Monday, January 23, 2012

Permission to Play

One of the best parts about being a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) is that we get to go with the flow most days. It's incredibly freeing to not have a rigid schedule. It has allowed me to transition from what seemed like all-work-and-no-play to mostly-play-and-work-when-I-can.

One of the biggest lessons I have had to learn (and am still learning) is how to feel accomplished at the end of a day. Initially, this was really something I struggled with. I felt like I needed to be working non-stop, the same way I would if I were at my former job. I had tangible things that I did at work that were gratifying, such as completing an audit or reaching sales goals. And at the end of a work day, I could say "I completed this, this, this, and this." And well, being a SAHM isn't exactly that way every day.

I felt really awkward at first, like I needed to "report" what I had done to someone at the end of a day. Matt would come home from work and I'd say "Well, I vacuumed everything, did 2 loads of laundry, washed the dishes, and cleaned the bathroom mirrors." Or, if Molly had been more needy than usual and I didn't get much housework done, I felt the need to say "I know it looks like I only unloaded the dishwasher all day, but I've been busy with Molly..." I felt like I needed to apologize for not being a super duper amazing homemaker and mother.

But I didn't have an infant who depended on me every minute of every day when I was at the bank. I didn't change diapers while I was opening accounts or sing the ABCs in between having a conversation about bank fees with a customer. There's a reason why bankers don't also offer daycare services. And there's a reason why insurance agents don't watch children while they are writing policies. And why policemen don't have toddlers running around screaming at the station while they're trying to detain criminals. Because taking great care of a child is a full time job in itself. HELLO? LIGHTBULB! There is a very necessary reason why daycares exist. And why many parents may make the decision to stay at home and work with their children all day.

Watching Molly Ruth is incredibly gratifying and insanely fun. Don't get me wrong. But she demands my attention all of the time at this point in her life and that's ok. She's supposed to. If my only accomplishments in a particular day are that Molly Ruth laughed and played the entire day, made new babble sounds, and tried a new food, then that's a productive day. The laundry will be there tomorrow. I can dust night stands after she goes to bed. But I can't make her 10 months old again. This is what I'm learning.

So, in the spirit of embracing the day, we headed over to The Wenzler Household to have a play day one day last week. We spent all afternoon with "Aunt" Tiff, Etta, and baby Daniel. Etta tried to teach Molly how to high five:

Did anyone happen to notice my resemblance to Lieutenant Dan in those photos? As in, I look like a floating torso. I was squatting like a frog and you can barely see the edge of my legs. Pretty awkward.

Crawling over to Daniel...


Hi Daniel!

Showing her brother how much she loves him. Sweet!

Molly turned the baby stroller over and was banging on it and sort of just holding onto it. Etta patiently watched her and waited until Molly let go of the stroller to turn it right side up, as if to say "See? This is how it goes!"

Molly: "Wow Etta. You sure do know a lot of things."

After a half an hour or so, it was time for Etta's nap. So, Tiff was kind enough to pull out this awesome keyboard thing that MR really loved!

We had a great time and I look forward to many more play dates in the future.

I'm going to close with this little tidbit I saw the other day...

I hope my children
look back on today

And see a mother
who had time to play.

There will be years ahead
for cleaning and cooking

For children grow up
while we're not looking.

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