Stay at Home Mom Parenting

Posted by  | Tuesday, November 20, 2007  at 1:29 PM  
This week is one of the 14 or so weeks a year that I am a stay at home Mom. Normally, I work full time as a middle school teacher on a year round schedule. When I'm working, Will is with my mother in law and husband each one day a week. The other three days he stays with a fabulous lady, Sherry and her husband. We are so blessed to have found them to care for Will during the week. They love him so much and do so many fun things with him. For the first 8 months or so that they watched him, she came to our house each day. This school year we have been taking him to her house.

My husband will graduate in May and we'll be moving on to a new chapter that will include me staying home full time and not just on year round breaks. I only have 6 or so months until that happens. This 6 months includes 3 weeks of Christmas vacation and however much maternity leave I end up taking when the baby comes (hopefully in March and no sooner!). So our next few months are going to be full of adjustments and I am so looking forward to see how all of this unfolds!

Because I am not with Will a lot during the week, I so cherish weeks like this when I am here all day long. Usually, I only get him in the afternoons and evenings when he is not his best and most likely to be fussy and whiny. :) I LOVE spending time with him just doing things around the house and often don't get much else done or even leave the house for the first few days of break because I spend so much time playing with him.

My biggest fear about staying home full time is that I'll take this time with Will (and his little sister) for granted. Ok - so my BIGGEST fear is probably how we'll afford it. But that's for another post :) I love having time to keep the house as clean as I like it and get dinner on the table before my husband gets home in the evenings. This week is a little more intense than my other "stay at home Mom" weeks because of Thanksgiving and the fact that I am cooking for my entire family for the first time! Besides that...I am LOVING this week.

I am confident that the past two years (give or take) teaching and being a working Mom have been where the Lord wanted me. We considered making the change for this school year and it had actually always been "our plan." When the time came last school year to make the decision, we never had a peace about it and decided the timing wasn't right for me to stay at home. It is amazing to see all the ways the Lord is preparing my heart and our situation at home (and in my workplace) for me to be a full time Mom come June of next year. I am so excited for this transition despite all of the fears I have! (May I also mention that I am so excited at the idea of NOT having to pump breast milk at work for 9 months and actually being able to nurse my daughter for 12+ months!)

Here are the questions I have for our readers:

1. What does your family situation look like (as far as Mom working or staying home) and how did you get to where you are now?
2. If you do stay at home full time, how do you keep from taking for granted the mundane parts of staying at home?


The Hudgins said...

i'm kind of both. i work 3 days a week at a pregnancy care center but Jordan (19 months) goes with me. We have been doing this for about a year. There's a nursery there and we work from 9-2 so I'm home a lot more than I work. I've done both though. I worked from when he was 3-6 months and I regret every minute of that! I thought we couldnt afford for me to stay home but that was baloney....God has blessed the decision to stay at home and I love it. The greatest advice I can give is to have a very loose schedule for your day.
On the days I'm at home all day it goes something like this...
wake up
play inside, learn with flashcards, blocks, etc
play outside some
some days we go to the park, playgroup, etc. i make a point to get out most days...just to break the monotany...even if just for a walk.

have fun!

Kate said...

