I have now been a stay-at-home-mom for almost three months. It has definitely been a period of trial and error and transition (especially since Rhys is at an age of perpetual transition). And this transition was not always the easiest for either Rhys or me.
Growing up, my life plan was this:
1) Go to BYU and get married.
2) Teach until we had kids.
3) Stay at home until all are school aged and then go back.
4) Eventually become a history professor.
Well, when last summer came around with a brand-new baby on the way, a difficult choice was made. I had fallen in love. In love with my students, my school, my curriculum, my momentum. I loved being a teacher more than I ever dreamed of. And, I just couldn’t shake this feeling that I needed to stay teaching. So, when Rhys came along, I dropped down to be a part-time teacher. And guess what, the Lord works in mysterious ways because for the first term, Justin was still jobless. The Lord was looking out for us financially by making me want to continue to teach.
Being a part-time mom was a nice beginning. Since Rhys was born in the middle of the summer, I had about a month and a half to acclimate to new motherhood before returning to work. That helped lay the foundation for me. I worked everyday during the 2nd half of the school day, roughly 11-3:30. I was able to begin to focus on my health and blog again in the mornings, and by making the ultimatum to not bring work home with me, I was able to focus on m family and my role as mother and wife more.
I had a few samples of what being a SAHM would be like during Christmas break and spring break, while Justin still had to work. I felt I could get used to it. But, I always knew I’d return back to work at the end of the break…
So, here is an analysis of my transition so far:
Positives of being a SAHM thus far
1) Less stress! No lesson plans, no timetables, no contract hours, no commuting, no grading, no worrying about any child other than Rhys!
2) I can wear jeans during the week now, and open toed shoes, and shorts, and I don’t have to wear tights. So nice to be out of the charter school high standard of dress for teachers!
3) I’ve cooked more. True, most have been easy throw-together meals that didn’t require a lot of planning or prepped, but at least it’s better than eating out.
4) I can nap when Rhys naps and not worry about setting an alarm to make sure I still have time to get stuff done or to leave on time.
5) I get to see all of Rhys’s milestones and teach him everything. Honestly, I just love watching him!
6) Did I mention less stress?
Negatives of being a SAHM thus far
1) I don’t have a car. Near the end of the school year, a tree from the city park fell on our 2nd car (a piece of junk, anyway). Thankfully, the city paid us far more than it was worth, but now we are only down to 1 car and since Justin has a job…
2) Little socializing. Point #1 is a big factor into that, but I don’t have colleagues to chat with, or even teens for that matter. A conversation with Rhys can only go so far and only last so long.
3) Too much Netflix! We got rid of cable to help save some money, but I’ve been watching far too much TV and Netflix for my liking.
4) Getting out of the house. It’s been super hot this summer, typically in the 95-105* range. Taking a bike or stroller only gets us so far in this heat. I’d have loved to get out more with Rhys and for my own sanity if we had a second car.
What I’ve learned
1) My anxiety with school has just been overrun by other anxieties, such as Rhys and finances. But, I’m learning to deal with it.
2) It’s okay to still ask for a baby-less day, especially if you have doting family close by who jump at the opportunity to watch him.
3) I have absolutely loved watching Rhys and paying closer attention and detail to him. I love watching him learn and grow and interact with his world. It just reminds me more and more how endless my love is for him and how astounding toddlers can be.
4) I miss those 5 hours and the fact that someone else dealt with rebellion to eat lunch and to nap some days, and that’s ok.
5) Being a SAHM is just as exhausting as being a working mom.
6) I am trying to be more intentional with Rhys and engage more with him by being on social media less when he is awake, or to put it aside when he wants attention.
7) I am able to follow his cue more and be more flexible. For instance, he is in the process of weaning himself off bottles of milk and trying to get down to one nap.
8) I’m still not sure if this is the right long-term plan for us, but so far it has helped my mental and emotional health, and that is what is important right now.
I’m excited to see what the rest of this year will bring us as I continue to transition into being a SAHM!
If you are a SAHM, what was your transition like?