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SAHM: Oh the pace of life!

So now that I’m about 3.5 months into this new phase of life as a stay-at-home mom, I have some random thoughts.  What I don’t have, however, is the mental energy to document them all in lovely paragraphs with pretty words and cute pinterest-friendly graphics.

But I still want to share my thoughts. Mostly for myself.  Because it’s good to reflect on life and ask yourself how it’s going.

The thing that I’m loving about life right now is the pace.  It is WAYYYY less stressful being a stay-at-home mom. (For me.  Right now.  You might be a different story, but this is my story at this time).

Our daily schedule is pretty uncommitted.  3 afternoons a week, one of the boys has pre-school. Once a week, I have a morning Bible Study, but that’s optional.  Two other times a month, I attend (or will attend) MOPS.  That’s also optional.  It’s heavenly.

There’s no rush to get the boys up and ready in the morning.

There’s no rush to fit in 40 hours of work during the typical 9-to-5 workweek.

There’s no rush to get to the daycare to pick up the 3 boys.

There’s no rush to get the needed information from their daycare teachers on how their days went.

There’s no rush to get home and get dinner on the table before HANGRY hits the family.

There’s no rush to get them into bed ASAP because 6:00 a.m. comes early.

The boys still go to bed by 7:00 p.m. (except the baby – he’s a little more loose with his bedtime).  But they wake up when they want to.  They get dressed as our schedule dictates.  If someone needs extra time to sleep, they can have it.  If someone needs an extra or an early nap, they can have it.  If someone needs some dedicated potty training time, they can have it.  If I want to cook a meal that takes just 4 hours in the crockpot, no problem.

The pace of life is just so nice.

Looks like Quadruplets

Now that I’m a stay-at-home mom, I attend a women’s Bible Study on Tuesday mornings.  They have childcare, so the boys go with me.  In typical ‘Jayme is out in public with 4 boys’ fashion, I always use my double stroller for the 2 youngest and Finn and Stephen are learning to walk by the side of the stroller.

I had just picked up 3 of the boys, heading to the 4th boy’s classroom when I passed 3 other women in the hall.  After I passed them, I heard one of the gals say “That woman [me] that we just passed has 4 boys really close together and they’re all CLONES of each other!”.  I chuckled because it’s kind of true.

Now I’ve never been very good at the “he’s got your eyes!” game that people play with babies, but I have thought that Finn and Stephen looked alike as babies.  But then Sam looked different when he was born, so I thought we broke the clone machine.

Then Benjamin was born and looked like Sam.  But as each week goes by, I really think they’re all starting to look alike.  They’re personalities are different, but I think we definitely have a specific look going for us.

Here are pictures of them all at 13 weeks old:

kids_week13

 

Benjamin – 3 months old!

Benjamin is 3 months old!  He’s either my easiest baby so far or I’m just way more practiced at this than I have been before.

Since this is my 4th child, I’m aware all the more of how quickly this all goes.  He’s already outgrown the whole “I just want to curl into a little ball and constantly sleep on your chest” stage.  He’s well into the “I guess I’ll drink this bottle if I must, but really, can’t I practice my smiling skills with you?” phase.

Then I turn and look at his oldest brother Finn — starting pre-school and memorizing Bible verses through Awana.  And his second oldest brother, who tells EVERYONE “I’m Stephen.  I potty training.”.  And then Samuel who has discovered how much fun running can be.  I can visibly seeing Ben growing up before my eyes.

Sigh…

His scrapbook page:

month3

A recent picture:

ben3months

First Day of Preschool!

It’s Finn’s first day of preschool today!

I did the obligatory first-day-of-school pictures last night since Jeff was home and then I wouldn’t need to be rushed.  Besides, it was the night of his Preschool Open House, so maybe that really is the first day of pre-school?

As usual, Finn stayed perfectly still while I took his picture:

first-day-of-school-all-smaller

 

Here are my favorites:

finnfirstdaycollage

Man, for a stay-at-home mom, I sure do get out a lot.  Okay, not really a lot.  But more than I thought I would.  When I was picturing this stay-at-home mom thing of 4 kids, I thought I’d, you know, STAY at home all day.  That the hassle of getting 4 kids out the door would be enough for me to just stay put.

