One of my good friends and fellow SAHM (stay at home Mom) blogger has recently posted a few blogs that really caught my attention. One was about her stress relievers that keeps her sane during the day. The other one was about transitioning into being a SAHM.
She had asked the general public what they did to adjust to mommy hood and being chained to the house. When I thought about it, I realized I used to worry about that all the time! It was such a relief for me to realize that I’m finally comfortable where I’m at. I almost never get to leave the house, but I’m honestly okay with it. I’ll occasionally grumble, but overall I honestly love it!
When I first became a SAHM it was really hard for me to make the transition. I was so used to the hustle and bustle of the workforce surrounded by hundreds of people all day long. After delivering Buddy I suddenly found myself sitting alone in a new house in a new city with a crying baby in my arms. *Holy. shit…*
At first I had no free time to spare because I spent every waking moment trying to tend to my baby. But eventually I got so efficient at the housework that I occasionally found myself with a little free time here and there. The problem was that I had absolutely no idea what to do with myself. I had previously always done things to pass the time with other people, now I had only myself to entertain.
As you know daytime TV is trash, so that was out after the first couple days of Jerry Springer and Steve Wilkos. I sat and thought about what I liked to do in my free time before leaving the workforce along with things I’ve always wanted to try.
Here’s what I can think of off of the top of my head (warning, this list gets dorkier and more embarrassing the further down you go. If you feel ashamed for me by the end, you can’t say I didn’t warn you. ;P):
Reading – I absolutely love to read. I usually like to find a series or lose myself in a good romance. I find myself worrying over the hero and heroine, or nearly in tears over dramatic chapters. I’m easily emotional, so this is the best way to really lose myself. Jane Austen is one of my all time favorite authors. She wrote books like Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Northanger Abbey and a few others. All her novels are about society and complicated love. Awesome. The Twilight series (yes, you heard me.) is one of my all-time favorite series. The love story itself is great, but beyond that I love how descriptive S. Meyer gets. Again, Awesome. I honestly can’t imagine my life without a good feel-good romance to lose myself in.
Knitting/Crocheting – I learned to crochet when I was in elementary. Even then all I ever made was place mats and things. Big colorful squares. I lost an interest after a few months and got into other things, but I always had wanted to be able to learn more. I wanted to eventually say I knitted a sweater or a fancy blanket or something. When I decided I wanted to learn more things, knitting was at the top of that list. It was a couple of months before Christmas at that point, so I decided to knit stockings for Husband and Buddy. It took me a good month before I got good at knitting, but by then I was hooked. I was knitting for a couple of hours every single days. I started with those stockings, then I moved on to hats, scarves, mittens, blankets and so much more. None of it is “good” by any means. But that’s not the point. It was something I just got lost in. Once I got good at the patters I just floated off into my own world. Now I can make use of my daydreaming time!
cooking – This has always been one of my bigger passions. The problem was that I was honestly always too lazy or too cheap to actually go about cooking a big meal. I never wanted to go through the motions. BUT once I was used to working all day long with Buddy, I could see the point in cooking big meals like that. I thin it helps that I always have my husband at my side cooking with me whenever I ask him to help. Now I love creating. I honestly could never recreate half of the meals I make, but that’s the fun in it! Trying out new things, and taking risks in adding ingredients that may or may not taste good is so fun for me! Plus, once again, I can lose myself in it. (Are you seeing the pattern yet..) This is something I have to totally concentrate on. The preparations, the mixing and stirring, the cooking, and the serving all takes a large amount of my attention. But while it may be time-consuming, there’s something so satisfying in seeing the end product turn out with such a great success!
Decorating – This one is pretty obvious. I love to create, so why not take it a step farther and use my creations to liven up my surroundings. I love to paint new colors in the house. I love to rearrange furniture. I’m constantly finding new yarn and fabric to make blankets, pillows and wall hangings. I love getting candles and stands to decorate with. I love finding (or painting) new pictures to hang up around the house. I love taking pictures so I love to go through those and find or make new picture frames and hang those up. With my ever-changing tastes I have an ever-changing home. It’s hard to get bored when there’s always something to change!
Gardening – I always loved plants when I was little. I would always beg to get a potted plant to grow all by myself, and believe it or not I usually did quite well. When I was in high school I would grow a couple of vegetables off of our porch. Some did great, others not so much. When we got our house one of the first things I did was mark off where my vegetable garden was going to go. Shortly after that I made a big flower garden in the front yard. Just thinking about gardening gets me excited! Rototilling the earth, pulling weeds and picking rocks, plotting out where to plant the vegetables or flowers, planting the seeds, watering and eventually getting a full-grown plant to harvest!! All that work is difficult, but it’s so fulfilling when you harvest your first vegetable or see the first flower bloom. It makes me so happy knowing I created that with my own two hands.
