#WorkingMom to #SAHM 04-01-14

working sahm collage

The number one question I get lately is, “How’s it going being at home with the kids now?” The short answer? Awesome. Yes, we’re in transition, but overall it’s been a really good move for our family. I’ve been home two months after returning briefly to work following maternity leave with Baby #2. Honestly, I was nervous. Change is hard. I was terrified that we would be bored and that I would get lazy. Bored? Ha! No. We’ve had plenty to do but, that’s not by mistake. I knew we needed to have a plan. These are the things we did to ease the transition from working mom to stay-at-home mom.

1. Buffer Time- My last day of work was January 31. Our daughter’s daycare had a policy where they needed a 30 day notice of you leaving. We got our original deposit back from when I registered Charlotte at the school three years ago as an infant. I could apply that to my last month, so it was half the price. That was nice. So Charlotte was at daycare until the end of February.

It was one more month with Henry to get our act together. He was only 2.5-3 months old. It was kind of an extended maternity leave. He was really not sleeping much at night then, so this was key for us. Charlotte had a month of us telling her that “mommy was staying home and she would be going to a new school.” This information sunk in and it was not a shock to her. Word got out among the teachers and parents at daycare. My husband and I showed excitement about staying home with mommy and going to a new school, so Charlotte was excited.

The buffer month helped us figure out things financially as well. Even though I’m not the main breadwinner in our house, my income did contribute substantially. We had to make adjustments.

2. Mom Support- Since I was a bit apprehensive of the change, I contacted Erin who’s older son used to go to my daughter’s school. She started staying home after her daughter was born.  She is the same age as Charlotte. Immediately Erin let me know there was a spot available at her part-time two-day a week preschool. Boom! I’ll take it. Erin was my angel, ya’ll! She scheduled a play date with us and another family who has a son in Charlotte’s new class. She knew two kids going into her new school. Erin had been where I was, so she was able to give an honest answer to “Was it a good decision to leave work?” (The answer was “yes.”) She could tell me about transitioning from full-time to part-time care. She gave me the heads-up on the kids playing together after school. She introduced me to other moms. I liked the parents in Charlotte’s daycare class, so I really wanted to get to know these moms too.

3. Scheduled Activities- Yes, I’m staying home now so that I can spend more time with my children. Yes, we all appreciate the more enjoyable pace and not having the extreme stress of getting the entire family out the door in the morning before work. But, I knew my kid who had spent 8 to 10 hours a day in full-time daycare since she was 3 months old would need something to do.

The first day Charlotte was home, we started gymnastics class. Her two-day a week preschool started the next day. On the non-school days I tried to plan something fun like going to the library for story time. Her preschool is not as academically rigorous as her daycare was. That’s not a huge deal. I think they all catch up with each other by elementary school but, I’m not kidding you when I tell you that her 3-year-old class at daycare was learning things I learned in first grade. I try to do little things each day to continue Spanish, counting and letters.

Even our best laid plans fell through with recent snow days or someone getting sick. Like being a working mom, you just gotta go with it and hope for the best some times.

4. Ties To The Working World- I am fortunate to be able to do some contract work with my company. I was terrified of a resume gap. I was out of the house and in the office two days this month. I did other prep work from home. I’ve popped into the office with Henry in tow a couple times for a little bit. It’s been great to work some. I loved the two days, but was glad to get home to my little ones.

5. Exercise- I signed up for one of the stroller work-out classes I marveled at when I was working. What were these classes? What did they do in them? I mentioned before that I would be out at a client lunch, or eating with coworkers and I would see these moms with their strollers, exercising with their babies and my heart would ache. So, I had to give Stroller Strides a shot.

I can only do it when Charlotte is at preschool because I don’t have a double jogging stroller and I don’t have $600 burning a hole in my diaper bag. I took her to one of the indoor classes and she sat quietly and played on the floor of the gym. She was very good, but apparently this was a huge faux pas. It’s a liability to have them out of the stroller, even if it’s inside. Oops.

It’s awesome, though. It’s kicking me into shape. It’s forcing me not to rest on my nursing laurels, assuming that the breastfeeding calorie burn will take care of the baby weight. It won’t. I have to jog and do sprints and these things called burpees. Ugh! I’d rather eat ice cream and take a nap, but I really feel so much better working out.

Overall- So this has been good. I spoke with another mother who will be leaving her job soon and she said she’s not planning anything. They are just relaxing for awhile. I totally get that too. I feel like I got that time off during maternity leave, so I was ready for some in-home structure.

I don’t think this is really advice, it’s just what worked for us. So, no matter your hashtag, #WorkingMom or #SAHM, I’m interested to hear from you. What works? What doesn’t?

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7 Responses to “#WorkingMom to #SAHM 04-01-14”

  1. Wendy says:

    YES TO ALL OF THAT. taking care of two children is a little more stressful than I imagined but I love it. I guess you had the benefit of already knowing what that was like since you did go back to work for a bit before you decided to stay home. I recently joined the YMCA and that has been nice to to work out and also drop the kids off at child care :)

  2. Hilary says:

    I am a working mom and at times it has been really hard. Really hard! However, I am lucky enough to have a career where I have time off with my kids. I can’t imagine being one of those moms that although it is Spring Break, I still have to send kids to school daycare. That makes me sad as I have FOND, FOND memories of Spring Break growing up and I want to give the same to my kids. Besides, I am firm believer that these “breaks” makes us stronger and a better family. No matter what we do, or don’t do. Life is short, and family is precious. I have built my own little family, that I worship and will make sure every single day is perfect (or as perfect as I can make it) for them! They (my kids) deserve nothing less than that!

  3. Katie says:

    Hey! Disregard the new website for now. It’s not ready for public consumption. And who knows where the Hell mom-de-plume is these days. Anyway, my maternity leaves were always 6 months long and I’m out summers and school breaks with my children, so I feel like I get both the SAH and working experience all in one. For me, my days at home were cut into two phases: Before Afternoon Nap and After Afternoon Nap. Those naps were more for the kids who had dropped the awkward morning nap span for the kids who are between 3 months and a year. Anyway, I always took us all out in the morning. John or Kat could morning nap in the stroller or car in the morning and the older non-morning napper(s) could play. There’s lots of fun and free things to do in our area. Go to http://www.carolinaparent.com and you’ll find some good free stuff. I often would pack sandwiches and lunch and we’d eat lunch at a park or in a food court and then I’d load everyone in the car to go home for afternoon nap. My kids transfer great from car to bed, so they’d go to sleep for their afternoon naps in the car ride home, I’d transfer them to their beds, then I’d have the next hour or two to myself, when, quite honestly, I also usually nap. After the afternoon nap, we’d mess around the house and yard and I’d cook dinner for when Bill got home. Very routine, but it worked for me. Glad you’re enjoying staying at home!

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