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To wonder what the hell I am supposed to do all day now I am a stay at home mum?

(128 Posts)
gettingolderandoutofstyle Sun 07-Apr-13 13:51:39

I have been a stay at home Mum since DS was born (now age 2). For the first year I just met up with other mums each day who were also on maternity leave (but this actually cost me a lot of money going to cafes, soft play etc.) Now they are all back at work I have decided I would like to stay at home until DS (and I am 12 weeks pregnant with DC2) start school. But I am at a loss of what to do each day? At the moment DS wakes me up at 6am, we have breakfast, get dressed, then watch cbeebies for about an hour and a half before driving DH to work. We are back home by 9.30, I then put a wash load on, do the ironing and clean one room (I have allocated a room in our apartment to clean each day). DS just potters and plays with his toys and 'helps' me do bits of the cleaning. Then it is 11am we have a snack and I try and bake cakes or do colouring or playdoh or something until lunchtime but find it hard to stretch the activity out to last until lunch. We eat lunch, quick clean up and then I start thinking it is only 1pm, what the hell am I going to do until I pick my DH up at 5.30pm? If we go to the park I am usually bored after an hour and by the time we are home there are still at least another 2 hours to kill. What do other stay at home mums do? My own mum said I used to go to nursery every morning but she still struggled to fill the afternoons with me so she has no suggestions.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sun 07-Apr-13 14:12:15

I agree with ParmaViolette.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Sun 07-Apr-13 14:12:52

Gosh, are you me? Also have a toddler, also pregnant with DC 2 and also sometimes bored out of my mind! Doesn't help that we moved abroad when DD was 9 months and I'm in a country where I'm not allowed to work due to visa regs, so no respite there!

I think the thing that helps most is routine, so I try and make sure we have an activity on each day - Mondays, music class, Tuesdays, playgroup etc. I try and make sure these things are in the morning so I have something to get up and out for - I hate the feeling of 'killing time' moping around indoors (granted, it's more difficult in the winter).

The other thing I did was to find a group of other SAHMs and organise that we meet up one afternoon a week eg to go to the park or somewhere indoors if it's colder. I've also learnt to invite others over/for coffee etc even if I don't know them so well - its surprising how many mums were reluctant to do this (me included) but we've all become pretty good friends. (This may be cultural - it's America and there isn't really a SAHM culture.)

I often think back to the halcyon days of maternity leave when I'd be with my NCT group in the local cafe most days but do you know what? That wasn't real life and even if that situation were possible now and most people weren't back at work, the toddlers are not good cafe customers. My DD won't sit still for more than ten minutes - no more huge cuppas and cakes whilst baby sleeps for a couple of hours!

Gosh - this has turned into a bit of an essay! The other thing I think will change is that as DD gets older, she'll need less entertaining and be more able to play on her own. At the moment she is into everything but wants me there with her to build towers etc and it feels like I never get a moment to myself. Finally, once the new baby is here, you'll wonder why you didn't make more of all the free time!

The grass is always greener too, remember. I've got friends who would give anything to be a SAHM!

Earlybird Sun 07-Apr-13 14:14:10

Softplay (as a special treat)
Find a music class for ds - often held in church halls during the week
Walk to the station to watch the trains arrive/depart
Plant something from seed and watch it grow with ds
Go feed the ducks
Fingerpaint / play dough with ds

For yourself:
learn to do something new, and then practise it (knitting, sewing, craft, scrapbooking, etc)
Read a new book every week (maybe even join a book club)
Try at least one new recipe per week
Do crossword puzzle/sudoku/etc
Read a serious newspaper everyday
Write poetry, haiku, short stories, etc
What have you always wanted to know more about? Do some reading. Also, many universities now have lectures online that can be viewed.

I understand it is easy to get 'stuck' in the mundane routines of daily life with a young child, but see this as a time of exploration and discovery. No doubt, you still have to do the shopping/cooking/laundry - but you also have the luxury of time to do things you couldn't do when doing regular paid work.

378 Sun 07-Apr-13 14:16:18

Playgroups, activity classes, playgrounds, parks, painting, outside play, reading, 'quiet time' if no naps - my 2 year old won't watch tv and I am pregnant so doing lesd than usual but I try not to mumsnet when dc not resting or sleeping. Playdates with other mums with toddlers great too we get to chat while they play. Having a plan for the week helps with motivation I found.

Chandon Sun 07-Apr-13 14:17:42

In all honesty, I wept when Ds started playgroup, he was 2.5 I think...

He was happy going 3 mornings a week, and it gave me a bit of time off.

You need to try and see other adults during the day, I found that essential, find other sahms locally and meet up in the park.

ohforfoxsake Sun 07-Apr-13 14:19:42

I've made some cracking friends through MN, worth starting a thread in your local page maybe?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Sun 07-Apr-13 14:21:50

I used to take DS1 to a couple of classes, one of those was with a friend and we would have lunch at one another's house afterwards and have a natter.

