10 Things I Hope I’ll Do When I’m a Stay-at-Home Mom

Note the key word here is “hope.” I don’t have any delusions that it’s going to be easy to trade in my heels for flip flops every day. I know better than to assume I’ll be eating bonbons and watching the Days of Our Lives (is that still on?) while the baby naps peacefully. I do have a few wish-list items, however, that I hope I can accomplish once I’m not so focused on the office and merely trying to survive each day. I want to check back in on this post about six months after I quit and see if I’ve made any progress! Let me know if I’m way off base here, or if you think that these are manageable!

1. Cook dinner 4-5 nights a week. Right now dinner is a free-for-all at our house. Our nanny gets Bruce fed at 5 PM, and by the time Dean and/or I are home by 6, it’s a rush of bath time, stories, and snuggling. Once the little guy is down around 7ish, we tend to look at each other and go, now what? If we had the luxury of meal planning and shopping over the weekend, we generally have something we can throw together (and Dean is a lights-out awesome cook who takes over most nights), but I am ashamed of how many nights I’ve had cereal while staring at the TV in a stupor. It kills me that I don’t have a meal on the table every night for my family, and I hope with a little more time (realizing a trip to the store with a toddler is an event), I can feel like I’m taking care of both of my boys a little better.

2. Watch my kid grow a little more. This is obviously a major reason why I’m quitting my job. This week I had several days where I came home and Bruce seemed taller, he had more hair, and he had five new words. What happened in the 10 hours I’ve been gone? Where is my baby?! I don’t want to be gone so much that I can feel like he’s changed since I left. I want to be there for EVERYTHING.

3. Organize the house. I’m a Type A person, which is obvious because I just identified myself as one (ever notice how no one ever says “I’m Type B”?). Clutter gives me anxiety, and since having a baby, our house has slowly disintegrated into an episode of Hoarders. My summer/spring clothes are all still prominently displayed in my closet (surrounded by piles of fall clothes on the floor that I have no where to hang), and our computer is a nightmare of uncategorized photos (see Hope #10). There are piles of items (more Dean’s than mine) that are scattered throughout the house, and we have an “office” that features more piles of wine, files, books, tools, electronic equipment, you name it. We have a lot of piles, and I desperately need to organize so I can save the wine. A clutter-free house with everything in its place, plus ready-available wine? Type A girl is now anxiety free (ok, I’ll never be anxiety free, but it’s a start).

4. Decorate for holidays. Last December I was mortified when our nanny politely asked us if we celebrated Christmas. I exclaimed “of course!” and she responded, “oh ok, I wasn’t sure because you didn’t have a tree or any decorations.” Admittedly we have been out of town for every Christmas we’ve been married, and before that I just hung at my parents house and didn’t feel the need to go overboard at my place, but I was still so embarrassed.  I am, after all, in my 30’s, married and with a baby. I really should get it together. Whenever I’m at people’s houses with immaculate decorations I always wonder, “how the heck do they pull this off? Where do they find the time?” Time for me to find the time.

5. Make some new friends. I am a little embarrassed for admitting this, but my social life has dwindled in recent years. My besties for the most part live scattered around the country, most of our couple friends have moved away, and my local friends all seem to be at different points in their lives (single, still going out, looking hot, multiple nights a week). With demanding careers and a baby, Dean and I barely have time to focus on each other, let alone a wider social network, and I would really enjoy the opportunity to bond with some like-minded women over playdates and afternoon happy hours at home (a good use of that wine I’ll uncover while achieving Hope #3).

6. Lose some weight. Ok, you’re probably all rolling your eyes at this one. I am too. I am a formerly athletic person, have run a marathon, and like to consider myself in good shape. Since Bruce has shown up, I find taking time for myself, let alone enough time to work out, is next to impossible. Plus I hate feeling like I’m wasting time that I could be spending with Bruce or Dean, so I try to keep any working out to ridiculously early in the morning or after Bruce goes to bed, neither of which has stuck in the past 17 months that Bruce has been around. As a result, I feel pudgy, I’m still rocking a soft post-baby midsection, and I’m starting to notice that my metabolism in my mid-30’s is not what it was only a couple of years ago. While I have the luxury of being able to quit my job financially, I certainly don’t have the luxury of maintaining childcare while I’m not working, so it’s not like I’m going to have any more time to work out once I quit than I do now. But I’m hoping I can take advantage of the occasional workout video while Bruce naps, daily walks to the park, and eating a little bit better thanks to Hope #1, all of which will contribute to my overall well-being, and optimistically help me shed a few pounds.

7. Enjoy weekends more. Our weekends now consist of both Dean and I trying to recover from the busy week (sleep, have some “me” time), making the obligatory runs to the grocery store, dry cleaners, post office, etc., and trying to spend quality time with Bruce so that he doesn’t love our nanny more than us. Oh, and trying to focus on each other and keeping the romance alive (I knew I forgot something)! What typically happens on the weekend is that we spend quality time with Bruce, loving every second of it, and everything else just doesn’t get done, which usually leads to a mad scramble Sunday evening and mutual annoyance. Once I quit I hope that I can take care of a lot of the errands during the week with Bruce and be generally more relaxed on the weekends and able to enjoy my time with both of my guys.

8. Reinvent “me” time. Me time now is time spent at my office, and it’s part of why I love my job. To ensure I don’t go crazy once i quit, I know I need something for myself that I can be proud of and have some solo time for. Right now I’m thinking it’s this blog, but I also have some ideas on how to stay engaged professionally that might be a good option too. Time will tell with this one.

9. Potty-train my son. This is something I assumed my nanny would take charge of, but I’m increasingly realizing that this is going to fall to me. Terrified. Anyone have any good books (or blogs) I should read on this topic? No idea where to begin.

10. Document. We have an obscene amount of photo and video files on our computer.  What’s crazy is that I don’t think I take the time to capture Bruce enough, especially now that he’s getting older. He seems to say something new every day, and I don’t think I have half of his new words on film, nor have I taken any good pics recently. I really hope as part of Hope #3, I can focus on not only organizing our media library, but also consolidating and compiling it into useful media.

11. Spend more quality time with Dean. I realize this is a top 10 list, but this one is just too important (perhaps the most important) to leave off. I love my husband. He’s amazing and our relationship is something I depend on and think about every day. But even the best of relationships need maintenance, and when you’re sidelined with a baby and two stressful careers it can be very difficult to connect. I hope that by quitting my job and being able to focus more on Bruce and keeping our house in some level of order during the day, I can truly enjoy my husband at night. It might be tough, particularly after I’ve been stressed out due to Bruce’s tantrums all day and I’m wondering why I quit my job and jealous that Dean has his career, but staying connected and loving with Dean is truly something that I strive for, and a major motivation for quitting. I’m lost without my guy.

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