Tag Archives: SAHM

2 Months of Crazy – A Big Fat F For This Stay-At-Home Mom

I’m just finishing up my second month staying at home with my 11-month old twin boys. I wrote a post about my very first day here.

Since that first day, things may or may not have gone a little bit downhill.

What’s been going on in the Buckman-Shaar household? Where do I start?

In the last 60 days, we’ve hosted a baby blessing for a close friend, planned and executed a Great Gatsby-themed fundraiser for almost 100 people, hosted a vegan potluck brunch for 50, hosted a fundraising event for our local Equality Florida folks (gotta do our part to help get gay marriage passed in Florida), and lord…I don’t even remember what other events. They were all fabulous, and I wanted to do them all.

During those 60 days, I also went to Chicago to a blogging conference for a week, and decided to throw myself into this blogging business.

We had three different sets of house guests in our home.

We bought an above-ground pool off of Craigslist and have been working our butts off making it nice and neat and lovely. What I thought would be a small job (how hard can it be to slap up a pool?) turned into an entire backyard excavation project.

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I could go on, but the purpose of this post is not to brag “Hey, I’ve so GOT this stay-at-home thing. I do 20 Pinterest projects every day, BAM.”

It’s actually the opposite. If this were a job, I think I can officially say that I failed my 2-month review of staying at home.

Why? I did not meet my goals and objectives. I left work to be able to spend time with the boys. To really enjoy this. To do it. I dreamed of play dates (I’ve had one) and trips to the library for book time (nope) and really nesting in my home. (this place is trashed.)

Instead, what happened is I filled my plate up to overflowing, because I could.  They were all things I loved, but it didn’t matter. I heard something wise at the BlogHer conference I went to in Chicago. The things you say “no” to are more important than the things you say “yes” to.  Saying no to things you don’t want to do is the easy part. Do you want to travel through Texas on a cramped sweaty-smelling Greyhound bus? No thank you.

But, saying no to things you are passionate about – that make you feel on fire – that is the hard part.

But we have to do it. Why?

Because if we don’t, we end up depleted, exhausted, cranky. And that doesn’t much make sense, does it?

So, my challenge for myself over the next 60 days is to chill the fuck out. I mean seriously. There are no awards to be won for staying busy. I have worked so hard to be able to be present in my life – filling my hours with things and beings that I love. I have got to turn things down – to say no more often. And I need to stop fancying myself an unpaid event planner. My new mantra is this “Just because you CAN do it, doesn’t mean you should.”

Why? Because this is how the boys look when I fill my plate up too much:

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Because I want more moments like these right here:

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This post was in response to a writing prompt that asks you to talk about a current challenge you’re undergoing. You can read more on this topic from my lovely blogger friends here.

 

 

 

Back to School? 4 Reasons We Might Homeschool Instead

The boys are the ripe old age of 11 months, and I’m already thinking about school. Why? It’s back-to-school for Duval county today and my Facebook news feed is packed with kids starting kindergarten, or 3rd grade, or high school. It makes me nostalgic from when Ophelia and Dakota were in school. The excitement of seeing them running up the steps of their elementary school, with their new backpack, freshly cut hair, and smiles on their faces.

It also makes me think of my own schooling. I adored school, and abhorred summer. To me, school was a place where I could excel. I loved the discipline, my friends, the learning. Those first few weeks of school were always a tonic to me – fresh, clean and potent with possibility.

But my rosy school experience is not everyone’s. People choose to homeschool for a wide variety of reasons. The U.S. Department of Education very wisely decided it should know why, so conducted a study to see why homeschooling has become the biggest trend in education, with over 1.5 million children being educated outside of traditional school.

Home School - Why?

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Parent and Family Involvement in Education Survey of the 2003 National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES).

The graph above is interesting, but I think that 9% other has a lot going on in it. We are considering homeschooling, and for us, it’s about the following. I reserve the right to change my mind, but here’s why I’m considering it, at least while they’re young.

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1. We want to travel the country.

The thing about school is, you’re suddenly on the school’s schedule, instead of your own. Steph and I love to travel, and do so quite frequently. We have dreams of taking the boys to all the national parks, one by one. Of taking cross-country road trips to visit historical sites. We just found out that because August has Down syndrome, he – and up to 4 car passengers – all get a FREE LIFETIME PASS to all of our national parks. I’m pretty obsessed with our national park system, so we will be all over that one. And, I’d prefer to do that traveling in off-seasons, when most of the country is in school.

