Reminiscing on the "easy" days...

Shaunte - posted on 10/02/2013 ( 1 mom has responded )

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Who knew that the days of Reece learning how to crawl...then walk...then eat table food...and then eventually talking would be my "easy" days. And as she slowly approaches four years old, I often daydream and pull up old photos and videos of what seems like, looking back, as the "easy" days.

Yesterday I was so exhausted when I got off of work but felt like I had, literally, a laundry list of things to do. But everyday of the week, it seems that way. Here's what the day included:

Woke up at 6:30am to get ready for work and prepare Reece's lunch for school.
Drop Reece off at her preschool at 7:40am.
Arrive at work at 8am.
During my lunch break, stop at the grocery store to pick up some items for my mango salsa.
Get off work at 4:30pm and go back to the grocery store because I forgot to pick up "cilantro."
Arrive at home at 4:50pm and wash dishes that I left in the sink while loading the washing machine with 1 of 4 loads of laundry.
By 5:20pm, begin cutting up vegetables for dinner, switching out clothes from the dryer, and drinking another cup of coffe.e
Uh oh, it's 5:40pm, I need to go pick up Reece from daycare by 6pm.
Arrive at home at 6:20pm and continue working on dinner, and stop to transfer clothes from washing machine to the dryer, tell Reece to occupy herself with her toys, and turn on the Disney channel on TV.
Around 7pm, the landlord finally sends over someone to fix my garbage disposal. It takes him 40 minutes to finish. Dinner still isn't done.
At 7:50pm, warm Reece up leftovers from the previous night while I continue folding clothes and getting back to what I had originally planned for dinner. "Oh well, we will eat it tomorrow night."
By 8pm, give Reece her bath and put on her pajamas. Mommy still hasn't eaten dinner.
8:30pm: Read Reece her story, she said her prayers, and I kiss her goodnight.
By 9pm, I finally eat dinner... oh, and still doing laundry. And while I'm at it, let me mop the living room and dining room.
I get ready for bed, look at the clock and it's 11:30pm.

I say all of this to say that at some point, something in me felt guilty for telling my child to "occupy herself with her toys and direct her to watch the Disney channel." I remember proclaiming that my child wouldn't be stuck in front of a TV and I would stimulate her with doing various activities so that television wasn't her "go-too."

During the "easy" days, I was a stay at home mom. I lived off of $2,370 a month and had Reece in Gymboree Play and Learn classes from 5 1/2 months old to 1 1/2 years old. We went almost everyday. She had her normal age appropriate class a couple of times a week as well as a music class. And then in the evenings, they had free play time. I wanted to make sure she was socialized and had no issues developing. I enjoyed being the mom I would see in movies or on tv shows. I wanted to do things differently. I fed her organic baby food, we went to story time at the library, we took 5 mile walks...anything to do where we didn't just sit in front of a tv. We went to museums, parks, zoos, any and everything to stimulate her mind. I even had her in gymnastics at 1 years old. My daughter would go to the Exploratorium in San Francisco every 1st Wednesday of the month in the summer. It was free those days.

I remember friends saying "You are doing such a good job but don't get burned out...she's only ____ months old." And back in those days, I had all of the energy in the world and was doing what I had set out to do in raising Reece.

And now there's a part of me that feels guilty because truly...Mommy is tired. And as Reece continues to grow and develop, I don't want her routine to be "Go occupy yourself and turn on the Disney channel." As I speak now, I'm reinvigorated to be the mom that I set out to be. Get Reece into activities again. Dance class and possibly karate. Take those trips and think of new and exciting ways to explore and introduce her to things that she may not have seen. To do so, it also requires Mommy to take care of herself and be healthy: Physically, Mentally, Spiritually, and Emotionally.

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Stephanie - posted on 10/02/2013

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Don't you think she spends enough time away from home and away from you without dance and karate? She is four years old and spends almost 12 hours away from home Monday through Friday? A great way to enrich her would be to bring her with you to the store and have her help you with laundry and dinner instead of leaving her in daycare for the extra few hours. Maybe she would like to have one on one time with you instead of extra-curricular activities to occupy her. There doesn't have to be big trips anywhere if you are spending time together and teaching her how to be.
Stop focusing so much on making a great salsa and do with what you have. Or maybe just make one shopping trip per week.

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