ok.. I am just a "reader" of this blog, and don't personally know any of you (although I have commented before....) I have a five year old son, and thought I would take this oppertunity to share my "working mom" experience with you....
When I had my son I was Active Duty Military, so I was not even afforded the option to stay at home with him. I got the usual 6 weeks maternity leave that the military gives to all moms (and 10 days for daddy). The last two or three months leading up to my delivery, I was sooo anxious about having a new baby and going back to work. I didn't think I would ever feel comfortable leaving my precious 6 week old in someone else's care. I knew that at such a young age I WOULD NOT put him in a daycare "center" but would rather have him in a home care environment... I wanted him to be afforded the comforts of a "home" rather than a nasty ol center. I would have loved to have family to leave him with, but there again, being in the military, we lived six hours away from everyone we knew and loved... so the journey began... I put off finding someone to care for my son, just because it brought me to tears just to think about it. I wanted to stay at home so badly, but regardless of what i "wanted" I still had a few more years on contract with the military that I couldn't get out of. So D-day came and went with not even so much as a call to find a care provider for baby... I enjoyed my first five weeks, bonding with that precious baby so much, that I didn't even care if I never went back to work, and didn't care what the consequences of my actions would be.... But with only two days left before I had to go back, reality set in... I frantically got on the phone and started making calls..... the first being to my job, to request one extra week of leave, they graciously granted my requset, and I got busy!!! Long story short, I did finally find someone to watch my Aden durring the day, that was such a blessing to us, she was wonderful with him (although no one does the job as well as Mommy:)Let me tell you what I have found to be the pros and cons of working..First, I will readily admit that around lunch time everyday for the first six months or so, I would go into the bathroom and cry. I just wanted to go pick him up so badly, I didn't know what else to do. No one is sensitive to that feeling in the Military, because EVERY MOM has to work! So I would just cry to myself, get in out, wipe it away, and go back to work! Secondly, I breastfed my son for 16 months... He never had one ounce of formula!!! So I don't think I need to say anymore on that one, as I know most of you gals are familiar of what a chore pumping is especially when working full time!
One major pro is that I really do feel like I cherished the time I spent with him more. I never took for granted actually nursing him as opposed to being hooked to the pump! I loved every minute of my time with him! Also, it is my opinion that once children get to a certain age, the desperatly need the daily interaction with other children, as well as the routine that a "pre-school" environment offers (that age however, is NOT six weeks old). I recently got out of the military for these reasons alone. My son is now in Kindergarden, so I can not "stay home" with him, but am determined on my next child things will be done a little differently. I will at least stay home for a year/year and a half full time. Then probably send lil one to a half day pre-school and then full time pre-school at age four (I have seen the effects from an acedimic standpoint of my son doing the aBeca cirruclum at a young age) and then on to kindergarden...
So Christina, I wish you the best of luck on your transistion, and compeltly understand your struggle with wanting not to take the time you spend with your little ones for granted... Like I said my son is five years old.... I still carry him, rock him, and cuddle him when he wants to be cuddled... I have friends (and family for that matter) tell me "put that child down, he is too big to be carried" and my response is always the same "He is not to big. He will not be too big until I physically can not lift him anymore, and yes, that time is coming, and I know I will long for the days of being able to scoop him up in my arms and let him just be my baby for one more second" So just remember that ladies... the day will come sooner than we would like, for all you "stay at home moms take nothing for granted, and for the working moms, carry them as long as possible... lol!!!!

Anonymous said...

I have been a complete stay at home mom for the past 5 years. I did go to college, I have a bachelor's degree, but I always knew I wanted to stay home. I just have that piece of paper just incase my family needs it. I have learned so much in my 5 years and I feel I have come to learn to not take children for granted. There are times when I don't want to pick up another toy, or make another snack (I think that is with everything in life- don't you ever wish somedays someone will magically appear and make all of your meals or do a particular job for you? :) - but when my 3 year old smiles at me it makes it worth while. My oldest went to Kindergarten this year and that has opened my eyes so much. They grow up so fast- too fast. I feel like I just had her, yet here she is walking into school all by herself. I never sent her to preschool, so this was my first time I really ever separated from her. I debated strongly about preschool but in the end I knew I could teach her just as well. She goes to the Y, church, and dance, so I knew she had all the interaction she needed with children. In kindergarten, she has already passed all she needs to know at the end of the year and she is reading at almost a 2nd grade level. That has helped me believe that I made the right decision for her. On the other hand, my 3 year old is very shy and might need to go to a 4 year old preschool. There are so many decisions you make as a mom and you don't want to give your child a disadvantage in life. So for all you moms debating preschool- follow your heart- you will know where your child should be so that you can help them be successful. You will know if you believe you can teach them or if you feel someone else can better teach them. I also feel that choosing to work or stay at home is such a personal decision. I know many moms who say they are better moms because they work, moms who would love to stay at home but can't afford it, moms who stay at home and wish to work, and moms that stay at home. Again, I believe we all do what works for us and the needs of our family. And I do believe that no matter what you situation is- you are doing what is best for you and your family and that your children will appreciate and love you no matter what.
I guess as you venture out to your new situation there are a couple things I would recommend (I recommend this to all moms actually)-
1. Don't forget yourself- sometimes being at home your life gets completely wrapped up in your children. Make sure you take time for yourself. The better you feel about yourself- the happier you are- the better mom you will be. I do this three ways. I go to the Y. After my 2nd child, I let myself go and wasn't the happiest mom. I took control lost all the weight (ran a triathlon in the process) and found out I am much happier mom after a hard workout. The first Friday of every month, I put my kids to bed and head out to a friends house for a late night of scrapbooking. It is all women just having fun and creating our family memories. Also, once a month I just go do something for me. That might even be grocery shopping by myself, but it is time alone where I can think about anything that comes to my head. So whatever you are passionate about, don't let that go- make sure you get time to do something for yourself.
2, Nap times are important!! I tell my two oldest children that they don't have to sleep but they must go to their room for 2 hours. During this two hours- I read a book, catch up with friends, clean, and maybe even nap. Sometimes I just play with my son (7 months old) all by myself ! Once again, this recharges me for the rest of the day. Especially if it has been one of those extra whiny days.
3. Outside time is one of your biggest friends!
4. Make sure you have time with your husband. I am the first to admit, with the three children I am so ready for bed by 8. Too keep me awake we often have "date nights". We put the kids to bed at 8, set up a romantic dinner table, eat a romantic meal together and then we either play board games or watch a movie together. This is such a great example for my kids. They know that Mommy and Daddy really love this time and look forward to it. They see how happy two people can be together. I also know that when my husband and I are happy- once again I am a happier less stressed mom.
5. Lastly, don't always look forward to the next step but cherish the present. I know I was bad at "I can't wait until she crawls, walks, talks..." I have really learned not to want the next step so bad and I have learned to love the here and now. I pretty sure my son will be my last and I am so cherishing every snuggle, smile, giggle I get. I find I am not wanting him to grow up so fast. I just want him to be his happy baby self!
Always remember they grow up fast- before you know it they will be going to college, getting married, and having their own families.

