Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Making the Switch to Being a SAHM

Lately, I've been feeling like a failure as a stay at home mom. I have always been very focused and driven and thought those traits would carry over into being a full-time homemaker. But, for some reason they haven't.

My house is never as neat as I want it to be.

The books don't get read as often as I'd like.

The crumbs on the floor aren't vacuumed up as often as they should be.

Outdoor playtime gets pushed back until it is too late and too dark.

Lunches aren't as interesting, if they even get packed.

The toys never quite make it back into their appointed place.

Charlotte's clothes aren't as neat as they could be and should probably be ironed.

My blog languishes from a lack of attention.

I feel less informed about world events than ever before.

My stack of books to read is growing taller than Charlotte.

I struggle to fit all the things I want to do on our schedule.

Family time seems to diminish on weekdays with promise of the weekend.

The weekends disappear in to do lists.

Even my husband, who can tolerate a lot of mess on his own, has commented on my lack of homemaking skills. he did it in a nice way though, and he did point out that I still manage to get a hot dinner on the table each night.

But apart than his nice words, I think I seem to suck as a stay at home mom.

I need to get a schedule and some deadlines fast! My business oriented brain doesn't reach optimal performance until I have a deadline headed my way.

Any suggestions?

10 comments:

  1. It's a MAJOR transition to go from work to full-time mothering.

    I remember another mother encouraging me through that painful transition, describing it as God needing to "remake me." All the things I was good at were outside the home, and then they were gone.

    My whole identity was getting an overhaul. It takes a long time. But it's good, being remade.

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  2. Well I know I often feel like you do - so you are definitely not alone. Just before I clicked over to your blog I was reading some others and just reading all the cool stuff other people do with their kids and how they talk about their kids being all sunshines and roses and how wonderful everything is - can certainly stir up the doldrums!

    I have many cool ideas and great plans - but they just don't all happen. But some do. I often feel like I'm a lousy mother...and I sure don't always feel like my kids are sunshines and roses.

    I think sometimes we feel the way we do b/c we are comparing ourselves to others and especially when we compare ourselves to others we only know via the internet (and we don't REALLY see what their lives are like as a whole).

    I worked for 4 yrs before my dd was born (and before that of course when I was single)...so I know what it's like to be working full-time. There are aspects of working outside the home that I miss...conversations with adults, no little ones constantly talking and wanting attention...etc.

    But staying home with the kids - is worth it. I can't imagine how much more difficult it would be doing a full-time job and then coming home and doing all or even half of all the at-home stuff with a child or children included.

    Things do get easier as the kids get older...I was thinking just recently how I'm glad that my kids are more independent now and can actually HELP ME!

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  3. I can idenify with your list. I am not as great of a stay-at-home mom as I thought I'd be.

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  4. I am not a stay at home mom, but I often read this lovely blog which seems like it would be really helpful with such matters... www.simplemom.net

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  5. Jenn--as your "real life" friend I will tell you that every mother goes through these feelings at one time or another. I am sure when Alyssa was a baby and you came to my home that it looked "lived in". The reality is while our kids are small the house is never going to be perfect all the time. Little C is old enough to learn to put her toys away etc...Michael is learning and both Amber and Alyssa have daily and weekly chores.

    I know you personally, so I know for a fact you are NOT a failure at being a SAHM! As far as not getting to read as much as you would like, welcome to the club. Most of my reading/being able to get on the internet is when I put my kids to bed at a routine hour then it's mommie time. As you notice I don't blog as much as you do....with three kids and one on the way, my primary responsibilities are obvious.

    Now, when I left my full-time job to come home again as a homemaker I transitioned pretty well. Grant it, I had to create new routines and if one didn't work I would shoot for another but even then it was never perfect and it will never be. However, I like what Jason told me once, he said every successful company has a plan, when they find what works they stick to it and that is how the company never folds under (I paraphrased his exact words). It also requires a lot more discipline when you are your own boss to get things done like laundry, cooking, and cleaning etc....Add a couple more kids, homeschool and you will know what I mean. I struggle with juggling all this like most women do.

    The best advice I have ever received was from Jason's mom when I called her one day to ask how the traditional homemaker did things being that I was never really taught at home and had to learn the hard way when I got married and this is something my girls will not have to deal with when they get married because they are learning and will carry this into adulthood. After all I want to set them up for success in every area of life, even if they choose not to follow through I will know I did my job.

