First week as a stay-at-home-mom is in the books!
It still feels kind of temporary and unreal. But actually, that's how everything has felt since TC came into our lives. Each day is about making it through, we're always in survival mode. We don't make a lot of long term plans because I really can't fathom much about the future, I'm so focused on the now. Will it always feel this way? Is this my new normal? Is it good that I'm not obsessing about what is next, or am I wearing myself out by constantly feeling on the edge? Will I eventually settle in and relax and feel in control?
This first week has been lovely. We've had an adventure every day, a cheap little distraction that got us both out of the house, gave Normy (the dog) a little break from our torture, and passed the day a little more fluidly. I didn't intend this to be our routine, as I'm actually sort of a homebody and was looking forward to sitting around in my pjs and not dealing with the world for a while, but it has been good for me to get dressed and change the scenery. We hit two mall play areas, ran a few errands, took a long walk, checked in on Grammy (can't just cut her off cold turkey!) and even ate a whole lunch out of Costco food samples one day. It's been good.
We all survived the first week of super mega tight food budget, and everyone got fed just fine. We got some "float" in that we already had a big stash of baby food, frozen dinners, and treats around the house from previous shopping trips, but overall I feel better about the possibilities. It was a little hard not to just buy a Cinnabun at the mall or whip through a drive through for a Coke - things I wouldn't have questioned much before, and appear so minor at just a few bucks each - but would have major trade offs now. Hard isn't the right word, it was fine - just required a little more thought & restraint.
Our budget is tight. It also is set up for the temporary, and not a great long term strategy. There are places we could cut - cable, in theory, or Internet - but I've decided that I'd rather have a tighter food budget and trade off Cinnabuns at the mall in favor of these few indulgences that bring me so much joy. At least right now. And I actually like Ramen noodles, so that helps a lot.
I found myself yesterday thinking for a moment "I wasted another day" when I hadn't accomplished anything on my "to do" list. And then I felt sad and guilty for thinking that.
It's like when TC was younger and I felt like all I did was try to get her to sleep, then tiptoe around trying to keep her asleep. It was like I was wishing her away, her waking hours at any rate. But at the same time, we BOTH really needed the sleep. It was temporary. And eventually, slowly, our lives have become more about the hours in between the (still too short) sleepy times.
Now that I'm home, which is by choice - a choice that required a lot of other compromise and sacrifice on the part of my whole family-a main goal is to enjoy it. To learn how to prioritize and appreciate what is is that we have compromised and sacrificed to make possible - staying at home. Raising The Cupcake. Keeping her out of daycare. Not dreading each day at the wrong job.
I hope that I can balance the additional perks - time to decide what I want to do professionally, the opportunity to accomplish tasks in off-hours, with the additional pressures - do I HAVE to keep the house clean? (not so far...) How long until I will have to bring in some income?
And perhaps above all, I just really hope that TC learns to sleep in past 6:30am!