Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Exhausted Ramblings

I was going to post my last SAHM Post
revisiting my SAHM Fears
But decided not to on account of: 

1) I'm just repeating most of what I said in earlier posts 

2) I'm just plain sick of talking about being a SAHM. 

I assume you are sick of hearing about it. 
But then again you are back reading this blog post, 
so you maybe you aren't unless you are just reading to be polite. 

Truthfully, I'm kind of burned out right now. 
I am one of those people who likes to plan 
and get out of the house 
and do fun things, 
and I've been over-booking
 and over-committing us. 
We've been burning out on summer and it's ONLY JUNE. 

Saturday's Fun: massive waterslide at a friend's house. 

Just tonight, there was a mass hysteria meltdown by both Oliver and Aaron. 
Crying over basically nothing except excess sun exposure 
and overtiredness. 
Oliver is teething and has a cold, 
so he's pretty much wiped out. 
Aaron got sunburnt at the pool yesterday 
because we tried our first day sans rashguard 
and I guess his pasty white chest/back just wasn't ready for the sun, 
so matter how many times I applied the sunscreen. 

Good news is that I have a fast-growing aloe plant in my house, 
so I've been breaking pieces off to rub all over him, 
which he loves because its cool and tingly, 
and I love how stupidly crunchy organic it is. 
Oh god, I sound like one of those essential oil moms. 

Ok, back on topic... 
Feeling burnt out. 

I hadn't been to yoga in almost 2 months thanks to Adam's child-lifting ban 
from him carpal & cubital tunnel surgery.
I finally went back on Thursday for the Hot Power 6-7am class 

Then Saturday I went for a run on a wet, rocky, vertical 7.5-mile trail run 
in Valley Forge National Park. 
In hot humid weather. 
I even got light-headed which tells you how crazy it was. 

And THEN, to top it all off... 
I punched myself in the mouth with a toy. 
Yes, you read that correctly. 
We were at this place called The Little Pod 
(think a nicer Chuck-E-Cheese)...

Little Pod

...And I was trying to pry apart a stuck toy and 

Now not only am I sore from yoga and running, 
but I have a busted lip like I lost a fight... 
... with myself. 

Meanwhile, I've even slacked on my social media monitoring. 
Generally that would be a good thing, 
a little less IG and facebook would do the world some good
but I have TWENTY-NINE blogposts to read 
and I don't even feel like opening bloglovin to start on them. 

So yeah, 
summer has been kicking my ass. 
And it's ALL MY FAULT. 
and under-estimating the power of the sun. 

I get this is a common complaint across all mothers in America. 
Or perhaps all mothers everywhere. 
I guess this means I'm just human, dammit. 
And here I like to pretend I'm modern day Wonder Woman, 
minus the perky boobs. 

Speaking of which, 
I found this meme and laughed way harder than I should. 

Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

SAHM: Goals Revisited

Another post in my SAHM Monthly Theme. 
So far I've written about: 
My general thoughts
Common questions
and the Money aspect. 

Now I'm revisiting one of my first ever SAHM posts: 
 SAHM Goals.

1. Stay busy
Grade: A
Yes, I keep busy. 
Very busy. 
In fact, sometimes I find myself on the brink of being annoyed 
that I didn't check everything off my to do list today... 
And then I have to remind myself that I DON'T HAVE A JOB 
and seriously, how much more time could I have? 

When the kids are up, 
we're always going to an activity,
 or the park,
 or the zoo,
 or the library.

When the kids are asleep or at preschool, 
I am either cooking,
 picking up the house, 
or enjoying ME time in the form of reading, blogging, etc. 

2. Stay social
Grade: B-
I admit I don't have the thriving SAHM community I pictured in my head. 
I saw myself getting together with a gaggle (yes, a gaggle) of other SAHM 
for playdates and library storytime and zoo visits. 

