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"educated" SAHM needs intellectual stimulation - Page 3

post #41 of 59
I listen to books on tape (well, mp3) in the car. I have yet to figure out how anyone with a toddler can spend any time reading. Ours won't let me. What's the secret?
post #42 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyFox05 View Post
I listen to books on tape (well, mp3) in the car. I have yet to figure out how anyone with a toddler can spend any time reading. Ours won't let me. What's the secret?
The secret, in my book , is being able to read snippets on-the-go. I can leave my book open on the counter, read in spurts as I'm able, and still get a viable amount of reading done. But it took some adjustment: I used to only be able to sit and do nothing but READ - and only if I had open-hours of free time ahead of me. I couldn't read unless I knew I'd be able to read for awhile.

Nowadays, my approach is different: read as I can, as I go. It's rough going at first, but especially if you pick the right genre (fast-paced mystery, for example) to start with, you'll find you'll be able to read little bits, more often, w/o losing context, etc., if you just leave it in an available area and remind yourself that reading little bits at a time is no harm done to the mind.

HTH?
Lindsey
post #43 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyFox05 View Post
I have yet to figure out how anyone with a toddler can spend any time reading. Ours won't let me. What's the secret?
I wondered that too until I had a newborn .....
Now I get all my reading down in the middle of the night, while I'm breastfeeding sidelying ... I hold a book in my free hand. I usually get 2-3 half-hour reading sessions in each night this way. Sometimes, if it's a really good book, I keep reading even after DD has gone back to sleep
post #44 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyFox05 View Post
I listen to books on tape (well, mp3) in the car. I have yet to figure out how anyone with a toddler can spend any time reading. Ours won't let me. What's the secret?
Since becoming a mother, I haven't read when the kids are awake, except while nursing on an electronic book reader (currently, on an iPod touch). So I mostly read at night when the kids are in bed. Now that they're a little older, I do occasionally manage to do some reading while they're awake, but that's still pretty rare.
post #45 of 59
My secret, and I'm only joking a little: have more kids. I'm pregnant with #5 and I really don't feel intellectually starved. Here's why:

My kids amuse each other, and I have considerable ( though never enough!) time to read. I read on the beach, when they are doing their schoolwork, sitting beside the tub when my 3 and 5 yos are taking a bath, at soccer practice (while my non-soccer players play beside the field, usually leading a merry band of kids), during swim lessons.

Also, the challenges inherent in raising a largish brood--logistical, psychological, physical, inter-personal, etc-- really do keep me amused and engaged.

Just a thought....

Editing to add that I just read FreeRangeMama's post. Thanks for that!

I've been SAH for almost a a decade, and I would say these have been the most fulfilling years of my life. I've homeschooled, moved abroad (and learned to speak Russian), raised significant $ for an NGO, read the greats in Russian literature and recent non-fiction as well as wonderful children's literature and no small amount of great current journalism. I've also spent zillions of hours in museums and at the theater. I really do believe SAH affords me a chance to pursue what has interested me, instead of doing paid work that leaves me drained of passion and time.
post #46 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by suziek View Post
My secret, and I'm only joking a little: have more kids. I'm pregnant with #5 and I really don't feel intellectually starved.
I'm pregnant with #2, and I'm really hoping this is the case for us too.

To the OP: I've found that the adjustment process to SAHMing is slow and constantly changing for me, although it does keep getting better. I'm lucky to have intellectual mom friends, which is a great outlet. I read The Economist magazine, which I highly recommend to anyone interested in politics, economics, or current events (also check out economist.com). I agree with a pp that finding non mom friends is nice (in my case, it was at a part time job).

The other thing is that I think I've really readjusted my expectations. Part of me doesn't want to be in the "mom box" of being only interested in mother/child/family issues, but the other part of my recognizes that this is the bulk of my life right now, and that these are important issues, and if moms are not advocates than it is unlikely anyone else will be either.

Hopefully some of this makes sense. The toddler got up way early this morning.
post #47 of 59
For me it is:
Books, books, books

and

write, write, write.



I'm sure I make the librarians wonder, with my ecclectic picks. If I hear of anything that sounds interesting, I get ahold of it. If there isn't anything specific, I go for the New Nonfiction shelf and pick out 4-5 random books. Oh, I have gotten some gems. :

I also got involved with reviewing new books (from Christian publishers). So I get brand new books to read, ponder, and then review.

