Saturday, August 15, 2009

staying home with the kids {and trying to stay sane}

There is always the controversy about stay at home vs working moms. I feel like I am really blessed because I have the best of both worlds- I get to stay at home with the kids- but I have a really fulfilling job- {painting} and I also enjoy teaching (went to college to be a teacher) and get to teach my children. Also, I enjoy decorating and cooking [but not cleaning- sorry]. I realize that not all people have my situation.

But I have my days too- I love my job, I love my lot in life- but I have my days when I NEED to get out of the house- when the kids drive me crazy.

BUT-----I have learned a few little secrets to making the stay at home job even better. The secret for me is to first of all get up before the kids in the morning. I have heard it SO MANY TIMES --"well my kid gets up at 6:30- there is no way that I can get up before him". After having 3 kids (now I am the expert- haha!) I have learned to make the kid go back to bed- let them read in bed- let them play in bed- teach them to tell time when they get to be about 4 1/2 - tell them they can get out of bed at a set time.

Set your alarm- get up- read the Bible, pray, drink some coffee- get a shower- put on some clothes besides sweats or PJ's. This has changed the way that staying at home has been for me. I am cheerful, I am happy, I feel clean and decent, I feel like I want to see the kids and that our day can begin. So many times I hear the-
"we stay in Pj's until noon and the house looks a mess and the kids wake me up and I get grumpy and try to get them to sleep in the bed with me for a few more minutes and I cannot take a shower and the whole day is awful."

Please- try it with me for a few days and see how you feel about life.
get up earlier than the kids
set your alarm
OR ---this has been a big one for me. Have your husband set the timer before he leaves for his run in the morning and put the timer in the bathroom. So when the timer rings I have to get up- go into the bathroom- and turn it off. Then I want so desperately to get back in bed (this is 6:30 am) but realize that it will be just as painful to get up the second time around and I may as well stay up and I will be so much happier if I do.

Also, throw some exercise into the mix. I feel 100% better when I exercise. I have more energy- I can stay up later. Even just 15 min. of exercise can help.

Then lastly, there are going to be plenty days that you just do not feel like cleaning, or watching the kids, or teaching the kids, or cooking supper, or getting out of bed. We all feel like that. But here is the real challenge- the real test- TRUE love is doing those things when we don't feel like it. True love for God and true love for your family. I have such a long way to go on this one. I like to complain or snap at the kids, or just plain not do the cleaning. When we turn to the Bible for our encouragement, and when we ask God to help us- and when we get up early and do what we can to think about others first- you know what?!?!? Those are the good days- those are the days where we say- this is what God gave made me to do.

So I guess this is still Sara being selfish and saying that when we strive to think of others and do for others and give and work for others- really that just makes us feel better and makes us happy. I can't win for trying :) But hey, I believe that God blesses us even when our attitude might not be 100% what it should be but when we try. We need to try and He will work through us.

I don't know what got me going on my soapbox (there are plenty more of these posts, here and here and here and here and here and here). I guess it is a little pep talk for myself as I get ready to start homeschooling the kids. There will be days when we think we will NEVER get it all done- but if you can say that you loved your family and nurtured your children and talked to them about our great God- then I call that success!

OK, now I remember what got me going on this soapbox. I read a blog comment by a mom (somewhere- don't remember where) where she was saying that staying home with your kids is so boring and awful, etc. And I wanted to tell her all of this and that when you spend time with your kids it is never wasted time and that if you are someone who stays at home and you feel awful, then there are some things to try (one being just spend time talking with your kids and read to them and take them places) and you will not regret it.

What do you think? Do you have a different routine that works for you? How do you get through the day??

**I keep thinking of more things to say!
Nap time and quiet time has saved my sanity! Even the 7 year old has to be in his room for 2 hours in the afternoon - reading, crafting, playing, listening to music - whatever he wants as long as he does it quietly. (we all need down time)

p.s. scheduled time alone such as my Monday night painting times have helped out a lot too. Thanks to Dave for taking care of the kids and letting me be by myself then and also other times for me to get out with friends, etc. (me, me- it's all about me.....hopefully, me wanting to be all about them, them, them!!)


Manuela@Pleasures of Homemaking said...

I second the exercise! I always feel way better and more energetic if I've exercised in the morning. Even if all I do is 30 min it really helps!


Jennifer said...

I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I sent my kids to their rooms for 2 hours every day!!!!!

Stephanie said...

I have my routine too, and it really helps when I stick to it. I definitely make sure to get a shower and get out of my pjs, that's a must unless it's an ugly rainy day, then I have a more relaxed day. Then I make sure to take Jackson for a walk in the stroller once a day, I get out of the house and I get to show him all sorts of exciting things like bunnies, ducks, trees, cars.... etc. Naptime is another must, it keeps him from getting crabby and I get to sew or knit or whatever, even nap if I need it. And finally this fall and winter we are taking full advantage of storytime and playtime at our local library 2 days a week. I get out of the house to communicate with other adults and Jackson gets to learn while having fun with other children. All I have to say is if you're going to be a SAHM you need a hobbie, some excercise and an activity to get out of the house a bit. It will keep you sane and you will love the time you were blessed to have to spend with your child.

Julie said...

thanks for the pep talk - it was perfect timing!!! isn't it amazing how God does that???
I LOVE my print that I got with Dave's cd(which is fabulous and much loved by myself and my hubby)!!! I painted a frame white and then aged it a little and put the print in that on a shelf I will be showing off as soon as i get all the other details done on it!!!
thanks chica!!!

wild child said...

