Confession: I Don’t Care That I’m Not a “Great” Part-time Stay-at-home-mom

My oldest kid will be 20 in January 2017 and my youngest turns 3 on December 23. Yes, I waited a long time to have another child, hoping that I could be a stay-at-home-mom the second time around. Well, that didn’t happen exactly.

I’ve been home with my little one more than I’ve worked during her brief life. For most of the time I’ve had 1–3 days a week at home with her (not including weekends). The other time was spent working, job searching, volunteering, finishing graduate school, and just figuring out what the heck to do with my life. But those supposed-to-be magical days at home, well….

I had this vision of waking up to the day I’d have with Claire with a great plan. We’d have a big ole built-in cabinet filled with materials for all sorts of crafts. We’d make new friends by going around the city to lots of parks, libraries, and other “programs” for infants and toddlers and have standing play dates every week. She’d be bilingual and in ballet by now.

Then, I hoped for a plan. I’d look on the internet and find a craft to do with the construction paper, glue, and glitter that fills our one bin of arts and crafts materials. I’d know that we could go to story hour in the suburbs on Thursdays, spend time at the playground, and have pizza for lunch every week. We’d meet her dad for lunch downtown every other week or so.

More often than not I started those days without a plan. It’s a Monday. Do any of the 3 libraries near me have story hour today? Let’s take a trip to Michael’s to buy some popsicle sticks for a crafty project. I’m not up for the playground, so let’s go buy some flowers and put them in the yard. I thought all my professional work with planning and strategy would so easily transition into life at home with a kid. Hasn’t happened.

With job prospects on the horizon, I might only have another month or two at home. Will anything change? Will I be the same? Will Claire continue to watch too much TV?

I don’t know. What I do know is that while I might not have been the most creative and kid-centric part-time SAHM, we have had some wins:

  1. From all the times we painted together, Claire’s bedroom wall is now a gallery of her own creations.
  2. I managed to get a library card again because we actually went to the library a bunch and borrowed books.
  3. A couple of months ago I found another SAHM to hangout with and we have a plan to hang on Fridays (we’ve done it once so far, but next Wednesday, we are on!).
  4. Claire recognizes a bunch of letters (she’s gotten lots of help both at home and from her Yaya and cousins on the days she’s not home).
  5. Claire can sing lots of Daniel Tiger songs and has better emotional intelligence than some grown ups I know.
  6. I swear Claire is the most mannerable child I’ve ever met. She’s got great outside behavior.
  7. Claire LOVES meetings!! She is pretty well behaved during them and is used to having them at home. I’ve worked off and on, including having my amazing co-workers come to my house for 2–3 hour work sessions.
  8. Claire loves a good book and knows a lot of words (just shy of genius level is my guess). Again, not totally my doing, but we read a lot and have a pretty sweet home kids library courtesy of passed on books from her big cousins (growing and growing).
  9. Claire loves museums of the please touch (children’s) and please don’t touch (art) variety.
  10. That Claire can dig some holes and bury some pansy roots or squash seeds. She spends a good deal of time gardening at home and with Yaya.

So, as soon as I get finished being sick (I’ve been sick off and on since the week before Thanksgiving, next week is Christmas), I’m gonna make a plan to just enjoy whatever time I have left at home with Claire. And boop-boop to stressing out over not being and doing enough. We’re doing just fine.

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