And when I have stuff roiling around in my brain, I mentally write it all out and then actually write it and post it on my blog. Some of my very best writing has taken shape while I was walking with the kids or watching them play at the park.
post #48 of 59
Thread Starter 
thanks for all the great suggestions!

i found some great, relatively short writing opportunities online. some pay a little bit but others are just good for the brain, and nice for the ego when you get posted. you can find "telecommuting" work at freelancewritinggigs.com as well as more academic opportunities at www.h-net.org/announce/

the radio is a good stimulation...NPR as someone mentioned is one of my saviours. I've also been surprised to enjoy facebook posts by political action groups (CREDO, change.org) and news sources (Economist, NPR, NYTimes), which you can also get via email if you don't want to get sucked into facebook.
post #49 of 59
I've gotten into watching TED talks on youtube. They're pretty cool.
post #50 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post
I've gotten into watching TED talks on youtube. They're pretty cool.
Those are great.

I have worried when I quit critical care nursing that I will be left with little in the way of intellectual stimulation. I think though, that I became too hyperfocused on critical care, and forgot that there are limitless things to learn out there in the world.

I could read Baudrillard and post to a philosophy board, if I can't find anyone round here to discuss it. I could learn lampwork, or begin a salt water tank, join a reef club, go through St John's Great Books program, ferment foods, better my understanding of nutrition, learn new cooking techniques, work through biochemistry books, explore world myths, learn Hebrew and ASL, re-learn photography using manual settings (a lost art IMHO), learn electronics and work on that with my son, raise carnivorous plants with my son etc etc etc.

I seriously am at a loss that you have a hard time finding stimulating things to do. I know in the early years, while the kiddo(s) awake, it can be a bit mind numbing, but you have time when they are asleep.
post #51 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by eks View Post
taking classes sound good but we don't have the $$ right now for daycare or class fees.
If you don't have the funds, you might qualify for financial aid such as a fee waiver. I adore taking classes online- it's great stimulation and you can focus on it after the kids go to bed. Besides, I like the satisfaction of seeing all of the A's pile up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mommariffic View Post
I joined a feminist book club
That.is.cool. I might start something like that here!

Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyFox05 View Post
I listen to books on tape (well, mp3) in the car. I have yet to figure out how anyone with a toddler can spend any time reading. Ours won't let me. What's the secret?
Books on tape= I tried that with volume 9 of the Sookie Stackhouse series. Everything as great until an erotic scene came on. Oops. That was the last of the books on tape!

As far as time for reading goes, I have a three year old who still likes to nurse. I LOVE our nursing time becuase I get to read, read, read. I bought a Kindle just for reading while nursing.


OP, I had the same issues as you- I left a vibrant, challenging professional career and was also working on my second bachelor's, which I started right after finishing my master's. I was a SAHM for 11 months and then got too fidgety. I decided to capitalize on my experiences and formed an organization that has since blossomed into a non-profit organization. The group is for families, which allows me to have quality time with my son while doing all of the "brain work" that is part of running an organization.

From the time DS was 1 year old to 2 1/2, I also worked from home. It was not the best experience. I'm happiest now that I'm running my organization and in school full-time (online). Next month I'm reentering the workforce on a full-time basis and DS will be a SAHD while he works on his master's.

My point is that there are lots of ways to keep active and feeling like you're an "adult". Capitalize on your talents and interests and do things that you enjoy. As your daughter gets older, you'll find that you have more latitude to pursue your interests.
post #52 of 59
It does get easier. DD's just over two now and I can do more things while she plays.

While this isn't strictly about academic stimulation per se, I've taken on a philoophy of upskilling and making concrete efforts to become the kind of person I want to be in 10 years' time. It's easy for me to pine away thinking "Woe is me, I could be writing a bestselling children's book, but here I am folding washing" - and then go online and futz around for hours. Which is a rather wasteful use of my twenties, innit. So I'm trying to actually be productive. I'm learning to knit and crochet; I've started fermenting veggies; I've even started using the dreaded spreadsheets to help organise my freelance writing. I've made myself a list (taped to the keyboard!) of all the writing/editing I have to do each day before I'm allowed to surf the web - including 15 minutes of fiction writing. (No, it isn't much, but rather than getting jealous of the single guys on writing forums who say they write for 3 hours a day I just figure it's better than nothing!) I've started getting out books from the library, and if I don't finish them all by the time I have to return them, well, too bad.