I tried SAHM dating briefly, but it was just too much effort with not enough reward.
I have one SAHM friend close by that I can run over for an hour or so in the afternoon. 
But other than that, the vast majority of my friends are still Working Moms 
and I'm ok with that. 
I text Adam all day long. 
I get together with my MIL every Thursday. 
When I did my time study
I noted my social hours are low overall, 
and while that is something to work on, 
I also think it's a byproduct of my stage of life right now. 

Weekly walk with my MIL and our niece

3. Spend time on ME

3a. Exercise
Grade: A+ 

I am significantly better at exercising as a SAHM than as a Working Mom. 
I run 3x a week: two 3-mile runs and one longer 6+ mile run. 
I also do yoga some mornings. 
I've trained for a 15k and a 10 mile. 
I even matched my pre-children running speed this year at the Broad Street Run. 
I'm very pleased! 

(It was really 10.0 miles but, y'know, apps are never perfect)

3b. Eat healthy
Grade: A+

I still struggle shedding that postpartum weight 
but the nutrition content of my eating has improved dramatically. 
Now, when I'm hitting that afternoon-hunger-attack, 
instead of grabbing Doritos at the vending machine, 
I can grab a Good Culture cottage cheese from the fridge. 
Sometimes I WANT to cheat on something terrible, 
but it's a lot harder to do so when there's nothing in the house to cheat with. 

(Wrote a little about how we eat here and here)

3c. Reading
Grade: B

I'm definitely reading much more than I was as a Working Mom. 
But my goal of reading daily is not met, 
not by a long shot. 
I pictured myself spending 30 minutes every day curled up with a book, 
but the reality is that other priorities get in the way. 
See above: busy

4. Limit Aaron's TV time. 
Grade: A

I've done an excellent job of this. 
He watches less TV with me than he ever did with Adam, 
and is probably on-par with his TV watching during daycare days. 
He watches one 30-minute show (usually Paw Patrol) in the morning, 
and then one 30-minute show (usually Daniel Tiger) with Oliver in the afternoon while I'm getting dinner ready. 
Occasionally, I do pull the Emergency Card and pop in a Disney movie. 
But as long as it's limited to once a week, 
I feel like I can pat myself on the back here. 

5. Spend a little bit of time teaching Aaron. 
Grade: D- 

LOL, what? 
Did I picture myself setting up a little homeschooling center? 

Aaron has gotten very good at scissor skills, 
thanks to the setup of his "Material Management" (Art Center) 
which we set up in our new house at the suggestion of my cousin. 
It is, by far, the most used "toy" in our house. 
Adam and I comment on a weekly basis how glad we are to have it setup. 
Hannah, if you are reading this, THANK YOU. 

Now, while I haven't spent time teaching Aaron anything, 
I have obviously spent much more one-on-one time with him, 
specifically with reading. 
At least one day a week, we spend Oliver's whole morning naptime reading. 
Aaron loves it. 
I love it. 
It's great. 
Additionally, I up'ed our bedtime reading from one to five books. 
Now that I'm not rushing to cook, clean, and do laundry in the evenings, 
I don't mind spending 20 minutes reading all sorts of books with him. 

And that's a wrap! 
Those were my SAHM Goals. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

SAHM and Money

June is my stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) One Year Anniversary, 
and so far I've posted about my general feelings and common questions.  

But one major aspect of being a SAHM that I've glossed over is the

Of course the MONEY part is the driving factor for many moms, 
so it's not a fair topic to ignore. 
If you know me or have read this blog for a while, 
the automatic assumption is
 "well she's married to a lawyer so they have money.
And yes that's certainly a large part of it. 
But not all of it completely. 

I have a girlfriend who lives in a 5,000-sqft house, 
her husband has a great position in an Fortune 500 company, 
they belong to a country club, 
and the family goes on very luxurious vacations. 
Her take: "Well, if I wanted to stay home, 
we'd have to sell our house or give up a large part of our established lifestyle. 
I don't want to do either." 

While staying at home is just plain not feasible for some, 
for others, the money may be there, 
but it would require sacrificing something that they have adjusted to. 
It's easy to sneer at the "rich housewives" 
who don't want to give up luxury to stay home, 
but honestly,
if we had to sell our house and downsize for me to be a SAHM, 
would I? 
No, absolutely not. 

