Friday, January 16, 2009

The SAHM Adventure

I'm a housewife. A stay-at-home mom. A future home school mom and generally a I-would-rather-be-outside-the-house-than-stuck-at-home type of person. This feeling of wanting to be on the move, experiencing different things, definitely makes being a stay-at-home mom challenging at times. It's easy to fall into "I need ME time!" moments. It's easy for me to become bored and grow discontented if I'm stuck at home for, oh, say, two days in a row? (That's too much home time!!) I'm the type that needs to get out and get some fresh air. I need exposure to new things so that I can feel like my brain is thinking about more than just diapers and What Will Keep a Two Year Old Entertained for More Than Two Minutes. This is my challenge in life right now.

Coincidentally, my challenge is also my greatest blessing because that's just how God works. He gives you the best but it's not always easy. I have a fantastic husband who works a job that enables me to stay home if I want. And I DO want, really. I want to raise my kids and be a part of their lives and explore the world with them. I want to imagine, create and dream and help foster theirs. I want to be COOL MOM #1 and for them to look back fondly at their childhood with good memories of me. Yup, as you can see, it's really about me and the image I want. However, every image comes with a price tag attached.

The price tag for me to be the cool mom is to come up with ways to make learning exciting. It is to come up with activities that keep my children's brains engaged. That, my friends, as many of you know better than I, involves tremendous amounts of self sacrifice. It means giving up time to be "me" and making my day all about them, really. It means being consciously aware of where they are at, not only physically, but mentally and spiritually and being able to adapt to that and address the various issues that come up as a result. It means putting down all the things that I want to be doing, or think I should be doing, and picking up Mega Blocks and building towers. It means setting aside The Faerie Queen and Les Miserables sometimes in order to read Maisy. Sometimes it means sitting by a bathtub and watching "gleefully" as my son drops a ball into the bathtub water - repeatedly - for 5-10 minutes straight, laughing all the way like he'd discovered the world's best joke. It means walking away from the computer when someone says "HELP!" in response to frustration with getting a toy car to stay on its race track. I don't always do this very well.

The middle-ground "compromise" for me these days seems to be in making every attempt to learn how my child learns. I'm really having a great deal of fun learning how to teach my son (and future children!). I'm exploring educational options and activities, hunting down community groups that would have something to offer us, and reading books on curriculum/multiple intelligences and learning styles. This blog will, in some ways, become an outlet of a different sort of reading. I'm still reading to know but instead of reading to find out about various world views, I'm learning how to build one.

This is new territory to me but I am truly excited to explore this new frontier and start this new phase of my life. I'm giving up Me Time to be Mommy right now. My kicks and giggles are frequently found in learning how to better amuse and educate my son. (The reading for me thing continues on because I really think I'd seriously pass out and die if I wasn't reading books that were pleasurable and fun. That's my sanity and sometimes my saving grace. Books are oxygen for my brain and I cannot pretend otherwise. This is why Reading to Know will always be about MY books!) But I'm going to share my blog with my son to some degree and I hope you'll participate and be a part of our adventure in your own unique ways.

I know I love hoping around to your blogs and hearing about your lives and those of your children. I glean from you and am getting ready to share some of my own stories and situations.

I am a mom. I am a mom who needs to keep learning and keep growing personally and while that fact doesn't stop for motherhood, it is changed by it. I think that is not only exciting - but healthy. I'm encouraged and excited by the future that lives within my own home and if I can learn how to share the least little bit of that on this site, then I will be satisfied. But in the meantime, stay tuned for some rambles. I've a long way to go!


Sky said...

My hardest mom lesson was not only learning to put my book down but to keep my ears open while reading! I tend to completely submerse myself in a book, or as my husband would say "zone out" or as my mom used to say, "Earth to Sky!!"
I had to learn not to be grumpy when pulled out of my book by a little voice FORCEFULLY asking for my attention!
But I got used to it, and I smile when it happens now too!

Anonymous said...

Oh boy, do I know what you mean!

About Atonement--I haven't seen the movie. We're note big movie watchers because we don't like gratuitous ANYTHING. Anyway, I don't know much about it and just bought it at the used book shop on a whim. I'll definitely post about it if/when I get around to reading it.

Anonymous said...

A very interesting post . . . I'll be anxious to read more!! My girls are 3 and 1 (and another baby on the way!) and I really do want to enrich their lives to the fullest extent and give them every opportunity to learn and grow. Of course, this is in between my checking e-mail, reading, and playing on Facebook. Priorities!! :)

Z-Kids said...

I'll go ahead and say "Thanks" on behalf of your son... It's the "thanks" he would say if he (or ANY of our kids) had the capacity to understand what amazing gifts great sahm's give each day.

Anonymous said...

A TREMENDOUS website for variety in teaching is Timberdoodle. Parents themselves, they have excellent insights. It's worth your time.

Shannon said...

I just wanted to assure you that time for your own reading and study does come back! We now have 5 kids (ages 11,8, 6, 4, and almost 2) who are homeschooled and I absolutely have time to read and study.

Somehow it's easier now than when I just had one, but that comes likely from having already read what I felt I needed to know parenting-wise and using those tools, but finding out mostly parenting is just a trial and error process of going with your gut. (Which I wouldn't have known had I not read all of those books in the first place)Also, from the mere fact that as there are more, the payoffs for leaving the house rapidly diminish. So while we are out of the house quite often for activities, I no longer have the restlessness of spirit that I once did whenever we're home.

If I could offer one piece of advice however, it would be to make sure that you hang onto you-your loves and passions. Once all of that is abandoned it's hard to even know it's gone, let alone to recover that lost person. One of the best ways that a woman can enrich her children's lives, in my opinion, is to be a vibrant human being. If you love learning and reading and things, your children will pattern that behaviour.

LOL! Take all of that (longest comment evah!) for whatever it's worth!

*carrie* said...

I appreciated this post, Carrie, and can definitely relate. Look forward to reading more!

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

Loved this post, Carrie, and I look forward to what is to come. I always enjoy your reviews -- both here and on 5M4B -- whether they're on books for grown-ups, kids, or grown-ups raising kids. :)

It can be very difficult for me to give up "me time," and I know it's important to keep a certain amount of time and energy to take care of myself... but I really need to be better at closing the book or computer and being available to my kids.

Lisa Spence said...

Me time for mommy time, though at times seems a high price to pay, is a trade that is so very WORTH IT. Ramble on, sister; I'm eager to read and commiserate, oops I mean rejoice, in our fellow SAHM adventures!

Anonymous said...

Carrie, I am actually posting about a similar struggle tomorrow. I am an "on-the-go" kind of girl. I don't do the "at-home" part of SAHM very well. Unfortunately, I have been sick for 8 weeks, so I have been forced to slow WAY down. I have discovered that while I may never be an "at home all day every day" kind of mom, I do need to be more balanced. Since I have been sick, my daughter and I have read more books, played more games, done more art projects, etc... It has been a lesson for me. I don't need to be on the go as much, even when the activities include my daughter. I think she has enjoyed me being sick because I have spent more time actually being with her. I am not glad that I have been sick so long, but I have learned some valuable lessons!

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