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"educated" SAHM needs intellectual stimulation - Page 2

post #21 of 59
I'm finding it helpful to study something I never had any interest in or knowledge of before - history. I started it because I'm planning to homeschool and thought I had better learn some (I never learned any of it in school), and at first it felt like it would be a chore, but now the interest has taken on a life of its own and I'm enjoying exploring a new area. So maybe a subject you never wanted to explore before could become a very satisfying new interest.
post #22 of 59
-go to school
-debate hot button topics online
-hang out w/ someone i can talk to (ok so right now that is only my mom and sister but still that's better than dd's plush dog )
post #23 of 59
I read, a ton. I joined a feminist book club, I started a writing group for mothers in the area, and we meet, the kids play, and we drink coffee and share our writing prompts, and I try to get out a bunch of times a month with friends. I also have a part time nanny so I can work on my writing/work and other interests.

It's important. Keeps ME sane, and my daughter is happier when I'm 100% attentive and not wishing I were discussing the Second Sex somewhere ;]

If you ever wanna chat we can talk other stuff besides poo diapers
post #24 of 59
I have a similar background to yours, OP, and I have done a lot of the things that pp have mentioned -- volunteering on the board of a "crunchy" organization, taking child development and child psychology classes via distance ed, book clubs, etc. I have to say it is wonderful to be doing the child development classes because I learn a lot, and my homework often involves doing observations of my own kids, which is not onerous. Some moms scrapbook their kids' childhoods; my kids will have a folder of observation reports and papers written about their development

I wanted to add that when I am really needing some intelligent adult conversation, I turn on highbrow talk radio -- usually CBC, but sometimes other stations I come across online. Sometimes I send email responses to shows, so it feels like a conversation. Or I listen to podcasts. Or books on cd from the library. My body may be washing dishes or changing diapers, but my brain is listening to science news or an interview with a radical poet, or an audio of a classic novel I never got around to reading....helps keep those parts of my brain and soul alive.... A big CBC fan in my life once told me that listening regularly to CBC radio one for 4 years was a pretty good substitute for a general BA degree in terms of education, and I could buy that, actually...

ETA also, I mostly lurk on a couple of Listserv lists for early childhood educators and psychologists -- fields I have a strong interest in but not an expertise in. I used to participate in these kinds of lists in my own former field (English, 18th c-19th c) and the quality of discussion amd thought can be very exciting.
post #25 of 59
Try something you've been dying to learn, something so unique. For me, I'm learning a language, greening my thumb at gardening, reading, and blogging.
post #26 of 59
I haven't read all of the replies so I apologize if my suggestions overlap too much!

I joined a book club so I'll ditto everyone else who said that. I love my book club and read WAY more now than just our 1 book per month.

Have you thought about auditing a class? That way you don't have the workload but still the stimulation?

Do you have any sort of debate/political groups in your area that you could join?

What about volunteering in a place that could be mentally stimulating?

I have seriously let my mind fade. I was in academia and I am now smack dab in the middle of SAH Motherhood to a toddler. I should really take my own advice
post #27 of 59
This has nothing to do with you personally OP, but when women I know IRL have complained that they were bored while SAH because they were too "educated and intellectual" I always thought to myself, "if you are so smart then why can't you think of something to do." It is one of those statements that often leave some SAHMs feeling put down or self conscious if worded the right (wrong?) way. Especially when it is dripping with that "it may be good enough for *you*..." tone of voice.

In all seriousness, I do get the need to stimulate your mind. I think there are so many factors that make it difficult for some women to make the adjustment to staying at home without feeling bored. Often being at home makes it necessary to find a whole new set of people to hang out with (because everyone else is at work all day). And getting to know other moms usually happens by discussing kids. Once you get to know some women who you have things in common with it is easier to get beyond the mommy talk. That took me 5 YEARS to do. Sometimes the only common ground I have with people is the fact that we both have children.

