Sunday, January 11, 2009

Reflections On My Experience As A Stay At Home Mom

I'm excited to have some law school related blogging fodder this week! But until then, I woud like to quickly reflect on my experience these past four months as a 24-7 stay at home mom.

As much as I like to joke around with people and tell them that I do nothing but eat bon bons and need real adults to talk to, my experience was the opposite. I thought I would get bored at home all day and that I would crave other types of challenges and intellectual stimulation. While there were times that I would have killed for a good friend with a baby to talk to, I had all the challenges and stimulation I needed!

Being a stay at hom mom when there is an infant in the house is dang hard!

1. The only free/me time I get was when he went to sleep at night because he only really took 30 minute naps.

2. It takes twice as long to get anything done! This includes leaving the house, cooking dinner, trying to do laundry and even simply taking a shower. I felt like it took me years to clean my house. I would have to clean things in batches, one day I would vacuum, one day I would tidy up the living room, the next day I would tackle the kitchen. At the end of completing one task I would be exhausted and Jacob would need to eat. The problem with this method is that the entire house is never clean all at the same time and therefore, our 900 square foot house never looked clean at all. Um, how can you fit a baby walker, high chair, activity mat, car seat, jumperoo, baby swing, and baby vibrating chair in that small of a space? Answer: you can't.

3. You cannot even enjoy one meal in peace or in quiet. I remember countless dinners and lunches and breakfasts where I was bouncing Jacob in his chair with my foot or holding him with one hand while trying to cup the binky over his moutth and trying to eat with the other hand.

4. Every three hours I was on call to first feed him, then change his diaper, then try to get him to nap. The rest of the time in between I was trying to get stuff done but if he got cranky or fussy- that time went out the window.

5. The nights. Oh the nights!! I believe I have sustained permanent damage to my back rocking Jacob to sleep the first couple months. The waking up every three hours. Sleeping in a contorted position so that he would not fall off the bed and so I would not wake him up. Going to bed exhausted and waking up feeling the same.

6. While you are going through all this you are also getting used to a brand new post baby body. That in itself is quit a long and trecherous journey. It's so hard not to feel like yourself in your own skin.

7. I loved being at Jacob's side every step of the way these past few months. He became my partner in crime- we both learned together and grew together. I took him everywhere and he became my constant companion. You would not believe how awesome it was to have a face to smile at and a person to talk to anytime of the day. He always had my undivided attention and every returned smile was the ultimate reward. Our bond is incredible. I feel closer to him than to anyone else (aside from my husband- but my bond with Jacob is definately different).

Looking back on it all, I am so glad I decided to stay home last semester. I can see why people chose to be stay at home moms- it may be incredibly difficult but it is so rewarding. I was challenged every day with logistical crises. I survived many baby tantrums and screaming sessions. I learned how to clip a baby's delicate nails, the best way to wash baby clothes. How to distract a crabby baby. How to function everyday off of 4-5 hours of sleep. How to do everything with one hand. I learned so much more about myself as a person and what I am capable of.

And every day I was rewarded with receiving the full trust and love of another human being. I was also rewarded with this:

It's nerve wracking and tiresome to have to constantly worry about another- especially one who is so vulnerable. But I had the most amazing time and was not bored for one second. Now I know Jacob will do just fine with his grandmas but I'm so thankful that I had the opportunity to spend the past four months solely focused on him.


Butterflyfish said...

I love this post.

FSD said...

Great reflections, Cee! I'm glad you were able to take this time with Jacob. You'll always cherish it. I must admit that some of this scared I'm ready for the challenge!

I hope your first day back at school goes well today!

CM said...

Aww. Big transition for the two of you! Good luck with starting school. It's great that you have a slow transition back (I mean, being in school rather than having to work full-time).

LEO said...

great post. I can already relate to a lot even though I'm not staying home. It's hard, even though I still get a few breaks!

PT-LawMom said...

He is so beautiful!! You are very lucky to have had this time with him and I know you will look back and be so grateful for it down the road. Gosh, I remember those early days. I was so happy to go back to work because I could actually get something accomplished. I remember sitting at home crying in a sea of dirty laundry and dishes and other stuff but then looking at my precious son and thinking, "Who cares?" It's amazing how much there is to do and how little it matters when you could be playing with or staring at your child. :) Good luck transitioning.