So how do we do it? 

Well, it's been relatively easy because
 Adam and I have always lived on one income. 

Just a few months after we got married, 
Adam started law school. 
I joked that "for every dollar I earn, my husband earns $0.50 debt."  
We bought a tiny little 1700-sqft townhome 
while most of our friends were buying larger starter homes. 
We wanted to be able to put down equity 
but still have money left over to minimize law school debt. 

We lived on one income up until October 2013 
when Adam embarked into Big Law Firm World.  
As soon as his first paycheck hit our bank account, 
we moved my paychecks to our savings account. 
From that point on, every dollar I made (less taxes & 12% 401k) 
went directly into our savings for our next house. 
We never touched a dime. 
This allowed us to buy our upgrade house 
and immediately begin renovations without further years of savings. 

Thus when Oliver was born and I gave notice, 
we didn't feel a single pinch due to my lack of paychecks. 
We hadn't used my money for living expenses in years. 
The only change was that our savings ceased to grow by thousands every month. 

Additionally, we bought below our limit because we anticipate Adam someday leaving Big Law Firm World and most likely taking a paycut to work for a corporation. 
And when I say paycut, I mean drastic paycut. 
Some lawyers have taken a 50% paycut 
in order to trade those horrid 90-hour-work-weeks for something more family-friendly. 
So be it. 

So that's a little background on our financial situation. 

My running routes take me through a lot of wealthy neighborhoods in our area, 
and sometimes I imagine what it would be like to live in these homes. 
If I wanted to be a Working Mom, 
or Adam wanted to make partner at his law firm, 
we could have bought a house like this: 

Instead we have a house like this: 

Before I wrap this up, 
I want to spell out again that I know I am fortunate to have the money to be a SAHM. 
(I hate the term #blessed and refuse to use it, 
but yes you could use that term here.) 

There are many many many moms who have no option 
no matter how small their house (or apartment). 
Single moms, I bow to you every day.
College debt, medical debt, entrepreneur debt... 
And don't even get me started on minimum wage jobs. 
There's a million reasons why some families must be dual-income. 
So when I write about WHY I chose to be a SAHM, 
understand I do know that I'm lucky to have a choice. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

SAHM: Common Questions

June is SAHM month! 
No it isn't, 
but I'm making it that because its the anniversary of me giving notice. 

So this segment, I'm going to dive into the questions I get asked the most. 
Most of these are from my Working Mom Friends, 
or just my Working Childless Friends. 

Some people get their panties in a twist over questions like these, 
and I think that's ridiculous. 
I always welcome any kind of questions people have. 

Do I like it? 

I wrote at length about this in my last post, 
but the short is: 

Of course, like anything in life, there are good days and bad days. 
But overall the good far outweighs the bad. 

(An example of an exceptionally good day)

I know I should be spouting off some sort of rhetoric 
about how much I love spending time with my kids
 and how it's challenged me and made me a better mom... 
blah blah blah. 
No, that's not really it. 
I mean, I do love spending time with my kids. 
And I've found that I miss them more now that I'm home all the time. 

I love having the time to do all the things I want to do. 
I already wrote all about that so I'm not going to go back into it here. 

Do I miss work? 
Absolutely not. 
I never loved my job. 
I was great at my job 
and I liked the people I worked with, 
but I never loved what I did. 
And I don't miss it. 

I don't miss the work environment either. 
The toggling between crazy-busy-stress and 

I'm 10x more productive at home, 
and even when I am stressed at home, 
it's all under my own control

What the hell do you do all day

I posted a super detailed time study for 3 weeks
 (week 1, week 2, week 3). 
I spend a lot of time getting my kids ready to do shit. 
Get ready for the day, 
get ready for nap, 
get ready to go out the door, 

I spend time on leisure (reading, running, yoga) that I wouldn't otherwise have time for. 
I also spend a lot of my time doing a ton of little shit like laundry and house cleaning, etc. 

