The importance of nurturing our children is something that is intangible; their education, manners, work ethic, and personalities are shaped by the ways in which we interact with them. This, however, does not change the cringing feeling I get the hundredth time I hear “MAMA” and it makes me wonder just how much more of the never-ending tasks, endless cleaning, and constant nagging I can take. I am very new to the stay-at-home mom status, my journey started about a month ago; at eight months pregnant the journey has not been an easy one with my three year old especially since we moved away from our support system in Savannah and into the solitude of Phenix City. I have spent hours researching things to do and ways to make life easier and am excited to share some of the interesting things we’ve found.
Baby J and I seem to have established a schedule that gets us out of the house and into society at least three times during the week. We absolutely LOVE our library and the librarians there! On Tuesdays we go to Movie Night (as long as it is age appropriate). Wednesdays we have Story Hour where we have stories read to us, dance, create a craft, and even enjoy a snack with some of our new friends. Fridays we go to Toddler Tales and enjoy books and dancing. The library has sprinkled in a number of fun activities throughout the summer that keep us occupied on other days but Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays are normally a year round schedule for us! Libraries are a great resource for younger children who don’t necessarily have the motor skills or patience for some of the more interesting events (i.e. The Home Depot has free make and takes, AC Moore has $2 crafts – check your local stores to make sure they are participating). If your library isn’t as active as ours is, Barnes and Nobles often has Store Events that you can bring your children to (check your stores listings here).
We are really lucky to have a number of parks and recreation centers that we have access to; since we live in Alabama they all have pools or splash pads, which makes it really convenient for parents to bring their kids. We try to go to a park or a pool at least once a week. We also have a sprinkler that we hook up on the weekends when we are just trying to relax. Baby J loves water so it keeps us occupied for a good amount of time. We make sure to bring plenty of liquids and snacks so we can spend as much time as possible enjoying the outdoors.
I suck at winging meals. I have come up with a system that allows me to have preset meals to pick from. If you need help coming up with your own system refer to The Battle of the Kitchen for some ideas on how to simplify your grocery shopping trips and ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. I normally pick what I’m going to cook the night before so that I can ensure that everything I need is thawed out and ready to go.
While picking up toys is an endless task, laundry seems to never end, and the floors look like they haven’t been cleaned in weeks when you did them yesterday there needs to be moderation. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday are normally the days I get most of my cleaning done since I am home in the mornings. I try to get the bathrooms cleaned on Mondays, the bedrooms and living room cleaned on Tuesdays, and keep Thursdays for some of the more tedious deep cleaning tasks that I notice throughout the week. I throw laundry in whenever I have a minute and aim to get the beds made first thing in the morning and the kitchen cleaned every night after I am through making dinner. I pick up toys as I go. My house is by no means perfect or as beautiful as it was when I didn’t have a three year old to chase around but I do get to spend some quality time with my Baby J. We spend time cuddling, watching TV, reading the books we picked up from the library, and enjoying our time with some of our new friends.
I try to do all the grocery shopping on the weekends, bringing a three year old to the grocery store (no matter how organized you are) tends to be a nightmare. Its an added bonus when I can hand my husband half the list while I tackle the other half; other than that I try to keep my weekends open for fun time with my family. Whether we go to the farmers market, the flea market, or a park it’s a blast to be able to spend time together as a family. I use the weekends to catch up on whatever tasks I didn’t get done during the week.
It’s important to be flexible, parenting can’t be scheduled. The importance of being there when your kids need you is something we need to keep in mind, the dishes will still be there after the tickle fight, dinner won’t taste too bad an hour after you’d originally planned, the laundry can live in the laundry room—your kids will only be kids for a short time.