Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Oh the monotony!!!!

Yesterday, I woke up in the morning and started my day as I usually do. The first thing I do in the morning is very simple. I change a diaper! Maxwell wakes up every morning and knows what to expect from his mama. I always change his diaper, and then follow it up with a dose of Zantac. Maxwell has recently been diagnosed with acid reflux. We found this out after having bronchitis, and an ear infection, and then the cough would not leave. We followed up this illness with several doctor's appointments to rule out various things. We had a chest exam to rule out pneumonia. We considered asthma, allergies, and even that he just couldn't get better. We are so happy to finally know what is going on with our little guy. This post is not about acid reflux but I thought I should probably address it since I'm giving him doses of Zantac. This post is about the monotony of parenthood. Well, maybe the monotony of motherhood.

I don't think Anthony is challenged as much as I am in the area of monotony. Anthony goes away from the house every day for over eight hours. He deals with customers from various walks of life and he has different conversations every single day. Not me! Yesterday I actually thought "I'm pretty sure I picked up that cheerio yesterday!!" My days consist of the same routine. Changing diapers, administering medication, feeding meals to my baby, reading children's books, playing with toys, changing another diaper, and laying down my guy for naps! Now, before this starts to seem like a ranting and complaining post, I want to say it's not. Today, I decided to write a post to all the moms out there who deal with the day in and day out of monotony. Not every mom out there deals with monotony. Some moms leave the house everyday and go to work. Some moms put their children in daycare and run errands away from the children. Some moms leave the house to work while dad stays home with the kids. I am aware that there are various walks in the journey of motherhood. My walk right now is that I am a stay-at-home mom. I recently stopped working outside of the house at all and spend almost every day centered on Maxwell. 

This is entirely new for me since I am someone who has always focused on my career. Anthony and I decided a few weeks ago that it would be best for me to stay home the rest of 2014. While staying home, I am choosing to get ready to work in the field in 2015. By the way, if you don't know my field it is psychotherapy. I am spending this year getting ready to enter the field by working on my licensing application and exam to practice in the state of Indiana. This normally would not take an entire calendar year but I am taking it because Maxwell needs me home for this year. As we enter into the next year I have no idea what it will look like. I have no idea if I will work full-time, part-time, or find some other avenue in order to make money and contribute to my household. What I do know, is that this year, I will be at home with Maxwell. I know that each of you probably have an opinion about the decision I've made. Although I respect your opinion, I do not need to hear it. I've made the decision that I believe is best for my family.

Now, back to monotony. I know going into this year that I am going to experience my fair share of monotony. I know that since I won't be working in the field of psychotherapy, I will be working in the field of mommy. Mommy looks a lot like laundry, dishes, and childcare daily. Although we have some exciting adventures like trips to the zoo, museum, running errands, and new experiences for Maxwell, on the whole it really is the same day… Every day! I decided to write a post giving you moms out there that deal with monotony some tips for surviving it. I would like to say that you could thrive in monotony but I'm not sure anyone really can. I think it is in our human nature to get bored. It is in our nature to want something exciting to happen. It is our nature to crave something new and fresh and different.

Here are a few ideas that I had to help me deal with the monotony of motherhood. Although motherhood can be very repetitive it is also really really exciting. It is hard to imagine a life without Maxwell now that he's in it. Although I love my field of study and I crave work again, I do not want to wish away the years that I have with Maxwell alone. I want to relish in the fact that I get to stay home with him and enjoy him while he's little. All of the years that I prayed, fasted, and cried over having a baby are the years I try to remember as I clean up the same cheerio day after day. Here are my tips for surviving and maybe even enjoying the monotony of being a mommy:

1. Keep it new and fresh.

One of the things that I invested in very early on in being a mom was a binder. I started to collect different activities, ideas, and adventurous things to do with my little boy. Granted, in his first year of life it was very hard to find things that he could be a part of. Mostly, he just napped, ate, and pooped. Now that he's bigger and starting to want to find out everything he can about the world, my binder has come in handy. My binder has things like ways to teach him new things, recipes that he can help make and enjoy, and even activities to help them stay active physically. I am one of those nerdy moms who tries to engage my child as much as possible. I am very strict about how much time Max spends in front of the TV screen, phone screen, or tablet. All of his toys are developmentally appropriate and help him to find ways to be where he is developmentally. They teach things like the alphabet, numbers, shapes, and colors. My binder has a lot to do with those goals. Every activity that I clipped out of magazines or wrote down from blogs or advice from other mothers has been to help Max develop socially, physically, mentally, and nutritionally.

2. Get outside when you get a chance.

I know that those of us who live in the Midwest have really been put to the test on this one. For the last several months, Maxwell and I have had to stay inside due to inches and inches of snow and colder than safe temperatures. Along with sickness and the need to bundle up excessively, going outside Has not been an option. I am so excited for the spring months to come so Maxwell and I can start enjoying walks, time on the playground, and nature adventures. The above-mentioned binder has several activities that involve finding things in nature, going on adventure walks, and of course just good old-fashioned getting dirty and playing. Since Max is now very mobile, he is going to have so much fun this summer.

3. Create a cleaning and chores schedule.

No I know this doesn't sound like a way to beat monotony. I promise it actually is a good tip. One of the things that I recently did was build a cleaning and chores schedule for my house. Everyone's house looks a lot different in terms of their actual cleaning responsibilities and chores. For example, in my house we have a cat. That means that one of the cleaning responsibilities is to scoop the cat pan and clean up around our food dish. Maybe you have a dog to walk, a birdcage to clean, or any various chores that involve pets, children, and husbands. What I did was build a schedule with the days ofthe week. On each day I find myself a room in the house to focus on to deeply clean. Also, every day there is a specific load of laundry that is to be washed. For example, in my house on Monday I deep clean my living room and deep clean my laundry room and do one load of dark clothing and wash the linens on our beds. This is obviously in addition to all of the normal tasks of being a mom and feeding my family. The way that I feel that this aids monotony is to make sure that I am not cleaning every day, all day. I find with my daily schedule, that once I am finished I am able to stop worrying about cleaning and focus on doing things with my free time that are more fun like reading, blogging, Facebook, and even once in a while watching a Netflix TV series. If I do my chores pretty quickly in the day, I can use Maxwell's naps to enjoy my own free time and possibly even start new craft projects.

3. Make sure that you are grateful.

I know that we are all always thinking about how to be more grateful and to be mindful of the things that we are blessed with. I think that as a mom is very hard to focus on being thankful when we are changing diapers and doing menial tasks like doing the dishes for the third time of the day. This is a bit easier for me because of the struggle it took to get Maxwell. As most of you know, Anthony and I suffered the loss of our first child and had a very difficult time conceiving Maxwell. We are also friends with several couples who strive daily to conceive their own child and others who are in a long journey to adoption. When you know these families, it is easier to enjoy the every day tasks of being a parent. I'm not saying that I do a happy dance every time Max poops and I have to change a diaper. What I mean by this, is that when he smiles I take a moment to thank God for his smile. When he says a new word, I praise him because he is so smart. When Max and I have a dance party in the living room while I'm teaching him the importance of Michael Jackson, I take a moment afterword to thank God for that little boy that I'm holding. It is so hard to imagine life without our children, but remember there are many people who have only lives without children. They can't imagine a life with a child and all they can do is wish for one.

I hope that today as you go about your monotonous routine of obviously reading my blog, that you try to make it better for yourself. There is no point in wishing away the days that we have with our children because they're filled with what we consider unimportant tasks. These tasks, although monotonous, are the essentials to helping our children develop and draw love from their experiences. Today, embrace the monotony!!

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