Posted by: emjb | February 8, 2006

Suddenly SAHM

I am a SAHM, a Stay At Home Mom, all of a sudden. It’s temporary unless a lottery win is in the offing for us, but it’s also profoundly strange. Spending this much of my day speaking in high, repetitive phrases to get a response from Nathan wears me out. Going to the library to get a non-baby book to read was the highlight of my week so far. And my bedtimes are being increasingly dictated by a baby who has switched from Lone Sleeper to a Co-Sleeper. Which I don’t really care about, I’d hang him from his ankles if it would make him sleep better.

But the days bleed together, and I can’t always remember the last time I left the house. I’m not stir crazy so much as in Mommy Mode, and of course still looking for a job. In between those two, I have a surprising amount of time for housework, naps, and diddling about. Except that it’s broken in unpredictable intervals by Nathan’s naps, so I can’t really plan anything long term. It does encourage you to live in the moment. It also makes you feel a little frazzled and unproductive. Teaching Nathan to more effectively suck his fist isn’t something you can put on a resume, but I’m pretty sure I’ve spent at least a few hours doing that.

But since I know it’s temporary, I can ease up on myself, and enjoy it without guilt. I can see why people like doing this, just staying home with their kids. It can be fun. You don’t miss the little changes that take place every day in your baby. You set your own schedule. I haven’t had this much unrestricted time since early high school, when I started working in the summer. I could see myself doing this, meeting other at home parents and hanging out, taking the kids to school, doing housework and yardwork and whatever else I wanted to do when I had time. It could be ok.

But I miss working, too. I don’t like commuting and detest business clothes, but I like having tasks to do and doing them well and getting paid for them. It’s rewarding. I think about working for myself someday and wonder if I would like it as much. When the job is good, I like getting up and going to a separate space every day, apart from the rest of my life, to work. Not something I can get working at home.

I’m pretty sure our original plan still holds; I’ll work outside the house and Matt will hold down the fort and do his recording business at home. But it’s strange to be in this between-job limbo and actually enjoying it a bit. I guess I have more than one identity now, so if my work-identity is shut down, I can get by on my mom-identity. In the past, if I wasn’t working, I was biting my nails in frustration at feeling useless and not contributing. I wasn’t myself unless I was out bringing home the bacon. But someone has to change diapers and teach Nathan to stick out his tongue, and for now, it’s me. It’s funny how much I don’t mind it at all.



  1. It IS awesome, isn’t it? I’m doing the stay at home thing, too, and honestly I’m loving it. The highlight of my week so far: taking Ethan to the local Super Wal-Mart in our new snugli carrier. I allow myself to actually get excited about those things now, without shame. 😛

  2. It’s cool that you’re enjoying it. I just couldn’t, and wished I could. You just never know, I guess.

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