Most people consider a calendar year from January to December. However, for the teacher, a year starts in late August and runs to the first week of June (or end of May if you’re lucky.) That makes the summer months our “off-season,” or what I now refer to as my “stay-at-home-mom season.” The time schedule each day as a stay at home mom is very different, but the structure looks mostly the same.
One down and one to go. On a whim this past spring break I decided to potty train the three-year-old. We had planned to stay at home for most of the week, making it an ideal opportunity. In my classroom, I have learned the value of front-loading material to help students learn faster. After implementing valuable advice from a colleague, who explained that her toddler sits on the toilet while the water runs helping him feel the urge to go, we introduced potty sitting before bath time to give them the basic concept. Even though I consider myself a pretty good teacher of reading, I honestly thought to teach my kids how to use a toilet would be a tougher monster to tackle. Turns out the front-loading concept works well for potty training, also. After two weeks of timers and a few extrinsic motivators (new toys), my son is accident-free! He’s even waking up dry in the morning.
Our daughter, who will be turning two for the kick off of summer is next. It’s probably a little early for her, but I’m hoping her desire to do everything her big brother does will motivate her.
During the school, day lunch is generally a time to relax and engage in adult conversations. However, during the season of stay at home mom I become the cook in charge of feeding everyone. I appreciate the power of planning and being prepared. Throughout the school year, I have been in the habit of meal planning and grocery shopping on Sundays to help. Usually, these shopping trips consist of dinners for the week and some breakfast and lunch staples. Rather than standing in the kitchen looking for something to throw together ten minutes before the meltdown begins I prefer to have a plan. I don’t consider myself a cook, so the throwing food together doesn’t usually turn out well. I like to follow a recipe, and like any good collector of ideas, I’ve turned to Pinterest for toddler meal options. If I don’t it might be PB&J sandwiches every day. Some days we have exciting, specially crafted lunches, some days we need to pack our lunch to go, and some days we are going to eat a quick PB&J. However, most days I do not get to have enjoyable adult conversations, instead, I get to belly laugh with my kids.
When in a stay at home mom season prep time is also known as nap time. For the kids, not me. My actual planning period is usually more of a marathon. How many things can I check off my to-do list in a short 42 minutes? Thankfully, nap time usually lasts much longer than 42 minutes! As long as I can get both kids down at the same time I can often count on about 2-3 hours. So much can be done in that amount of time!
In order to really make the best of this time let me again suggest planning and preparedness. Unlike a school day, where parent phone calls or other emergencies could pop up, a day of being a stay at home mom can be much more predictable. Decide which days you’d like to complete the usual cleaning or organizing tasks and then save time for yourself. Work on a personal hobby or sit down to a good book. Dedicate this hour to self-care, you deserve it.
To jump-start our summer we renew our Columbus Zoo family pass each year. The great thing about zoo membership is that they allow you to receive more benefits than just free admission to the zoo. We are able to purchase half-price tickets to a number of other zoos giving us the option of Cleveland and Akron, as well. I’d like to visit Toledo Zoo this coming summer.
Teachers, did you know with proof of employment your ticket to COSI is now FREE? I would have been making trips to COSI a long time ago with that information. With so much to see at each of these fun, kid-friendly places there are not enough days in the summer to experience it all.
The dress code is much more casual, the time is more flexible, and the kids aren’t being graded, but the day still has the same moments of learning taking place, belly laughs to break the monotony of routine, and time to reflect on how you’re so in love with this mom gig.
Teacher-Moms, share what you love about making the transition to stay at home mom.