Also, some people are self-motivated when it comes to keeping themselves fulfilled, others are not. Neither way is the right way, we are all unique. Some need a little help looking outside of the way they used to do things.

In reality, there are so many interesting and wonderful things to do in a day. And finding ways to do them while caring for children adds a whole new level of creativity. What are your interests? What have you always wanted to learn? Now is the time to do it. Not only do you have the ability to create your own schedule (with some limits of course), but you will also be setting a great example to your dd in doing so.

For me, I set a goal of something new to learn each year. One year I learned to knit. Another year I learned to build simple things. Then I learned about renovations, now I am trying to tackle growing things (my second attempt, the first one didn't go so well). Aside from that I love to research things. It is a great hobby, and since becoming a mom (4 times) I am never out of subject matter. I also read as much as ever (generally I have 4 books on the go) and am sure to devote time each week to other things I enjoy (physical activity. thrift store shopping, knitting, whatever other handiwork I am into ATM, etc). And generally I manage it all with only being away from the kids 2 hours per week. I consider working it all out to be like Tetris. Just rearrange it all until it fits

It is harder with a first (or only) child because you are really their main source of entertainment as well as their playmate. Also, you are in the beginning stages of figuring out how your Tetris puzzle will fit together best. Give it time, figure out what you miss the most and think about all the ways you can get that underlying need met. It may not be in the way you are used to, but exploring all the possibilities is the very best part!

Good luck!
post #28 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRangeMama View Post
This has nothing to do with you personally OP, but when women I know IRL have complained that they were bored while SAH because they were too "educated and intellectual" I always thought to myself, "if you are so smart then why can't you think of something to do." It is one of those statements that often leave some SAHMs feeling put down or self conscious if worded the right (wrong?) way. Especially when it is dripping with that "it may be good enough for *you*..." tone of voice.

In all seriousness, I do get the need to stimulate your mind. I think there are so many factors that make it difficult for some women to make the adjustment to staying at home without feeling bored. Often being at home makes it necessary to find a whole new set of people to hang out with (because everyone else is at work all day). And getting to know other moms usually happens by discussing kids. Once you get to know some women who you have things in common with it is easier to get beyond the mommy talk. That took me 5 YEARS to do. Sometimes the only common ground I have with people is the fact that we both have children.

Also, some people are self-motivated when it comes to keeping themselves fulfilled, others are not. Neither way is the right way, we are all unique. Some need a little help looking outside of the way they used to do things.

In reality, there are so many interesting and wonderful things to do in a day. And finding ways to do them while caring for children adds a whole new level of creativity. What are your interests? What have you always wanted to learn? Now is the time to do it. Not only do you have the ability to create your own schedule (with some limits of course), but you will also be setting a great example to your dd in doing so.

For me, I set a goal of something new to learn each year. One year I learned to knit. Another year I learned to build simple things. Then I learned about renovations, now I am trying to tackle growing things (my second attempt, the first one didn't go so well). Aside from that I love to research things. It is a great hobby, and since becoming a mom (4 times) I am never out of subject matter. I also read as much as ever (generally I have 4 books on the go) and am sure to devote time each week to other things I enjoy (physical activity. thrift store shopping, knitting, whatever other handiwork I am into ATM, etc). And generally I manage it all with only being away from the kids 2 hours per week. I consider working it all out to be like Tetris. Just rearrange it all until it fits

It is harder with a first (or only) child because you are really their main source of entertainment as well as their playmate. Also, you are in the beginning stages of figuring out how your Tetris puzzle will fit together best. Give it time, figure out what you miss the most and think about all the ways you can get that underlying need met. It may not be in the way you are used to, but exploring all the possibilities is the very best part!

Good luck!

Best. Post. Ever.
post #29 of 59
I'm in three books clubs!
One is for "fun" books, things like The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
Another is a classics book club. Help me. We're reading Pilgrim's Progress.
And then I'm in a feminist book club.

