It’s been almost two years since I made the switch from working full time to staying at home full time. In one of my posts, I wrote about some of the adjustments (not sacrifices) we made to ensure I could stay home. While some of the adjustments were a lot of work (ie, moving to a new house with a baby and a preschooler), they have been well worth it.
Before I stopped working, I was tired. I started every day at 5:30am, got ready, fed the children, did the drop off at daycare, then headed to work for a 1.5 commute. Once I finally got to the office, there were immediately things I needed to get to, things I had not gotten to the day before. It was like every day was a game of catch up I could never win. Most days I would work through lunch so I could leave the office around 4ish. Then it was another hour commute back to pick up at daycare, and head back home. By the time I made it home, it was 6pm. I’d make something for dinner or pick something up on the way home. After dinner, it was bath time, then bed. Then back up to do it all again the next day.
When I dreamed about days at home with my kids, I had an idea of what my days would look like. They would start off with everyone sleeping in, and were full of playing, and reading, and peaceful afternoons where we would all rest, enjoying each other’s company. We would go to the library, enjoy lunches at the park, and take naps in the sun. We would visit with nearby family whenever we wanted, and do with our days as we pleased. And for about a year, this was our days.
Then my oldest started kindergarten, my youngest started walking, and I got pregnant with my surprise third boy. Oh how things changed! Now may days look more like they did when I was working. I wake up around 6 to 6:30am after waking up with the baby one or two times during the night. I pack my oldest son’s lunch and snacks for school, then try to wrangle the two year old so I can change his diaper and put clothes on him before I have to get the baby. This process usually involves me going in and out of the nursery to stick the pacifier back in the baby’s mouth just so I can have a few more minutes before having to add the baby to the mix. By this time, the oldest heads off to school, and I clean up from the morning rush. I clean up the kitchen, make beds, and pick clothes up off the floor. Now the baby is REALLY ready to get up, so I pick him up and nurse him while I eat breakfast. By 7:30, my two year old is hungry again, so I clean him off some grapes, while continuing to feed the baby. Then I sit down and finish feeding the baby, while the two year old watches the same show for the 5,000,000th time. Next are more diaper changes, and trying to take a shower without the baby screaming the whole time. After kind of showering, its off to run one errand for the day. I pack the kids up and endure a 5-15 minute drive with a screaming baby, which makes it feel like a 1.5 hour commute. Once we get to where you going, I try to finish the errand before everyone is too tired and hungry. I wrangle the baby into his carrier, and try entertain the two year old so he won’t try to get out of the cart. I’m sure its all quite entertaining to watch.
Once we get home from running the errand, its lunch time, then nap time. This is when I finally get some time to myself. But wait! Dishes need to be put away, a toilet needs to be clean, laundry needs to be folded and put away, and floors need to be mopped. Once I finish some house cleaning, my oldest gets home from school. My attention is now focused on him, and getting his a snack (he’s always famished!) and focusing him enough to finish his homework. About this time the two year old wakes up from his nap, and needs water or a snack, or an elephant. I’m not quite sure, but he’s mad that I don’t understand him. Next I try to figure something out for dinner, and start prepping. Then baby starts crying, and so its time to feed him again. And until my husband makes it home, the rest of the day if a fury of holding a baby, calming a two year old, and trying to listen to my oldest. Once daddy is home, its time to eat. We eat dinner with a sort of controlled chaos, then its off to bath time, and then bed.
As I reflect on my days now, they are quite chaotic and stressful. So am I now pining for the days of when I worked? Not really. My days were stressful and chaotic when I worked. The difference now is that I deeply love the source of my stress (my kids), and they love me the way only a child can love. Its this deep love that I tap into when I’m stressed out at a store and the toddler and baby are screaming directly into my ear at the same time. Its what I’m trying to remember when I can feel anger fueled by frustration bubble up inside of me. These are tiny humans that God has entrusted me to raise. He led me to stay home, and He will lead me each day. I just need to keep my human side at bay.