I'm now in my third week of being a stay-at-home mom. I've been mulling over this post for a while now, trying to figure out just exactly how our life has changed in these past three weeks. I'm still not sure. One thing I will say though, I certainly have more peace. Not having work constantly in the back of my mind has been a huge stress relief. I didn't even realize how much it was weighing on me until it was gone. Of course, it didn't happen all at once. Although technically my last day of work was a Friday, I ended up working on a report over the weekend that I emailed out on Sunday night. And then suddenly on Monday, when my boss had a few questions about the report, I found myself cut off from my computer and email account, which brought on a frantic set of emails, calls, and texts until things were sorted out. And then another co-worker called with a question. And my boss texted me a few times about another possible job opening that didn't pan out. Ironically, my first day not working felt very much like a regular work day. But by the end of the day things quieted down. It's been silent ever since. I've finally stopped checking my phone every few minutes. I no longer turn my computer on first thing in the morning. And I can sit down to read my book without worrying that I didn't clean off my task list. Yes, life is certainly more relaxed.
Well, as relaxed as it gets with three little ones. I was all set to dedicate my first day off the job to my kids - the park, a walk, lots of books ... and then our small group leader called to say her son was sick and could we have small group at our house that night? So I ended up spending the entire day cleaning my house, making apple pies, and paying very little attention to my children.
So I decided we'd do something fun the next day. I drove us all down to the consignment store (20 minutes away). I even packed a lunch for the kids. We pulled into the parking lot, my excited children jumped out of the car, and then I realized I had forgotten my wallet. I had grabbed coats, lunches, drinks, toys, the boys' favorite music... But somehow neglected to grab my purse. So then I had to explain to the kids that we were only window shopping and after a quick swing through the store in which I pretended I couldn't find what I was looking for, I lured them back to the car with promises of a trip to Target. (This wasn't all a get-of-the-house-ploy, we were actually looking for sneakers for Julia.) So we turned around, headed home to get my purse and then back out on the road where we got sidetracked by Goodwill. We love Goodwill. We don't love that they don't have restrooms. My kids enjoy playing in the toy section so much that they will neglect to tell me they have to go potty... until it's too late. So we had one accident in the thrift store. Or so I thought. Later I got home and realized one of my children had had another accident, of the more stinky variety, but rather then tell me or do something about it, he chose to play for another hour before I finally realized something didn't smell right.
We took care of that, and since I was in the cleaning mood, I decided to tear apart Julia's carseat which she had smeared with her lunch that afternoon. While I'm working out buckles and straps she wonders off towards the steps and soon I hear that heart-stopping "thump thump smack ... scream!" Now, she had just fallen down the steps a few days earlier and was fine. Thankfully we only have 6 steps in our split-level. But this time was different. She was really screaming. And there was a little blood in her nose. And 20 minutes later I still couldn't get her calmed down. I couldn't tell if she was really in pain or just really tired. Eventually, after some rocking and nursing, she fell asleep in my arms and I laid her in the crib to keep a close eye on her over the next few hours.
When she woke up it was clear she was going to get a black eye. Her nose was also a little swollen too. In fact, she couldn't breathe out of it. And when she tried, it made this strange clicking sound. I noticed all this while she was lying on the changing table and I suddenly felt queasy. Then the room started to spin and the corners of my eyes grew dark. I'm not typically a weak person, I don't get sick too easily, I practically delivered my own baby for goodness sake. So I don't know what was going on. All I know is that I was certain shes had broken her nose and it was all my fault. It was a horrible feeling. I kept one hand on my half-naked baby, still lying on the changing table, and crouched down on my knees until it passed, meanwhile Jude is standing next to me trying to pass off another one of his boogers.
Anyway, to make a long story short I did call the nurse (as well as a few other people) who reassured me she thought Julia was fine. She had her 1 year check-up the following morning and the doctor confirmed her face was just a little bruised and swollen and nothing was broken. I thought for sure she'd be black and blue for her birthday pictures but surprisingly it cleared up within a day. Babies really are so very resilient.
We did put a baby gate up but Julia hasn't attempted the stairs since then. And she now has two watchful older brothers that keep me apprised of her every move.
So yeah, so peaceful around here. And when I'm not taking kids to doctors appointments (we've had 3 in 3 weeks) we're taking cars to "car doctors" (what my boys call the mechanics). We had two cars in the shop at the same time last week, and had to get a rental so Jon could get to work. Which meant lots of driving, driving, driving. Picking up, dropping off ... and picking up and dropping off. My kids were so sick of being in the car by the end of the week. Because there are errands too. Now that I actually have time to run them they've seemed to multiply - Groceries, Target, CVS, the library, birthday gift shopping (we have 5 birthdays in the family in October), MOPs at church...
In other words, I'm still waiting for life to settle down. For that opportunity to really get organized. To fully delve into homemaking. It's going to happen, right? Nearly three weeks in, and I'm still waiting for it.