My Job As Mom

posted by Andrea | 10/7/2016
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job as mom

For the first 26 years of my life, if anyone would have asked me about being a stay-at-home-mom, I would have said, “no, I plan to continue working after having children.”

Even though my mom and Dave’s mom were both stay-at-home-moms when their children were little, I don’t think either Dave or I pictured me as a stay-at-home mom — at least not a FULL TIME stay-at-home-mom.

Then we had Nora and despite my best efforts to continue working outside the home, it only took about 6 months before I quit my part-time office job AND stopped doing all my in-home organizing so I could be home with her full time. I was thankful to still have my blog and VA work that I could do from home, but I honestly hated being “stuck at home” with her every day all day.

I knew life would be less stressful for Nora if I just stayed home with her (for those of you who haven’t read my old posts, Nora had lots of sensory issues as a baby. She refused to eat when I was gone and basically cried nonstop until I returned. There were days (already as a tiny baby) when she literally didn’t eat anything for 8 hours straight when I was gone. My sister and our parents were the only people able to deal with her excessive screaming and crying… so my decision to be home was for Nora, not really for myself).

I resented that I had to stay home, I hated the lack of structure and routine, I hated giving up my “dream job” working with organizing clients, I hated being stuck inside with a crying baby day after day, night after night, and I was jealous of all other moms who seemed to effortlessly mesh their career life and family life together without any major issues.

Being a stay-at-home mom was never my “dream job” — and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to start working with organizing clients again once the kids are all in school. But right now, at this point in my life, I do feel it is best for me to be home.

Yes, there are days I feel like I’m going to pull every hair out of my head by 7:30am, days when working outside the house sound like a dream, and days when I check the clock every 4 minutes to see how much longer it will be until Dave gets home. However, I can honestly say I never expected to enjoy being home with my kids as much as I do.

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Over the past few years, I have learned so much about “how to be a mom” — or at least “how to be the mom I want to be”.

One of the things I’ve learned is that in order for me to really enjoy being home with my kids, I have to treat motherhood like any other job outside the home, create my own structure and routine, and make my own plan.

I NEED a plan. I NEED routine. I NEED to feel productive.

Even though I don’t need to prepare for a meeting, finish a report, schedule an appointment, or drive to a client’s home every morning, there is A LOT I need to plan and prepare for my job as mom in order to save my sanity and feel like I’m not wasting away in my pj’s all day while my kids run around like crazy people (although this does happen on occasion!)

I certainly don’t plan our days by the minute… but by creating a basic daily routine and writing out a to-do list every day, we are ALLLLL a whole lot happier!

My Job as “Mom”

Prepping the night before: 

Just like anyone with a typical job, I spend a decent amount of time preparing for my day the night before to ensure things run smoothly, that I’m on-time, and that I don’t forget something important.

  • I check the weather forecast and pick out my clothing for the next day (I help Nora and Simon pick out their clothing before they go to bed).
  • I make sure backpacks and diaper bags are fully stocked and ready to go for whatever we have on the schedule that day.
  • I think through the morning’s activities and pack anything we might need in the car and/or stroller (packages to drop off at the post office, books to drop off at the library, goodies to bring to a neighbor, special project to bring to school, etc.)
  • If the weather is nasty, I plan a couple different crafts or indoor projects I can do with Nora and Simon.
  • I decide what we will have for breakfast and usually mix up some pancake batter, waffle batter, or oatmeal — and I make sure we have plenty of fruit cut up in the fridge.
  • I fill the kid’s snack containers, juice cups, and water bottles.
  • I look at my menu plan and pull any dinner items out of the freezer to defrost overnight.
  • Sometimes I even get lunch stuff ready if it’s something that can be made the night before.
  • I make a fairly detailed to-do list of anything I need to (and want to) accomplish the following day.

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During my “work day”:

Obviously, being a mom is a 24/7 job, but I consider my main “work day” from the time I wake up until Dave is home from school (usually around 3:30 pm). I don’t actually have a written schedule of what we will do at certain times of the day, but I do almost always try to have a variety of at-home activities planned for various points throughout the day.

