both!  Entertaining the children, cooking, and keeping a house is hard.  But overall, I think my life is pretty easy!  I make my own schedule, I'm my own boss, I make my own rules, I do what I want all day, and my day goes the way I want.  Pretty good job, right?  I don't have to worry about the rat race of the corporate world, getting that promotion, or annoying co-workers (not that I ever had any!).  I don't worry about making money (just keeping it!).  If I want to go or do anything, I can go and do it right then!  My schedule is pretty much always open for meeting with friends, trying new things, going on a new adventure, or being spontaneous.  So in that regard, being a stay at home mom is EASY PEASY!  Plus, I spend my days with the most adorable, smart, wonderful boy in the whole world, which makes even the hard times easier.

3.  You will not have as much free time as you think you will.  Before I quit my job, I thought I had it all planned out.  I thought to myself... when I'm a stay at home mom I'll clean, cook, work out, shower, and get ready during Logan's first nap.  We'll go on an adventure during the day, and during his second nap, I'll make a craft!  I will do laundry everyday.  Maybe I'll take a yoga class.  We can make cookies together!  Well guess what..... who has time to do all that???  I got a rude awakening after we moved and got settled.  Not long after that, Logan stopped taking a second nap... and his first nap got dramatically shorter!  During nap time I had time to workout and shower.  That was it.  And doing anything productive while he was awake was pretty much not happening.  So I've really had to prioritize.  I had a great friend and mentor tell me a few months back that her motto is "Read my scriptures, pray, and work out.  Nothing else matters".  This has come to be my mentality as well.  Put the most important things first and then nothing else matters, not even crafts!

4.  When it comes to friends, quality, not quantity.  For those of you who have been following my blog, you know that I've had some pretty interesting experiences when it comes to finding mommy friends.  I was pretty much willing to be friends with anyone who had a kid, regardless if we got along or not.  Well, I've learned a thing or two about friendship for sure.  It really does matter if you get along.  It really does matter what their viewpoints are.  And it really does matter if your lifestyles coincide.  I've been lucky enough to find some wonderful friends in the area and we've been hanging out several times a week.  We all have about the same opinion on parenting, and our kids really get along (Logan has a total crush on one of my friend's oldest daughter!).  It's been fun to get other mommy points of view and to have someone to talk to.  I'm so glad I didn't try and be friends with ladies who weren't a good fit for me, just to "have friends". 

5.  You will have doubts.  This one was a big surprise to me.  I thought when I was working that once I quit my job, I would run away and never look back.  But then Daniel got a job and I was actually staring "stay at home mom" ness in the face.  I had about 6 weeks between when we found out we were moving to when I actually quit my job.  And for the first time since I had gone back to work, I started enjoying it again.  And I got really, really into work, even up to my last day.  And when I left... I cried.  I cried bad.  Partially because I worked with really great people who I was really going to miss.  But a small part of me cried because I wasn't sure.  I wasn't sure if I really did want to do this.  I loved my job and knew I would miss the intellectual challenge.  Even typing this now, I still miss it.  There's just nothing like the feeling when you are trying to query difficult data and it comes out perfectly, your analysis is amazing, and you are able to change the course of the company with your results.  I've even considered looking for another job.  But there's always something that stops me.  One thought of dropping Logan off at daycare, and I know I'll never work outside the home again. 

6.  You will have less money than if you worked.  For someone with a master's degree in math, you would think this would be a no brainer.  But really- you will have less money!  For the 6 week period that Daniel and I were both working, we had so much money!  More money than we've ever had.  To have that much money all the time would be amazing!  We could buy a house, save more for college, go on vacations, etc.  I knew we wouldn't always have this money, but a part of me thought we might?  I know it sounds crazy.  But reality has set in, and we don't have the money we could have.  So this means budgeting, scrimping, and saving.  I've learned so much about this just in the last 2 months.  I've even been able to cut our grocery bill in half!  And I try not to think about those 6 weeks and those big paychecks.  We have less money, but I'm twice as happy, which is the most important thing of all.

