I must admit that I think that I am having a harder time with this whole change in the family set up than anyone else. Jo and Gabriel are doing fine with the new baby and haven't really seemed to notice that I just happen to be around more now that I quit my job. I guess that's a good thing on many levels. It is nice that they are secure enough in me and Jimmy and in each other to not fall apart over the arrival of the little one, and it is also nice to know that I was enough in the picture for them that they aren't really noticing that I am around more than I was when I was working full time.
Elizabeth has transitioned well to being homeschooled and Jimmy has been doing really really well at work without me there, too.
I, however, am having a really hard time! I seem to not be able to accept the fact that even though I am home now, that doesn't mean that I am going to get anything done. But the thing is that even before I quit, I told Jimmy that he needed to understand that all because I am home does not mean that I am going to be able to do a lot of things and keep up with everything all by myself because my primary job and goal while I am home and he is at work is to school and care for the kids, and he is/was ok with that. He agreed and said that it SHOULD be that way and that yes, that was my new 'job'...NOT to just stay home and be a housekeeper.
So, what is my problem? I am having a really hard time letting go of the pressure to always be productive, and I mean productive in a tangible way. If all I get done in a day is cut 30 fingernails and 30 toenails, bathe 3 kids, wash one load of laundry and hang it out and cut the brush off only one part of the fence, I feel as if I have gotten nothing at all done. But then, when you look deeper, you see that I have also fed and soothed and played with 3 kids under 5 years old, one of whom is only 2 months old, as well as monitored and coached a teenager through the day, everything takes on a different light, and I feel like perhaps I did indeed accomplish something.
But I feel like I must always be moving forward. I have a hard time sitting with Gabriel til he sleeps (ARGH! He keeps just getting out of his crib! Any suggestions for keeping a 2 yr old in his bed at nap and bedtime????) or sitting and just rocking Jesse while he nurses and snuggles. It raises my blood pressure to see Elizabeth sit idle, and I often feel trapped by Jo, Gabriel and Jesse's constant need for attention. I see so many things that need to be done and I feel frustrated by my inability to finish any of them. I have never done this before!
I feel like I need to learn to breathe again.
I was thinking about this today right after I lost my cool with Elizabeth because she was reading a comic book while the frozen groceries melted on the floor in the kitchen while I had to sit with Gabriel for an hour because he wouldn't stay in his crib even though he was tired and really needed a nap. In a daycare for 2 year old children, the ratio of adult to child is 1:5. That means that one adult is supposed to be able to care for 5 2 year old children. That's all. Care for them. In a daycare setting. A place that is set up for childcare and where the kids go home at the end of the day so that it can be straightened and cleaned. Unless it is an in home daycare, these child care providers worry only about the children that they are watching. They don't do laundry or grocery shopping or doctors visits while they are trying to watch 5 children. They watch 5 children.
Now, I don't have 5, but I do have 4 and one is very small and one is fairly large. The oldest one does help with the younger ones, but she still needs direction and supervision (i.e. who would think that I would have to tell a 14 year old child that the food needs to be put away BEFORE the comic book is read? But I do. So, I have to add that to my mental list of 'things to do'.) And yet, with these 4 kids to watch, I still have unrealistically high expectations of myself.
Does anyone out there have an suggestions on how to cope with the transition from being a full time working mother to being a full time stay at home mother?
And does any one have any suggestions on how to keep my toddler in his bed? (The tent will not work because he will pull it down and rip it up. This child can climb anything and is strong enough to push down and pin his 4.5 year old sister to the floor.)