  • I try to have at least one crafty activity planned every day. Many days, this is just some simple coloring pages, but if it’s a more involved craft or painting project, I try to get things ready the night before so they aren’t sitting at the table waiting for me to cut out tiny pieces or pull out 20 different supplies before they can start on their craft. (Here are some of our favorite non-messy crafts and activities)
  • I also try to do at least one “sensory type” of activity each day. This could be something as simple as playing in the sandbox or hauling out our gak. It might also be something extra fun like finger painting with shaving cream, or playing with big tubs of cheerios, rice, or beans in the kitchen (one of Simon’s FAVORITE things to do!)
  • We try to get outside at least once every day — but when the weather is nice, we’re often outside 3 or 4 times. We are fortunate to have a huge yard and an extremely long driveway, so we rarely need to leave our house to have an adventure outside. We do have a handful of parks close by, as well as a little nature center with hiking trails; and we will often walk or bike to many nearby stores, parks, schools, restaurants, and the library. Dave almost always takes the kids outside when he gets home from school too.
  • My kids still think cooking and cleaning with mom is VERY fun, so in an effort to multi-task and cross a few of my personal to-dos off my list, I usually have the kids “help” me bake something, make part of our dinner, and clean something — even if it’s just wiping the floors or baseboards with a damp cloth. It might not be up to my standards, but it’s better than nothing!
  • We watch a couple Netflix shows every day — usually for about 20 minutes after they wake up (while I get breakfast going) and 30 minutes before lunch so I can wrap up a few things and get lunch on the table. Nora usually gets to watch something “special” during the boys nap time. We usually read for 20 minutes, then she helps me make dinner, then she can either play by herself, color, work on any of her various “projects”, or watch a show while I change out the laundry, clean a bathroom, or work on a blog post for a bit.

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“Out of Office” Activities:

Although much of our days are spent at home, I do try to get out of the house at least once every day. We almost always do this after breakfast — mainly because this is when everyone is well-rested, well-fed, and relatively happy. Plus, we don’t have to work around any morning nappers anymore!

  • Nora gets out of the house for school 2 mornings a week and I take the boys to a free story hour program at the library one of those mornings.
  • We all go to Coffee Break at our church one morning
  • Our local Early Childhood Center offers 2 free play groups every month — and we can walk!
  • There is a local Music ‘n Motion group that meets weekly (with crafts and snack time after)
  • The kids love visiting their grandparents (or having the grandparents visit us) for a couple hours in the morning
  • Sometimes we’ll plan to go to friends’ or neighbors’ houses (or have them over to our house) for the morning
  • I usually run a couple errands with the kids one morning, and if I need to schedule any Doctor appointments, I ALWAYS schedule them before 11am.

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Punching out for the day:

While I don’t really ever get to “punch out” for the day, I do let out a big sigh of relief when Dave gets home from school (around 3:30) and again after the kids are tucked into bed (around 7:30).

I might not have to clean up my office before I leave, but I do pick up the entire house, make sure the kitchen is cleaned up, go through the mail, finish the laundry, and then get started on the list of things I do to ‘prep the night before’ (see list above).

I do this every day, Monday through Friday… and just like anyone working a typical job, I REALLY look forward to the weekends when Dave is home! 

I realize this whole “mom job” thing might sound completely ridiculous to some of you — and I’m sure it won’t work for everyone. But I KNOW there are other type-A, thrives-on-structure moms out there who can fully relate to my need for order and a sense of accomplishment each day.

Although I love being home with my kids, I do NOT love “sitting around all day” wondering what we should do next, what we’re going to eat, what we should wear, or when we’ll ever get anything accomplished.

By simply treating motherhood just like I would any other typical job, I have streamlined our schedule, created more order in our home, increased our efficiency, saved my sanity, and (hopefully) provided a fun, happy, nurturing environment for my children.

