I have completed my first official week as a stay-at-home mom. I’ve been home with Teddy for three months now, but up until one week ago, I was on unpaid personal leave.
And up until three weeks ago, I was telling everyone I’d be going back.
I never pictured myself as a SAHM. I always assumed I’d be bored. I’m not the type of person who has so many hobbies, she could easily keep herself busy at home full time–even without children. I have friends like that–not that actually do stay home full time without children, but who are always embarking on interesting projects and lamenting the time their jobs require. Not me. I need structure. I need my work handed to me. I need work, period.
Or, at least I thought I did. And then we got Teddy. And suddenly I found myself immersed in motherhood. And the wife of a guy who’s suddenly immersed in fatherhood. We had so much fun that first month, plunging head-first into the ocean of parenthood. And then the holidays came, and I was crazy busy playing with my new son and visiting family and showing him off and doing all the stuff you do at the holidays. And then January came. And I thought, now is when it’ll get boring.
But it didn’t. The housekeeping stuff I always figured I’d think was mundane was actually really satisfying. (Who knew I’d enjoy tidying up every day?) And I have several SAHM friends. In fact, we have a weekly lunch date. And of course Teddy is a lot of fun, especially since he hit 3 months. He’s learning new things all the time.
Even with all that, up until three weeks before I was due back, I still thought I’d return to work. So I started looking into child care options (yeah, started–first sign I clearly wasn’t going back; you don’t start looking for child care three weeks in advance–you start three months in advance). I quickly dismissed daycare options (even if I wanted them, DC waitlists are crazy–I would’ve needed to have been planning three years in advance) and turned to nanny shares. They seemed like a great idea, and I talked to a couple friends who were happy with theirs, but the whole process of winnowing down potential caretakers based on profiles and interviewing the most appealing ones was overwhelming.
And there was one other detail. I didn’t love my job. I enjoyed working with my colleagues, and my assignments–for the most part–were enjoyable, but there weren’t enough of them. I had a lot of downtime, which I found frustrating. Did I really want to put Teddy–a baby we’d worked so hard to get–in someone else’s care for eight hours a day so I could return to a job that wasn’t all that satisfying? Especially when taking care of Teddy really is satisfying?
In the end, I decided I couldn’t. After sharing with Mike what I was thinking, we decided there was no point in further exploring nanny shares. And I needed to call my boss and give my two weeks.
So now I’m a SAHM. Considering I haven’t fully wrapped my head around the fact that I’m even a mom (I still have moments, changing Teddy, feeding him, that I just stare at him in wonder that he’s here, that he’s mine), getting used to SAHMhood is going to take some time. It’s a hat I never imagined myself wearing. But I’m excited to say that it seems to fit rather well.