When I found out I was pregnant, my first thought was, “welp times up! You need to create a game plan literally now for what you’re going to do about finding a long term, “big girl” job.” I had always had substitute teaching in the back of my mind so when it became clear that other avenues weren’t going to work out, I dove head on into that whole process. It took me nearly 3 months to get certified but when I did, I went full force into it. The plan was to do subbing until baby girl was born but at the same time, I would be applying to Graduate school programs to get my teaching certificate and a master’s degree at the same time. Then, after our little girl was born and my “self-paid” maternity leave was over (a term I made up myself), I would continue subbing and then start my classes beginning of May. I knew I would go into the program with a ton of experience because while I was subbing, I obtained a long-term subbing position at Irving Middle school for 3 weeks which basically gave me a peak into what it would actually be like to be teaching my own class. It was a great plan if I do say so myself, considering I didn’t have one really beforehand. We weren’t struggling financially with my serving job by any means, the problem was that in my mind if I was going to raise a child I needed to be more “responsible” and somehow that correlated to having a career. I’ve talked about before how I just had never found that passion in my work that made me want to create a career and while I really did enjoy teaching, I still didn’t really feel passionate about it. But I decided that I was going to throw that notion out of the window for now because I had committed to something much bigger than simply loving my job – I had committed to having a child. So that was the plan. I feel like everyone needs to just know this now – having a plan for what your life is going to look like when you have a child needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Things can change in the blink of an eye and the need for flexibility is truly imperative, because these little humans did not choose to come into this world and the rely solely on us to make sure they survive it. Therefore if you need to change something in your life, you change that thing in your life. Cut to January 8th, 2020, and my entire world changed.
I’m not going to really go into detail right now about Savannah’s birthing story because honestly, that week still holds a lot of weight on my heart. I want to take my time writing a post about it and when I’m ready, I’ll share it. But for now, let’s just say that my feelings on going back to work just completely changed. It’s something I, not to mention my whole family, for sure did not anticipate! I may not have had a career that I adored but I had always worked, most of the time doing 2 jobs at once and honestly really enjoying every all the memories they brought me. Did I have room for advancement with those jobs? No. but I still worked Monday- Friday, and usually Saturday mornings too. Suffice it to say, the money was pretty good! I had never thought about what it would be like to be a stay at home mom, not because I thought anything against, but because I had been working since I was 14 – so why would I stop now? But when I got home with savannah 2 days after her birth, I cried while telling Trevor that we need to figure out what we need to do so I can stay home with her. I truly am blessed with an amazing husband because without a beat, he was completely onboard. Keep in mind we had zero conversations about this the entire 9 months of my pregnancy so for him to be like, “Yes, I love this idea, let’s get to work figuring this out,” after we had just welcomed our FIRST new child into our lives, is honestly truly special.
This pandemic has absolutely changed things for us and most of the world. I am praying for those who are suffering from this isolation, whether it’s the loneliness from living by yourself, or the fear from living with someone without any kind of escape, I can’t pretend that I understand what that may feel like. My situation is one I am not taking for granted because I truly believe this will be the only time in both of our lives where we will be able to just be with Savannah. Which leads me to the main topic of this blog post! Being forced to stay home has had its pros and cons for me, but one of the best pros is that it’s basically introducing me into what it will be like to be a stay at home mom! I have a couple of really good friends who are stay at home moms and I haven’t asked them for advice yet, but I for sure plan on asking them now! I’m not going to create a list here exactly, just my ideas and thoughts on what I have figured out to work so far and where things could get (or already are…) potentially sticky!
- Sticking to a schedule. I already know from my life before Savannah that a schedule for the mornings work really well for me. If I mess that up, then basically my whole day is just a free for all. I had heard from people that having a schedule for your little one is imperative, but, and I’m not sure if I should be embarrassed by this or not, we haven’t exactly done that yet with her. It just seemed at times that she was creating her own schedule for us so we just kind of have been building off of that. We have been waking up in the mornings between 7:30am and 8:30am, I start the coffee, get Savy changed and then feed her in her room, then go get breakfast for myself. It seems pretty simple, but it feels so good each day we get that done! Also, if I’m going to be doing this blog every week, I absolutely need to be able to cut some time out each day for me to work on it! I usually try to do the things I want to do while she is sleeping, but her naps right now last about 30 minutes or so, so I can’t get a whole lot done in that time. Maybe I will just have to do 30 minutes twice a day? I don’t know, I’ll figure it out. But I also need to really work on a schedule from noon – 4:00pm. I don’t really have anything set in stone but I can only assume that as she gets older, the amount and variety of play time activities will increase.
- Find something to do other than watch TV. Ok so in the beginning of the quarantine I really hoped that watching TV so much was just the effects of just not being able to leave the house at all. Buuuut then I realized I had been on maternity leave since January and well, I’ve been watching tv the entire time. And movies. And Instagram TV, if you really count that. I do play with Savy A LOT and we make sure to keep moving and go outside to get some fresh air throughout the day, but I need to create a strict schedule on when *I’m* allowed to turn on the iPad or TV. I decided this not because I woke up one morning feeling like I need to get my act together and be productive, but rather because I’ve started to notice that Savannah watches whatever I’m watching. At first, I thought it was super cute because I didn’t think she was actually watching. But now I’m pretty dang positive she is, and something tells me that having your children watch tv at the ripe ol age of 3 ½ months just isn’t a good idea. I’m bringing back my podcasts (although I’ve retired the murder mystery ones because this mama just can’t hang with those thoughts in her head anymore), and that seems to be really helping! I also want to bring back reading. I used to read every day, all day, but college ruined me. Being forced to read book after book, dissecting every sentence, completely stripped the fun out of it for me and I just haven’t been able to get that back. But I’m going to try! There’s a couple of books I have in mind that sound super interesting that I have found from other bloggers, so I think I’ll start with those – maybe I’ll make a list of the best books later on? Who knows!
- Create a mommy support group. I have Trev here with me now, but I did start to notice that towards the end of my maternity leave I was getting a little lonely. And stir crazy. Having a support system is so important when you have a child, even if it’s just one person, and I am so lucky to say that I do have that! But I’m starting to learn that there’s a different support system that I may need that includes being able to see and talk to other moms. You see those movies where moms get together at the park and let their kids run around like little maniacs while they sit on the bench and gossip away and you probably think, that’s so incredibly cheesy and stereotypical, that never happens! Well I want that. I want that to happen! I want to be able to meet up at some random location with other moms so we can let our kids run around like little maniacs and we can gossip about whatever! I want to make that happen. I think it’s going to be pretty important for my mental health that I have a time in the week that I schedule to be around other human beings in the same situation. It honestly doesn’t even need to just be moms! Bring on the dads! Anyone and everyone are welcome, as long as they don’t mind talking incessantly about children. That is just an automatic requirement. Before Trev started working from home, I could just feel myself herding around him as soon as he walked into the door, chatting away about anything and everything that came across my mind that day and I could just see his eyes kind of go big in confusion. And then I’d get mad at him for something completely irrelevant and he’d be even more confused and all I could say is, “I’ve been home alone all day SO I DON’T KNOW.” The poor guy needs a break already, I can just tell.
So, I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll keep on saying it – I know I’ve just scraped the surface of what it means to be a mom, let alone a stay at home mom! I’m sure I’ll create a list even more elaborate by the end of the summer but for now, these are the things that come to mind when I think of any obstacles on this new journey. If there is anything that was a problem for you, or if you have any advice on all of these things, leave a comment below! I love hearing from people with actual experience because I feel those comments are just the most genuine!
Oh, and wish me luck!