Thriving

If any of you know my family, you know the kind of people we are. We’re involved, we’re busy, we’re always running from one thing to the other.

I grew up in this kind of whirlwhind environment (we call it the Gates Vortex…you can’t help but get sucked in!), so it’s just part of life. Meaning, I like down time, but not too much of it.

For example, two summers ago, I had a full time job, but it started early in the morning, so I was usually done by 4pm. Philip was working at the airport, meaning he had insane work shifts (i.e. 1pm to 12am, or 4am to 2pm). This left me with A LOT of alone/down time. That summer I nearly went insane. And watched a lot of stupid TV shows.

Right now my life is the complete opposite of that summer, and although it’s really busy, I love it. Busy schedules make me thrive. They help me schedule out my time better, they force me to get the laundry or cleaning or dinner-making done quickly and efficiently. I never thought I would be able to go to school full time and work full time, but here I am doing the impossible.

So here’s my question…what the heck am I going to do with myself when we have a baby and I quit my job and only go to one art class per week? What will I do with all my time?* What did you do? Or have you always longed for that down time so it was a dream come true?

*I’m talking first child only..I know multiple children will be busier.

  • It’s a huge adjustment for sure. The first few months are kind of a blur because you’re just so tired all of the time and then after that you just get used to it. Babies get on a schedule (3 naps, eating, etc.) so in between the time you’re taking care of them you get the housework done, the baby book updated, the dinner made, etc. Honestly, I actually read alot too (there is alot of sitting involved with a new baby). To me, reading keeps your mind active so that you don’t feel like you’re wasting time. I also spent alot of time reading to my first baby and talking to him/ playing with him – time that I just did not have with my daughter as she was not the first-born.
    But the best advice that I can give you when that time comes is not to worry about all the time that you may feel like you’re wasting. They are only small once and it goes by so fast (I know people always say that but it is so true!). Just take the time to love and enjoy everything about their babyness. Before you know it you’ll be just as busy as you are now (probably even busier) being a teacher, chauffeur, nurse, etc. Sometimes I now really miss those early days with my first born! (Sorry for the novel-length comment) Oh one more thing- keep connected with other stay at home mom friends or you’ll go crazy with loneliness! (Plan lots of playgroups)

  • I thought I liked having free time, because I was always busy before and wished for it. But now that I have it I don’t really like it. I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing as much as I used to. I don’t use my time as wisely. And with all this extra free time I actually think I’m getting less done most days because I’m not wise with my time. I hate it.

    I imagine having a baby you’ll be pretty busy and want to go do a lot of things with them. Plus they make more mess so the household chores would have to be done much more often. But what do I know!

  • Mary pretty much said it all. How true!

    Just remember to leave the dusting and whatever undone so that you give yourself time to paint.

    I read or worked crossword puzzles or did logic problems while nursing.

    I never worried about free time – always too much to do. Although I did get lonesome and longed for adult company that didn’t want to discuss babies, I was never really bored – too tired to start projects but not bored.

    Besides belonging to play groups, also see if someone will swap babysitting time with you. That is great way way of getting time to paint, get your hair cut, or go out to dinner with your husband.

  • I had a hard time with this at first, and it’s something I’m still constantly working on. I say for the first 2 weeks to a month, BE LAZY. You’ll be tired, and you won’t want to put the baby down, you’ll want to stare at and cuddle with him/her all day and you should! I loved the first few weeks because Jack was just so tiny and precious.

    Then, when it was time to be productive, it helped so much to make a list the night before of things I wanted to get done. Then give myself several days to get them done (you never know exactly how much time you’ll have!) Between baby’s feedings, baths, diaper changes, play time, and naps you pretty much live your life in 2-3 hour intervals. So don’t be disappointed if you don’t get EVERYTHING done in one day.

    And I know what you mean about stupid TV shows…I only allow myself one guilty pleasure…The Ellen Show haha…

    And lastly, it’s so nice to be home all day and be able to get the cooking/cleaning/errands done while Harrison is gone so that when he is home, we can just spend that time together, and not spend it doing chores.

    Ok, I’ll step down from my soapbox now.

    P.S. Is this post your way of making an announcement…?!

  • I’ll tell you all about it when you cross that bridge. For now, keep up the good work.

    ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • I never realized how much time a baby takes. Yes you do have more free time, but nearly as much as I thought I would! I went from teaching 30 3rd graders and writing lesson plans and putting together art projects to staying at home with 1 baby and Caleb gone all day. Before he came I talked to Caleb about being scared that I wouldn't have anything to do. But especially for the first while, it feels like you are feeding them, changing diapers, rocking them, & cuddling them for most of your day. Caleb would often times come home and ask me what I did and I was kind of embarrassed to say nothing but I shouldn't have even said nothing. It takes a lot of effort and time to take care of a baby! Plus since you are staying home with a child all the time, your house just naturally gets messy and chores come up more often so that takes up time as well. It surprised me how much more I had to clean when I started staying home. I should have realized before that when you are so busy and always gone, no one is there to mess up the house ๐Ÿ™‚ With all that being said, I did have to make sure and put things in my schedule whether it was play group or going shopping or whatever so that I felt that I did have some things to do. I also made sure to have some hobbies (mine was scrapbooking, yours is obviously art) so that I could do those things while he slept. All in all, it's just a different kind of busy that's hard to understand until you are emmersed (sp?) in it. Oh, and on a side note, make sure Phillip gets a chance to take the kid/kids for a whole day. That's when they really understand and empathize with you…and believe me, you need that empathy some days! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • I had the same problem. While I was busy- the girls did sleep a lot… and I was stuck at home! There was only so much laundry I could do before I close… and LOCK the laundry room. I got addicted to photoshop, something I could do at home- and sporadically. It’s hard to explain. Your whole world changes and you just gel with it. Let us know when you have a big announcement! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I’m not going to lie, I go insane the days I don’t work, but it’s different because I can take Lexi to work with me, which I love. Not that being a mom, and a wife isn’t busy as it is, but I feel like I still have plenty of free time to read, web surf, exercise…etc all the extra unnecessary fun stuff. I think you should just enjoy the time you will have with your baby, it’s really fulfilling to see them learn something that you taught them. Try to get together with friends if you are not working so your not just talking to your baby all day….but I’m not worried about you Merrick, cuz your amazing, you will figure it out!

  • I KNOW what you mean! I worked fifty hours, took 21 credits, got my montessori certification and now I have one kid- so I fill my time by starting my own business (my school) and writing- and honestly, I’ve never been busier- trust me- you’ll fill the time!

  • Even one baby is a huge time suck but, believe me, you will find all kinds of little projects to fill any down time. I took up crafting in a big way…maybe you’ll find yourself painting more or picking up haberdashery. Plus there’s play groups and reading time at the library and children’s museums…you can create your own little vortex without much effort. I seriously don’t know how I used to work full time..how did I get stuff done??