Staying Home

I realized today that it’s almost been a month since my last day at work. At almost a month in, I figured it was about time for an update. I mentioned in a previous post that Annabel and I both have been going through some growing pains with this change. Well, we still have our tough moments, but I think we’re finally getting the swing of things.

See here’s the thing. When I decided to stay home and pull Annabel out of daycare, I felt tremendous pressure to be this amazing, perfect mom and homemaker. The pressure was probably mainly from myself, but I also wanted to prove to others that I wasn’t making a mistake. My biggest fear in life is doing something that would have a negative impact on Annabel. And so I was afraid that if I didn’t have a well-planned out schedule, meal plan, and clean house at all hours of the day, I’d be failing at my new “job.” If we didn’t leave the house one day, I’d feel guilt that I wasn’t giving Annabel everything she needed. If I turned on the television to entertain Annabel because I was at my wits end and needed to cook dinner, I felt like the worst mom ever. If we didn’t read enough or spend enough time outside on any given day….you guessed it. More guilt.

But then I realized that most of the pressure was coming from myself, and I needed to let go a little bit. I have this idea in my mind of what the “perfect” stay at home mom does, and I need to let go of that idea or I will only torture myself (and probably Annabel).

So last week I changed my attitude a bit. I decided that if our “schedule” said that we needed to be at the library for story time, but Annabel wouldn’t get dressed and was begging me to read stories, we’d just skip it. Story time at home is just as good. If I needed to do laundry or vacuum or cook or whatever, but Annabel needed me to be next to her, reading stories instead, I could postpone my chore. And the house would be fine. And I would be fine. And most importantly, Annabel would be fine. One day last week I resolved not to do much of anything in terms of household chores and just stay in the moment with Annabel. It proved to be one of our best days (so far). And the earth didn’t stop spinning, surprisingly.

I’m slowly learning that our best days are the days when I have no real agenda. When I have my mind made up that I need to do a million different things, I’m usually disappointed and beyond stressed out. That’s not to say I’m abandoning all of my responsibilities. Carpets are still being vacuumed, cats are still being fed, clothes are still being washed, and dishes are still being cleaned. But I’m trying not to be so rigid about it. There can be flexibility, and if it requires shifting our day around, that’s okay.

This is hard for me.

But I’m trying. And I think I’m getting better. I’m feeling less stressed and there have been fewer tantrums from Annabel now that I’m working less off of my own agenda and more on hers. After all, this change was about her. Making a better life for her by decreasing the stress in our house. The first two weeks felt like a major increase in stress, so I had to take a step back to reevaluate.

I think we’re finally on the right track now.

And that makes us both pretty happy!