    Proverbs 22:6 says "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it." I believe this to be a true promise from God and I also believe that this means if we don't train them up in the way they should go then they will not depart from a lack of training as well.

    Jason's mom always had routines even with the kids. I can't stress enough that kids need and thrive on routines! It creates security in the home.

    Here is what I remember Sheila telling me that helped me SO much! This was her weekly schedule. Keeping in mind she did this having four kids and did it successfully but it was a lot of hard work just like having a 8-5 full-time job. It was never always perfect and she would tell you that but I admire her, especially after I tired it and it worked. I will give it to you too to try and I hope it works for you, if not, don't beat yourself up about it!

    Monday-- Laundry day (for the whole week)

    Tuesday--Iron, clean Bathrooms, and vacuum (only takes a few hours...it's our "job")

    Wednesday-- Dust, straighten house, make meal plans for the next week.

    Thursday--Grocery shop (she still does her shopping on Thursday's to this day)

    Friday--Straiten house again, but ready for family time and the weekend. Then start all over again Monday.

    I haven't exactly stuck to the whole routine like I should. Not an excuse but I was not raised to stick to commitments and finish things, and never had any routines etc...

    Now when Sheila's kids got older they had more responsibilities and would take over for mom and learned a lot. It was sad, Jason knew how to iron better than I did when we married!! He still irons his own stuff, he prefers to SSSSHHH...

    Anyway, I truly hope I have been able to help you with some routine suggestions because you know I love you!! And I hope that you will remember how my home looked when you would come over and I had only two kids then.

    I love you and I think you are a GREAT mom and a GREAT homemaker....you will find your niche and get it down. You are a doer so pick your chin up momma because you do not have a lack of homemaking skills, every ones homemaking skills are different so don't beat yourself up!

    I loooove you!!!!!
    Hope you have time to read my book hee-hee.

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  6. As I have read over the comments your friends have left I see that you have been given great advise and know that you are not alone! You never need to feel embarrassed in your home when we visit ladybug.

    I would suggest that your goals should include a loving home, a home that your husband wants to come home to (he's so easy going so this isn't hard), and a safe enviroment for Charlotte. With that being said, I would also recommend a routine that gives you some peace of mind for your self...you will feel more successful when there is balance...and yes, there can be some even when you have children :) I promise!

    Love, Mom

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  7. I love Mom's comment above!

    One thing that helps me when I'm going crazy in chaos is signing up with www.flylady.net. It gives me the kick in the pants I need to get organized, and then when I feel like I'm more in control, I'll drop out for a while since the emails can be overwhelming.

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  8. I've been away from my reader for a while so I just got to this post. But, it seems to me like you were writing that I said you suck as a SAHM. That's not what I said, of course. I just pointed out that you are such a goal-oriented person you don't do much without a goal. So, you need to make goals for being a SAHM. Those goals can be visiting the park with certain frequency, cleaning on a certain schedule (ala your old system), getting involved in some outside activity, etc. But, without a goal, you end up like our old neighbor Dan who retired from the Navy and spent 3 years working to retile his house. Actually, he spent 3 years with his house half-retiled.

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  9. Wow Jennifer, you totally read my mind. I feel the same way on a daily basis...and let me tell you-I do laundry everyday, dishes by hand not a dishwasher, and vacuum my grrrrr green carpet that shows the littlest bit of fuzz. I feel like my domestic duties are never done. I worry whether or not I am giving my girls enough attention, feeding them the daily nutrients they need, shielding them from the evils of the world...the list goes on. I did not have a mother figure to model myself after. I always worked...ALWAYS. And it seems all workforce skills are at the opposite end of the spectrum when compared to "mothering", so it is definitely a learning process, everyday. It was very hard for me to ask for help since I have been self sufficient all my life. From what I have seen, Charlotte is not lacking in anything. You are a good mommy. Just remember, a lived in house is a loving home...don't stress the small stuff...save your worries for the big stuff (her first date, first time driving, haha). Anytime you need to vent, need help, or advice...I'm here for you.
    Your fellow PPG mommy
    Michelle

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  10. I haven't been ignoring your lovely and heartfelt comments. Rather, I've been digesting them.

    It really is frustrating to clean a dish only to have it dirtied again or to vacuum the floor only to have Charlotte drop yet another goldfish on it and then step on it. But, I am working on turning my service over to God and pray that he redeems my vacuuming and cooking for his glory!

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