I have several mom friends who are full time working women. They are each brilliant and dedicated to what they do and are amazing for being able to balance it all. I truly love and respect these ladies. I have often had conversations about working vs. staying home with these friends, and a few of them have said something along the lines of, "I could never stay at home, I'd go crazy!" So I thought I'd do a little report on how NOT to go crazy if you are a stay-at-homer. It's actually quite simple...don't stay at home!
For example, here was our agenda last week:
Monday: history museum, panera bread for lunch, grocery shop
Tuesday: ultrasound appointment for noah's little bump (which turned out to be nothing to worry about!!!), (normally, downtown moms' playgroup)
Wednesday: forest park walk and play with mom junket friends, community group girls' night
Thursday: stork sale, lunch out, target, friends over for dinner
Friday: babysat saylah, good friday service, dinner out with friends
Tip #1: Building up connections with other moms is so key. Could Noah and I do all of these things, just the two of us? Sure, but when he has friends, and I have friends, these outings are just more fun.
Tip #2: Incorporate a budget for lunches out. It's fun to lunch with friends, and it's a lot easier than having to go all the way home if we're out. It's actually not that expensive either if you go with a friend. I often, if not always, bring Noah's lunch, and then I split lunch with a friend. Friend Sandra and I have split $5 footlongs from Subway, and Shanna and I split just about anywhere we go.
Tip #3: I actually don't mind being home when we are home because I have so many things to work on. Personal hobbies that give me objectives and bring me happiness are key to remembering that while in the middle of raising Noah, I still have personal interests. Sewing, crafting, gardening, blogging, reading, scrapbooking...ect.
Tip #4: As a stay-at-homer, I also feel responsibility for taking care of my home and my husband. I must admit, this is my weak area. I often get so caught up in the more "fun" parts of my job (outings and hobbies), that I neglect the laundry. But, I do believe that I'm not only serving my family, but God when I fulfill these responsibilities. So when I do do them, I try to remind myself that even small chores have purpose. And I try to do at least one "chore" a day, alongside of the usual picking up and cooking.
Tip #5: Have a buddy. My closest is Shanna. We often do activities together and with other moms, but that's not exactly what I mean. If either of us have errands to run, we will often go with each other so that one can watch the other's car with the kid/s still in it. For example, if I need to run into the post office, I'll leave Noah in the car, and she parks right beside me and watches him. It saves time and is so much more convenient. Shanna and I have also given each other a "free day" each month. We each take a full day to stay home and watch the other's kid/s, so that we can have a day totally to ourselves. Without family in town to take on the babysitting, these are just some of the perks of having a stay-at-home friend who has children around the same age.
I'm sure a lot of moms already have this stuff figured out, and for me, it's definitely been a "learn as you go" kind of experience. I just started thinking about this this morning because we are supposed to be at our downtown moms playgroup right now, but Noah was in a really sour mood. I decided to put him down for a little nap, and I'm praying that he'll be feeling better when he wakes. Which actually is another tip I've learned...I have to be flexible! I joke with Matt that Noah is as moody as he is, so sometimes plans have to change; and I'm thankful to have friends who are understanding. It happens to them too!