Now overall it's still great for us. It works. It's preferable for our situation. Although I still can't help but overtly justify myself to other people, I no longer rehash the reasons why I'm doing this as justification to myself. I know this is where I should be right now.
This isn't a post about why I stay at home. I need to be in a far more literary elegant place to write that post. Suffice to say we're happy with this choice for our family for now.
In this new light what do I see? I see that it's all about reaping what you sow. You get out of this gig what you put in. It's ridiculously easy to allow a lack of sleep to keep you in the house and demotivate you against housework, making plans and interacting with baby. A little demotivation can seamlessly spiral to a lot of demotivation. The metamorphosis from dynamic, glowing domestic goddess and engaged mother to bored, couch potato slob and lazy parent can creep up on you.
Basically if you feel good it's great, you're great. If you feel rested, positive and inspired you get up, make plans, play hard, cook, clean, socialise, go outside, get creative, teach... If you don't; you don't, you're not.
The thing is we are all going to have a tired day, poorly day, emotional day or a day where everything out of our control goes wrong. The trick is stopping a spiral when we lose our rhythm. Part of that is about not punishing myself too hard for losing that rhythm. Yes she's the most important thing in the world to me, but it's unlikely she'll become a serial killer simply because her meals were samey and I zoned out on Pintrest all day.
So I put together some of my own personal survival tips for staying at home...
1) Make friends. Go out and hunt friends down. There's nothing wrong with you if friends haven't fallen in your lap since school, making friends is simply hard! Use services (NCT, LLL, Sure Start Centres). Attend coffee mornings. Take baby/toddle/kid and parent classes, arrive with an open mind and you struggle to think of things to say to people ask them questions about their children. There isn't a person alive who doesn't like talking about their offspring.
2) Make plans. Don't allow the week to just happen to you. Plan. Send out invites on a Sunday. Get a calendar, write things in and do them.
3) Keep a list of things to do. There are lots of things to do, you just can't think of them right now. Make a list and keep it close by, add to it whenever you see something worth doing.
4) "There is no bad weather, only the wrong clothes" Apparently it's a Swedish proverb. Buy wellies and a kag-in-a-bag and live by it.
5) Know that everyone is creative; you. me, kids, babies, even DADDIES! Arts and crafts will make you happy, give you stuff to do and save you money. Get on Pintrest and get ideas. (I'm formulating a board of activities to get myself started... have a look!)
6) Set yourself realistic, achievable to dos within your own personal parenting goals. I want Euna to be a good eater, so I need her to try new foods. Initially I killed myself getting home hours before dinner time to cook, spent a fortune on ingredients we couldn't get through and stressed out constantly about running out of meal ideas. Now I simply make sure she tries one new food a week. There are 52 weeks a year. That's a lot of food.
7) Get dressed every day. In real clothes. Not jogging bottoms. Be ready to pop out and you will.
8) Make your home a place you want to be. You will be there a lot. Declutter when you can.
9) Record your time at home. Take pictures. Mask scrapbooks. Craft keepsakes. I've never met an older Mummy yet who doesn't recall their babies baby days fondly. I really believe the snot, sleepless nights, sticky finger marks, sick, tantrums and toy clutter will all fade in my memory and I want to hang on to hang on to as much of these precious baby days as possible.
10) Develop good eating habits. This is on my to do. There's only so much magic breastfeeding can perform and I plateaued months ago.
11) Remember he/she/they love you. They're not out to get you. They don't want to wind you up. They love you dearly and even if it feels like you're taken for granted it is simply because you give and do so effortlessly. Make this your mantra. Try to limit the amount of times you plea with a screaming infant "WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO MEEEEE??!!??"
12) The new mummy friends you got up at number 1 are not for you to compare yourself to. You would not suit being that kind of Mum. You're supposed to be your own kind of Mum. Learn from your friends, get ideas, challenge yourself with them but don't compare. Embrace difference in parenting styles.
And now... Some of my own advice at work... Getting out for her first swing!
This one's going on a wall in the new house. Something is truly wrong in the world the day I can't smile at this picture... :)