9 Tips for NOT Being a (SAHM) aka Stuck-at-Home-Mom
Warning: After reading this post, you will most likely think I am a total lazy slob. I have never been a home body. My husband on the other hand could LIVE in one space and be beyond happy watching soccer matches all day long and letting the kids "play at home with their toys." He would make an AWESOME stay-at-home-dad. On the other hand, I have always been one to want to go and explore and see what's new. I LOVE seeing new restaurants and businesses pop up, and this CRAZY Denver growth in the economy is just mind blowing. I STILL get downtown and around town quite a bit, despite having to drive a little further and having two kiddos under two and a half in tow, and we ONLY moved away from downtown four years ago for goodness sake, but I FEEL like Denver has changed over night.
I want to get up and go most days and my husband likes to think I have my girls, up, dressed, fed and in the car before they have the sleep out of their eyes, and some days that is true, but we DO stay home and play as well. I ALWAYS try to get outdoors time in- be it a park near our house, the back yard, or taking a walk down the street and hanging out in the cup de sac, but I ALWAYS LOVE to take the girls on excursions and adventures, exposing them to new surroundings.
Now that Remy is in day school, just Tuesdays and Thursday mornings for a couple hours, I feel so footloose and fancy free with just Arlo! Yesterday we played at the mall and then we had lunch at Tokyo Joe's. Arlo's face looking at these giant red lantern lights overhead in the restaurant, that is what I love soaking up. A simple thing like a chain restaurant decor, I have to stop and put myself in her perspective, that this is the first time she has seen such LARGE over hangings like these. We pointed, we smiled, we admired and we took time to notice. So adventures for us could be a museum or a pumpkin patch, something far or something very close and normal. The post office. We LOVE going to the post office and seeing Post Office Mike and Post Office John. They get a lollipop, and maybe a sticker, we chat and say hello and look at the greeting cards and boxes and socialize as we wait in line.
So, I would definitely say I have gone less and seen less, or have I? I remember I used to hang out at St. Mark's coffee shop on 17th when I was dating husband. I used to stay there for hours, drinking HOT coffee or tea, now I am lucky to finish a cold, hours old beverage. At the time I was wiring on an entrance application to copywriting school for advertising. I was accepted, but the location was Minneapolis, and I had just met this guy, husband, so I decided to stay and finish my B.A. and see where the relationship went. This si not a post on putting dreams on hold for family, don't worry.
Anyway, I haven't been back to St. Mark's coffee shop in some time, but I HAVE made it into countless others, sans kiddos and with them in tow, I have not stopped drinking coffee or visiting places. They may not be as hip or glamorous, hello Denny's on Havana in Aurora, and maybe not all the places we go are Insta-worthy, I'm talking about you Dollar Tree, but we sure do make a lot of memories, see a lot of things, and have fun out there.
So here are a few things I have collected up in this loosey goosey noggin of mine over the past two years. I am by no means preaching, and I am NOT saying that getting the heck out of the house is what every mom should do, but I have been asked by a few friends for tips on how to juggle it with two. I still am NOT comfortable dishing lout ANY advice at all about parenting, so this is just what I have done to keep MY sanity and my sense of self and normalcy going. I also want to point out that I surprisingly have NOT felt isolated or alone, never lonely after becoming a mother, yeah right you might think, but it's true! Remy and Arlo are my best friends! Sad, you might think, but I am happy. What makes you happy in mothering? If it is working and building your career and coming home to be there for bath and bedtime, and that's what makes YOU fulfilled, I say DO IT and HELL YEAH! I think finding a BALANCE is important in anything. Like husband said, "Stay home every once in a while and let them play with their damn toys." I assure you I do. He's right though, sometimes it's awesome just to snuggle in extra longer in the mornings and wear our jambes all day, that's what we did a couple days ago and we LOVE that too!
