Can you believe Reuben is only 15 weeks old and people are already asking me if I’m ready to go back to work yet. Admittedly it’s mostly people from work… I can’t help it if I’m just so wonderful that they can’t go on without me! But there are a few who are seriously asking if I’m over it.
In a word, the answer is no. I am not a career-driven type of person. I love my work, and I get great satisfaction from it, but nothing can beat being a full time Mama. It’s seriously awesome. And busy. And much, much different and more work with two than it ever was with one.
But I honestly really love it. People wonder what a stay-at-home-mum does all day… well I can tell you that my days don’t include Oprah or Doctor Phil.
So here’s a snapshot of what my life as a stay at home mum looks like.
Every day, we get up and have breakfast together as a family. If it is sunny, we go out to the veranda, which is the warmest place in our house on a cold wintery morning. We all hang out and chat together and Pete gets lots of cuddles before he heads off to work. Once he’s gone, I get the kitchen tidied up, and often Reuben will go down for a nap… it depends what is on that day. I have found that having a certain ‘thing’ that we do on each day helps to put some routine and structure into our days, and Mayana especially likes to know what is going to happen each day.
On Monday’s, Mayana and I ‘do learning’. This means that we do our letter of the week in our alphabet book, and do some pages out of whichever of her ‘learning books’ takes her fancy that day (these are just a collection of various number/letter/preschool activity books that I have picked up around the place…. she adores them). I try to do some kind of art project in this time as well.
This week we worked on the letter ‘B’
Sometimes this is cut short if Reuben decides to have a short nap, but we pick it up later in the day or work around him. Monday’s are fairly cruisy. I catch up on washing and housework. We often will go for a walk down to town to do some errands. We try to go for a walk most days. We don’t live far from town, and it does all three of us good to be out in the fresh air. Sometimes I put Reuben in the sling and push Mayana in the pram, but a lot of the time she would prefer to walk. I sometimes can’t get over just how far she can go.. she rarely runs out of steam! If I need something little from the shops, I find it easier in some ways to walk to town than to get the kids in and out of the car and find a park. Plus the exercise feels good!
Reuben generally has three naps a day, with one of them usually being a good long one. He is usually happy to have these wherever we are, but I do like to try and let him have at least one of his naps in his own bed. Mondays are probably the only day that he gets to have all of them at home.
Tuesdays are our busiest days. We have Mainly Music (a singing dancing playgroup with a killer morning tea) in the mornings. Mayana loves this.
Mayana likes to be up the front ‘helping’ Petrina show everyone how it’s done.
Lately we have been walking to Music.. it is about a 10 minute walk around the corner. We leave for this at the time I usually put Reuben down for his nap. I find that if I put Reuben in the ‘magic sling’ (which is what we call my Moby Wrap because of its magic ability to immediately put Reuben to sleep), he will nod off before I’m out of the driveway, and stay asleep for the whole music part of the morning.. waking just in time for his mid-morning feed at morning tea time. Perfect! If we need to go to town for anything, we will do that after music, but usually we just go straight home. This week I had a few things to get in town, and we went for a big walk. I ended up with two sleeping children, and treated myself to a thickshake to celebrate!
A sleeping Mayana? Unheard of!!
On Tuesday night Once Upon a Time is on TV. Mayana adores this show, and the deal is that if she has a sleep she can stay up and watch it (the mummy-censored version which often includes a lot of blankets over heads and blocked ears). Her having a sleep also helps her to be a little more focussed for her dance class on Tuesday afternoons. Her classes are at my school, and we often go a little earlier so that I can pop in and say hi to my friends at work. They like to see Mr Reuben, and are all wrapped around Mayana’s little finger.
We usually make it home from dancing a little while before Pete. Every day when Pete gets home from work, he takes the kids for a bath. It is nice to have a little bit of ‘me-time’ at the end of each day, and Pete laps up the short parts of the day he gets to spend with his kids. I will often go for a shower and then get dinner started. I feed Reuben after his bath and pop him into bed. He’s usually asking to go to bed by about 6.30pm. Once he’s down we have dinner together.
On Wednesdays we go to the library. Our local library runs a fantastic ‘Storytime’ program for free. It includes singing and a story, followed by a craft. Mayana loves it, and I’m super impressed by how good the program is.
Getting our craft on at the library.
We usually drive down to that, but this week Pete took the car so we walked. I hadn’t walked to the library before and was surprised that it only took us about 20 minutes. I think providing the weather is good, we might make that more of a habit too. One of the best things about the library program is that it runs in three sessions.. at 9.30, 10.30 and 11.30. So depending on how our morning goes, will are generally guaranteed to have one session that will work for us.
We do our grocery shopping every second Wednesday. I like to wait for Pete to get home from work and do it together, as I have NOT enjoyed the times that I have done groceries on my own with two kids. When we are all together, of course they are both perfectly behaved angels… last night for example I had Reuben asleep in the trolley and Mayana very helpfully collecting items from the shelves as directed. But when I am on my own either one or both of them spends at least half of the time screaming, and I end up very on edge and snapping at the other and making everything worse. So it is better for everyone’s general health and safety to have two parents on hand for grocery shopping.
Thursday and Friday are Mayana’s kindy days. She loves kindy and gets a lot out of it. She goes to a brilliant centre, with wonderful teachers, and I feel that for her, the social experience that she gets to have with other children and without me present is very beneficial for her. As an eldest child, she has spent most of her life around adults, and it does her good to learn how to interact with little people her own age .
On Thursdays our town has a market. I like to buy fresh produce and beautiful flowers from the markets, and Mayana likes the popcorn stand which hands out free samples. We will often leave not long after Pete does and pop through the markets before I take Mayana to Kindy. Once she is dropped off, Reuben and I come home and get things done. Thursdays are a good day to get lots of washing and jobs done without a Mayana underfoot. I can never get over how different it feels to just have one at home with me!
Fridays, after Mayana gets taken to Kindy, I head into town with Reuben to visit Alison, our wonderful health nurse. Reuben and I often pop into a coffee shop afterwards, and occasionally we get invited to a playgroup by one of our friends. The rest of the day I tend to have a ‘me’ day. I mean, of course Reuben is there, and I have to tend to him --- which oftentimes doesn’t leave much time for me at all… but I just don’t do too much. I might read a little, or catch up on some crochet, or bake, or just play with my boy. I pick Mayana up at around 3-ish and we sometimes go on an afternoon tea date. And then Papa gets home and it’s the weekend!!
So no, being at home is not boring. It couldn’t be more busy and I can't imagine fitting work in with all of this! At this point I can’t figure out which day/s I’d be willing to sacrifice to even go back to work. Pete and I are still in discussion about our plans for me for next year. I have a bit more praying to do about it… give me another few months and I’ll get back to you.
For now, I’m just revelling in this season of being a stay at home mum, and thanking God every day that I’m blessed enough to be able to do it!