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.

ohforfoxsake Sun 07-Apr-13 14:54:18

Could DS go to afternoon nursery? If that's possible, you will get an hour or two to yourself when your new baby sleeps. You get the best of DS, keep doing your morning routine (playgroups are always in the morning aren't they) and have some time to have lunch/rest/prepare for the evening onslaught.

OldBagWantsNewBag Sun 07-Apr-13 14:57:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BeaWheesht Sun 07-Apr-13 15:00:17

I've been a Sahm 6 years. Ds is 6 and dd is 2.5.

We are normally confined by constraints of school run but on school holidays we go to the zoo / museum / play in the garden / aquarium / soft play / feed ducks and squirrels etc etc / bake / make masking tape tracks on the floor / build dens / have bubble baths etc.

Sometimes we do nothing and just chill put grin

gettingolderandoutofstyle Sun 07-Apr-13 15:04:55

jojane a theme each week is a fab idea! I had never though of anything like that. That would be really educational too as I worry we never seem to do anything educational although DS seems really bright, I just do not push it and usually find activities like playdoh and colouring a bit boring and end up leaving DS to do them alone while I browse the internet! But having a theme I could pick things that I may actually find interesting!

janey68 I love the idea about going shopping for the evening meal and then getting DC to help making it, much better than the endless fairy cake making!

gettingolderandoutofstyle Sun 07-Apr-13 15:12:15

I am actually getting excited about the theme week idea, I have been wondering for a while how to do some educational stuff with DS and this seems such a great idea, like maybe have a week about vegetables, colour in vegetable worksheets, visit the market, cook different veg. Then an animal week, read books about animails, visit the pet shop etc. Thanks jojane I think this may actually be the best idea anyone has ever given me in my life as a mother!! x

AmberSocks Sun 07-Apr-13 15:56:37

it will be difficult as you only have two,that would be a bit boring.

the same as you did before but with new people?find a hobby?

AmberSocks Sun 07-Apr-13 15:57:18

Sorry didnt mean boring,just mean you will have a lot of time on your hands.

jojane Sun 07-Apr-13 16:07:26

I find it really helps to focus activities rather than trying to desperately think of something to do out of hundreds of possibilities. Also I then get out relevant themes toys for them to play with so toy farm will be set up, we would do the farm puzzle as opposed to another puzzle etc, then the next week the buzzlightyear puzzle will be done for space week and the elc rocket will be out out to play with (obviously I allow them to play with other things if they want!!)Mand I have lots of weeks where don't theme it as too busy/I'll/tired etc.
Other themes I have done are
Space
Transport
Rainbow
Circus
Beach
Fairies
Music
Obviously December is pretty much Xmas theme all the time! Likewise leading up to Easter. I also try and 'celebrate' different festivals etc such as Chinese new year (Chinese food and dragons etc, valentines day, etc etc. other ideas are to have one meal a week from a different country eg, Mexican, indian, Chinese, Greek, Italian etc etc etc obviously works best if you like cooking. But you can make some paper table decorations etc, country flag etc. (I have a 6 year old obsessed with geography and different countries so he likes doing this)
Do you have any museums near you, they are often free.

jojane Sun 07-Apr-13 16:12:12

Also don't be afraid to let a child be bored! I have a 6,4 and 2 year old and as they get older (mostly my 4 year old) they make up
Their own fun, building dens, making ambulances out of cardboard boxes, etc. last summer they did lounge Olympics -diving was jumping off the sofa, long jump was over the cushions, swimming was running around waving your arms around etc etc. totally made up by them. Was really funny. They also like to put their onesies on (shark, cow and dinosaur) and make up plays.

pinkladyslipper Sun 07-Apr-13 16:25:24

Hi, not a SAHM but a teacher so I get time off. Things I do with my 2DC are (now not all the time as they are a handful at 22 months and 10 months)
Grocery shopping, they love people watching and I get the shopping done, usually results in a nap on the way home which may be handy when your second comes along
Walk - anywhere!
Library. Ours has a huge space for kids and a toddler group, musical group, colouring books
Feed the ducks. DC1 runs around lots so when we get home its snack time and usually Peppa Pig time so I get a little break too
Housework, has to be done but my LO loves to help so its an activity for him too
Visting family, one day during the week I visit(when on hols) so thats a whole day gone as they live a fair distance away
Gardening. dH bought some toy gardening tools so thats a bit of outside time too.
I found it tough being home as I had extended maternity leaves and it can be difficukt to fill days. I admire anyone who stays at home. My job is so much easier in comparison and its not an easy job at times!

amicissimma Sun 07-Apr-13 16:33:31

There are lots of low-key educational activities you can do.