I guess what I am getting at is that if getting out is what you are looking to do to find more balance if you do stay home, you might find these tips funny or helpful or completely ridic. What sort of things are you trying to get more of in your mommy hood experience?
- Don't make the bed. Yes we have clean bedding. No we don't have bed bugs. But, seriously, who the hell cares if the pillows are on?
- After you wake and change the diaper, keep them on the changer for clothing, hair, and teeth brushing, all in one swoop. Then, make your way to milk/breakfast all ready to go except shoes.
- Leave the dishes in the sink. That sounds like a line from a Jewel song. pretty sure it is. But it's true! Sorry husband! OCD-ers, perfectionists, I am sorry, but seriously, rinse and get to them when you get home and after you set them down for naps, otherwise you WILL NEVER GET OUT! I feel like the days I clean up, they are running around pulling things out, tearing up the toilet paper, dumping crayons out, etc. Remember, this is NOT a list about how to be the tidiest mommy, but how to get out to your errand or adventure.
- Get yourself ready, a) before they wake up (if you have the energy to more power to you), or b) AFTER all kiddos are ready. I gate mine downstairs and put Sesame Street on for my 10 minutes of primping, that's a bra and underwear folks.
- Bag in the car. Pack your diaper bag, back pack, bag of tricks, whatever, snacks, lunches, water bottles, ALL the night before if possible, or early and have them already in the car. I grab jackets, hats, toys for the car, my cell phone, if I forget, last minute items, AFTER I have them in their carseats.
- Don't check soc (pronounced soash, as in social media. This guy I met on our plane ride home last trip mentioned this is what all the cool kids are calling it now- oops.) Anyway, texting, social media checks, they are ALL huge time wasters. After we are all strapped in, before I leave the driveway, I give the text messages a glance to answer back people we are meeting up with, or check my Google Maps to make sure I know where I am going, then I put the phone away and we are on our way.
- Have a plan. Sounds like common sense, but it's true. Even if it is JUST an errand to pick up diapers from Target or take the mail or get gas, have a plan of all the stops you are making and have an idea of timeframe. If you can, hit all your errands that are near each other. I was able to grocery shop once when Remy was at school, but I planned ahead and let Arlo get her energy out first at the play area at the mall, and then I did the shopping RIGHT before having to get Remy. If it's a park playdate or a zoo day, be prepared for meals, snacks, and changing weather. Pretend you won't be back for the entire day, because sometimes that's what COULD happen.
- Leave the toy clutter. This is an endless battle. Put them away when the kids are away, like ASLEEP.
- Lose the expectations and IDEA OF PERFECTION. There is NEITHER in motherhood. I know that the days I get so frustrated or mad are the days the kids sense my frustrations and it might be because we had to leave somewhere early because they JUST DIDN'T WANT TO BE THERE. You have to learn to let go of what YOU want, and embrace that it is what THEY NEED. This isn't forever, and it isn't all day or every day, but it is most of the time. The sooner you get this, I mean REALLY GET this, then your days will go smoother. I am STILL not getting this all the time. A couple weeks ago I had dropped Remy off at day school and went to take Arlo to story time in Cherry Creek. She was having a ball at first, and walking around shaking the shakers, UNTIL all of the babies starting arriving. I think there were just TOO MANY babies in that room for her to take in. She got overwhelmed, and she is a roamer. All she wanted to do was walk across the circle rug and get into peoples' bags and take papers and shakers. I was so annoyed and irritated so I stood in the back and held her, then she fussed because she wanted down. I saw other mommies with their babies happily seated in their laps and they were singing along and doing the fingers crawling up their thighs, snapping pics and having a gay time. I was frustrated that my kid was the one all over the place. Why didn't she DO story time right?! What the hell is wrong with me?! So we left. We walked and strolled and ended up going into a Halloween store and looking at spooky decorations together and then we ended up walking along the Platte River and listening to the trickle of the water. THIS was a MILLION times better, for her, and for US! So to finish- be flexible.