It has been a year, you guys. A year since I decided to stay home with my girls and launch a business. While that plan wasn’t yet fully realized, I was meeting with an attorney to form the LLC, planning a book launch and finding the courage I needed to have a hard conversation with my boss, my husband and I had made the decision. Wow, what a year!
Here are seven lessons I’ve learned since then…
1. My husband and I operate more as a team, now, with me packing his lunch each day, him sending me a text or note wishing me a good day. We also snip at each other more, and that’s mostly on my end. If he calls at the wrong time (like last night, when both girls were up past their bedtime and ended up in my bathroom while I was showering – imagine giggles and the shower curtain flying open). Our appreciation for each other has grown, as he provides for our family and I nurture our kids and home (ok, so most days I nurture our home, lol – priorities, am I right?). Now it’s his work schedule that is prioritized – before, if I had an evening event or a weekend requirement, an early morning meeting, etc., he stepped in and adjusted. And with his crazy, demanding career, complete with last minute out of town trips, on-call weeks, swing shifts, call-ins, etc., we are both better able to handle the demands of life.
2. My almost 2yo is obsessed with me. I mean, it’s cute y’all, until she yells mama a million times while I’m out running errands or having a girl’s night. My hubby gets the brunt of it. Sure, my older daughter went through stages, but daycare drop off was at 7:15am (most days), and pick up was by 5pm (again, most days). She was in a safe learning environment, having fun with friends and teachers and activities. A completely different experience, and a lot less 24/7 mama time.
3. Solo appointments are much harder to make (and keep!). Five-year checkup for my oldest, yep, I got that covered with a little one in tow (with hand sanitizer, oh, the places a 1yo finds in a doctor’s office). Kindergarten registration, same, and still with an extra helper. Today is ‘X’ day or crazy sock day or bring in pennies, or book fair week or sign up to bring in black gel icing for the Easter craft, or all of the above. We haven’t missed a theme or a day or an assignment yet. But finding time to get my roots done and a phenomenal blow out by my favorite stylist? While being served wine in a calm, quiet environment? Yeah, that hasn’t happened in over three months. I used to be religious about hair care, going every 6 weeks. Imagine how many more grays a SAHM in her mid-thirties has, you guys. It may alarm you. In this chapter there is no leaving work 2 hours early for a personal appointment. It takes work AND the stars lining up just so.
4. Speaking of, ‘me’ time is even more important. When I worked full-time, I was surrounded by friends. I loved my colleagues (ok, so most of them) and had a lot of mom friends, almost all of who worked full-time. As great of friends as my little girls are, and they are pretty great, I need my adult friends. I need best friend time, catching up over lunch time, coffee dates that challenge my thinking and propel my business, girls’ nights full of wine and laughter. And I need creation time – last week, when lunch plans with friends fell through, I didn’t cancel that time on myself. My mom still came and had her infamous Nina adventures with the kids, and I grabbed my laptop, a journal and my favorite book (Girl, Stop Apologizing) and headed to Panera. It was magical.
5. Searching out and utilizing resources is much the same. I’m all for leaning in and learning from others. An example… the local YMCA. It has been a life saver, and I mean that. From fun group exercise, spending time with my sister-in-law and niece (she’s a SAHM and goes there, too), making new friends, and at times grabbing a booth in their common area and writing and/or planning my heart out. They have a child-watch program, and you can drop your kid(s) for up to 2 hours a day. And most of their team are moms themselves, they always have a knowing glance and will share advice, when asked. Yeah, it is pretty amazing.
6. Continuous learning is just as important, if not more so. I spend an hour a day learning – whether it is reading a book, watching a livestream, taking an e-course. It has always been important to me, and I look forward to the challenge and cognitive thought. With my 5yo heading off to Kindergarten this Fall, I’m well aware that I have only three more years with my little one before she heads off to school, too. At that point, I want to make an intentional choice. And I can start today by continually learning and stretching myself.
7. Spontaneity is much more likely, as are adventures. Picnic at the park, yep – sign me up. Evening trip to the library to change things up and surround myself with things I draw inspiration from – pick me! Overnight camp out in our new-to-us camper, um… yes, please! While working full-time, I was much more regimented - in my mind, I had to be. Now, taking the long way is preferred, throwing items in our stream to see if they sink or float is an all but daily to-do, and being attacked by a chicken in my car is fun (see recent FB post for context).
Are there days I miss my former life? Yeah, you better believe it. Like when I attend a women's luncheon (my fav event we hosted) and see all the exceptional ladies I had the pleasure of talking to day in and day out. During which I had an inspired chat with my old boss – yes, his energy and ideas amaze me even more now. But when I pause and think about this season of motherhood, there is nowhere else I’d rather be. It’s 6am, I’m at my computer, cup of coffee in hand, with my hubby and daughters sleeping upstairs. It’s going to be a beautiful day, full of cuddles and planting flowers and nature walks and excited screams and ornery giggles. This is my life, and I’m so darn grateful for it.