K.F. asks from Urbana, IL on January 07, 2010
New to Staying at Home- How Do You Manage Your Days?
I am still adjusting to staying at home full-time. I have been wondering and want to know how you other stay-at-home moms manage your time at home? What percentage of your time do you play with your kids? What percentage of your time is spent on cleaning, laundry, cooking? I have a difficult time managing my guilty feelings when I am doing all of the other things besides playing with my kids. I know that each day is different for everyone. Do you designate certain days as chore days? Right now we just take each day and week as they come and that feels a little out of control to me. I would love to work out some sort of schedule.
Thanks so much!!
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So What Happened?™
Thank you all for your wonderful responses. It is so helpful to hear from other moms who have been there and to know that I am not the only one who struggles with the balance. After hearing from you all, I definitely feel that the first priority is being here in the moment with my boys and not so concerned about the house and errands. I love your perspective Mary about how it's up to me how I manage my time now. That is a good reminder because I absolutely plan on going back to work full-time when both boys are in school. They are 3 and almost 9 months now. I know this time will go fast so I will just soak it all in. Also, I loved hearing from a Grammy! Your story is so inspiring and reminds me of the importance of accomplishing some goals of my own according to my energy level. It definitely comes in waves!
Again, thanks so much for sharing! This has been extremely helpful!
M.O. answers from Chicago on January 08, 2010
K., hope you don't mind a little advice from someone who has been there, done that, twice. I raised three kids as a stay at home M. and then raised my grandson who was born at 2lbs, 9oz. With my first family, it was planned that I would stay home and in those days we did everything from cooking, baking and cleaning as well as tote the kids around etc. When we took our gs in I had developed a midlife career and opened my own employment agency. When we adopted our gs, it was a new challenge. I did not want to give up the business I had built from nothing but wanted to give him the childhood he deserved. With today's communications I was able to do both! After he went to school, I went into office and did tasks that needed to be done there. After school, I brought telephone calls, faxes, and emails home. After his homework, I started dinner and accomplished a few tasks. After dinner, we had a little family time and then to bed. After that I spent some time doing emails, etc. I found my clients, many of whom were working moms, very agreeable to my timing. He w/be 20 in two weeks and we have developed a great little family. Now, I turn to my writing (published 3 books) and my painting (one in gallery) and my sewing (granddaughters love when I make them things). I think the point is: where is your energy level and what do you need to keep your mind in gear while tending to little ones? The other bit of advice from a grammy is to enjoy every minute of your little ones now! They grow so fast! You will be able to do a lot as they go to school and need less of your 24/7 attention. I honestly cannot believe that I can say I have raised two families, written three books and sold a painting to a gallery!
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C.S. answers from Chicago on January 08, 2010
hi K.! well this is a good question. i guess it would all depend on the age of your kids. i have been a stay at home mom now for 4 1/2 years, and at times it can be frustating, but it is all worth it in the long run. you will be able to spend more time w/ them and bond w/ them more.
ok so my suggestion would be to try to get them involved w/ the things around the house. ex. laundry: again depending on the age they can help them sort clothes, help you carry them to the laundry room, load them up, and close the lid. dryer: put all the wet clothes in a basket and have them put them in the dryer. and you can teach them wet/dry.
swiffer? if you use one. just don't let them go too crazy.
dusting: have them dust where it looks dirty. just let them be creative w/ the duster. (if they have no allergies) you would be surprised how little mind thinks.
if you have rugs in the house, have them bring them by the door for you to shake out. and then they can put them back.
and maybe as your going through your day, just take a 5-10 min. break and read a book, or watch a cartoon w/ them. and talk about what's going on. or maybe a puzzle. or a game.
while cooking dinner, you could have the older one help set the table. counting how many ppl. will eat. set the plates, silverware.....
and then maybe pull the ketchup out or butter. things like that. kids love to help, they just don't like to pick up their toys! hahaha!
grocery shopping: well you could go 2 ways w/ this.
1. find someone to watch them, and have "ALONE" time.
2. take them with, and make it fun! sounds hard, right? well, what i like to do is make it a scavenger hunt. i print my list off the store's website, so i have a picture of what i am looking for. so as we go up and down the aisle's i have my older kid look for the item.
but some suggestion i will give you is to try to know the store, where the bathrooms are and most of the items. just in case you have to leave quickly you can get your stuff in a hurry and be done w/ the shopping for a week.
3. produce, have them pick out the fruit. talk about color's, shapes, and how to pick it. i like to say "an apple w/ no boo boo's" one that has no bruises. and so on. just use your immagination.
if your kids are little, little maybe go to the toy section and find a "new" toy for the little one to play with while shopping. i would say that is good for like 7 months and up. sitting up at least.
and as far as time for yourself, that might not happen until every-one goes to bed. even now as i am typing to you, they are both playing "dr." w/ me. haha!
so good luck w/ the stay at home thing. if you ever need to talk or need more suggestions, i would be happy to help in any way i can! just send me a message!
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M.P. answers from Chicago on January 08, 2010
I've found that in the morning I have to get one thing done for me (around the house or something) in order for me to feel accomplished. So first I get up and do one short thing like check email. Then my conscience is at rest and I play with my son for a long time. usually, we go out. That way, I know I won't be tempted to do any housework and I'll spend the time exclusively with him, quality time. Then we return and he's had enough quality time with me so he usually runs and plays with his toys and I do my work with no interruption. If he wants me, he comes and hits me with a book or something heehee. But so long as I spend a long time with him in the a.m., he is usually able to let me do my housework afterwords.
Some days are different than others. Some days he's totally clingy and on those days I do nothing else till his nap or till my husband gets home and my husband understands that.
C.M. answers from Chicago on January 09, 2010
Great question. It took me a long time to adjust to the lack of structure that comes with being home 24/7. I always try to get out and do kid activities whether it's a play date, museum, Chuck E Cheese or a play two or three times a week. I usually take two or three days during the week to focus more on cleaning, getting organized and activity planning and then I like to have one day a week (usually a weekend day) as family time. My daughter also goes to preschool two 1/2 days a week so I can use that time to clean or exercise or run errands. I think how you manage your time really does depend on your energy level and the age of your kids. Flexibility is also key when you stay at home because things can always pop up and your schedule will go out the window. Good luck!
E.R. answers from Chicago on January 08, 2010
When my son was a baby and a toddler I was lucky enough to be able to stay home with him. Now he is 10 and I have to work full time, so I don't even get to be home with him after school, which I really hate.
the best thing I remember about being a SAHM was just having the OPTION to manage your own time! YOU can decide if you really need to do another load of laundry- or if it is a beautiful warm day and you should really take a walk to the park. YOU get to choose whether to spend some extra time in kitchen making cookies or trying a new recipe you wanted to make- or just throwing something in the Crock-pot and playing instead.
IMO there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to be a SAHM. Some moms get more stir-crazy than others and really need to make sure they are getting out and being active, especially in winter.
I had a great mom friend who I met by accident one day at a coffee place. Her son was the same age as mine and for about 2 years until she moved, we met a few times a week. If it was cold, we would sit and sip coffee while our sons played with blocks at the coffee shop or each other's houses. When the weather was nice, we would stroller all over the neighborhood.
My point is that you should be be SO HAPPY you are home with your child! Work out a basic schedule- but remember, the great thing about being the boss of your own time is that you can adjust and be flexible! Take advantage of special events that come up and don't worry if you spend a day vegging out once in a while. Trust me- you have your WHOLE life to do more laundry, clean the bathroom again, etc. I wish I had known how lucky I was to be home with my son- I would not have worried about chores at all!
Good luck and just have fun!!