I am now officially not an employed attorney, and instead am a stay at home mom (I am chronicling this in my blog: http://butidohavealawdegree.blogspot.com/ )
I would love from seasoned SAHMs. Any suggestions for fun activities? Getting through the day? Ways to make extra money on the side?
So, from your blog I get that your boys are 2.5yo and 6 months or so, right?
At that age, my ds loved to play in sand. I would use a rubbermaid container about 4 inches deep or so and about 12 by 18 inches, and just put it on a towel on the table. I'd throw in a couple of his matchbox cars, a few spoons, and a measuring cup, and he'd play forever.
He also loved to pour water. Same routine, except a cookie sheet instead of a rubbermaid container. I would give him a toy teapot, some measuring cups and spoons, etc.
Or, fill a baking dish with dry pasta or rice or beans...and stuff to scoop and pour.
You can make salt dough, or edible dough, or play doh. We like to make play doh, and put the food coloring inside. As you play with it, the color gets mixed around.
You can use cereal boxes to play "garage" with cars and trucks.
My kids love to play in the bathtub.
You can thread a needle, and he can string buttons. Or use a shoe lace or a pipe cleaner and beads.
Read, read, read. Go to amblesideonline.org or five in a row's forums to get good booklists. Ds loves Curious George, Caps for Sale, Peter Rabbit (the real version), and all things Dr. Suess.
Hide and Seek.
"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."
I never worked in biglaw like you did. I had a very flexible PT job that would have been great if I had school age kids (Mon-Th 10a to 4pm) at a very small firm. I wasnt sure what i would do -- I wanted to stay home, but also didnt want to waste my education and loans.... But as soon as the babies were born, I knew I couldn't go back. No way. So I had to say "Sorry, Boss, but that maternity leave you gave me? Yeah, it's pretty much permanent ..."
Gotta look out for Number One, right? And when kids are born, they become No. 1. It's not the bank account anymore. Plus, in my case, the cost of childcare for two made it cost prohibitive. Not to mention the opportunity cost of not getting to raise your own kids! Pshhh, it's a no-brainer for me. I have zero regrets.
To fill our days, I've joined a couple mommy groups, gone to LLL meetings, found a natural-baby/cloth diaper store that hosts mommy groups and events. I LOVE sah-ing. So much better than a silly desk job.
I just read your blog post. Wonderful!!! It's always great to hear other SAHMs stories - because we all have them. These days many, many SAHMs have advanced degrees and the choice to SAH is very complicated. You said it all very well.
I've been at home for six years now (my kids are 6, 4 and 2). For the most part I wouldn't change a thing, but I do struggle sometimes with the "me" I gave up. It's worth it, but the sacrifice is very real.
As for a SAH tip - my saving grace has always been to get out of the house. Even if it seems easier to stay in (rainy day for example), I always regretted it when 3pm rolled around and the stretch until my DH got home from work started. Take walks, go to the library, playground, out to lunch (I go alone with my kids just for an activity sometimes), to the gym, whatever. We don't do many structured activities, I just try to get us out and about for at least a bit each day.
Make friends with other SAHMs too. Very important. I have friends who work, but my closest friends now, who I rely on regularly, either SAH or work very part time.I don't have family nearby, so it's so essential for my sanity and for just getting through a tricky day (2yo is vomiting and I need to get 6yo to school and 4yo has a field trip!).
You know, having read through your entry...
In all honesty, I would prepare for the possibility that you may deal with postponed grief within a couple of months or even a year from now. While I never made big $$ nor did I have a stellar law degree, I spent most of my working life and/or volunteer time with high impact, high variety, high stakes jobs (namely, social work and corrections). I spent the first year at home destressing from all those years of living on the edge in just about every way possible (financially, physical danger, dealing with other people's emotional breakdowns/explosions). But then, insidiously, I started to miss that stimulation. I think for some people they can fill that by taking a million mommy and me courses, but it didn't work for me (plus since I had 3 kids in 17 months, didn't have the $$ or energy to do that for all of them either). I was so used to being a go-go-er, that it took some time that was even more difficult than I anticipated to learn how to be a be-er. So much of dealing with a bunch of little kids is be-ing and letting them be, instead of cramming a zillion activities down their throats so that you can satisify a high drive to "do something." (because to be blunt probably LLL...unless you undergo the training to be a leader..and other mommy orgs are generally NOT going to have the same go- or do-er satisfaction as breaking up a fight between inmates or fast-talking your client into a shelter at the 11th hour. At least they didn't for me--more power to people who did find that level of satisifaction!)
All I'm trying to say is that it is normal after the SAHM honeymoon period is over to have a certain amount of "buyers regret" or to feel like you're a horrible mom because you really don't find as much intellectual stimulation out of the under-three crowd as "everyone else" seems to be having. It's okay. Hopefully you have more of a sense of humor than I did initially, but if you don't don't worry, you'll develop one. ;)
I love SAHing. I do miss my ladies though. I miss hanging out with street folk. Sometimes I feel that the SAHM community is very hostile towards anyone talking about how they enjoyed aspects of their former job(s). (And for me personally, there is also the factor of me being a SAHM in suburbia where people react in stupidly stereotypical ways when the find out that I had regular contact with streetwalkers and mentally ill people for a long time, so often it's a double whammy for me if I admit that sometimes I do miss my old jobs and volunteer gigs!). OTOH, it's been nice to meet and socialize with a suprisingly diverse group of folks as a SAHM that I wouldn't have otherwise.
I have no regrets about SAHMing. I just try to remind new SAHMs that if you wonder every now and then "OMG what have I done" or "Wow, this playdate is freakin' boring," or "My god, if I have to play barbies <or insert more appropriate PC toy here> one more time today I'm going to pop their heads off and throw them across the room," it's not a sign that you're in the wrong place; almost everyone has "what if I did this different" daydreams, and it's just a reminder to love on yourself a bit and to take a deep breath and return to the moment you're in.
Oh, and BTW...I've had my SAH gig for almost 10 years now, still having a great time. :)
I am also a recovering lawyer. Worked in New Orleans with a plum job and unlimited potential. Left that firm to start my own practice right outside NO in my hometown about a year after I got married. Amazingly- despite the risks (but it was the early 2000's- Dave Matthews- anyone?) I was almost instantly busy and making money. I enjoyed working for myself and the action packed life and $ it provided. I fully planned on continuing my practice.... until I had my first baby and was literally conferencing on the phone while breastfeeding. Feeling distracted and torn- I closed up shop and began my life as a stay at homer. Three years later, I got pregnant with baby #2 and it never crossed my mind to go back. I love being home with them, but I admit that I miss the status of lawyering and intellectual challenges- not to mention the cash! I have countered that with freelance writing gigs, some pro-bono work and a very intentional collection of great women friends. Eight years out and I still do not want to go back to a full time lawyer lifestyle. There are many many of us lawyer mamas out there who choose to make family our priority right now. I do realize that my "partner" years are behind me- even if I chose to return to work tomorrow. I am toying with the idea of starting a small boutique practice in a targeted area- but not sure I want to make that trade off quite yet. And yes, I am still paying law loans as well. These years really do fly by and I don't want to regret missing them. I feel very blessed that I don't "have" to work at a high pressure job to pay the bills and thank my husband everyday for his support in that decision. Good luck to you and enjoy your precious little boys : )