Sep 17, 2015


I have been a stay at home mama for a year now.  The official anniversary was August 11th.  So it has actually been a year and a month.

One of the biggest blessings that I had in taking this leap into a big life change was my previous work schedule.  From 2004 to August of 2015, I worked a full time schedule in just three work days each week.  (Twelve hour shifts made this happy feat possible.)  Every week, I had four days of "at home" time that gave me a  pretty good preview of what life would be like as a full time stay at home mom. Without this sneak peek, I think I would have been in for a pretty rude awakening.

Even with a general understanding of what to expect, the first several months seemed pretty weird as I looked at the calendar and was confronted with a lot of open space ahead of me.  It felt sort of like those first few months after college when I wondered how I would spend my free time without any homework or studying to do in the evenings.

For the most part, an open schedule just feels nice now.  Just like I filled my free time without homework, I seem to have filled my "free time" without work.  Every now and then, when Brian is grading papers or planning for the next day's classes, I get this guilty feeling about not having similar commitments.  But then, there are too many hours when the opposite end of the spectrum - the fact that I never get to leave work - is all I can see.

Delineating responsibilities and expectations is a big part of making this situation work in our house - to keep things running and to maintain our marriage.

It's something that I hadn't thought a lot about  when we were both still working full time. At that point, it was just an all out scramble to get done what we could get done when we could fit it in.  There were chores that generally fell to each of us, but we were pretty much just in a constant battle to stay one step ahead of the house and the kids.

Since I've been home, I've tried to take on a majority (although certainly not all) of the household chores, upkeep and errands.  I feel like those things are a part of my "job."  When I'm in the right frame of mind, I remember that doing as many of these things as I can during the hours Brian is at work means that we can have more fun and focused time together - and just be more generally relaxed - when he is home.

I am usually pretty cool with this idea on week days and attempt to have a few extra things done by Friday afternoon to help us both have a break on Saturday.  But, by Sunday afternoon, I often find myself a bit grumpy due to the "never ending" aspect of my job and the fact that I don't really get a weekend.  It's something I need to work on.

In reality, Brian still does a ton around the house (weekend or otherwise), but I've just taken on a bit more than I used to.  The biggest thing he takes care of is the yard, which requires a couple hours every week from April to November and I am HUGELY grateful for that.

Overall, the boys and I have a really nice rhythm to our days.  I feel like I've really grown and relaxed into this pace of life.  We generally leave the house for a few hours every morning, go home in time for lunch, Eli naps while Sam and I hang out together (and he often has some screen time), we have a snack, get dinner going and then it's about time for Brian to get home.  In between, we read (and read, and read) and I sneak in ten minute sessions of time for my own projects or getting the house in order.

One of the biggest changes of the past year is that Sam no longer naps.  For the first several months of my stay-at-home adventure, both of the kids napped.  Rarely were their naps perfectly aligned to allow me more than half an hour or so to myself, but at least I would only have one kid to chase/entertain/feed/diaper/everything else at a time.  And every now and then, I would get a full hour or two to myself in the early afternoon.  It was my time to do with as I pleased.  It was heavenly.

Now, Sam almost never naps (and hasn't since January).  For a while, I loved the days when he would randomly fall asleep mid-afternoon.  But the tables have turned and I really dislike those days now because it means he will be up and full of energy all evening - when I am pooped.  It took a while to get used to not getting those few moments to myself to truly relax, but I'm (sort of) there now.

I try to leave the house on my own at least once a week.  This is often a trip to the store, meeting my friend Liz to run, an evening at book club or a trip to the coffee shop.  Whatever it is - it always feels both weird and wonderful.

I do still work one weekend (twelve hour shifts both Saturday and Sunday) every couple months and over the summer I put in a few extra partial shifts to help fill in where they needed me.  I enjoy these weekends as time "away" from the boys and my responsibilities, but am glad that I don't work more often than I do.  

Not every day is pretty or idyllic.  My kitchen floor is almost always sticky.  We have a lot less money than we would if I were working.

And still, it has been a good year.  I don't regret this in the least and plan to keep on keeping on.  Life as a stay at home mama is good for this mama.

PS: More posts about being a Stay At Home Mama - It's About the Why, Day One Week One, The First Month, A Letter from the Future, The Rhythm of Our Days

Photos: our morning teeth brushing routine, feeding "Leo the Paper Eating Lion" at the zoo - as we do at least once a week from April to October


  1. I really enjoyed this post -- I don't have any plans to stay home with my kids, but I often wonder if I could "hack it" if I did. I think it would be a very big adjustment for me as well, and it's nice to see someone being honest about that! :)

  2. Thanks Sarah - it's been a good fit for our family, but I totally understand that it's not for everyone. Some days I wonder if I can hack it - and other days I rock it - just like I used to do at a "real" job. :)