This is a topic that some of you close to me have been bugging me to write about. I have avoided the topic as I tend to have a history of gloating about my job and I didn’t want it to appear as if I was doing that. These past few weeks are always the craziest time of year in our family and it gives me a little perspective on the choice to stay home to work. I do love my job and I wouldn’t go back to the way things were for anything but there is definitely something suffering because of it.
Some of you may know the terms.
There is SAHM which means Stay At Home Mom. It’s replaced what we used to call “Housewife” – basically a mother who does not work outside the home. She stays home to keep the house and the kids.
Then there is WAHM or Work At Home Mom. This is a mother who works from home – with or without the kids around.
So I would consider myself both a SAHM & WAHM. Why exactly? I work full-time from home (40+ hours a week). I have my daughter home with me every day, I drive my son to the bus in the morning and plan my afternoon break to correspond with when I need to pick him up from the bus in the afternoon. I work Saturday – Wednesday which means my days off are Thursdays & Fridays. Those days I am simply a SAHM and that’s when my daughter and I plan our activities, playdates and other assorted tasks that one would usually get done on the weekend.
Saturdays & Sundays I am more of a WAHM – my husband is home to be the parent and from 8am – 4pm, I can concentrate on working, although the kids can come chat with me whenever they’d like. 🙂 Lately he’s been working Saturdays though so I’ve had to take on an extra day of double-duty.
When I first took on this job, we had decided to keep our daughter in pre-school one day a week. This would allow me to be available to go into the office if needed while still giving her some social time with friends. Since Christmas though, we made the decision to cut that down to “as needed” and have only been sending her on the days that I go into the office. There were a couple reasons for this decision. Mostly, we didn’t think she needed it much anymore, plus I was finding we were doing great with our daily routine at home and didn’t see a need to disrupt it if it wasn’t needed. She’s become quite the social butterfly and the almost 2 years that she was in preschool every day seemed to have done the trick in teaching her the necessary social skills needed for kindergarten this fall.
So… Has it been everything I dreamed of? In ways, better. There were many challenges along the way that I perhaps wasn’t exactly prepared for though.
Every day, we typically follow a similar schedule. The activities may change. Painting, colouring, playdough, crafts. She gets some TV time every day (usually when I have a conference call) and when the weather acceptable, outside time.
Most days, our routine is pretty flawless. Over the past 9 months, I have seen her go from a very clingy preschooler to an independent, creative little girl. She understands that when mommy is on the phone, we need to be quiet. She knows how to take herself to the bathroom, pick herself up when she falls down and at least try to reach for that toy before asking my help. She also knows that if I am needed, I can drop what I am doing in an instant and be there for her.
We make and eat lunch together. As with any job, I get a lunch break so I take that time to spend a little time chatting with my little girl. She loves to set the table and help put things back in the fridge. Definitely one of my favourite parts of our day.
In the beginning, I wondered if having her home would be a bad idea. What I forgot was how incredibly adaptable kids are. It took some time but together we fell into a routine that we are both comfortable with.
So what about the cons?
The house. My house is a never ending chore nowadays. At first I couldn’t figure out how it made any sense. When I worked out of the home, I really felt like we had to do less dishes, less cleaning. Then I realized that I was absolutely right. Being home all day creates more dishes. More laundry. More toys to clean up, more spills & messes, more uses of the bathrooms, sinks, food, etc.
So at 4pm when I am finished for the day, I am staring at a mountain of tasks on one side and my kids who are craving some mommy time on the other. I choose them. (Although that doesn’t stop me from trying to make a game out of cleanup).
Yes, that means the dishwasher doesn’t get unloaded until 8pm. The bathrooms will have to wait until my day off and the laundry…. well, that’s a topic for another day!
With summer approaching, I’m starting to wonder how that will work out. I will have 2 children home with me all day. We have set up some camps and we do have the option of daycare if needed. I’m still working on a plan. Based on Christmas Break & March Break, it’s going to be nuts but again, kids are so adaptable. I’m optimistic that it will all work out great!
…. plus, when summer is done, both kids will be in school full time and I will pretty much be able to drop the SAHM from my title. 🙂