Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Lessons from the Early Weeks at Home Alone

This is my third week of being an at home mother with children who are no longer "at home" all day. I'm starting to settle into a routine, but I still find I'm stumbling along this unknown path.

I thought I would accomplish most of "to do list" in the first month. Seriously. I thought that every closet would be clean, the kitchen and family room would be painted and I would have started back scrapbooking. In my mind, I'd have like 6 hours a day to do it "all" and still have time for me.

Reality, however, says my "to do" list is still long. My goals and ambitions while admirable are not realistic. Here are a few of the lessons I've learned thus far:
  1. Getting up every day at 5:30 so I'll have a forty five minutes "alone" before the big kids get up means that I'm ready for a nap every day at 3:00 which is right when the big kids are getting home.
  2. The problem with a clean house (let me tell you it's been a decade since it's been this clean) is that I expect it to look this way all the time. That's pressure for me and the kids.
  3. There have been days when the only person I talk to is myself. If I'm spending the whole day at home doing projects and the phone doesn't ring it's just me for six hours. No silly laughter, no requests for mom, no idle chatter about life. It can be very quiet.
  4. I didn't realize how much fun I was having until it was over. I never realized how fun it was to sit at the lunch counter with a little person and get their perspective on life. Miss A over these last few years has been a wonderful companion. I have not laughed as much these last few weeks without her smiling face around here as much.
  5. The hours I used to think of as the "Bewitching Hours" from 3:00 to dinnertime when I was tired and the kids were tired and cranky have become precious. We instituted a new rule; no electronics until after dinner unless it's for homework. The big kids are really struggling with this one, but it's been a huge blessing to have their undivided attention. We've done crafts, sat in the same room and read books, had a snacktime that did not involve fights over the TV remote.
  6. Carving out "me time" everyday is important. I've started going to an exercise class in the mornings and while my muscles ache, it feels good. Reading a book sitting on the couch is so much better than reading while waiting in the carpool line. I've read almost 7 books in the past three weeks! (I'll give you my summer reading list later)
  7. Having lunch out does not always involve BK or chicken nuggets. My mom and I had lunch last week and went shopping; just us. I bet it's been 13 years since we've sat in a real restaurant and not had to ask for a children's menu. I had lunch with a friend and I didn't have to think about what Miss A would eat.
I'm learning more each day about how I want to structure this "time" in my life. It's a process and I'm not gonna rush into anything big or make any huge changes in how I've been doing life for the past decade.

For now, I've got a closet to clean and some wallpaper to remove before I take a short rest at 2:30 and crack open my book and drink some ice tea waiting for the bus to pull up around 3:00.


JMom said...

Jill- I had to come over and read your post after I saw your comment. Can I just say ditto? Wow! I really identified with everything you said. It is so comforting to know I am not the only one feeling this way!

Bill and Jenn said...

I, too, came over from Lots of Scotts after reading your comment. And I'm so glad I did!! Being at home with 3 little ones myself, I needed the fresh perspective about a clean house and the ever-longed-for-but-never-achieved "quiet." :)

I've heard variations of it a hundred times, but for some reason, tonight, this just jumped off the page:
"I didn't realize how much fun I was having until it was over".

Thanks for your perspective! Off to ENJOY the bedtime ritual with my three precious gifts. :)