Well, I am in the middle of Week 2 as a stay-at-home mom.
Growing up, I always said I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but since Ian was born, I never wanted to leave my job. It might have been the nature of the work I was doing: if I loved it any less or if it felt any less significant, I’m not sure I would have found it worth the sacrifice of time with Ian. And besides living so far from our friends and family, leaving my job was by far the hardest part of moving away from Orlando.
I have been nervous about this transition to staying at home. I’ve worried that I would be bored or run out of ideas of things to do with Ian. I worried that without a job title and a long to-do list, I would feel a little lost. At different points over the past week, I have been bored at times, and I have run out of ideas. And it’s true that I have felt a little bit lost.
Last week started out rough. Of the three of us, Ian has had the hardest time adjusting to our new surroundings. Monday and Tuesday were full of meltdowns, temper tantrums, weird naps, and angry mealtimes. But by Wednesday or Thursday, we were in a better place. The truth is, this is a FUN age: every day, Ian says new words and tries new things, and I’m grateful to be with him while that unfolds. We just pepper that with many time outs and lots of distractions. (Seriously, he’s so naughty!)
Along the way, I’m learning a few things.
1. No matter how many times I think I’ve learned the lesson, I still put my identity in my career and job title. It is downright hard to live as though my value is inherent, rather than earned by doing and striving and achieving.
2. With a toddler, you can read books, drive cars, build with play-doh, have a snack, color, play instruments, have a dance party, go for a walk, and all of that takes up approximately 13 minutes. Ian’s attention span is about 2.7 seconds.
3. Not that I could (or will) expect to feel settled after only 3 weeks in a new place, but I’m also reminding myself that “settled” is a relative term. I’m tempted to put things off, waiting until we’re “settled,” but I know that’s an elusive deadline. It’s not something we’ll declare one day: “As of today, we are settled!” So, my new internal mantra has become, “Nope, today is the day!” I’m not waiting to have consistent quiet times until we’re settled, and I’m not waiting to set goals until we’re settled, and I’m not waiting to go on adventures until we’re settled. Rather, I’m realizing that doing those things well is HOW we’ll get settled.
4. Nap time is a gift from Jesus, but it’s easy to squander, and I hate realizing that Ian is stirring and I haven’t done anything except aimlessly scroll through Pinterest and check Facebook a million times. I also have very strict rules with myself about what I will and won’t do during nap time. Mainly, I don’t do chores during nap time. Chores can be done when Ian is awake or split up between Evan and I on the weekend. I want to use nap time to do things I love–things that are fun or life-giving or sometimes get forgotten. I made myself a fun little reminder graphic.
Here’s to making the best of every moment, “settled” or not.