Wednesday, April 23, 2014

SAHM...Not

All things STRESS FREE that is my purpose for having this blog. That is how I live my life, run my home, work in my office and interact with others.

I have learned better methods on how to approach that over the years but for the most part as I always share this has been me all the time.
I don't believe in sacrificing myself to the point of dissatisfaction for no one not even my child.
Is that selfish? No, it is selfless, because if I am well she is well all is well...period.

I am going to share my own brief experiences as a Stay at Home Mom. Though this occurred over seventeen (17) years ago, the fundamental lessons can and still do apply to anyone.

Many years ago I worked in the Banking field and one (1) of those years was during my pregnancy. I dealt specifically with Mortgages anything and everything related to that. I specialized though in the collections and repossession of such. I saw and heard many things during my time in that field. I had numerous life threatening moments and police interactions. You don't make many people happy when you are trying to take their homes away or collect on money they just don't have.

During those nine (9) months I began to put into place the things that would allow me to be home with my child. I bought many things in advance and so forth.
After my daughter's birth I took six(6) months maternity leave. My job only payed for I think three (3) months at the time but I knew I wanted more and they offered six (6) in total with three (3) no pay.
I applied for public assistance (yes I worked hard for my money and they were just giving me what I was putting in through paying my taxes) no reason for shame. I applied for WIC and Food Stamps. Any program that would supplement my income difference I applied for. I didn't want to stress my then husband with being solo financial provider, which would then stress me.

Those six (6) months were fantastic! We bonded, we grew, we played and we learned. My last two (2) months I focused on childcare. Through word of mouth I found and connected with the lady that cared for several of my co-workers children. That worked out great because she was in the building next to my office and the access was reasonable. My daughter was six (6) months old so I was concerned with someone having to change her and that she would not develop any rashes etc. I only breastfeed for a short time it was extremely painful for me, not stress free at all, Similac worked just great for me. With all those things in place and worry free I returned to work.

I had no family help, no relatives picking her up or babysitting. I did it all with help from strangers and my partner. I was blessed to have connected with a great woman who cared for my daughter beautifully. I never felt stressed or as if I wasn't doing enough or if I was missing out. I worked with what I had and made the most of my time with my daughter when I had it.

When my daughter  turned one (1) my company was going to relocate to Lake Success (Long Island, New York) and we were currently in Flushing (Queens, New York). I had to make some changes, I had to reevaluate the whole situation. Was I willing to extend my commute, increase my childcare costs and adjust my lifestyle as it currently was and worked for everyone, to remain in same position and have no salary increase?
After some time on several lists of pros and cons, talks with my partner, research and prayers the answer was NO.

I was not willing to make all those adjustments and sacrifices for no rewards.

It so happened that around the same time a girlfriend of mine was looking for a baby sitter. Someone to leave her daughter with and who could pick up her two (2) sons from school at different times. After some chat I said yes. Of course the money was not my salary but it was something to contribute to the house.
I handed in my resignation, worked two (2) more weeks, said good bye and left.

Here I was a Stay at Home Mom again, officially but for how long no one knew.

Initially it was fun, I mean you don't have to get up as early. I enjoyed all the freedom I had with my time and how I used it. My friend would drop her daughter off by 8:30 am we would have breakfast, watch some television, play some interactive games. Before I knew it, it was 11:30 I would *run out and get one of the boys from his daycare program. When we got back it was time to start prep for lunch. While all three (3) of the kids (mine included) would entertain themselves I was in the kitchen getting their food together. It was like a well oiled running machine...most of the time. On the days one (1) was sick or required extra attention not so much, but we managed. If you are organized and stay focused for the most part things can and will run ok.

We would have lunch by 12:30 pm while Barney played in the back ground or Lynette the Clown. Lunch was simple enough, soups, grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken cutlets, fries, turkey burgers, mac and cheese just to name a few. My daughter was the youngest so I had to deal with baby food and diapers still but we made it work. I tried to keep menu simple so cleanup would be smooth, they would actually finish their food and get ready for nap time.

Nap time was simple for the two (2) girls but I always had an issue with the Lil man. He thought of all things not to take a nap. Until I came up with, who ever falls asleep the fastest gets a treat at the end of the week. Since he loved Power Rangers I worked with that. Needless to say he came home with a few cool treats after that chat.
While they napped, I then *ran out again to get the oldest one who was in kindergarten.