I agree that a garden helps, mine have always spent a lot of time out there when the weather allows

I can always find things to do - reading, looking at new recipes, planning a trip away and so on, while DS1 played if he didn't want my input.

Once you have two it is a totally different ballgame. I have far less time, but I still take DS2 to a couple of classes/groups each week, we help out at school and so on.

Library/zoo/lunch out/visit family and friends.

It somewhat depends on what you have locally, and what your finances are like. I've always been able to spend some money on keeping myself and the DCs amused and it does help.

Ragwort Sun 07-Apr-13 14:24:51

There is loads of voluntary work you can do, even with a child in tow, I used to deliver meals on wheels, visit elderly people in homes, helped to run a community toddler group, organise fund raising, coffee mornings etc etc etc.

I've been a SAHM for 12 years and never been bored and never spent much time doing housework either. smile

gettingolderandoutofstyle Sun 07-Apr-13 14:25:01

I have a gym membership we use to go swimming a couple of times a week, I have the car (most days) unles DH needs it to go to a meeting in work hours. In terms of finance I only have about £5 a week spare at most really sad

gettingolderandoutofstyle Sun 07-Apr-13 14:25:46

Thats £5 a week left for entertainment I should mention, not food and everything else, it sounded a bit like that when I read it back!!

Lavenderhoney Sun 07-Apr-13 14:27:01

You could plan out your week so you have somewhere to go every day. I used to go to a swimming class or just us, a toddler group, walks in woods , friendly garden centres and a bit of gardening, play dates etc etc. feeding ducks was very popular too, blackberrying etc

In the afternoon I would invite someone round from 2-4 most days, or just go for a walk. Puddle walks are very popular and great funsmile

Even if pregnant , you can still do the above but super slowsmile and keep one day for being home and a tidy day, where your ds gets to amuse himself ( its good for him! ) whilst you tidy or await the cleaner if you get really exhaustedsmile

I also did an ou course but gave up for a year on 2nd pregnancy. Too knackered. Scrap booking might work, with a memories book for your ds?

gettingolderandoutofstyle Sun 07-Apr-13 14:28:28

If you do one activity per day how do you stretch out the rest of the time? At the moment we go to swimming two morning a week at about 11am but we are back in time for lunch and then bored the rest of the day? Same as if we go to the park after lunch, we are normally back by about 2.30pm and then still have until 5pm to fill, I cannot seem to make activities even last half the day sad

KateDillington Sun 07-Apr-13 14:32:05

I agree that having a garden makes it MUCH easier.

In all honesty though, I couldn't hack it for very long. I had to go back to work!

Ragwort Sun 07-Apr-13 14:33:46

Are you involved in your local community? I used to take my DS out for a long walk in his pushchair every single day and inevitably meet other people, that would involve stopping for a chat, sometimes an invitation to coffee/local place of interest etc. We would also just mooch around the church/shops/gardens - anything in fact.

Not saying this is you but I have noticed a lot of people just hurry about their daily lives without just stopping and seeing what is happening locally, check notice boards & your local newspaper, you never know what might be happening. I used to deliver local newsletters, (voluntarily) - it got me out, fresh air, exercise, meeting people.

gettingolderandoutofstyle Sun 07-Apr-13 14:35:01

Lavenderhoney yes it does get tiring with the OU in pregnancy doesn't it? I think I may put mine on hold when next DC arrives as I cannot imagine being up with a newborn and trying to do the work! We also have a day where DS has to entertain himself, either a Saturday or a Sunday each week (DH works one day each weekend so I use that day just to potter about and just leave cbeebies on all day for DS and get his toys out, not sure if the cbeebies on all day is a good idea but it is the only way I can get him to stop stalking me and asking me to play trains all day long!!). It is nice to do nothing for one day each week, but I cannot handle any more than that I would go insane so am loving the ideas on here, I think I will spend this afternoon looking up some activities and making a time table.

MIL thinks I am crazy as she said she was always super busy doing things at home like cleaning, but I just cannot make the cleaning stretch that long, plus I would not want to or DS would be so bored and I do not even like cleaning!

GingerPCatt Sun 07-Apr-13 14:35:16

Gettingolder I know what you mean. I take DS to an activity most mornings but struggle to find stuff to do in the afternoon. At least if its not raining we can go in the garden or out for walks. It's difficult since there isn't much where I live so to go to anything we have to take the bus. DS is 22 mo so doesn't play with anything for more than 30 min tops.
Sorry I'm moaning, I'm finding being a sahm very difficult. I'm looking for pt work, but no joy.

ipadquietly Sun 07-Apr-13 14:39:30

I think I'd have missed the company of adults (without children) if I'd been a SAHM. I've always been a bit bored with talking about dcs (accomplishments, 'good' schools', catchment areas, comparing milestones, 'necessary accessories', aspirations, etc, etc) ad infinitum.

