Derfing it up since 2004, a stay-at-home mom with a BA in English throws away a successful career as a secretary to raise her kids and write a blog that doesn't reflect her knowledge of grammar.... at all. She then goes back to work for a year in an overwhelming career in the real world and blows off her blog and THEN decides to go BACK into SAHMotherhood, and write about it again. Really.
As a personality trait, I don’t get bored often. I don’t think I have a busier life than anyone else in the world, but we certainly keep busy as a family! Yes, I do have 2 kids home with me almost constantly and I’m sure if I were home by myself all day it would be a different story. If both kids were in school, my ability to get bored would have a much lower threshold.
How do I not get bored?
1) A constantly running to-do list, 2) The constant pursuit to saving money and 3) An excessive amount of diverse hobbies that constantly keep my brain and/or hands busy.
When I first decided to stay at home - and before I had actually done it - I thought that my time to accomplish things would be infinite. (Pllllb. What Was I thinking?) I started off my first couple of months like a tornado. I took care of the kids with excitement, scheduled special time to spend with them, and got everything done and then some. (I compare it to the “honeymoon” phase of any new job, where you start on adrenaline and excitement before finally slowing down and reaching reality.)
Since life has calmed down, I find it much more difficult to get everything accomplished in the way that I did in my first month home. I even find it more difficult to take the kids out to do activities than I thought it would. (However, I have become a master at managing everyone and everything by myself! Even when out in public!)
Alright, to address #1: A constantly running to-do list. As my previous job, I had a large whiteboard which I constantly used to keep track of what proposals I had due and when. I used it to manage and guide my daily activities. Shortly before I began my new “career” at home, Dan obliged my desire to have a central zone for keeping track of what needs to happen and when. He created a homemade white board for our endeavors, and I use it to keep track of chores, and what needs accomplished. If I think of something off the cuff, I write it down. With a list like this in plain view and larger than life, I always have a reminder that I have something "productive" to do. (As a list person, I also get great satisfaction for crossing things OFF the to-do list, and Tyler has his own section where he has made some VERY interesting (and sometimes embarrassing) drawings.
#2: The constant pursuit of saving money. We do several things in the name of saving. We routinely do “once-a-month” cooking, which allows us to buy certain things in bulk or that are on sale, and create homemade stouffer-type meals. (This is not only a money saver, but also a lovely time saver.) We also have our vegetable garden and this year we have made a concerted effort to plant things that we use, eat and enjoy. Early in garden season, we have already made great efforts to get everything processed so that nothing goes to waste. It is only the end of July, and I already have a freezer full of green beans and zucchini, and we haven’t even gotten started yet! The cooking and the garden, take huge amounts of time, planning, maintenance and preparation. (A large vegetable garden? There goes our summer, no seriously, there is ALWAYS something to do… and for the record, I HATE WEEDS!)
#3: Hobbies! Hobbies! Hobbies! Some people call it a short attention span, I call it personal education & enrichment, my style my speed. I play guitar (I was taught classical guitar as a child which I think has helped me have a good ear for figuring out tabs/chords), I love reading almost anything, I have taught myself to crochet, am currently learning how to decorate cakes, and trying to become a regular bicyclist! I’m sure there are more I can’t think of at the moment!
There you have it. That is how I do it. I’m a little curious how this is all going to work during the winter, when we are trapped in the house. (I imagine it will work very similar to the way it has worked this last week with the INTENSE heat. Not a good time to send a little boy outside to play!)
I do believe that my personality will be my saving grace against boredom. Being at home is still new to me, but I am not a person who gets bored easily. I can always think of something that needs to be done, or something I would enjoy doing. Going down to one income doesn’t mean that you have to find things to do that cost a lot of money, it just means you have to be creative with your time and use it in ways that offer benefits to the current situation. (I can crochet Christmas presents, spend quality time with Tyler playing guitar, brave a "field trip", the possibilities are endless!)
My absolute, number one recommendation for making the most of your time and not getting bored? Stop and play with the kids. They won’t always want to play, or snuggle close and watch a movie. They won't always be interested in what you're doing. Soak it up. Even if you are one of those talented ladies that balances it all, work, family, hobbies, etc. Dishes will be there, so will laundry and weeds, but playing legos with a 4 year old, or pat-a-cake with a one year old, will not be an option you will have forever.