When we got back, I would prep him a snack and he would either watch a program on Nickelodeon channel or do his homework if he had any. By this time it would be close to 3 pm and the other three (3) were wide awake, up and going strong.
My daughter would be the first one.
By 3:30 I was in a house with four (4) kids under the age of six(6).

I read often these posts about not being able to go to the bathroom by yourself, not having washed your hair for extended periods of time, of having no sleep, of just pure chaos and misery. I can't imagine going a few days like that let alone choosing to continue to run your life in that way.
I am not saying that we don't all have an off day or two but weeks, months or years?

I did the SAHM thing for almost two (2) years. I invested countless hours with four (4) kids in total. Yes not all were mine, yes three (3) left after 6 pm but I learned a big lesson.

- I learned to applaud the women who choose this path
- I learned that if you are not organized you will have a tough time
- I learned that routine is a must
- I learned to try to be flexible...more
- I learned that I function best when I make time for me
- I learned that I never want to stay home with small kids again.
- I learned that without grownup interaction, I grew restless and bored.

Approach all things with a clear intent.
WHY? WHAT? WHEN? WHERE? WHO?
Why do you want to do this?
What do you want to gain from this choice?
When is the right time for you?
Where do you want this to lead?
Who are you really doing this for?

Numerous questions, numerous options. STRESS FREE



*(My neighbor downstairs would keep eye out while I was away. No child was ever in danger)

10 comments:

  1. Very interesting post, enjoyed it.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Such a Great post and I enjoyed every line. Thanks!

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  3. Hi, Mari! Yes, I concur that organization is key in maintaining one's household -- and sanity -- while being a SAHM. Being Type A and the kind of person who prides oneself on hard work while recognizing the invaluable need for structure, I thought there wouldn't be a day when all of the bases weren't covered. I am the person who never missed school while sick because I thought I'd miss something; I worked 12-hour days as a TV reporter, re-editing my stories before they aired because I knew I could make them better; even now, I have my kids'clothes organized in their closets by size and color. What can't I concur...right?

    But like the game of life itself, motherhood has a way of teaching you that not everything can be planned for...and that's with only one child. I can speak from experience that having 2 under 3 has given me a new appreciation for patience...

    My son is attached to me -- and he likes following me to the restroom. That's just the way it is right now. I know he'll grow out of it because I have yet to meet a college co-ed who chooses not to live in the dorm because of his incessant need to accompany his mother to the restroom. lol

    That said, I, too, have not experienced the other prolonged stints of discontent you mentioned above, but I do know that a myriad of factors (hormones, lack of support, stress about finances, health challenges, etc. -- things I cannot speak about personally because I have not experienced them) can conspire to wreck havoc on a mother's lifestyle. For example, I am fortunate to not have experienced postpartum depression, but I totally recognize the condition as real and can totally see how damaging it can be.

    I agree with your perspective that one must approach life with the intention of being stress-free...but I also recognize, through empathy, that some may need additional assistance to do so.

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    1. Courtney! Love your visits and comments. Thank you :) OMG yes empathy that is another great key.

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  4. The list of what you learned is really great. I enjoyed reading every bit and, even though I will be a SAHM in 5 months, can never imagine taking care of someone else's children.

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    1. Rachel, thanks for visit and comment. Best of luck and please share your SAHM thoughts after a few months in, would love to hear :)xo

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  5. Hi! Thanks for the visit and comment on my blog :)

    I love the list of things you learned. I worked almost 1 year after my first son was born, so I've also experienced things both ways. I believe that no matter which choice you make (stay home or go to work), there are pluses and minuses.

    I'm a big advocate of taking time out for yourself too. I need a DAY every couple of weeks where I can drop the kids off at the ILs and do what I want -- shop alone, sleep, veg out in front of the TV. I'm a much better person when I pick my kids back up. What's important is that my kids are happy, and if me taking a break every now and then is going to help that, then so be it :)

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    1. Emma, hello thanks for visit and comments! A day off for sure is a great booster of energy which we all know is much needed when dealing wit our little ones :) Hope to see you here again :)

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