I listen to NPR all day long.

And I have a goal of learning more and more about homesteading and cheesemaking, etc. etc.

Find a hobby and make it your passion.
post #30 of 59
I also LOVE CBC for mental stimulation. That also gives me something to talk to people about :"so I heard this thing on the radio... what do you think of it?"

I spend a lot of time analyzing my own life. I've always been into psychology so I spend a lot of my time seeing how my mother's way of raising me created the habits/traits/fears/strengths etc in me and how her decisions created certain patterns in my life and THEN I look at how I might be able to break those patterns in myself, my mother AND myself by changing the way I raise my child. THAT is intellectually stimulating (and I can do it while reading goodnight moon).

Good luck!
post #31 of 59
I listen to a lot of NPR, but mostly I started looking up everything that I have a "huh." about. That is... whenever I hear about something that gives me pause... I google it. Yeah, I spend a lot of time on google, but man, I've learned a lot. LOL

I hear you about needing an outlet for your brain, though... (and I agree with others that the N&CE forum was that for me for a long time...). I'm also lucky enough to have friends on IM frequently that I can chat with about whatever's on my mind. It's nice to have that, at least.
post #32 of 59
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post #33 of 59
you know what really helped me the first 3 years was that i went into parenting with the philosophy that for the first 3 years the 'me' didnt really matter. meaning my dd came first. just officially admitting that made life easy for me. because i had a v. high needs child and i was soooo tired as a single mom that i could not focus on a book.

i was mostly a SAHM the first two years. i was lucky that between LLL and other moms at the park i did find the intellectual stimulation and of course the online community. yeah google was my friend. when i did get online.

i think what really helped my frame of mind was going in knowing these were the years i was purely dedicating to my dd.

and of course what else helped was taking care of myself. i took long midnight showers and watched movies at night reading subtitles with the sound off at the cost of sleep.

by 5 pm i found i was usually done with parenting. i wanted me time. but i also knew i wasnt going to get any. so one day i discovered how much i could get that by just being there and not interacting with my dd. so i would just sit and watch her play. just simply watch her. man i was blown away by how many needs that met of mine. even what i thought was my 'intellectual' need.
post #34 of 59
I WOHFT, nights. I'm with the girls from wake-up until 4:30ish each day. DH has evenings with them and puts them to bed. I work for a newspaper, so it's new and different everyday, and we often have great discussions on a wide variety of topics.

I ChaCha. You answer questions (using your computer and search engines) that other people text message in. It's fun, it's easy money, and I learn something new everyday. It does have some draw backs, though, a lot of the questions are obviously coming from pre/young teens, or the queries you get are about movie times, or lyrics, or whatever. It's not always thought provoking, but it often leads me to research something I had never had much interest in before. Also, the pay isn't as good as it used to be.

I listen to NPR.

I seek out adult conversation that includes the kids. I have a Mommy Friend I get together with about once a week for a walk in the woods. A new/different park or trail once a week. Her 4 year old, my almost 3 year old mesh pretty well and can do about a mile walk. The baby is in a carrier.

DD1 also likes to have some self-directed play - playdough, coloring, her dollhouse (which is the only toy that goes in her room, everything else is in the main living room/play area) - which helps a lot for letting me get out of "her" time and have a little "me" time or time with just me and the baby.

When the baby gets a bit older, I want to take a one-night-a-week photography class. Maybe that'll lead me to more photo opportunities that involve the kids or the kids can come along on (say, shooting landscapes or nature, macros, whatever), or that I leave the kids with DH for me to get a break.

I think it's important to find a balance. But I think that balance needs to be flexible and constantly shifting.
post #35 of 59
Although I agree that the whole "educated" phrasing can be a bit offensive -- after all, one does not necessarily need to be well-educated in order to be interested in life beyond babies -- I certainly know where you're coming from!