But that isn’t really panning out that way.  After all, you can go kind of stir crazy if you don’t get out.

And it’s hard to train kids how to act in public if YOU NEVER TAKE THEM OUT INTO PUBLIC.  So we’ve been going to the library 2-3 times a week.  The grocery store once or twice a week.  (But always short trips – no need to tempt fate!).  We’ve met Grammy and Papa for lunch at Chic-Fil-A a few times.  I’ve taken all 4 to the pediatrician’s office twice.

And now that fall is here, new opportunities to go out are presenting themselves.  I’ve started attending a Bible study on Tuesday mornings at my church.  And in a couple of weeks, I’ll be attending a MOPS group twice a month at my church.  And this week, Finn starts pre-school three afternoons/week.

That gives us plenty of chances to be up and about.  I’m definitely getting more comfortable with it.  My kids thrive on routine and knowing what to expect (I think most kids do), so these ventures out were very rocky at first, but have gotten much better.  There’s still definite room for improvement, but we’re doing well!

Benjamin: 2 months old!

(Wow…I’ve become a once-a-month blogger, eh?  Yikes!)

I’m late on this post by quite a bit — we had his 2-month well baby visit this week, so I waited to get stats from that!

I gotta tell ya: He’s probably my ‘easiest’ baby so far.  I don’t know if that’s just because I’m more experienced.  Or because I’m a stay-at-home mom now (and have the luxury of time).  Or because he really is just that easy.  But I’ll take it!

His scrapbook page:

month2

A recent photo:

(or two!)

Ben2Months

Training them kiddos

One of the major things that made me realize that I needed to become a stay-at-home mom is the behavior of my oldest 2.  (They’re 2.5 and 4.)  It just hit me one day that they had traits and behaviors that I wanted addressed and I was the best one to do it.

Kids of all ages need their moms – I’m not discounting the mother/child connection at all.  But I think that in the beginning of a child’s life, mom is mostly there to keep the child alive and thriving.  Meet their emotional needs?  Yes, of course.  For sure.

But as the child gets older, it’s less about meeting physical needs and more about training them.  Shaping their behavior.  Socializing them.  Helping to root out negative tendencies like selfishness, temper tantrums, and outbursts.

I was facing an uphill battle when it came to that.  I haven’t been diligent in the small stuff when they were younger and it grew into bigger things as they got bigger. It’s just snowballed into something really difficult to correct.

I realized that the daycare was in charge of that molding for far more hours in a week than I was.  I knew of most of their daycare teachers, but not all of them.  And I didn’t know them very well. Each teacher had their own way of doing things and sometimes my ways were different than theirs (not necessarily good or bad, but different brings confusion).  Each day, I got a few seconds with their teachers and a written report. Essentially, I was left with 1-2 hours a day during the work week and then the weekends to influence my kids.

It wasn’t enough.  Not based upon the behavior that I was seeing.  Each kid is different.  Each kid needs different things.  Each kids thrives under different circumstances.  And mine weren’t thriving under the situation we were in.

So now that I’m at home, I’m trying to be intentional about training them.

  • Helping them manage emotions (“It’s okay to be angry, it’s not okay to throw things.”).
  • Being very clear on expectations.  Around all kinds of things, even dinner (We don’t talk when daddy is praying.  We sit on our bottoms, not spin around on our head.  We don’t take food off others’ plates without asking.  We ask to be excused when we’re done.  We don’t smash banana in our hair (ok–that’s the 15 month old who does that!).)
  • Practicing skills.  Skills like walking near me when we’re in public. Learning to button our own shirts.  Using the bathroom (Stephen is potty training).  Brushing our own teeth.  Things that used to be easier for me to just do for them, given the time constraints that I had.

It definitely has some rough moments that turn into rough hours and rough days, but it’s been eye-opening and rewarding.  And I think maybe we’re starting to see progress.  Little by little – it’s going to take time!