Too bad I can’t put that on my future resume!

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32 comments

  1. Miranda

    10/10/2016

    I love this post because it is motivational and also honest. Yes, some of us do feel “stuck at home” when we are there with the kids. That does not make us bad moms. I’m also inspired to create more daily structure for us. Great post. I’m a little jealous of everything that is walking distance from your home. Sounds awesome!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Miranda! And yes, one of the HUGE selling points of our house (besides the front porch and the big yard) was the fact that we are walking distance to so many things. We walk somewhere almost every single day — except when there is too much snow on the sidewalks!

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  2. Anne McCormick

    10/10/2016

    You are such an inspiration. I’ve been reading since before your daughter was born so this was especially fun to read as your life has changed and I’ve been able to follow along. Do you listen to the Daily Broadcast from Focus on the Family? This post would be a great feature IMO!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much for your long-time readership, Anne!
    I don’t listen to Focus on the Family — but I know just what you are talking about with the daily broadcasts 🙂

    [Reply]

  3. Jamie

    10/09/2016

    Such a great post! I read it the other day and then pondered a bit on it. Came back and reread it just now. I have been at home for 9 years. I used to be a teacher and started staying at home (because I wanted to be home with my son) when my first child was 2 years old. We kind of “fell” into homeschooling and I love it but I do miss working outside the home some days. We now have 4 kids and this year has been really hard for me. My littlest one was born in July 2015 and my oldest is in 6th grade. We also just moved a month ago. We have always been relaxed about our schedule. I work better with a routine than a schedule. This post just really got me thinking that my days might go more smoothly if I treated my day like a job. So I am starting tomorrow. 🙂 I have my to-do list ready and I will be setting my alarm to get up before the kiddos. Hopefully, my day will start off on a better foot and the day will go smoother….and I can enjoy being home again. Thanks for your post.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yay! I hope your day gets off to a good start and you feel a bit more productive.
    Also, I have a feeling that the new baby + moving + homeschooling is probably just a lot to handle in a short amount of time. Give yourself a break — you’re doing great!

    [Reply]

  4. Jennifer

    10/08/2016

    You are so good at expressing this type of perspective without going over the top. You seem like a balanced Type A. I am not a Type A and I am more of a feeler than a thinker. Though I don’t have that strong need to be productive, I do want to feel good about my “job” as mom and how we spend our days, and good planning and preparation makes everything smoother and more enjoyable. I follow a lot of these same principles, some due to your influence. Hmmm… Maybe you are turning me into a Type A.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jennifer! And I’m glad a little bit of my type-as is rubbing off on you 🙂

    Obviously, the world needs all types of different personalities — but I think everyone needs just a little bit of type-A in them, otherwise we’d never get anything accomplished or get anywhere on time!

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  5. Maria

    10/08/2016

    Oh, I almost forgot to add: organizing, planning, being creative, and being a team player are highly regarded skills that can be added to a resume.

    [Reply]

  6. Maria

    10/08/2016

    Love this post! I think you absolutely have your priorities straight. Being a Mom is the most important “job” in the world since you are raising a future generation who will hopefully be well-adjusted, caring and productive citizens. Also, since you are a SAHM, you have the ability to have a closer relationship with your children and be there when they really need you. Even though it would be great to have extra income that a career can bring in, you can’t put a price on having a wonderful, happy, and nurturing family life, which I believe will pay off in dividends.

    [Reply]

  7. Nikki

    10/07/2016

    Thank you!! For saying what’s in my head more eloquently than I could!! I’ve held a job all my life starting at 15 (technically 13 for babysitting), I never imagined i could afford or really wanted to be a SAHM. Some days I don’t know how I’ll make it to bed time but mostly I appreciate that my husband has a wonderful job that allows me to stay home with our kids (so we don’t have to pay outrageous daycare fees!)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    You’re welcome Nikki! Glad you are enjoying your time home with your kids! What a gift!