Traveling to all these places is going to take a while!

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Image credit: Maps of World: http://www.mapsofworld.com/usa/national-parks/

 

2. We want to “learn in context” as much as possible.

When I went to school, a lot of my learning occurred in the context of a book. Let’s take history, for example. When we were learning about the paleolithic period of human history, we read about what that meant in chapter 7, and then took a quiz to see what we remembered. The problem is, I remember none of that now. I actually just had to Google it to see if paleolithic dealt with the history of the earth’s development, or of human development. I’d rather our learning be experiential and “real-life.” To learn about geothermal pools in Yellowstone, and about the erosion that caused the Great Canyon to occur. To learn about geometry because we want to build a new playset in our backyard, and need to pay attention to angles.

3. We want the boys to grow up with a healthy sense of self-directed learning.

My caveat is that I know a lot of schools aren’t like what I’m about to describe, but many are. Teachers have to teach to a standardized curriculum and a test of basic skills. In Florida, it’s called the FCAT. When I was in school it was the CTBS. My older kids have been out of the public school setting for a while, but I know there’s a huge debate going on and that a lot of teachers are incredibly unhappy, because they can’t focus on learning what their students find interesting – they have to teach to the test. To me, that’s bullshit. I realize there has to be some accountability and standardization, but we have created a system where not only has a child’s self-directed learning been abnegated, but the teachers’ have, too. It makes me cringe.

4. I have a son with special needs.

August has Down syndrome. His twin brother Liam does not. Most classrooms are still not integrated with children who have special needs and more typically-developing children. I would like for both of them to learn in a mixed environment, where each can help the other.

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Home-schooling philosophies – like much in life – run the gamut from radical unschooling (where there is no curriculum, and a child has 100% autonomy in deciding what he/she wants to learn) to a “school-at-home” approach, complete with a desk, workbooks, quizzes and tests.

Where do you even start? Here are a few quick resources:

1. A super quick explanation of the main forms of homeschooling.

2. Something that goes a little more in-depth on the homeschool philosophies. Lots of links here.

3. A really, REALLY  good article on why the hell someone would consider homeschooling in the first place.

4. National organization of homeschoolers, which publishes research.

Our philosophy?

Honestly, I don’t know yet which path we’ll go down. It’s really not a decision to be made lightly, and thankfully,  we’ve got time to do some solid research and soul-searching. My guess is that we’ll err on the side of unschooling, but with  direction, and accountability.  I’m also pretty intrigued by Waldorf.

Some homeschoolers can be a touch militant, and are staunchly anti-school. That’s not me. I think that different settings work best for different children. And, I think there’s more than one way to get an education.

Who knows – we might make a different decision when the boys are older. But for now, I’m dreaming of owning our own schedules, of the boys growing up with a sense of personal responsibility for their education, and of traveling the country to learn about things “in real life” as much as possible.

What are your thoughts on homeschooling?

Day 1 – My New Life as a Stay-at-Home-Mom

The real title of this post should be “My first blog post after becoming a stay at home mom wherein I document in painstaking detail every single thing I did today so that I can remember this day.”

But, that’s not search friendly, so I’ll just call it “Life of a Stay At Home Mom – My First Day Home”, or something important and dull like that. Steph wants me to call it “My First Day as a Housewife”. She’s rude.

So, let me begin. Today is July 1st, and it’s my first official day being a superfly “Stay at Home Mom”. Since I have tons of time now that I don’t work, I decided to take a break from eating my vegan bonbons to write out what today consisted of. You know, so that I can remember when I’m old and feeble, which will likely be next year.

Here’s the day:

6:45am: Woke up rested after a glorious uninterrupted sleep from at least 3:30am on and demanded asked politely for Steph to get me some coffee. I grabbed my To Do List that I had written the night before so that I could stay focused, HEATHER.  I realized that I had not written a single thing about the tasks that had to be done for the boys – bottles washed, diapers washed. SMH. I’m a real winner.

7:15am: Played with Liam and August while hanging out in the bed, and then went to go get my own damn coffee.

7:30am: Brought the boys downstairs and hooked them up with some breakfast. Who’s your momma???

8:00am: Got dressed in my running clothes because TODAY IS MY FIRST DAY AS A SAHM AND I NEED TO PROVE SOMETHING. My new iPhone armband and I fought. The short line to the earplugs made me have to run with my head cocked to one side, all crooked. The long one dangled and tried to get me all tripped up.

