Monday, October 26, 2009

the all day question

Our days are full but I don't always realize how much we actually do. Yesterday, I was thinking about the All Day question. The "So what do you do all day?" question posed to stay-at-home moms, sometimes paired with the comment, "I'd be so bored." My new friend Lina stays home with her son Brayden and she had a good answer. "What do you do with your kids on the weekends?" she said when another parent posed the All Day question. The other parent said they hang out with their kids. When Lina told me this conversation, she shrugged, "Well, that's what I do all day."

That and, well, a lot more. I made a list for myself, to see what I was actually doing all day. I made the list yesterday and maybe I lucked out there because today my head is stuffy and my throat is scratchy and all I really want is a nap. When I finished, I thought: There. Even if the wooden blocks are still scattered across the floor after Claire is in bed for the night, I can still know I did all of this.

When I decided to stay home, I set a few goals, primarily: 1. having the energy to really enjoy being a mom 2. living on a budget 3. cooking wisely and 4. writing a book. So let's check in on what I do All Day.

I enjoy being a mama. Sometimes I'm laying on my belly on the floor reading with Claire or sitting in front of the window talking about the trucks and people and birds we see, and I think: what am I forgetting? I should be doing something. And then I realize: I am.

I get my breaks when I need them (naptime!) and Justin is wonderful about helping out when he's around in the evenings and on weekends. Claire is a rather patient little person (most days) and we visit with other moms and kids most days during the week. We hired a nanny to come one morning a week to give me some time on my own (see other goals for the year) and also to give Claire a chance to interact with some of the other kids in the building - Francis takes her to go play at other apartments. I've decided to take a sub position for November and December and will really miss my mornings with Claire.

Budget is not yet blown out of the water. Setting up house from scratch is a hassle. We didn't bring much with us so we had to buy a lot. A lot a lot. We're still using the ugly plates the school gave us but I couldn't hack the cafeteria style dye-cut silverware. Last weekend we bought a duvet for our bed. We're holding out on buying plants. Green things, surprise surprise, are expensive in a desert. Groceries can also be expensive so this week and next I need to explore other stores and compare prices.

Cooking wisely. I like to cook and bake but I don't always plan very well. I'll buy a head of cauliflower for a ricotta nutmeg dish and think ick and let it sit in the produce bin for a week. Or two. So this year I am trying to use the food that I purchase, eat leftovers, and broaden my repertoire. In the space of one week, I made two new recipes: broccoli calzones and cauliflower linguine in a red cream sauce. I am also learning to bake bread. That's another post.

Writing a book while pretending one will just magically show up on my desk. In high school, I'd get up at four or five in the morning the day an essay was due and I'd hack it out on Dad's computer. I was pleased that I could procrastinate and still get an A. That worked not quite so well in college. I like to think that I've learned that any big project demands respect and preparation. Time. I am doing okay but not great on this goal. I have until the end of July 2010 to admire a neatly printed manuscript, but I need to develop better discipline if I don't want June 2010 to be frantic, haphazard creation.

So that's what I do all day. And then, some days, I throw good naptime intentions and mama/wife virtues out the window and play spider solitaire and listen to NPR for longer than is healthy or good.


DC Running Mama said...

Such a condescending question, I agree. It is amazing how quickly a day can fly by and you feel like you've gotten nothing accomplished, but you are comparing your day against a pre-baby day. I was just telling myself this weekend that I should be happy about the things I did strike off my "to do" list rather than lamenting all I didn't accomplish. So, are you going to let us read snippets of your book??

Natalie D said...

this was a great post - and i love the answer w/ the weekends.

Angela and David Kidd said...

It is an annoying question but honestly if someone asked me what I did all day at work, I'd have to scratch my head and really think about it. I'd probably be much more productive at home. I really respect the decision to stay at home. I swear every other day I think I should be staying at home.

I'm impressed with your "cooking wisely". This is something I'm trying to work on as well but I don't come up with nearly as tasty sounding new recipes.