markandmeg said...

I worked full-time until 6 months ago when I had my baby girl. My husband is in Seminary and limited in the hours he can work, so it is extremely tight financially, but God has shown His faithfulness to us in some pretty amazing ways. We have both really grown spiritually and in our relationship as we struggle to make ends meet and although it has been hard, honestly, I wouldn't trade it for anything. Before we got married, my husband and I made a commitment for me to be a stay at home mom (OK, so maybe I said it had to be that way if he wanted to marry me, lol :), and we are determined to keep that commitment, no matter how small our budget has to be. Not a day goes by that I don't feel grateful for the opportunity to stay at home with my baby. I worked at a preschool and day care center so I know how hard it is on the Moms to leave their kids every day. After seeing that for so many years, I don't think I will ever take it for granted because I know it is only because of God's grace that I am able to stay at home with my baby. For you Moms who have to go to work, please don't take my post wrong -- I admire what you do to help provide for your family. All you women who comment on this blog have encouraged me in so many ways.

marymstraits said...

I'm a working mom, and I actually don't mind it so much. (Gasp!) Our childcare situation is so ideal that it's easy for me to be away--my husband's mom comes to our house every day to watch Noah (9 months old). He's with his grandma, so I really don't worry. Of course, there are things that I would do differently, but I couldn't ask for a better situation. My sister has a different situation (our babies are the exact same age), and it's really hard for her--loading up my nephew, driving 45 minutes to the sitter who keeps other kids, etc.

Don't get me wrong--I enjoy every second of being home with my baby, but we really can NOT afford for me to stay home. We actually dissected our budget, clearing everything unnecessary out, even selling our house, and we still came up short with just my husband's salary. Why? It cost us $17,000 to conceive. There are so many other circumstances like my husband's cancer survivor scholarship getting dropped, etc. that have caused our budget to inflate. We don't spend money frivolously, and we don't have credit card debt AT ALL. We've been very faithful with what God has given us, and God has blessed us beyond measure by giving us both jobs that (1) we enjoy and find fulfilling and (2)meet our needs. I'm also SO thankful that He has given me a peace about working and has blessed us with AMAZING child care. When we decided to go forward with IVF to have Noah, we knew that I would have to work and committed that to the Lord, asking for Him to make a way as we both desperately wanted a baby. He's been so good to us, and I'm thankful every day for our situation.

I'm not really sure what I'm getting at here. I guess just giving a perspective from a mommy who works, really doesn't mind it, and really and truly can't afford not to. I do feel like a lot of other mothers look down on me for enjoying my job OR feel the need to emphasize that they have a full-time job too but not a salary. But it's OK; I know it's a sticky issue for some. That's my story!

Anonymous said...

I was a kindergarten teacher before having our son. I went back to work when he was six weeks old...but only to finish out the school year. I taught for the last three weeks of school and then packed everything up in my classroom and semi-retired! After that, I was purely a stay at home mom and loved every minute of it. However, when my son was five months old, an opportunity came along for me to work part time (eight hours a week) at a church. I take my son with me and he goes to the church mother's morning out program two mornings a week for 4 hours each time. I am very thankful for our situation because although I get to spend most of my time as a stay at home mom (and love it), it is also a blessing to get out of the house, interact with some other adults, and use my gifts in a productive way. I think it is also neat that my son is able to interact with other babies, and whenever I need a hug or kiss from him, I just walk right down the hall to where he is! I feel like I have the best of both worlds. I think you will do great and will love being at home with your family. But I agree with an earlier post...those moms who work, enjoy it, and have a daycare situation that they feel comfortable with, are in a great situation too. Follow your heart, trust in God to provide for you, and you will do just fine!

Oh, and I think you asked for a daily schedule. On the days that I am home, our schedule is:

wake up
play inside with mommy
something out of the house (grocery store, go to the park, walk in the neighborhood, etc.)
playtime, mommy cooks dinner
daddy comes home
playtime with daddy

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