Tuesday, June 7, 2011

home sweet home

I have a goal this summer. I want to stay home. You say, "But you're a stay-at-home mom! Staying home is in your job description!" Alas, I am the least stay-at-home of all stay-at-home moms.

I love my home. I love my children. I love entire days. Put those three things together, and it's my nightmare.

I can probably count on one hand the number of days that I have stayed home all day. I take my children out, somewhere, every day. The grocery store, the other grocery store, the library, the park. Sometimes, we just drive down the street to the coffee shop.Sometimes, we just drive.

At some point, in the middle of the messes and babbling and screaming matches, I feel the overwhelming need to escape. I feel like I have three options: put the kids on the curb (free to a good home only, of course), lock them in their rooms with hamster feeders, or pack them into the car and go somewhere.

Now, there's nothing necessarily wrong with this habit, but it's been impressed on my spirit that I need to make some changes. We need to spend more time at home, period. I need to create a routine and a rhythm that uses more of the hours in our day in better ways. We need a less frantic pace. I need way less time listening to whiny, fussy, bickering children who are whiny, fussy, and bickering because their trapped in their car seats for too long.

Last night, I made the mistake of sharing this with my Bible study girls. I say mistake, because once it's out there, these women will hold me accountable to it. Darn them. So today, I devoted myself to trying it out, this stay-at-home thing.

Well, it's 3:49, and I'm freaking exhausted.

In the hours between Eli's 6:15 rise-and-shine (curse you, summer sunrise!) and when I plopped them into their beds for naptime, we did art projects, baked a pie, played in the backyard, put together our train set, and played the world's most frustrating game of Memory. Doesn't sound like much to you? Factor in the messes - my children get into EVERYTHING. Lucas is a champion dumper of all things in boxes. Add to that the 87,000 arguments that my children get into in the course of a day. Add to that the cacophony of wooden spoons on pots (net loss: 3 wooden spoons). And on top of it all, I actually managed to squeeze in a few chores. And I blogged! And I didn't escape. Okay, I escaped once, first thing, to get some coffee, but that barely counts. A girl needs her drug.

But here's what I loved about today: My kids were happier. We've been dealing with a lot of whiny, grumpy attitude from Eli lately, and so much bickering between the boys. Today was better. Our pace was slower, so I felt like I could actually stop what I was doing and give them the attention they needed in the moment. And it helped!

I certainly don't plan to stay home all day, every day. It's summer, after all! There are parks to be played at! And there are errands that simply must be run. But I'm going to try, really try, to build the rhythm of our days around what we can find to do in our very own little home. And who knows? Kid #2 might actually get potty-trained before kindergarten!

Wish me luck!