Thursday, October 22, 2009
Stay at Home Mother
I am for the first time in my life a "Stay at Home Mother". To explain, when I was doing home daycare I found it essential for my sense of self, sanity and routine to get out with the kids everyday. We participated in community programs daily and spent much of the day away from home. The children loved these playgroups and I loved that they could get really messy there and do lots of arts and crafts. They were entertained enough that I could steal some precious moments with my new baby.
This became routine after I ended my daycare and Ben and I continued to go out early each morning into the world and see what we could see. We had quite the line up and I was a playgroup junkie! We knew which ones were air conditioned in the summer and who had the best Christmas parties. Ben did preschool three mornings a week with teachers who loved him and I was able to take part in guest speaker series, mom to mom chat groups and cooking classes just up the hall. It gave me time to be me and have something of interest to tell Jon about at the end of the day. It wasn't that I disliked being at home but I felt too secluded, wondering what ELSE was going on that we could share in. I suppose in one sense I too gave into the delusion that our society perpetuates that parents aren't quite "good enough". Ben needed stimulation, socialization and experiences away from home...being home with little ol me wasn't "good enough".
This fall however after being advised by Ben's specialist to stay away from large groups of people in light of flu season prompted me to look at our activities (he did spend the majority of last year sick...there are a number of posts entitles "POOR BEN" in the winter of 2008 to show for it). Maybe limiting our outings wouldn't be such a bad thing. I would be able to catch up on lots of back burner projects, get an early start on holiday planning and not feel the mad dash of the morning as though I was a working woman, with loads of laundry stacking up in my hurry out the door.
What a breath of fresh air it has been to be HOME. I had no idea! I get up and make breakfast (not consisting of a toasted product and fruit I mean a REAL breakfast). Ben sleeps in as he loves to do, and then lingers in his bed while I get his clothes ready. After he gets dressed he picks out his "morning books" that he wants me to read him- usually between 8-12 so this can take us into 9:00. We go down for Ben to have breakfast and then he will play with cars while I unload the dishwasher, throw in a load of laundry...or not. Often we will have a friend over by now or go outside for a walk. When we come in Ben is ready to sing some songs while we color or paint at the table and then he is off to do his thing while I make us some lunch. Lately we have been drinking smoothies...yes they are cold for this time of year but oh so delicious- We like blueberry, grape, orange, apple, spinach and hemp protein smoothies with a splash of agave to sweeten. Ben will eat/drink these all day if I let him. Usually at this point he has worn me down where the television is concerned and I will let him watch a show (or 2...) before his nap. This is something that we will be cutting out just as soon as the transition to new baby is over. Ben, the sleeper, will sleep from 1-4:30 which leaves me with a lot of time. I get so pressured to fill in the best way possible that I often dwindle it away planning what I should do and before I know it, Ben is bellowing his arise.
Ben plays while I get dinner ready and the table set and before we know it daddy is home for the real fun to begin! I have enjoyed immensely the quiet relaxation and peace that the rhythm of simple days brings. There is no pressure, no ridged schedule, no commitments. Our trips out are simple now- the grocery store, the library, the park. I love spending my days with this little boy who is growing more and more into himself everyday. I am so blessed to watch this happen in front of me. It is a joy to be, home.
(and I don't despise play dough as much as I once did...the joyful anticipation in Ben's eyes of mommy making her 10 000th snowman is worth it).