Truthfully, even after doing a time study, 
I couldn't tell you exactly what I spend ALL day doing. 
But I can tell you for certain that I get to do all the things I want. 
Does that make sense? 

Would you ever go back? 

Absolutely yes. 
I would like to start back part-time when all the kids are in school. 
I want to get them on and off the bus, 
but I think I can be productively earning money during those 7 hours in between. 
Right now the vast majority of my productivity comes at nap time, 
which affords me about 3 no-distraction productive hours in the middle of the day. 
Would I need 7? 
 That seems to be a stretch. 

Then, when all the kids are in college, 
I would expect to go back full time. 
Just like when Adam and I were childless. 

Of course, these are my thoughts now, 
and I'll be very interested to look back on these thoughts in 8 or 9 years when they start to become a reality! 

As a Working Mom  (or Working Single Person), what other questions would you ask? 
As a SAHM, what other questions have you been asking? 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

SAHM: 1 Year Later

June 16th is the one-year anniversary of Stay-At-Home-Mom-hood. 
(Or, if you prefer, "SAHM-hood")
June 16th is the day I gave my notice to my company, 
and officially embarked on this new "path." 

(And no, SAHM is not a "career." 
Stop that nonesense.) 

I'm going to dedicate this month to a series of posts about SAHM-hood. 
I'll talk about some of the questions I get asked 
and revisit my goals and fears. 

But first I just want to talk in general. 

And let me start off by saying:

I absolutely totally love being a Stay-at-home-Mom. 

In fact, sometimes I think I'm just too lucky. 
When Adam groans and moans about his job at Big Law Firm World, 
I feel bad about how easy my life is compared to his. 
Sometimes it feels like I'm living in a permanent vacation world, mooching off his money. 
This is not true, obviously, but it sometimes feels like it. 

Afternoon beer while the kids play in the water? 
Um, yes please.
All my life, I thought being a Stay-at-home-mom was hard. 
My mom made it seem like such a big sacrifice. 
And maybe, perhaps, if I had a job that I loved and lived for, 
that would be true. 
But none of my jobs were like that. 
I was always great at my job 
and I enjoyed the satisfaction of a job well done. 
But overall, no, I never loved my job. 

But truthfully, being a SAHM is NOT hard. 

You know when you meet someone and have to sum up your job in a sentence? 
"I work in finance. I track the cost of making helicopters." 
"I work as an auditor. I audit books for major manufacturing companies." 
"I'm a SAHM. I keep the kids alive and fed." 

Now, of course, there are days the kids drive me batshit crazy. 
So we go somewhere. 
We run off energy at the mall. 
Or we go for a walk. 
Or sometimes, when the Great Void takes its toll on our sanity, 
we pop in a Disney movie and chill the f**k out. 

If I had to sum up exactly why I love being a SAHM. 
I try to explain this: 

Being a SAHM gives me the enormous amount of time to do the things I WANT TO DO

I WANT to cook an interesting healthy dinner for my family every night. 

I WANT to pack healthy lunches for my kids. 

I WANT to go for a run at least 3 times a week. 

I WANT to manage the finances. 

I WANT to read books. 

I WANT to have an immaculate house. 

I WANT to hang out with Adam after putting the kids to bed. 

And most of all, 

I want to do all this while still getting 8 SOLID HOURS of sleep every night. 

And I just can not do it all while working. 
I blogged before about how Adam and I split responsibilities, 
and the short of it is that we don't split responsibilities. 
I do it. 
And I'm ok with that. 

Being a Working Mom would mean that I'd have to pick and choose those WANTs above. 
I'd have to get up earlier to run, thus shortening my sleep. 
I'd trade spending time with Adam for making meals. 
Or after Adam went to bed, I'd stay up late reading instead of getting 8 hours of sleep 
(which, to be fair, sometimes happens by accident anyway)

Some people can do all of those things with a 40 hour a week job + commuting. 
But I can't. 
And I'm ok with that. 

So when people ask if I like being a SAHM. 
The answer is a resounding YES. 
Because being a SAHM affords me the luxury of doing all the things I want to do.