The boys look like they had fun, right? Especially August.

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8:15am-9:00 am Ran/Walked/Stumbled around confused for 2 miles with the boys. Umm, yes, it did take me 45 minutes to get through 2 miles! Might have something to do with the fact that I stopped about every 2 blocks to try to adjust my headphones and armband. I also may have gotten lost in my neighborhood, but that’s another post.

9:00am – Arrived home just in time to do a Skype conference call, where I debuted as a crazy beet. I knew I had a conference call, but didn’t realize it would be video, and I was bright red and ugly from my run. Nobody ever said this would all be peaches!
The boys were fantastic, and didn’t get into any trouble at all whilst I was on my call.

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9:30am – Played with boys and sliced up some fruit for Steph’s and my breakfast. I’m doing the Whole Foods Cleanse again because I like wine a little too much.

10:15am – Uh oh! Have to leave soon for a marketing meeting at the Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville. Quick shower, got together my lunch and stuff for boys. HEATHER, DO NOT REMEMBER YOUR OWN LUNCH AND FORGET TO BRING THEIRS.

11:15am – Race over to downtown area and only got there about 10 minutes late! First time out to a meeting with both boys! Did pretty well – I participated in the meeting while feeding myself and them! Decided I need to travel with my own Dust Buster because we leave a trail wherever we go. I’m not used to this and I feel really guilty, like I don’t care about trashing other people’s spaces. I apologized about 43 times.

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2:00pm Head back home, trying to keep The Lion awake until he gets home, since he has a tendency to not go down if he’s woken up abruptly. I make it to about a half mile away from home.

2:30pm Success! Both babies down.

2:35pm August decides he’d like to get up and have no nap, thank you very kindly.

2:36-3:45  August and I hang out in the playroom. I start working on the silent auction that I’m doing for an upcoming fundraiser, and start gathering addresses for the invite that I’m about 4 weeks late in sending. Oops, my bad. August keeps looking at me like MOTHER, HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN THAT YOU ARE NOW A SAHM MOM AND ARE SUPPOSED TO GAZE INTO MY EYES?” I explain to him that I have events that need planning.

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3:45 The Lion joins us and we have a snack. I discover that August has a trick or two up his sleeve. I refer to this video as “Snack Time and August is Being Shady”.

PS. I just started using YouTube for my own videos. Here’s the welcome email I got. August looks smashed. And yet they are proud of me.

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Moving on, then.

4:00  Steph’s mom comes and hangs out with the boys. This allows me to unload the dishwasher, fold a load of laundry, start a new one, talk to Miss Ophelia, make plans to go shopping for the fundraiser, and generally get some shit done.

5:15 Dude. The boys are cranky and hungry. Steph goes to take her mom back to the Assisted Living Facility and I feed them dinner (Rutabagas and Spinach – YUM). Then, it’s upstairs to give them both baths. They have started playing in the bathtub lately, so instead of it just being a task, we let them hang out and just enjoy themselves. August looks concerned about the junk in Liam’s trunk.

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6:15 Boys are dressed in their pj’s but still no Steph. So, I prop up Lion’s bottle on the bed and hold August while feeding him. Steph arrives just as Lion sits bolt upright on the bed and smiles big. {Please note, this is not cute. He is supposed to be feeding himself to sleep.} “Excellent!”, I announce. “Take the boy!”. Steph brings him into the nursery and turns on the sound machine to feed him and put him to sleep. Meanwhile I keep feeding August, who’s eyelids weigh about 347 pounds each.

6:45pm The Boyz are OUT. Time to head downstairs to make dinner and write this post.

As of now, it’s 7:30pm. Not bad for my first day! The boys ate three meals AND A SNACK. They wore real clothes. We went on an outing. They behaved during my marketing meeting. I count this all as a smashing success.

And now, the wines. Mommy loves the wines. The wines are very, very good to me. Notice that the wines are next to my To Do List. The one that had no baby items on it. Wine keeps me focused, so I am finishing up my list whilst I drink my wines.

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That’s all I’ve got! And the glorious part is that I get to wake up tomorrow and do it all over again. Perfection! xoxox

PS. Not that many people read the blog, but I’m going to act like I’m famous and important and dedicate this to my new friends Anne and Emily. They will be having twin boys soon, and this is the kind of schizznit they have to look forward to! Emily is on bed rest in the hospital, so hopefully this post will cheer her up a bit, knowing what she has to look forward to 🙂