Sahm status

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

It's been three weeks now that I have changed my full-time job description to Mumma - as in Stay At Home Mumma.  It has been a slow adjustment as I have had a job since I was 16 years old; waitress, cashier, public safety receptionist, call center operator, teacher, nanny, independent consultant, project manager.

So after I closed my laptop for the last time on my last day (at approximately 11p - hah), I sat with Brandon on the couch and started fidgeting.  After working my whole life for a paycheck - I was worried about how I was going to personally measure my success as a sahm.

The payoff for great mothering comes in small, sporadic moments; when you hear your son say thank you to the waitress without a prompt, when your daughter follows a three step direction, when your kids say sorry and hug each other on their own after a fight.  More payoffs will come in the future with good grades, continued manners, and surprises in the form of maturity.

But, I was worried about the everyday, about feeling in my stomach that each singular day was a productive day for me.  That I wrote something (anything), that the kids experienced some sort of educational moment, that the house was clean, that dinner was ready, that the animals were cared for, that my husband felt loved, that I made time for myself.

Since I am a planner at heart, I knew that to prevent me finding myself hours later each day submersed in an L&O SVU marathon wondering where the time had gone - I was going to have to come up with a way to track my own productivity to the things that I wanted to be accomplishing each day.

I began the process by looking at things I wanted to accomplish (a) daily, (b) weekly, and (c) monthly/twice monthly.  I looked across the variety of categories that I was eager to work on (personal, practical, cleaning, educational, etc).  It sort of came together like this:  Daily:  dishes/dishwasher, kids' 'school,' compost, sweep, etc.  Weekly:  our laundry, kids' laundry, change sheets, meal plan.  Monthly:  dry cleaning, file & shred papers, clean the vacuum, upload pictures to Shutterfly, etc.

As an attempt at sanity while I was still working full-time, some of those weekly tasks already fell on a particular weekday - so those were easy to fill in.  For example, I was already washing our clothes on Mondays and the kids' clothes on Thursdays.  The top five daily tasks were dumped onto my "Daily Five" category that went at the top of every day and then I added in three days a week to make 'Real Breakfast' (ie. not frozen waffles or poptarts) and two days a week making dessert/treat.  

I also later added a "Personal five" that is still a lofty "time-for-myself' goal including reading, writing, meditating, washing & moisturizer for my face, and taking care of my cracked heels...I'm still working on each of those daily goals.

The Monthly tasks were sprinkled across the days sporadically - but I intentionally left my weekends pretty free for playtime, parties, traveling or special events.  

Since my kids are 3 and under, I labeled each day of the week with a subject (ie. Math, Art, ELA, Spanish, and Science) as a reminder to put together a small, simple activity for the kids.  Things like this and this.

Finally, I marked in where I wanted to be writing each weekday (blogs vs. Novel) and then I arrived at this which is hanging on the side of my fridge for easy reference:

Just like our Summer To Do List from last year - my Sahm schedule has been so helpful in keeping a easy-quick reminder that there are always things to be done.  Surely other women who are more focused than me can accomplish plenty without having a schedule, but this is what works for me when 4:30p rolls around and I don't feel like doing anything but plopping on the couch with the kids and calling it a day.

And no one, least of all Brandon, is asking for proof of my contributions to our family now that I'm a Sahm - well no one, but me.  And I love Sahms - like major.  And then when I got lucky enough to make this choice for our family - I was the one that struggled with the idea.  I hope I'm not the only one out there - but after a whole half of my life working, it seemed sort of a 'loss' of some kind.

And then a few days later it became obvious that there was no loss at all.  I could feel emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually - in all ways the gain and the serious business of work that comes with dedicating yourself as a Sahm.  For the past three weeks, I have actually been more tired AND more productive than I have been in a very long time.  So all of those initial fears and worries have completely melted away about deeming myself successful at staying at home.  My contributions to our family's quality of life have fully exceeded my initial concerns.

And this extra time has also offered up an opportunity to be more dedicated to a project we are working on (labeled as "BB" on the schedule) that I hope to share more news about in the upcoming months :)

Leaving my work was very bittersweet as I have made some true friends in my colleagues despite each of us working remotely, scattered across the nation.  I was so grateful to our final call on my last day in which my manager allowed time for my coworkers/friends to share a little memory of our time together.  It was very touching and so meaningful to me.  Such a lucky girl I have been to have had the chance to work with, learn from, and get to know each of you.  

And since my boss is the sweetest person on the planet (hi, Stacey!) she then announced to the team that since we couldn't have a proper farewell in a break room with cake, she had sent out surprise cake pops from Shari's Berries in honor of my last day.  

It was an emotional roller coaster to leave the world of working mumma (and to leave such amazing coworkers), but I have found myself firmly happy and so grateful to stay at home.

My new bosses are demanding, relentless, and occasionally down-right mean.  I get no extra pay for overtime (or any time actually), rarely get recognition for a job well done, and certainly no sick leave or vacation time.  But somehow it's been the best job I've had yet, and I imagine someday I'll look back and know that it was the best job I've ever been fortunate enough to have.


  1. Tab -- your "real" paycheck will come when you are just a little older and your son texts you to say he loves you and your daughter calls you just to see how you are feeling... AND they take the (not so subtle) hints about what you want for your birthday :-) I have my 5x7 notebook filled with lists for each day and, of course, my google calendar. Truthfully, I prefer the kind I can write on with a pen or pencil.

    I can't wait to see what you are going to do next!!


  2. Congrats on your new stay at home mom status- that is sooo exciting! I am happy for you!

    Cant wait to see what BB stands for!

    Enjoy your time with your beautiful babies!!

  3. I am so happy for you, but insanely jealous at the same time. I'm only 3 weeks into "working mom" mode and still struggling. I like being back at work but dislike sending my baby to daycare. I feel like I am missing out on so many wonderful moments that only a mom would appreciate. This post is about you, though! I think it is wonderful that you took this turn in life; enjoy it! (I also can't wait to find out what BB stands for!)

  4. You are SO inspiring! I am anxious to get my feet planted back in Alaska so I, too, can get a routine down for my family and start feeling productive again after a summer at large. I am so happy for you and grateful to have another sahm blogger friend to glean insights from.

  5. There you go, you got me crying again. Love your inspirational words always. I just quit my job July 31st to become a SAHM too, currently residing with my parents until we move to our new home in a different state. Everything you said hit home; the working from a very young age part, the anxiety of how my worth would be valued without a paycheck, you're crazy list/schedule making ways. You've got me excited, I can't wait to start a routine and mostly to own my SAHMhood. Best wishes to you on your journey, keep on inspiring :)

  6. How am I just reading this now?! Yay for the new SAHM status. And LOVE your schedule...I cannot live without my planner. Somedays I write silly things like "unload the dishwasher" just so I can check it off and feel accomplished :)