Kat101 Sun 07-Apr-13 14:40:26

I wonder this. I was ok when I had my first child as had friends from NCT and postnatal group. When I had my 3rd, all of my friends were going back to work / kids going to preschool and they left the toddler groups. I spent a good year with no friends and was so miserable and unhappy. I never found a niche and got a job as soon as I could. It transformed my life. But then my kids weren't interested in tv, it didn't even buy me 1 minute before they were bored, same with baking and crafts, so maybe that was why.

gettingolderandoutofstyle Sun 07-Apr-13 14:41:00

Also DS will be 3 this summer so will be starting nursery in September, so then I will only have afternoons to fill (although will have the baby in the mornings once it is here), do those of you who have DCs at morning nursery still do stuff in the afternoons or is it too tiring for the DC to be at nursery in the morning and then out in the afternoon? I just cannot imagine what we would do all afternoon if DS is tired after nursery but does not nap??

janey68 Sun 07-Apr-13 14:41:16

I think accessing as much free stuff as possible is the way to go, as you're on a tight budget. Library, free or very low cost mum and toddler groups (if they're your thing- I know they're the kiss of death to some people!) walks.... Also, there's a lot you can do with your ds which doesn't cost anything extra but if you can involve him they're fun activities. I was only at home full time on ML, but one thing I did was go to the local market, pick out cheap veg etc and then come home and make a veggie crumble for evening meal. Most people tend to think of baking cakes when you're cooking with kids but actually it's far more real (and economical) to just involve them in what you'd be cooking for a real meal. Maybe link your morning walk to an afternoon activity- eg collect pebbles, leaves and then do a collage. Mine used to love hiding games- have a collection of objects which you hide around your apartment and then he finds them. Then swap over.
If you feel money is really restricting what you can do, it may be worth doing an evening shift or two a week at a bar or something...I know youre tired but sometimes doing something totally different has the same impact as resting.
I think when you have another baby you'll be pretty busy anyway so look on this period as a time limited phase

Mashedupbanana Sun 07-Apr-13 14:44:17

My routine is to get out of the house by 9:30 (maybe have a list of things to do and pick one per day eg library story time, music with mummy, swim, walk, park, free museum). Netmums local is good for finding what on in your area.

I then get back home at 11:30 for lunch. If yours doesn't nap then perhaps have a cuddle up and book read between say 1-2pm. Then in the pm maybe do an activity or two at home. The Pinterest app is really good for free ideas (type 'toddler ideas' into a search) - things like pushing pipe cleaners into a sieve, making dens, obstacle course, make playdoh, sand in a tray, play musical bumps, washing toys in bowl of soapy water etc. Perhaps decide which activities to do the evening before (I wish I did this, but I dontgrin) followed by a bit of play on their own while you do your own bits and bobs.

How about getting out of the house for a bit in the evenings once your Dp is home to do a class or something that is just for you with no kids involved?

I'm full of ideas but in reality my Dd spends far too much time watching cbeebies while I browse Pinterest thinking 'that's a great idea' and then not doing it blush

Primrose123 Sun 07-Apr-13 14:45:21

Getting older, you mentioned that you don't have a garden. Is there any way you could get an allotment? I don't know how easy or expensive that is, but if it was possible, it would be your own little patch of outdoors where you could sit and read, and let your DC play, or start him planting seeds, digging, raking etc. Do you think he would like that? You could even put a little sandpit there if that was allowed.

I felt like this with my first child. All my friends worked, and I found it difficult to meet other mums with similar interests. When my second came along, it seemed easier. When your little boy starts school, there will be playdates, you will meet other parents, and all of a sudden your days will be so busy you won't know what to do with yourself!

When I just had the one, we used to go to the library, park, beach, swimming, anything that wasn't too expensive! I got a season ticket to a local animal park, and we would often go there for a few hours. My DD loved anything crafty though, so was quite happy painting, doing play dough or glueing, so I was lucky in that respect!

jojane Sun 07-Apr-13 14:46:53

Why don't you theme each week
Eg farm week - visit a farm, make farm pictures, make sheep from cotton wool, make carrot cake, read books about farm from library etc.
helps to keep the week in focus.

As money is a factor try your local library, they will have a story time or rhyme time once a week, toddler groups are mostly a £1 or so a session and you get to meet other mums.

To be honest (and not much help I know) but I would enjoy this time as once you have two chaos will descend. We have 3 and I think back to the days of just one and it was bliss, I can barely go to the toilet by myself nowadays and it's a constant stream of school runs, toddler group, washing, cleaning, cooking, ballet, swimming, gymnastics etc etc!!

jojane Sun 07-Apr-13 14:48:03

Realised that last paragraph wasn't very helpful, my point was that this period isn't going to last forever and it might help you if you realise this boredom won't last forever and it's something to enjoy

OP... "If you do one activity per day how do you stretch out the rest of the time? At the moment we go to swimming two morning a week at about 11am but we are back in time for lunch and then bored the rest of the day? Same as if we go to the park after lunch, we are normally back by about 2.30pm and then still have until 5pm to fill, I cannot seem to make activities even last half the day"

Try to find a couple of afternoon playgroups or invite someone over for lunch or arrange to meet them at the park and take lunch with you.

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