We are still a few days out from the start of summer, but my summer break began last week. One of the perks of being an educator is that I get the summers off. In theory that is, because for 6 of my first 8 years teaching I spent the summers teaching summer school and working a part-time job. Last summer I was on maternity leave and enjoying getting to know my infant son. Now, a year later, that baby has transformed into an active toddler.
After being a working mother for the past 9 months, I am now a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM), or as I have renamed it for my circumstances, a Summer At Home Mom. This SAHM role is no joke! When I returned to work, I wrote a post about adjusting to life as a working mom. I figured it was only appropriate to write about my transition back.
As I have begun transition into the SAHM role, I quickly realized it is much different than the first time. Patrick is now active, opinionated, and needs entertained. Here are some things I’ve already learned in my first week to help make the most out of our summer together.
1. Get out of the house
If you spend your days at home, you and your little one will go stir crazy. I have used the site Meetup.com to find a couple of playgroups in my area with other kids Patrick’s age. They have organized outings and/or playdates everyday. This gives us a variety of options to choose from, plus we both have made new friends!
Getting out of the house doesn’t just have to be for playtime. It can be running errands to the store, or going to visit family members. Anything that gets you out, moving, and interacting with others will help to make you feel productive. If you are like us and don’t have air conditioning, finding places that do is an added bonus!
2. Take advantage of FREE
When you are looking to get out of the house, look for FREE options around you. There are so many out there!
- Library story times
- State parks
- Play areas in the mall
- Know anyone with a pool?
- Movies in the park
- Free concerts
- Check local blogs and websites for other free offerings in your area
3. Make the most out of naptime
Naptime. This is the golden hour (or longer if you are lucky) of motherhood. I sometimes get so giddy about naptime that I spend the entire time rubbing my hands in anticipation of what I can get done instead of getting something done. Sometimes I take a nap myself while Patrick is down (my favorite is when I actually get to snuggle up with him). Other times I knock off some items on my to-do list. Often I take advantage of this time to take a shower (keeping the monitor with me of course). Use this time in a way that is beneficial to you, and have your plan ready to put into action the moment his sweet little head hits the pillow.
4. Find YOU time
This stay at home parent gig is no joke! After running around after your little one (one ones) all day, on top of trying to keep up with feedings and clean-up, you are probably ready to pass out when your partner returns home. Ask him or her to take over, even if only for 15 minutes, to give you a moment to catch your breath, consume a meal, or hide out in the bathroom.
5. Meal planning…it’s not just for dinner
During the school year, I pretty much had to worry about having something quick for everyone to eat for breakfast and then dinner when we got home. Patrick at most of his meals at daycare. Now that we are home, I need to think about more than just dinner when I plan my meals and shopping trips. I have more time to prepare breakfast and need a good lunch, plus there are snacks…so much more food to think about! I have found Pinterest to be a great place to find great food ideas for toddlers, plus quick and easy dinner ideas.
Life looks very different now than it did while I was working. All the routines we had developed are now thrown out the window. We are starting to figure out our new daily flow to keep some sort of order to our house. One thing that helps with making sure the house doesn’t get buried under a pile of mess in the process has been the Fly Lady. We go in and out of following it, but having the basic structure there helps us stay on top of things.
A calender system is a must, especially as our calendar has filled up with playdates, outings, weddings and travel. We use Cozi (which is part of the Fly Lady system as well) and Google Calendar to help us stay on top of our busy schedule.
Looking for some fun things to do this summer with your little one? Check out my SAHM: Summer At Home Mom Pinterest board for some Pinspiration!
In the parenting world, there is so much judgement around working parents vs. stay at home parents, both moms and dads alike. I thought this post, A Letter from a Working Mother to a Stay-at-Home-Mother and Vice Versa, was amazing, and did a great job at pointing out the challenges of each.
Are you a working or stay at home parent? What is the biggest challenge for you?