Jig-saws, of course -get lots from the Summer and Christmas fairs at local primary school(s), 'pairs' using those sets of cards from ELC etc (school fairs have lots), putting a few items in a group, looking then covering them and trying to remember all the items (good for your acting skills!), etc. All good for concentration development.

Cuddling up together with a book from the library - probably read it until you know it by heart! You can gradually start letting DC 'read' a common word ('the' is good) by pointing to it and letting DC say it; an instant recognition vocabulary will develop - will give confidence.

Out and about you can keep up a running commentary: 'those yellow flowers are daffodils, that car is red, the tree with the wiggly leaves is an oak,' etc. Count your steps to the next corner, read door numbers, recognise letters in a shop name or car number plates. In shops practice recognising writing, eg look for the r-i-c-e. It's amazing how much DC learn in a casual way and how a short outing can fill ages while you look at and talk about quite mundane stuff.

For yourself I'd really recommend making yourself read a broadsheet (big) newspaper every day. Maybe different ones to make yourself reflect on their style and your attitudes! The walk to buy it can be a daily morning project. I used to read out bits to my DC - it was over their heads, of course, but they had my attention!

pinkladyslipper Sun 07-Apr-13 16:33:39

Just also wanted to add that I have a little craft that I do. Do not the time or energy to read as much as I want to but my craft/hobby can be done while the DC "read" their books or play themselves. I have a sense of achievement then when my creation is made as I give them as presents. That also passes some time and I have something to show from my time.

Wishihadabs Sun 07-Apr-13 17:19:09

Agree this is the "calm before the storm". What worked for me at this stage was a busy morning and more chilled afternoon. Even if your Ds doesn't nap anymore introducing a regular "quiet time" is probably a good idea for when the baby is here. I would suggest straight after lunch, snuggle on the sofa and look at books together for an hour or so. Ideas for morning activities include swimming (great for wearing them out), playgroups, parks and library. It depends a bit on what is near you but Ds loved the city farm, there was a soft play next to the shops that cost 1:20 we used to pop into.

LadyMountbatten Sun 07-Apr-13 17:20:02

cant you go back to work?

dramaqueen Sun 07-Apr-13 18:06:37

I have tomsaybthatnifi only had £5 left per week for entertainment and struggled to fill my time, I would go back to work.

forevergreek Sun 07-Apr-13 18:11:18

I split the day into morning, nap/ quiet time, afternoon

Get out everyday

So for example swimming at your gym in morning, home for lunch,

then around 1pm either they go down for a nap, or have quiet time ( this is in bedroom or on sofa with some books to look through themselves). With your 2 year old if not used to this maybe encourage 10mins looking at books quietly alone, then you read to him for 20mins. Gradually increase time he looks alone so that eventually he is reading 30 mins or so, then you read 15 mins)- this should pass 1-2 pm approx.

Then afternoon starts around 2ish rather than 12. An hours play indoors/ snack, followed by something outside . So maybe 3.30-4.30 walk/ park/ find leafs, sticks etc. Back to house and you head out at 5ish if that's correct.

I would also do some of your ou during the day. There's nothing wrong with playing with ds for 20mins and help set up Train set etc, then leaving him to play alone for half hour whilst you read up/ type up some work. It might not be super productive as toddler chatting also, but it will help him learn to play a little alone also which will help when new baby arrives. Maybe quiet time could be you both on sofa with him looking at his books for a while and you reading your study books. You can get a blanket etc and make it a joint thing

God I waffle on....!

gettingolderandoutofstyle Sun 07-Apr-13 18:15:27

wow thank you for so many amazing ideas there are some really good ones and a lot of them are educational which is great as I was struggling of ways to teach DS things I just could not think of any ideas apart from counting and singing the abc!!

