I'm a SAHM: And I'm an Important Part of My Family
So...I messed up! This is definitely not the first time I've said this, and as a mom, I'm sure I'll be saying it again and again over the next few years! So what did I do this time, you ask? Well, let me give you a little background on the situation. Ever since my little boy was just a few months old, my husband has worked pretty long hours and he has had a long commute. Because of this, he's had very little time at home with us in the evening before our son goes to bed. So I've always tried really hard to give my husband and son as much time as possible to spend together. And let's be honest, by the time he got home at night, I needed a break from being a mommy, even if that just meant I did dishes and straightened up the house for a few minutes.
It also doesn't help that, in the last couple of years, I've started working from home a little bit. And since it's hard to find time to work during the day without plugging my little boy into cartoons (something I HATE doing), my work is often left for the end of the day when my husband is home or my little boy is asleep. But I didn't really realize, until recently, that I've actually given them TOO much time alone. It's actually gotten to the point that when my husband walks through the door, he assumes almost complete responsibility for our little boy while I work on other projects and to-do list items. And ya know what? I don't really love it. Because, all of a sudden, I've created a situation where my husband and son have plenty of time to spend together in the evening. But family time, where all three of us snuggle up and enjoy an evening? That's seriously lacking. And then, when my husband goes back to work on Monday morning, my little boy is devastated. He goes from having so much time with Daddy to NO time with Daddy, as we wait allllllllll day for him to come home and spend a few minutes with us before bedtime. I also doubt my husband is 100 percent loving this situation either. As much as he loves spending time with our son, I would guess that it might be nice for him to have more downtime, even if that just means he works on other projects and to-do list items. So even though this started as a good thing, and came from a good place of me trying to help build a good relationship between my husband and our son, I overdid it (which I do fairly often), and it has become too much of a good thing. So now I'm trying to rebalance the way we spend time when my husband is home and make sure the three of us have time together, even if that means we're working on other projects and to-do list items together. Here are a few things I've thought of that I want to try:
Set the To-Do List Aside
I've noticed that most of the time, the reason I'm not sitting down to spend some quality time with my boys is my obsession with my to-do list. It's a serious problem. I know I've been told a million times to set my to-do list aside and focus on my little boy, but to be honest, that's really hard. Because people can tell you that your to-do list doesn't matter, but you know what? It also kinda does. Because when my little boy needs clean pajamas at bedtime, or breakfast when he wakes up, it's my job to make sure he has what he needs. But on the other hand, when I really sit down and look at the things I need to do, I realize that there are quite a few things that don't really need to happen...at least not right now when my husband is popping popcorn and my little boy is picking out a movie.
I've also realized that, sometimes, I need to let my husband and my son help me. For example, instead of sending them off to play as soon as we've finished eating dinner, we should all do the dishes together. My husband is always more than willing to do the dishes with me, and my son is old enough to help with dinner cleanup, too. But sometimes, I just want them to spend time together and have time to play for a little bit, so I volunteer to do all of the cleanup. But really, I'm not doing anybody a favor by doing this. I'm left feeling like a victim (even though I am the one who volunteered to do the dishes), my husband and I get less time together in the evening, and my little boy doesn't learn how to work and help with family chores. And if the three of us worked together, we could have the kitchen cleaned up in a fraction of the time it would take me to do it alone, and then we could all build a train track together.
Rearrange Your Day
I've also noticed that I often start my day by doing laundry, dishes, and other house chores we could all do together. Instead, I want to try to accomplish the tasks only I can complete (like my work), the things that absolutely have to be done today, or the things I need to give 100 percent of my attention to before my husband comes home at night. And then when we're all together in the evening, we can fold a load (or two) of laundry together while we watch a movie. Or we can choose to leave it for another day. But either way, I want to rearrange my day and reprioritize my to-do list so I am available to spend time with my boys in the evening.
These are just a couple ideas I'm going to try. I think if we make just a few small changes, we'll be able to quickly and easily get our little family back on track and be able to spend more quality time together. And hopefully soon, I'll be able to turn this mistake into a positive experience, as I learn how important it is to prioritize family time over the never-ending to-do list.