7.  You will be judged.  When I worked, I always felt like I was being judged for being a working mom.  I thought that judgement would cease when I quit.  Well I've learned that judgement is part of motherhood, not part of being a working mom, or being a stay at home mom.  It seems like everyone has their opinion on the "right way" to do something.  Yes, my son is almost 14 months and I'm still BFing him.  No, I don't shadow my kid on the playground and he occasionally falls and cries.  Yes, I feed him goldfish crackers about 10 times a day.  No, I don't buy organic.  Yes, I let him cry himself to sleep.  No, I don't use a pacifier. Some moms just want to tell you all about what you should and shouldn't do.  And if you don't do it their way- they will judge you.  This is just something I'm learning to accept.  This goes back to  #4 and the importance of finding good friends who are not judgemental.  And I'm trying not to judge either.  I used to judge other moms, bad.  But looking back, I think everything I judged them about, everything I said I would never do- I've done it all.  So now, when I see a mother doing something I said "I'd never do", I just smile and think to myself, "That will be me in a few months".  The trick is, just don't expect the same from most other mothers. 

8.  You will be all dressed up with no where to go.  A few weeks ago, I decided I needed "mommy clothes".  So one day, when I was wandering around Target, I grabbed a few things that were on clearance.  And I got home, I got all dressed in my new clothes, and I did my hair and makeup. I looked pretty good.  And then I realized... no one is going to see me today.  In fact, no one is going to see me all week.  And then I felt stupid for spending money on clothes no one would ever see.  Because guess what, being a stay at home mom is not glamorous.  It's pretty boring.  But, there are somethings you can do to make life a bit more interesting.  I've found that I need to MAKE people see me.  By going places, doing things, making play dates, even just dressing up to take a cute picture to post on Facebook.  Staying home is not a fashion show by any means, but you can have places to go and people to see if you make it so.  Going back to #2... it's your schedule, it's your day, it's your life.  So go out and make it happen. 

9.  You will feel inadequate and unimportant.  My husband has a really good job.  He is an attorney for The Heritage Foundation.  He does a lot of important work with overcriminalization, gets published all the time, meets with Senators and Representatives, and goes to lunch with billionaires and millionaires regularly.  He's pretty much a big deal.  Have you read his blog?  Anyway, you should if you haven't.  So at the end of the day when I pick him up from work, we do the usual- "How was your day?  What did you do today?" conversation.  His days are full of important meetings and interesting things he is working on that will actually affect people's lives.  My days are full of "Logan slept for 2 whole hours today!" and "We went to the park".  It sometimes makes me feel like my days are not as important as his days.  He is always quick to say "Your work is more important than my work" and "Your work is harder than my work".  He is such a sweetie.  But at the end of the day when we compare, sometimes I have a hard time believing him.  I guess that just comes with the territory.  I had always heard about moms who felt this way, but never imagined myself feeling it.  And why should we feel this way?  As mothers, we are the world to our children.  We are teachers, healers, singers, comedians, chefs, magicians, and cruise directors.  It's just too bad that shaping the rising generation often does mean days full of trips to the park, naps, and spitting peaches. 

ABOVE ALL:

10.  It is 100%, without a doubt Worth It and the Greatest Thing you Will Ever Do in Your Whole Life.  I always knew it would be, and it really is.  I just don't think I knew how great it would be.  When I look back on my life, I will not have one regret about staying home.  I will look back knowing that I was there.  I was the one who taught him, who cared for him, who loved him every day of his life.  I kissed every boo-boo.  I wiped every tear.  I heard every laugh.  And Logan will look back at his childhood and see all the wonderful memories we will have together.  And he will know that he is so loved.  These moments, while sometimes difficult, are what it's all about. 

3 comments:

  1. I have to admit while I read this I laughed and nodded. But I agree, sometimes it is really hard but on the other hand you wouldn't change it for anything. Getting to watch your kids wake up until the sleep everyday sounds like a lot but in 20 years these are the memories we will cherish and miss. No one can love and take care of your kids better then their own mother (I think) so a big round of applause for stay at home moms and home makers. This is the joy of life, our kids.

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  2. You are a smart cookie. There are some days that I find it difficult to change out of my pajamas.

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  3. This is my life right now: "And doing anything productive while he was awake was pretty much not happening." and "One year old messes are very LARGE." Well said!

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