Life as a stay at home mom wasn't what I expected. It's changed me. Well, I expected that. But it's changed me in a way I didn't think it would. It's changed my rhythm. I live to the beat of a different drum now. And I'm pretty sure it's an African drum.
Two months ago I woke up to an alarm, rushed to get ready, headed out the door no later than 7:10am. On my way to work I would sip coffee or juice and eat a muffin. I would get frustrated when the person in front of me was going anything less than 5mph over the speed limit. I daily cursed the fact that the way to work was a 2 lane road with no passing zones, the. entire. way. And it was "just my luck" when I got stuck behind a school bus, a dump truck, or a slow-poke that was brake happy. Once at work I rushed to clock in and get things ready for the day. The day whizzed by (though it didn't always feel like it) with a whir of schedule keeping - 8:15am, check morning work; 8:45, time for reading; 9:45, time for art - and a meeting for me while the kids were away- , 10:30 (already!) meetings just over and now I pick up my kids from art... etc. etc. When 3:00 struck I rushed out the classroom door and tried my hardest not to sprint to my car (ok, lets face it, I was 9 months pregnant there was no way I was sprinting, but you get the idea). Then on the way home I would snack on my granola bar and get frustrated at any slow poke that got in front of me - there's NO need to come to a complete stop to make a right turn people!! Yup, I was that kind of driver. After all, I had places to go... well, I wanted to get home anyway. Once I was home (if I didn't have a meeting or appointment after school) I would feed the cats before they started to attack and eat me, then I would set to figuring out what us grown ups would eat, pick up the house, clean the kitchen, make (or order late in the pregnancy) dinner, eat, sit down, watch TV, clean up dinner, head to bed the end. Gosh, just typing and thinking about all that makes me exhausted.
I'm glad that my rhythm has changed - I don't know how long my life-span would had it not, now that I look back!
These days my day looks a little different:
1am - wake up with O for the first time - feed, burp, feed some more, kiss goodnight, lay him back down, talk to God while I drift back to sleep
3:30ish - wake up for round two - feed, burp, diaper change, feed some more, kiss goodnight, lay him back down, talk to God while I drift back to sleep
6-7ish - Round three - feed, burp, diaper, feed. This time he gets to lay on the bed next to me for some snuggle time. We lay next to each other on our sides making faces, talking, gurgling and snuggling for about an hour or so until he drifts off to sleep. I lay there watching him sleep peacefully for a while before I, too, am back in dreamland.
9:30ish - Time to get up - I look over and see a big grin with a tongue poking out. Feed him, burp him, feed him some more. Tell him good morning sunshine and sing part of the 'you are my sunshine' song to him. Lay him down while I get glasses on and throw my hair in a pony. Time for a diaper change, and getting him dressed, all the while talking and cooing at each other. We make our way downstairs and he gets some swing time while momma eats breakfast and catches up on emails and such.
2pmish - He wakes up from his long morning nap in the swing, during which momma was able to shower, clean house and get other things done that needed doing. Time to eat for O again, then some alert time on my lap. We sing songs - his favorite is "itsy bitsy spider" - laugh, talk and make faces at each other.
3:00ish - He's getting sleepy again so I lay him on the couch cushion and lean down next to him for more snuggle time. I rub his back, talk softly to him and sing him a song or two while he drifts off to sleep. This is usually when I eat lunch if I didn't get a chance to during his long morning nap. I watch a TV show or two - the TV's been off up to this point and Pandora is usually playing in the background. Hubby calls to tell me his ETA, and I start thinking about what to make for dinner.
4-5ish - Peanut wakes up and eats dinner, then gets to hang out with papa while I make dinner for the grown ups. They talk and play together, and sometimes fall back asleep together.
6ish - Peanut gets more swing time while mom and dad eat dinner together. He usually falls asleep for an hour or two.
7:30ish - Time to wake up and eat some more, then bath time! Our night time routine is starting now.
8:30ish - Bath time with mom and dad, we sing and talk to him and he sits quietly in the tub while we wash him up. Pj's come next then story time in bed with momma. We read two or three books before saying our prayers and getting a kiss goodnight.
9:30ish - Owen is in his pack and play next to our bed, awake but sleepy enough that he should nod off soon. This will be the longest stretch of sleep he takes - usually 4-5 hours long, waking me up around 1am to eat again. Mom and dad talk about the day as he falls asleep. Dad stays up reading for a little while while mom lays down right away - those 4-5 hours are precious sleep time!
I love the rhythm our life is taking on right now. I love how much I talk to and hang out with God now. I love seeing our little boy grow, change and develop new skills every day. I love listening to worship music all day long. I love the overwhelming peace and joy I feel inside and out.
I know it will change, and I'm okay with that. Yea, we kind of follow a schedule, but it's a natural one, it's not forced. Yes, some days we will need to be somewhere by a certain time and things will change, but we will cope and adjust as needed. I'm just so in love with the relaxed nature of my days. I never, ever thought I would be okay staying at home with O. I thought for sure I'd get stir crazy and need to go back to work. But honestly, I have no desire. I could do this all the time. I like that my job is to care for our little one and keep the house clean. I like being on my top game when my husband gets home from work, rather than being tired and grumpy from a long day at work myself like I used to be.
I'm not sure what I'll be doing in the fall - if I'll go back to teaching, if I'll take a different kind of job, if I'll nanny for a couple kids in our home full time - but I like the season that I'm in right now, and I have this feeling deep down inside that God is preparing us for something... something more, something bigger than we can imagine. And I like that.
So here's to African Drums.