A lot of people told me that staying at home would be a huge adjustment and I could see why it would be for many people. Many first time moms decide to stay at home after the birth of a baby and getting adjusted to a newborn is definitely huge. I can remember my two months of maternity leave after Evelyn was born. I was in a constant state of shock/panic/exhaustion. Learning how to read a baby’s cues and establish a routine is hard work. Add breastfeeding to that and there is very little time left in the day to shower, eat, sleep and otherwise take care of the basic needs that keep us all feeling human.
Since all of that is behind me, transitioning into being at home has been pretty smooth for me, but I have had to adjust in other ways. I’ve probably been a bit like a kid on summer break. You know, no more work, right? Woo Hoo! I can stay up late and watch back to back episodes of Dexter while mindlessly scrolling away on Pinterest and Facebook. Before I know it, it’s after midnight and I know I’ll regret this tomorrow afternoon when I am fighting Evelyn to take a nap and I end up passed out on the floor next to her bed while she’s grabbing my face and whispering in my ear “Are you OK, Mommy?”
Time to get serious…
Establishing a routine is something that I haven’t really accomplished yet. I chose summertime to leave work for a few reasons, primarily so that I could enjoy the season and all it’s activities with my daughter. So, we’ve really been on the go since I have been home. We’ve had guests come and go, a family staycation, and we’ve gone to visit family ourselves. Needless to say, that hasn’t left much time for “normalcy” in our world and it’s something that I will be striving for in the next 30 days. I know that Evelyn needs the routine and I definitely need a stretch of “normal” days so that I can really work at potty training with her. I’d also like to develop a regular blogging routine, since I’ve got a pile of half and unwritten posts, a guest post, and a 50 Things book that I am working to finish.
One of the things I worried about most before I left my job was that Evelyn would miss school. She’s 2 and a half, after all, and had been attending daycare for almost a year. I was afraid that she would miss her friends and teachers and that maybe I was being a tad selfish for pulling her out of that social environment to trap her like a hermit at home with me. After about the second week, I was feeling super-smug and proud of myself that she had not once mentioned school. This wouldn’t be so bad after all. Maybe she didn’t really miss school at all and I was just being silly to worry about it. Then the harsh reality hit me one afternoon when we were driving home from an outing. Her daddy and I had taken her to the new Children’s Garden that had just opened at Penn State. It was awesome. She got to play in water and rocks and sand, run through a tunnel in a big cave, bang on some musical chimes and climb on a happy caterpillar.
There was a group of daycare children there with their teachers and she was eager to join the group and run and laugh with the other kids. At one point, when the teachers were trying to round up the children to move to a different area, she wanted to go with them and was upset when she couldn’t hold onto one of the rings attached to a rope which is designed to keep them all together. On the way home, I asked her, “Did you like the garden? What was your favorite part?” Her response…. “The KIDS!” The doubts started to creep in again as I realized that even though she might not verbalize it, she did miss school and her friends there and playing with other kids. Why wouldn’t she? So, I know I need to make sure she gets out of the house and has a chance to play with other kids.
I also haven’t really had a chance to feel the full effects of the financial consequences of my actions. I have still been getting paychecks and a payout for the vacation time I had accrued, so it’s hard to gauge just how broke we really are. To be continued in August…
Probably the biggest setback I have had was a severe case of sciatica that set in just about the time I was leaving work. I have been living on ibuprofen for the past month and visited the doctor last week. I’ll be doing lots of stretching and core-strengthening exercises, icing my back a few times a day, and I got a script for physical therapy. If you’ve ever had this kind of pain, I’m sure you can attest to the fact that it’s AWFUL and debilitating, especially when you’re trying to run after a little one who requires being hoisted onto one’s hip multiple times a day.
I guess I could sum this all up by saying that I don’t think it has completely sunk in that I left my job and I definitely haven’t exactly figured out how this new role is going to play out for me. My house is not suddenly sparkling and I haven’t put on makeup for weeks. But I can tell you…I am having a BLAST with my daughter. It’s so amazing to be able to be with her and see and hear all the funny things she says and does. Sure, there have been frustrating moments and I am sure that it won’t always be fun, but for now, I am loving every second of it.