For you, with a 16-MO daughter, you'll probably have to work in shorter snippets. But you can still grab intellectual stimulation while you can! Are you partnered? Tell your SO that you need 20 minutes a day to write. Or type/surf the web while breastfeeding. Tape a crossword to the wall in the toilet and do a few clues every time you're in there - or tape a poem up and learn it. (Or anything, really - a passage from your religious text of choice, the Hobbit runes, the Greek alphabet, a list of French nouns, the table of elements, a map of the world, a list of words you can never remember how to spell, a couple of syllogistic forms, a piece of music you're trying to learn, the lyrics to "We Didn't Start the Fire" - whatever!) Read aloud to your DD if she likes it - my dad used to read theological commentaries to my older sister when she was a baby.

Right now we're planning to TTC in 9 months of so (yikes!), so I'm trying to get some "me" stuff in before that. I wanted to try my hand at drama, but it might be a bit late for that now - oh well, next time! I'm relishing the chance to do some moderately uninterrupted knitting, reading, writing etc. I don't know your philosophies on child spacing, but if you are comfortable with it I think it can help to have a vague plan. You can go "OK, I'll write next year off in terms of personal development, then have a gap of 3 years, start taking a paper at Uni when the baby turns two, learn to do X, Y and Z and save up for a holiday before TTC again"... or whatever. I'm still struggling with the whole thing myself, but when I get into a seasons-of-life, flowy, everything-has-its-time sort of mood it helps. For a while.
post #53 of 59
I need the stimulation as well but I have found that sleep deprivation has made my brain mush. I find I like to learn new skills to keep my brain active and my spirits up. I have learned to knit, make no toxic cleaning supplies, cook and garden. The bonus is they are all things I could do with the kids and also benefits the family. Also when they start school I get to as well!!
post #54 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by eks View Post
...taking classes sound good but we don't have the $$ right now for daycare or class fees. I really don't think I could do a class anyway, that's a lot of time and for me requires much more focus than chatting on MDC...
Did you know that MIT offers 1900 of their courses online for free? Obviously, you cannot matriculate, but their OpenCourseWare program makes the educational end of education available to those who are not in a position to pursue an actual diploma. It might be a good fit for you because it would keep you intellectually stimulated while allowing you to learn a) for free, and b) in what ever spare time you can manage with a toddler running around you!

I constantly think about trying one of their open courses, but have not yet done so...Mostly because I am already a matriculating student at a local university, so I'm not really craving the additional stimulation right now. But it's something I always have tucked in the back of my mind. I'm sure some day I will try one of the courses.
post #55 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1littlebit View Post
i hear ya.... they totally killed me when they shut down the news and current events and politics forum!!! that was my source for non baby talk, mental stimulation, and intelligent debate...now i don't know what to do!!!
It's still here. I think you have to be a supporting member.

For mental stimulation, I like reading "Brain, Child" and "Mental Floss."
post #56 of 59
I listen to a lot of NPR
post #57 of 59
All I could think when I read this was, "Join the club!" I also LOVE listening to NPR, though apparently constant background noise is not good for baby's speech development. But at least a couple hours a day. If I want debate, I can go to the New York Times and comment on their articles, which is always fun.

If you're looking online, non-mommy talk, Amazon reviews can be discussed and let me tell you, that can be both entertaining and stimulating at the same time. Like, people take their bread, philosophy and parenting SERIOUSLY over there.

[/unintentional confession of internet addiction]

That last part was part of the confession, wasn't it?
post #58 of 59
I'm still struggling with this. I've got a few thing on the go, but I find that I really need accountability to get things done. I'm awful at online courses, or at things where you're supposed to "work at your own pace", because there are ten million things to do in a day, and the dog hair tumbleweeds or the toddler asking to read a story get my time before research and paper writing when I know no one is going to care.
I like to listen to the cbc (Canadian NPR equivalent), and have mastered reading while nursing, rocking and humming dd to sleep. I've got a request for a booklight for the fall though, as it will no longer be light enough to read while putting her down for the night then!

OP - have you thought about auditing a class? Waaay cheaper! If you don't care about accumulating credits, it's pretty ideal. You still get to get out of the house for some grown up time, to participate in class discussions, to do the course work if you choose, etc, etc, you just don't have to pay even close to full fees. If you choose a night class, wouldn't your dp be able to look after your kiddo? Or, maybe you could trade child care with a friend for a few hours a week if you wanted to take a daytime class?
post #59 of 59


Just noticed this is an older thread, but still, v interesting! I need some intellectual stimulation.
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