Sunday, March 27, 2011


Aiden and his cousin on a hike

The other day, a good friend called me up for a chat. She too is a SAHM of a beautiful little 10 month old girl. We got on the subject of making this SAHM-life more memorable with our children and I found myself solidifying some of my own thoughts in my mind as I helped her know the importance of a schedule in my own life and how it has helped me.
Sometimes as a SAHM, it is easy to fall into the black hole of never ending housework, cooking and errands that all are a part of everyday life. It is really easy to fall into a routine of making these not so fun tasks a bigger priority than they really need to be and forgetting that your child is not your sidekick but really the star of the show. I mean, who has earned you the title of the stay at home mommy anyway? So you want the dishes done in the morning before you head out to the park. Or just throw in one load of laundry before I make breakfast. What about my hair? Hmmmmm it would sure look nicer in here if I just made that bed or cleaned up those toys before we head out. Before you know it it's 11:30am, you are still in your pj's and you feel like you haven't even played with your child yet let alone even left the house. I used to have a lot of times like these especially in my son's early months, (0-5 mo.) If you have anal, type A tendencies like myself you know exactly what I am talking about. Or if you tend to fall under the more free-spirited type B personality traits, well then you just think I am a major nut-job. Too many times I have fallen into this trap that makes staying at home a lot less fun and productive than it can be. At times, it can even make you feel like you are so over being a SAHM and you are ready to go back to work! It can also make you wonder, how in the world has that other stay at home mommy of 5 kids made this her whole life for the past 15 years and seemed to LIKE it? If you feel this way more often than not, in my opinion it means you are missing the point of being a stay at home mommy.
creating a masterpiece!

A while back I had come to a point where I had started to feel this way despite the fact that all throughout my life, (pre-marriage) I had imagined how happy I would be when I was married and staying at home with my babies. My sweet husband even saw it. "Don't worry about having a perfect house" he'd say. "Focus more on our son, it's why you are at home after all." As with any job, this one had it's challenging times. The beauty of this job though is that YOU are the boss. YOU are in control of how your days are spent. I've learned that spending them obsessively cleaning my house, doing load after load of laundry and cooking a big meal every single night was NOT the way to go. When I focused too much on the boring stuff, I felt like my days just slipped away from me without many special memories of playing with my son. I realized that I needed to do more living and less of the robotic, everyday chores that make SAHM's return to work too quickly before they've even given this life a fair chance. 
I learned that for us, in our household we needed a schedule. I learned that being the list maker that I am I needed to write it down so that I would actually stick to it. I realized that once my baby was in my mind old enough, (6 months) to get something out of playgroups, library story time, music class, baby gymnastics, ect. that we needed those too. I realized that a mommy support group would be nice too so I joined MOPS and another local mother's club in my city. Suddenly life at home got much more fun and I wasn't focusing as much on the house chores but the memories made inside that house, making connections within a mommy community, and doing activities that were purely child-centered. Once you focus on making memories with your child and truly living, your time at home together will start to become more quality time over quantity. 
throwing rocks in the creek

Here is a glimpse of what "schedule" means to us. Our schedule often changes though for extreme weather or tantrums :), illness, the luxury of changing our minds, or simply "not feeling it today" :) So maybe instead of a schedule, we should call it our weekly goals. I will record it here for a few reasons, 1) To remind myself that sticking with the child-centered activities truly makes my son and I happier, 2) To remember myself what it IS that we do here all week :) and 3) As a tool to educate all my single friends on, "What exactly do you do all day Laura?" when they inquire about my life as a SAHM. :)
How do you spend your time as a SAHM? What are some activities that you enjoy doing with your children?
Leave your comment below with your email. The most creative idea will win a $5 Starbucks giftcard!

Mondays- am- baking project
                       lunch/nap (house chores, dinner prep)
                 pm- snack/park/free play/read books 

Tuesday-  am- art/music/baby gymnastics
                 pm- park playdate, free play, books or mommy gym-time

Wednesday- am- playdate/run errands
                     pm- art/free play/books

Thursday-   am- MOPS or Library Storytime
                    pm- snack/park/playdate/books

Friday-        am- playgroup 
                    pm- free play/park/books and or art        

*Free play = mama's doing housework! :) 

Aiden and his cousin decorating birthday cupcakes


  1. Laura, This so helpful, especially for a part-time SAHM (and one that works out of the house most days to boot!) I get very much wrapped up in dinners, grading, cleaning (now yard work with a immobile husband!), that I forgot to schedule in playtime activities. Which isn't fair to Maggie or me. I think I'm going to sit down and write out a bit of a schedule to put ourselves least for the rest of the semester. Thanks!

  2. Sara-
    Thanks! Glad you found it helpful! And you know, way back in one of our phone conversations I remember YOU talking about your schedule and how it helped you be a more productive mama. This was back when the idea of a schedule hadn't even occurred to me yet! How funny! I guess I just took it a step further. :)

  3. You don't need to enter me for the gift card because I don't visit Starbucks, but things went very similarly in our home. For the first few months with Charlotte, I spent all my time nursing and walking the dogs and cleaning the house, the end. After awhile, I went through the same sort of revelation you did. I started connecting with old friends and mom groups, strengthened my local ties, and started keeping my eyes open for fun activities. We have a weekly rhythm not too unlike your own.

    My favorite thing to do with Char, hands down, is hike. There are so many awesome trails around here that have offshoots to parks and nature habitats. We hike for awhile, find a quiet someplace, and just hang out. I usually bring a bucket, a water filter, a snack, a camera or binoculars, a small bag and a canteen. We keep a nature exchange in the trunk of the car, so the deal is that Charlotte can fill up the bag with rocks or leaves or what-not but then when we get back to the car she has to exchange them for what she already has in there. The limit is fifteen pieces of nature in the exchange at one time, and only three pieces per hike (otherwise rocks are too heavy!) She uses the bucket to scoop up water, dirt, etc. Sometimes I show her how to track an animal or I show her a spiderweb or a rabbit den or nest and we talk about the ecosystem, but mostly we just play and snack and hang out and then go home. I love those moments with her =)