Sara, that was a great post. You are such a terrific mom - your kids are so blessed :)

How wonderful that you have figured out all these really important things early in your life - and in your kids' lives - so you are not looking back with regret later in life, wishing you had spent more quality time with your precious children when you had the chance. It happens to sooooo many well-meaning mothers.

I am not a huge schedule keeper, but when my kids were little I learned by trial and error how important certain things were each day. Prayer. Play. Stories. Chores. Private time. Simple things, but meaningful.

Even now that my kids are older, I still depend on key things to get us through our day. Prayer. Scriptures. Even something as simple as making my bed without fail adds to a good feeling in my home. I'm sure it's different for everyone, but the point is to have a plan. Thank you for reminding all of us how essential that is!

Meg :)

Paige said...

You are an incredible wife and mom, and even though I have not been blessed in my life with these jobs, I loved reading your post. So many of my friends say the exact things about being a stay-at- home mom. I can't wait to share some of your tips with them!

May God continue to richly bless you and your family. Hope you have a great year of school!

Connie said...

What a good mom you are. I can see it is Christ in you.

Adrienne said...

i love the way you embrace yourself and your family while seeking your strength from the Bible. good for you managing to balance the days and your time! you have lots of support out here from bloggy land. have a good first week of school!

Melissa Stover said...

i love staying home. i do get up before most of the kids because i get up with the baby, but not at 6 am! gah! i train my kids to sleep late.

nap times are life savers!!! could not function without them.

my quiet time is at night. the kids have to get in the bed and read or write in their journals and the adults can stay up or sleep. my husband usually chooses sleep :).

Garth and Becky said...

I wholeheartedly agree with you about getting up before the kids. Time with the Lord (and by yourself) before the kids' day starts really, really helps me. I'm with you about the exercise, too. The days that I am disciplined enough to exercise helps me get through the day much more happily and my attitude is where it should be. Thanks for the post!

Shelly said...

I use to feel crazy and out of control with my kids. I would let them frustrate me especially in the mornings because I am a grump in the morning. This past week I have set a schedule for my 4yr old. And you know what? It has got my happy behind moving and I am really enjoying my son. Instead of just leaving it up to him to find something to do I tell him, Ok its time for .....

And like Sara for the 2 hours in the afternoon when my little one takes a nap its quiet time for the 4 year old. Of course this week starts pre-k so he will be at school. But for the days school is out we have it set. I haven't posted anything about it on my blog yet but I will so check back with me soon.

Kylie said...

Great post and also some wonderful comments. It is finding pleasure in the simple things isn't it! For me even just running down to the shop for 30 minutes when hubby gets home (so I can go alone)is enough for me. I get time to listen to my own thoughts for a change. :)

Cindy @ Chalk it Up! said...

Thank you Sara for your wonderful words of inspiration.

I recently started a routine that my friend and I have turned into a blog. It's called Creatively Fit! The idea is to get out there in the world and walk, click, connect. Most of the time I go by myself but sometimes I take the kids. Doing this alone and with the kids is very rewarding. I'm learning so much about myself and the world around me. I'm thinking of getting the kids their own cameras so they can participate in this activity sometimes. But most of the time this is just me time.
Have a peaceful day:)
Good luck with the new school year. You'll do great!

ByHISgoodGrace said...

Sara--you are so encouraging. I REALLY really ReAlLy...did I say how much I needed to read this.
I especially love the part about TRUE LOVE...what an awesome reminder.
You're the bestest.

BlueCastle said...

This is a great post - just the encouragement and kick in the patootie that I need. I hate schedules. Really hate getting up early, but you're right, it's chaos unless I do those things.
You're so right - LOVE makes us do the things we don't WANT to do.

Sun-Kissed Savages said...

Oh, Sara, I love this.
I've discovered the same things along the way, but I don't always remember them when I need to!

I've set my own curfew again. I can't get up happily before the kids do if I deprive myself of sleep.

For me, knowing what to expect helps. We have our schedule, our chores, and we have art EVERY afternoon to look forward to it. :-) Love your boxes, by the way!!

Just being outside helps on a rough day. Who can frown when they are covered in sunshine? (Which is why we do a great deal of our school work outside!)

You inspire me. Thank you!

bec4 said...

Sara, such a good and thoughtful and meaningful post. I try to get up before kids,but am a night owl by nature, so I tend to stay up late after everyone is in bed. However, with a teenager, that is getting harder to do.

I want you to know how happy I get just looking at your artwork. I like to look at your blog before I head out to paint, for inspiration. not to copy, because my painting tends to be different, but just for pure inspiration. I want to feature you this week sometime on my blog, is that ok?

Have a great Monday!


Justin, Jake and Jenna's mom said...

Great, GREAT post!!! You go, girl!

Keri said...

How is it that you always give me the reminders that I need right when I need them? I've been so tired lately, and while I do have an excuse at the moment - I don't want to get back into bad habits. It is hard getting up when you don't technically have to - but it does make such difference to the day.

Ruth said...

I love being home with my kids and always have. I used to work the graveyard shift so that I could be home with them while my husband was at work and would go to bed when he came home. It was tough some times but I made it. It makes me appreciate it more now that I can stay home with them and don't have to work.

I also like to get up early and do my thing before the kids come downstairs. That helps a lot.