Being in shape – I say ‘being in shape’ rather than ‘working out’ because I’ll be honest and tell you I really don’t like working out. I do, however, LOVE the feeling of being fit. Being able to keep up with my kids is really important to me. I want to be just as fun and energetic as they are, and I especially don’t wan to be a party pooper! I’m willing to go through the motions of working out so long as I can maintain my fitness in doing so. Plus when you’re in shape, you feel less lethargic. When you’re a SAHM you can’t afford to be a stick in the mud, you gotta get in on the action while it’s hot! If you don’t attack it now, then things pile up and you just feel more helpless. This way I can keep up with housework without feeling so burnt out at the end of the day. I can end my ‘working hours’ with play time with the kids and not feel like I’m winded or just want to sack out in front of the tv.
Reality shows – This is where the embarrassing things start rearing their heads. Like I said before I love a good book about love, tragedy and society. Well… reality shows are too good to resist in that case!! My latest obsession is the ‘Bachelor’ series. I love watching the crazy men and women pine over each other and get their hearts broken after falling in love in two weeks. It’s absolutely ridiculous. I love it. Husband will even watch it with me and laugh at some of the crazy things on there. Plus you end up finding the one or two genuinely good people on the show and you can’t help but ride the emotional roller coaster along with them! Another favorite is ‘Survivor’. Some of the contestants are just so crazy, while others are so naive it’s insane that they can even survive in the real world.
Now, to come out of the nerd-clothset… also, my biggest loves. *deep breath*
video games – This isn’t just any video game interest. I’m one of the best video gamers I know. I play a game into the ground. I’m not satisfied until I not only beat the game, but I beat every side quest and get every extra point possible. People stopped playing James Bond on the N64 because they’d never win. I’m not saying this to brag. (Well… ok maybe a little…) I’m saying this to make a point. You know how I keep mentioning ‘losing myself’ in something? This is one of the biggest places to get lost. How could I not get good at video games when I so easily get lost in them. Video games are pretty much a virtual world where you can do things you normally can’t otherwise do. There are hunting games, sports games, war games, adventure games, racing games, trivia and strategy games and I’m sure so many more that I’m not even thinking of. It’s something for me to concentrate on. Solve puzzles, save the world, win the race or defeat the other team. The possibilities are endless. Plus, I haven’t met a person who can say they don’t like at least one video game.
Anime – Yep. You heard right. Go ahead and laugh, but I can’t stop. It’s an addiction. I can even tell you what show started it all. Sailor Moon. I discovered it after school one day in elementary school. It was on the local kids tv station and I was hooked before the intro song ended. Soon after that, I discovered Dragon Ball Z. I didn’t know what it was at the time, all I knew was that it was AWESOME. Picture a little girl sprinting all the way home after school, smashing through the door and skidding to a halt in front of the TV then immediately going into an impenetrable trance for the next 30 minutes. That was me. I won’t get into details on Sailor Moon or Dragon Ball Z specifically. Mostly because I don’t have to. If you know anime, you know they’re almost all the same. Action, romance or drama. Sometimes all three. It was a soap opera for kids with fighting scenes to boot! I have never been able to get rid of this addiction completely. I can go years without watching one, but then I’ll accidentally stumble upon one. Adult Swim on Cartoon Network is what made me discover them again. It’s a mix of adult humor cartoons and anime. So. damn. awesome. When I stumble onto this, I guiltily look over my shoulder. When I know no one is watching I eagerly turn into the little girl in elementary and go into the impenetrable trance.
I also discovered mangas (anime comics) recently. I never was interested in them, but when I realized that a lot of animes were from mangas I dove in and fell in love.
*I dare you to out-nerd me.*
Don’t worry, husband eventually was let in on my little secret, and he married me knowing the raging nerd that I was. I think it helps that he went to an engineering college. There were some of the biggest openly raging nerds I have ever seen in my entire life. When I walked past their dorm rooms I heard World of Warcraft and Death Cab for Cutie blasting through the doorway. comics were sprawled on the floor and there was anime on mute playing in the background. Needless to say he grew very tolerant of nerds around the dorms. Now, my nerdiness is nothing compared to them.
I used to avoid some of this stuff because I didn’t want to get made fun of. Since having kids and having to resort to my own resources to keep myself entertained I’ve learned better though. I have to put my sanity before my ego. I don’t really care if I’m made fun of for liking reality shows, anime, video games or knitting. It’s what I’ve found works best for me to stay sane and happy. Honestly, I think it makes me much more well-rounded. Who do you know can tell you what a manga, a plant bolting and a half double crochet is in the same sentence? *Yeah, that’s right. Be jealous.*
I really should be thanking my kids for getting me stuck in this house. If I didn’t have them, I’d never have discovered (and re-discovered!) some of these past times. Now I spend my free time doing things I truly enjoy rather than hanging out bored and wishing I had something to do.