When I tendered my resignation a month ago, I did so with the caveat that I would still come in from time to time and cover for my coworker when she took a well-deserved vacation. This week has been the first time I found myself back at the office and so I’ve been away from that adorable face for eight hours a day!
Being back at work for these few days has really cemented for me that I made the right decision to stay home. While I was reminded how freaking awesome I am at the job I left, I still find myself more fulfilled from the longer, and often more trying, days at home.
In the 41 days since I’ve been a SAHM I have been run ragged! Seriously, Hats off to all you ladies who have been at this for a while, especially to those who are wrangling more than one kiddo! In reviewing my first few weeks with the SAHM title, I’ve compiled a list of just a few differences between going to work and staying at home.
1. There are no weekends, or relaxing of any kind. EVER.
Perhaps this sounds a bit extreme, but when at work, I would always have a few moments throughout the day to peruse the web for the latest news and gossip. I’d drink my coffee in peace with only the occasional interruption of requests for assistance of some kind. Among the many perks of being good at your job is that as tasks get checked off, you can reward yourself with a few moments of fresh air and a walk to the deli for a smoothie. Lunch breaks offer an opportunity to run errands without a kid in tow, and best of all, at the end of a long week full of accomplished tasks you are rewarded by two glorious days off.
Now that I am home all day, I get two breaks. They are called morning nap and afternoon nap — one hour each (maybe 2 hours if I’m really lucky). I spend these naps frantically trying to shower, do laundry, pay bills, and clean up the horrendous mess that accumulated in the few short hours prior. My to-do lists seem to grow throughout the day rather than get smaller as the little typhoon of a one-year-old we call PJ stumbles around scattering her toys widely throughout the house and vehemently demanding my undivided attention. I rarely eat a full meal instead shoving whatever meal replacement bar we have on hand in my face while the baby is confined to her high-chair either painting her entire body with avocado or feeding it directly to the dog. Errands are not leisurely trips to target, but instead hurried races through Smart and Final while distracting PJ with goldfish crackers. Most of the time I do not know what day it is, so weekends are just the days that Ron and I remark about the amount of people there are outside.
2. The boss doesn’t speak English… And she yells at me constantly!
I have definitely worked with supervisors that had a clarity issue, but never quite like this. In the working world, questions and follow-ups usually solve any problems in determining the best course of action. However, In the world of infant and toddler parenthood asking questions of your tiny employer doesn’t often lead to a better understanding of what they want. PJ’s limited vocabulary doesn’t allow for her to calmly explain her needs unless what she wants is a hat, a doggie, or a banana. Luckily for us, often times she can be appeased with a banana!
My friends with older toddlers have told me that this communication problem gets worse before it gets better. Part of the “terrible twos” that everyone talks about can be explained by the fact that kids what they want to express but haven’t mastered exactly how to say it. Terrible two year olds are terribly frustrated. I will be adding one more item to my to-do list: Baby Sign Language Classes.
And the yelling! THE YELLING! Any Human Resources department would have a field day if they discovered a supervisor screaming at an employee the way my daughter does at me. It’s not always bad, sometimes she squeals loud enough to pierce an eardrum just because she really likes her lunch or because the dog licked her hand. All too often though her screams and tears are because I’m attempting to change her poopie diaper, or worse I took away the shredded granola bar wrapper that she found on the ground at the park. “MOM, YOU’RE FIRED.”
3. I get less sleep than ever.
I have always been an early riser, and when I was working I rarely slept in past 6am. I was diligent about my bed time as well, because I knew a good day at the office required a good night’s rest. These days though, I wake up when the baby does; at 6am on the dot, every darn day, but I definitely don’t go to sleep when she does — or even close.
Once the baby goes down, I finally have some me time. I can write a bit, sew a bit, catch up on emails, and often before I know it I’m staring at the screen of my laptop at 2 am. The funny thing is that I never got to write or sew at all when I was working. My need to be fresh in the morning definitely cut into my creative time. PJ doesn’t really care if I’m showered or even really awake yet when she’s getting her breakfast. All she cares is that I’m there. So here it is way past my bed time, and I’m just talking to the internet!
4. I’m getting super buff instead of super doughy.
The best thing we ever did for my post baby body was join the YMCA. Seriously, if you haven’t looked into your local club, check it out! As part of the family membership we get to drop PJ off at the child watch center for two hours a day while we work out. TWO HOURS OF ME TIME and the best part is that PJ loves it!
Working full-time at in an office is tough on your body. We are not meant to sit in chairs all day long, and I often times felt stiff and sluggish. I tried to work out when I could, but it was usually inconsistent. I was endlessly jealous of the men in my office who were able to go to the gym on their lunch break, shower, and return looking exactly like they did when they got into work. I’m not sure about the rest of you, but when I’m done working out I require a good shower; And in order to look decent enough to return to work post-shower I require an appointment with a blow dryer and my make-up kit. Basically the length of time it would take to repair the damage from a workout would be nearly an entire lunch hour, so a quick pop in to the on-site gym was never an option.
These days though I don’t have a dress code — or really any standards when it comes to my appearance. I can work up a damn good sweat, and my baby loves me just the same when I swoop her up from the Child Watch Center red-faced and smelly. These YMCA visits make me feel better about myself knowing that I have done good for my body, my kid has gotten playtime with other babes her age, and whether or not I am showered or have make up on I look better in my clothes than ever!
5. There is no money, but the rewards are huge.
In the days since I left job, my daughter started walking and said her first word; I was there to witness both of them.
We have drawn pictures, read books, sorted shapes, and done puzzles. I have held her hand as she walked up and down the front porch stairs a hundred times. We have watched butterflies and birds. We have fed ducks in the front yard. We have pet dogs, cats, and goats. We have built sandcastles on the beach. We have camped in Mexico. We have visited the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce Canyon. We have played in Pink Sand Dunes. I have seen her eyes light up everyday with wonder and epiphany! While the days are long and hard, they are speckled with tiny accomplishments and joy throughout.
Paychecks are great, but I have never felt more rich than I do at the end of everyday at home with our Persephone Jo.