Some of the things I do that help me feel fulfilled intellectually:

Volunteer as a La Leche League leader
Volunteer with the Friends of the Library
Listen to NPR
Read the newspaper online (we actually subscribe to the print edition, but I don't like to get my hands dirty )
Study Latin (this one's new for me about six weeks ago)
Cultivate friendships with other moms who like to talk about a range of topics
Have a weekly "date" with my husband during which we watch a lecture from the "Great Courses" series after the kids are in bed
Talk to my husband
Read classic works of literature (currently "Middlemarch")
Participate in online discussions like this one!

I hope that gives you some ideas!
post #36 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by skueppers View Post
Have a weekly "date" with my husband during which we watch a lecture from the "Great Courses" series after the kids are in bed
What is this series? Is it available online or on DVD for those who don't have tv or cable reception?
post #37 of 59
I read books a lot. I can look them up online, request them at the library online, and pick them up easily at the library (where DD and I go weekly). I try to get a wide variety of books... sometimes research on kids and parenting, but also education (I'm a teacher), and just great fiction and nonfiction. The moms on my block have started a book club so we can meet without kids and talk as adults, and still be close by in case a little one has trouble sleeping that night

I'm also working on my novel (there's a great forum right here on MDC for writing mamas), and I have a writing group (all moms) and now when we're at the park, sometimes we can talk about our writing and not just our kids.

I'm going back to work for one school year, and I'm hoping it will give me a boost and reengergizer my mind, but long term I plan to stay home, and I'm not worried, because I'm always tackling something new to learn about or master. Finding others who like to talk about intellectual things, and just gradually getting in the habit of discussing those types of things with them, helps a lot. My in-laws, local, are not very into intellectual conversation or self education or anything like that, but Skype is great for talking to my parents
post #38 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aubergine68 View Post
What is this series? Is it available online or on DVD for those who don't have tv or cable reception?
http://www.teach12.com/

Every one of the courses goes on deep discount at least once a year, so if there's something you're particularly interested in, you can sign up to be notified when it's on sale. We picked up three courses in a big moving sale they had a while back, when prices were even lower than the usual sale prices.

The library system here also has many of these courses, but I find that it takes us too long to watch them at a pace of 1-2 lectures a week for the library to be the best way for us to get them. It would be good if we were more diligent about renewing library materials, though!

The best courses we've done so far have been:

History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts

and

Ancient Greek Civilization

We thought both of those professors had an especially good delivery, plus of course the material itself was well-organized.

Most of the courses are available in audio or video formats. We like video because then there are maps and illustrations, but many people prefer audio so they can listen in the car.

If you sign up for an account on their web site, you can download a couple of free lectures in .mp3 format, too.
post #39 of 59
- my book club has been a lifesaver. It's not all mums and we actually do talk about the book.
- I phone a friend once a week or so who is in the same profession as me (or was, pre-motherhood), put our phones on speakerphone and have lots of interesting discussions while keeping the kids out of mischief
- I've been thinking of writing a blog about my profession (occupational therapy) ... summarising research, discussing journal articles, reviewing products, discussing therapy techniques etc. I'm wondering whether this could even bring in some income at some point, although this isn't the main reason I'm going to do it.
- I've joined my professional organisation and am part of several occupational therapy listserv's which are very active. I get lots of emails daily which keep my mind very stimulated, especially when it's an area of practice I'm not as familiar with (currently paediatrics)

I have spent a lot of the last 2 years convincing myself that researching and implementing ideas for play/parenting/SAHM is intellectual stimulation, but the truth is that for me - it's not. It's interesting and engaging, but not intellectually stimulating. I needed to return to my pre-motherhood career to fulfil that need within myself, but I needed to find ways to do that while still being a SAHM.
post #40 of 59
i joined a group called sca society for creative anachronism - medieval re-enactment type group. But I was in the art field (with art and art history degrees) so this is fueling that pretty well
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