Wishihadabs having a filled morning and a quiet afternoon is a great idea, I am always tired after lunch even if DS is not!

jojane Thanks for letting me know some more of the themes you have done, the different celebration ones will be really good, and I do enjoy cooking so the meal idea is great too. I like your way of thinking, you must have a good imagination, I think my DS will learn alot from doing theme weeks and it will make things more interesting for me.

I am feeling positive about next week now which is great!

LadyMountbatten I don't want to go back to work until they start school, I just want to find ways to make staying at home more interesting for myself as I get bored easily.

BlackMaryJanes Sun 07-Apr-13 18:24:52

Question for those saying 'find a group of SAHMs' - How?

maddening Sun 07-Apr-13 18:32:30

Until recent incarnation with hernia (not really incarcerated just limited what I can do) I had 3 regular groups and swimming class and 1 day of no plans to go visiting.

I had a farm toddler group, toddler dance group, nornal toddler group and swimming - all in mornings as ds still naps so home for lunch and nap and an hour of play before dfiance got home at 4.

gettingolderandoutofstyle Sun 07-Apr-13 18:32:42

forevergreek Thanks that is a really good layout routine wise!

gettingolderandoutofstyle Sun 07-Apr-13 18:39:35

dramaqueen I think that is a bit rude. In our budget I have decided £5 a week should be plenty for activities for a child not at school, soft play is £1.50 per hour near me, swimming is free as I have a membership at the local gym, parks etc do not cost anything, there is a childrens cinema (that I just found online after doing some searching today) that is £1. While I was on maternity leave I spent a lot of money going to cafes, soft play, browsing (and buying!) toys in toy shops, anything just to fill time which I realise now was wasteful of me while my DH was at work working hard I was wasting all our money when instead we could be saving for a deposit on a house with a garden for DC. I think it is better to think of free activities or low cost ones and use imagination rather than DC expect expensive activities all the time. And thanks to lovely Mumsnetters on here I have got some great ideas that are free or low cost, thanks guys!

Anyway even if I did go back to work I would be out of pocket after paying for full time childcare for 2 so would not have any money at all to do activities and would not have time to do any activities with them either!

quoteunquote Sun 07-Apr-13 18:41:38

Grow your own veg, if you don't have a garden,get an allotment, toddlers are brilliant weeders, they learn really quickly.

Walks in woods, on the beach, by the river.

Start a toddler group, either go to what is available, or start one to suit you, walking ,swimming, local village hall.

swimming, you cannot give your child enough swimming practice,

Join the local zoo, farm.

Teach your child to read,count, write letters, numbers.

Children love making bread, cakes and dinner.

Build dens inside and out.

SimplyRedHead Sun 07-Apr-13 18:43:35

What about volunteering with the NCT (or similar) as a New Parent Supporter. That way you can organise activities for other local mums and always have something to do and somewhere to go.

You may need to use your house as a meeting point or you could use local cafes or libraries etc.

You could organise activities like:

Baby massage taster
Cooking
Finger painting
Baby sign taster
Story telling
Mums massage (other mums babysit when it's your turn)
Trip to local farm etc etc

NCT would be grateful and you will meet lots of people. You could even specialise in toddlers and pregnant mums.

You could also help organise local sales and all sorts.

I'm on week 2 of maternity leave and already planning my escape!

gettingolderandoutofstyle Sun 07-Apr-13 18:43:39

amicissimma wow thanks some really good learning ideas there!!

CheshirePanda Sun 07-Apr-13 18:49:32

As well as the other suggestions. I would say walk. Walk. Walk. I've recently swapped the baby bjorn for a backpack style carrier. Now I am free to take my 1 year old pretty much anywhere. It's great exercise, and fresh air is tiring for them. Exercise is good to ward off depression and then you can enjoy sitting on the sofa watching Housewives of Atlanta/new York/orange country Etc!!

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