Gillian asked in the comments section on a previous post: How are you finding being a SAHM overall? What do you guys do during the day?
And I guess the short answer is that I freakin’ love it.
Don’t get me wrong, I have moments when there is nothing more that I would like to do other than pack up my bag with a bag lunch and go to work and talk with adults who don’t need me to change their messy diapers and talk to them about how “we are peeling potatoes and this is a potato and isn’t it interesting how brown it is and doesn’t it feel interesting and one day you will love potatoes and you can eat them baked or mashed or BLAHBLAHBLAH”. Of course the minutiae and the monotony and the mundane and the repetitiveness of our day can get to me at times. I get frustrated when I know Kale is tired and yet he resists sleep because there are so many things to See! and Do! and Experience! and Cram in My Cakehole!
I get frustrated at how messy the house is (that’s the control freak talking) and a few times I have chased Ross, Kale and Mooki out of the house so I could throw on some music and clean like a fiend. I feel like I have no time whatsoever to myself (although here I am now typing away in the MIDDLE OF THE DAY so you know that’s not totally true) and I admit I clock watch to a degree until Ross is due home and when Ross isn’t here at exactly the time I am expecting him I get snarky and crabby to him and I can’t stop myself because there are times when I am literally aching to get ten minutes to myself when I don’t need to answer the call of the Very Small Tyrant.
But the joy! Oh. My. God. Kale is so beautiful and sweet and loving. He grins and flirts and chatters to me and I feel myself melting. I get to stop and think about how amazing our world is because I am experiencing it all over again with Kale. When he hears a noise he’s never heard before his little eyebrows go up and he opens his ginormous anime eyes and you can see him processing that new noise and the next time he hears it, you can see the flicker of recognition. It amazes me. He amazes me – his development and growth blows my mind and every time we do something new and I think “Uh-oh, this is going to be too much for him” he blows me away with how easily he just takes to things.
When he was very little, I watched a lot of TV while he kicked his legs and waved his arms spastically on the couch because I didn’t know what else to do with him. When we got the bouncy chair, I started bringing him along on chores. I had to empty the dishwasher? He came along. Suddenly the TV was on only in the background so I could listen to adult voices. Then it faded, and now I rarely turn it on during the day. Today I watched about 10 minutes of the noon news but it bored me so I shut it off and sat down at the computer to send an email to someone I had been meaning to talk to.
Kale and I dance to the oldies a lot during the day, spinning and hugging on the living room rug and I sing to him in my awful tone deaf voice and he makes me feel like I can really sing. We go outside to the patio and look at things – plants, the sky, Mooki and I put him up to flowers to let him smell them. I do things like empty the dishwasher, flat iron my hair, fold laundry, bake cookies and he watches and studies me as I explain what I am doing. We talk, Kale and I, about what we’ve seen and what we’ve done.
We go for a walk every afternoon and at first these walks were like narcolepsy to him and he slept the entire time. Now he cranes his neck to see things and watch from the comfort of the carrier while he licks and sucks on the strap of the carrier. I have started facing him outward so he can see things as they come at us instead of burrowing his face against me. I’ve started walking farther and farther and making up reasons to go for a walk. Like, I have four library books and I take four days to return them just so that for four days I can walk to the library. (Walking to the library is free, walking to Starbucks is not and is fattening and needs to remain a treat and not a daily ritual.) Today we walked to the market on the other side of town to get sour cream and tomatoes. Then we came home and got Mooki and walked her.
I’ve only recently realized that Kale needs to sleep more than I was letting him. Or perhaps he just needs to sleep more NOW that he is taking in all these new and exciting things, I’m not 100% positive. So our normal day starts at 6:30 with a feeding and Ross kisses us goodbye and Kale and I cuddle together in bed and we often fall back asleep till 8 or 8:30 or so and sometimes we just hang out burrowed in the covers. Even though we are transitioning Kale to his own bed (he sleeps in the bassinet beside us now and will eventually sleep in his own room and eventually, the crib), in the mornings I can’t resist bringing him to bed with us. Sometimes, oftentimes, he’s there from the wee hours when he was fed. We usually get up and Kale gets changed and dressed into “day wear” (he has a ridiculous amount of clothes and I intend for him to wear everything at least once) and then he watches while I do my morning routine of tooth brushing and face washing and deodorant applying and by then its often food time again. We usually do some sort of chore at this point – fold laundry is a good one – and when I see Kale yawning and looking away I know he has had enough so we go and have some quiet time together and he often falls asleep with a bit of coaxing from me.
He will often sleep the rest of the morning at this point, and then awake when his belly tells him he needs to be fed, and so I often take this time to check my email, write blog posts, research things on the internet, or chat with any friends who happen to be online. Kale eats and then we hang out and often will play or talk or dance or just hang out together on the bed or the couch. I try and introduce him to things at this point in his day – he’s fed and awake and in the mood so he might meet a stuffed elephant for the first time or perhaps I put something cold or soft into his hand and tell him what I am doing.
After another nap, usually a shorter one, we go for our walk to wherever we are going and then when we get home, he usually has the rest of his nap. I tried getting him to nap straight through and then go for a walk but he often wakes up miserable so this works better to do it as a two parter.
I try and get something going for dinner at this point, although, if Kale is getting owly then dinner waits. Thankfully, Ross is a good cook so as long as something has been taken out, Ross will make it when he gets home. Ross usually comes home around this point and he is excited to see Kale so I get to pass him off and either run an errand with the car by myself (last night I went to the craft store and bought some stickers of crows) or I have a long shower.
Kale has started having “the witching hour” every night around 7 or 7:30 or so, and its because of this that I think I haven’t been encouraging enough sleep during the day. We’ve been experimenting this past few days with more “induced” naps and it seems to be making the witching hour more like the witching 15 minutes. He is inconsolable for the witching hour – so obviously tired and spun but unable to stop wailing to unwind and sleep. He will eventually drop off, though, with either Ross or myself soothing for however long it takes. A few people have referred to Kale’s witching hour as colic, and I refuse to do so because it’s not colic because it rarely lasts for more than a half hour and it doesn’t happen every night. I think its just a build up of the day and seriously? It’s not that bad. The magic bullet when the witching hour occurs is to nurse and last night when the witching hour wasn’t showing any signs of abating, I fed him and he confort sucked for the first time in weeks.
Kale often drops to sleep and Ross and I have dinner together and after some TV watching (the other night we rented movies and got to watch one of them ALL THE WAY THROUGH) we go to bed and wake Kale for his last feeding before night.
He sleeps now with a bit of a pattern. He will go 4 hours, 4 hours, and then 2. Or perhaps 4 hours, 2 hours, then 4 hours. Sometimes its 3 instead of 4 and other times its 3-3-3. Either way, he sleeps well enough that I feel lucky.
I love being a Mom, I feel so happy and peaceful these days. Of course there are moments when I am ready to break things and there are teeth marks in the edge of Kale’s pacifier from ME gritting my teeth as I carry him from room to room, but for the most part every single day gets better and better and while I am not yet wishing for these new baby days to hurry up I can’t wait to experience things with Kale and I think about things like the first time it snows (hopefully it snows this year) or showing him an icicle or seeing Christmas lights on a tree and even further ahead – spring time and cherry blossoms and everything else.
So really, being a Stay At Home Mom is everything I expected, a lot of things I didn’t expect and I don’t think I could ask for much more. I finally feel like I can check another thing off my Life’s Goals list.