Before I became a stay at home mom, I was an elementary school teacher. Fourth grade to be exact. Schedules were a huge part of my job. We had our daily class schedule but there were so many other dang schedules. Staff meeting schedule, specials schedule, curriculum schedule, the list goes on and on. When my husband and I made the decision that I would finish out the school year after having my daughter then stay at home with her, (you can read more about that here) I started daydreaming about what our days would be like. And of course, just like literally everything with parenthood, I would soon realize that things don’t always go how you envision them… in fact they rarely do!
In those early days of staying home with my daughter, I had big plans of all the stuff I’d accomplish. I was going to do different household tasks each day of the week, go to the grocery store on a regular schedule, and get out of the house on fun adventures multiple times a week just to name a few. It didn’t take long for that to go completely out the window! At first I felt really bad about this. I thought I was going to be able to “do it all” and be a perfect Pinterest mom. Why couldn’t I keep a toddler entertained all day, keep the house clean and make fresh baked goods all day?! More importantly WHY did I want to do that?
Then I figured it out. The reason I left my full-time, salaried job with benefits was to be home with and for my daughter. I am home with her so I can be the one to be there for all her firsts, be the last one she sees before she sleeps and the first to see when she wakes up. I stay home so that I can snuggle with her and comfort her when she is upset. You don’t need a schedule for all that. So the vacuuming might not happen on Mondays and the laundry might not get done on Tuesdays but my daughter isn’t going to remember that. She’s not going to remember if we missed story time at the library this week or next or all month for that matter.
I’m not saying you need to completely forgo regularly scheduled activities. In fact, getting out of the house is something my daughter and I both look forward to. Instead, don’t feel like a failure if you don’t make it out everyday. My goal is to usually make it out twice a week and sometimes that doesn’t happen. Something else to remember is that little ones learn best through play and just exploring the world around them. I know moms who stress over flashcards or “teaching” their toddlers all their colors, numbers and letters. There will be plenty of time for that later. Instead, let them play and be silly and get silly with them! Whenever my daughter and I both get in a funk and are crabby with each other I know it’s time for a dance party. It never fails to help us both reset!
So, my advice? For all the moms, stay-at-home and working, who are trying to do it all and keep up with their perfect schedules, your kids don’t care. They just need you! So, cut yourself some slack, skip the schedules sometimes and just be present with your family. Whether you need to spend all day in your pajamas, snuggled up on the couch watching too many episodes of Daniel Tiger or skip the playdate for a special ice cream treat instead, just focus on making memories and I promise you won’t regret it.
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