    [Reply]

  8. Chris

    10/07/2016

    Awesome post Andrea! I grew up in the 60’s-70’s and my mom was home all the time and didn’t drive! Women should be able to put being a stay at home mom on their resumes!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    wow — I still can’t even fathom not being able to drive or get anywhere with little kids at home!

    [Reply]

  9. Lydia Senn

    10/07/2016

    This post is awesome. I need more moms to tell me it’s okay to feel “stuck” sometimes and that doesn’t make me a bad mom.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    nope, definitely NOT a bad mom 🙂

    [Reply]

  10. susie

    10/07/2016

    I have a different personality then you but love these kinds of posts and have had to add structure to my days too. I enjoy spending time with my little ones, they sure are fun.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks susie 🙂

    [Reply]

  11. Pam

    10/07/2016

    Sure wish I would have read this before my daughter started school! When she was young and home all day, I struggled with being bored and then feeling guilty because not everyone can stay at home with their kids. I have learned to love keeping my house organized and relatively clean (thanks Andrea!), and would have been a more content person if I would have focused more back then on seeing my job (a very important one) as being a Mom and Homemaker and planning my day the same way I would when I was working.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I honestly think it has gotten easier as we’ve had more children — partially because I have more experience, but also because they entertain each other! There are some aspects of parenting that have gotten more challenging as we’ve grown our family, but the day-to-day childcare and entertainment aspect of my “job” actually seems easier to me (Nora is a good big sister!)
    All this to say, you potentially had a more challenging situation with one child that looked to you for all her interaction each day — you never got a break!

    [Reply]

  12. Olga

    10/07/2016

    Oh, my “favorite ” thing to talk about, my “job” as a mom. ☺
    I understand you, Andrea. (After all, I have same personality as you. ☺ )
    I gave up on a lot of things, my dream and my career in order to fulfill my husband’s wish and be the one who cares after our children. Paid people might be professional in babysitting and caregiving, but in the end they won’t be responsible for what kind of people will grow from the kids I brought in this world and suffered through 27 months of my life during pregnancies.
    So, I consider stay-at-home-mom more like act of investment and donation, of my time, money, strength, patience and love, with hope that one day I will get triple (for now:)) “reimbursement”. ☺

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I love this — thanks for sharing your perspective Olga!

    [Reply]

  13. Starla Kreider

    10/07/2016

    I love this concept. And while I don’t know you personally, I think you’re doing a great job as a Mom. And I don’t think your children feel how much you miss your former occupation, so to speak. You’ve just shifted roles within the company for a season. =)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Starla!
    And I guess I don’t necessarily “miss” my former life… I’m just excited to get back to it when the time is right (if that makes any sense at all!) I am enjoying where I’m at right now, but I’m also not dreading the day when my youngest goes to school and I’m “on my own” again 🙂

    [Reply]

  14. Mara

    10/07/2016

    Awesome post!!

    [Reply]

  15. Kristin

    10/07/2016

    It has taken me a very long time to realize that I need structure in my day to feel productive – otherwise I end up in a huge confused mess and nothing gets done and I am SO stressed. Yay for routine!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    amen… yay for routine!

    [Reply]

  16. Heidi

    10/07/2016

    I teach and my husband teaches and coaches high school football so he works around 90 hours a week this time of year. As a working mom with young school age kids, I literally CAN NOT imagine my life without structure. We are very conscious to not fill up our outside hours with things other than one or two church activities (and a lot of high school football). In fact, I finally gave in signed up my oldest daughter up for a few weeks of some rec sports and then had to go rearrange my meal plan before my panic over a possible lack of structure subsided. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    WOW!!! Dave used to coach 3 sports and I’m so thankful he no longer coaches — it was SOOOOO much extra work. You must be extremely organized 🙂

    [Reply]

  17. Ann

    10/07/2016

    Why can’t that go on a future resume? And all done while writing a blog and increasing your readership!

    [Reply]

    Nellie Reply:

    I totally agree!

    [Reply]

    Barb Reply:

    Yes, that was my first thought, too.

    [Reply]