I haven’t always been a stay at home Mum. After my son was born in 2009 I returned to work part-time after my maternity leave. When my daughter was born in 2011 I did the same, working three days a week and using a combination of nursery and family childcare. I enjoyed my office based job, I’d been there for a few years and had a friendly group of colleagues, it was also generally easy to work my hours around childcare arrangements.
But then in November 2012, just four months after returning from maternity leave with my daughter, I was made redundant. As a family we made the decision that it made practical and financial sense for me to stay at home for a few years to look after the children, and so we took my daughter out of nursery. Now that my son is at school she goes to nursery for a couple of mornings a week to give me some much needed me time and a chance to concentrate on the small amount of income generated through my blog.
The redundancy came at a perfect time for us. I’m actually not sure how I would have managed to organise my work around school hours. We would certainly have had to pay for extra childcare, and school holidays would be very awkward to sort out. And I do love my new role. I’ve always tried to do a lot with the children, not necessarily taking them out all the time, but doing crafts, activities and baking at home and just spending time with them.
On a typical day with my daughter I alternate with my husband between a gym trip and dropping my son off at school. My daughter is generally fairly content in the early mornings so I’ll try and do a bit of housework and get some washing on. She loves being given a spray bottle and a duster, and as she approaches three it’s a lot easier to get things done around her. Then we’ll usually go to a toddler group – I have two that I attend regularly. It’s an opportunity for her to play in a different environment and for me to catch up with some of my Mum friends.
We come home for lunch, and then we have some time together. This can be a bit of a difficult time as she dropped her nap well before her second birthday, and she can be rather grumpy. I try to come up with a specific activity, even if it’s just pulling some toys out that she’s not played with for a while. Then we set off on the school run. The two children are so excited to see each other again after school. We usually walk home, sometimes we stop at the library or we meet up with a friend. If we don’t have anything planned with others then we do something quiet at home, perhaps a craft, or often my son is so tired that he just wants to sit and watch television.
I make dinner for us all to eat together when my husband gets home. This part of the day is particularly challenging, I usually end up trying to throw something together quickly while dealing with an impatient and screaming toddler. Then after dinner we do baths and bed. I spend quite a lot of time reading with my son before he goes to sleep, fortunately my husband is usually around to help with the bedtime routine. Then I can spend time with my husband, work on my blog or one of my other hobbies.
I do miss the social contact of work, although as time goes on I find it easier. I spend a lot of time on social media which compensates somewhat – there is always someone to talk to or ask advice from! Although I do meet up regularly with other Mums, it’s difficult to find time to chat without being interrupted, and of course our topics of conversation do tend to focus on our children!
I don’t see myself being a stay at home Mum forever, although as time passes I am finding the idea of going back to work more unappealing. Ideally I’d love to find flexible work that I could do from home, realistically I’ll be looking for another similar job to my old one when my daughter starts school, although unfortunately having been out of the workplace for so long I imagine that I’ll have to start near the bottom and work my way up again.
Are you a stay at home Mum? Do you have any experiences to share? I’d love to hear them!
Jennifer lives in Angmering with her husband and their two young children. She blogs about the things that they get up to at Jennifer’s Little World and shares activities for young children at Toddler Things.
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