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.

GingerPCatt Tue 09-Apr-13 13:16:54

I too find it hard to think of things to fill the time. So inspired by this thread, I've gotten a bunch of notecards and have written an activity in each. Some indoor stuff like making an obstacle course for DS's cars and some outdoor stuff like walks. Hopefully these can inspire me when I've run out of ideas.

mammalion Mon 08-Apr-13 20:06:27

I don't have much to add. I'm on maternity leave with my 2.11 yr old ds1 and 5 month old ds2 and also found getting out to local toddler groups to meet other mums and starting a SAHM group of friends essential to my sanity. Lots of great ideas shared here! Will put some to use myself.

RevoltingPeasant Mon 08-Apr-13 12:00:34

OP only read first page, but - have you considered becoming a member of your local Wildlife Trust?

I ask because if you are, they send DC a magazine and activities every month (which is exciting when you are 3!) and also they tend to have a programme of events for little uns, like rockpooling, finger painting, nature walks etc.

They also run nature reserves round the country which you can access free as a member, which tend to be good for walks, with buggy-friendly paths. It costs around £2 a month so affordable for nearly everyone.

http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/

I bought my friend a membership and her little boy really likes getting the pack every month!

whenitrainsitpours Mon 08-Apr-13 11:34:55

Hi Op, Read through first page and here is my best advice: take a nap in the afternoon with your DC. Especially that you are pregnant, you need the rest before you have two dcs. Once you have two loads more work. Also you mentioned doing a course in the evening and feeling exhausted so yes, nap nap nap when you can. If not tired how about reading a book with your feet up!

AmberSocks Mon 08-Apr-13 11:23:27

well if neither of you enjoys it then obviously dont do it!there is more than figer painting though,and 2 is quite young,one of my 2 yr olds still used to eat play dough and paint if it was anywhere near him at that age.

op-think of stuff you like to do ad fnd a way to get the kids involved,i like cooking so we do a lot of that,i like doing stuff to the house and garden so they help me do that,i like going to cafes and i like reading ad drawing so we do that too.build them into your life not the other way round.

specialknickers Mon 08-Apr-13 10:24:32

Well I've not done much on the finger painting side if things anyway. I tried it once and neither of us seemed to enjoy it so now we just sort of hang out and do stuff we both like. For eg the trip to the exhibition this afternoon, which although child friendly, is something I'm really looking forward to seeing, and we have to get the train there and back which is wonderful for ds. We're also meeting a friend and her 5 year old for coffee and may even treat ourselves to tea at wagamama's afterwards. This morning we have mostly been emptying and loading the dishwasher and dancing around the kitchen.

Not a typical day, and an expensive one, but helps balance out chilly trips to the same old park / playgroup etc and will be great fun.

I think it's hard with a two year old and no garden though, we used to walk and walk then go to a cafe (on our own mostly) when ds was that age.

OP you are pregnant too (congratulations) don't be too hard on yourself.

Doubtitsomehow Mon 08-Apr-13 07:23:09

As some have said....the only way I could manage it was to have a timetable for the week. It gave me a structure so that I knew we had stuff to fill the time, and I knew what was coming next.

Some fantastic ideas here - good luck op!

orangebuccaneer Mon 08-Apr-13 00:43:20

There's a book called 'The Big Activity Book For Kids' or some such thing. It's got lots of little activities you can do with toddlers in: cooking, arts and crafts, outdoor stuff. I dip into in when I'm feeling really desperate.

DontSHOUTTTTTT Mon 08-Apr-13 00:04:24

Please, please PLEASE don't turn this into yet another. boring . SAHM Vs Working Mother debate. The OP has asked for some advice not a debate.

AmberSocks Sun 07-Apr-13 23:39:33

op when i had 3 under 2 i used to get them out in the mornings-to toddler groups,library,parks,meet up with other mums etc-then either take a picnic if the weather was nice,or eat out a cafe,or go home for lunch,then we would all have a snooze till 1 or 2,then he afternoon they would just potter around and play,ad i would get on with general baby care and the odd bit of housework,and reading them stories,put cbeebies on for a little while,then it would be dinner,bathtime and if they were tired they would go to sleep.

LightTheLampNotTheRat Sun 07-Apr-13 23:36:34

Thanks amber. That is what I was trying to say.

AmberSocks Sun 07-Apr-13 23:35:32

I am a sahm but i can see what light is saying,there is no point you being at home full time if you are only doing it because you think its for the best,you have to want to do it ad enjoy it.

LightTheLampNotTheRat Sun 07-Apr-13 23:33:10

But specialknickers they need to do something while love/attention is being given. You can't spend all day just hugging them! (Or maybe you can - mine would have protested!) Activities are necessary - and it can be hard to do that all the time by yourself at home. Obviously not hard for everyone - some mothers are great at it - but not all of us are.

AmberSocks Sun 07-Apr-13 23:32:44

i disagree,i think small children do NEED messy,sensory play,not quite as much as they need love and attention but i do think it is important for them.

Either do it at home or find somewhere you can take them to do it where you dont have to clean up afterwards,ive heard good things about the creation station.

plus,as someone who knows tons of childminders ad comes across others on a daily basis i would never leave my kids with one,ime they are totally different without the parent there.

MsMarple Sun 07-Apr-13 23:31:52

Lightthelampnottherat - in answer to your question, I stay at home because I think that my children, whilst they are still young babies/toddler, get stabilty and security from having a parent around all the time. Personally I feel that their having to put up with my frankly poor finger painting skills is a small price to pay!

Not knocking other people, who do whatevers best for their own families. Just trying to answer your question about choosing to be a sahm.

specialknickers Sun 07-Apr-13 23:25:05

Small children don't need messy play, or finger painting, or even trips to the library.

They need love and attention. Whether they get that from their parents or from professional child minders is up to you to decide. As someone who's tried both, it's a clear choice for me.

MsMarple Sun 07-Apr-13 23:20:28

When it was just me and DS1 I scoured the local papers/surestart centre info/family grapevine magazine and made a list of toddler groups so I had something to do every day, if there was no-one to meet up with/trips etc. There were even a few afternoon ones. The other thing is that you don't have to be doing things with them every waking hour - would he play with his toys by himself whilst you got on with whatever it is you like doing?

Now the day revolves around the school run and time goes too quickly!

LightTheLampNotTheRat Sun 07-Apr-13 23:16:58

This makes me feel truly depressed. I'm struggling to understand why anyone would choose to be a SAHM (assuming there is a choice) without any idea of WHY - why do you want to be one, what do you want to do with your child? If you have no idea, then why do you assume your child will be better off at home with you 24/7 than at nursery/day-care some of the time while you work?

When my DCs were pre-school, we'd all have gone bonkers if we'd spent the entire time home-based - they needed to do things that nurseries are better at than I am (finger-painting, messy play, all that kind of stuff), and it meant that the time we had together was much more appreciated and easier to fill.

This isn't an attack on SAHMs: just a question about why being at home with your child is seen as intrinsically superior to any other arrangement if you don't have a clue what you want to do with the time and how the child (and you) will benefit.

Clary Sun 07-Apr-13 23:15:31

You need a schedule of stuff to be doing. Somethign every day at least. Doesn't need to cost £££.

Toddler groups - meet mums and chat while smalls play - a couple of hours in the morning in a church hall, costs about £1. Do 2 of these a week if you find them pleasant.

Find a pool that has a baby swimming time and go there once a week.

Library story time - usually FoC.

Craft stuff at local museum - ours does a monthly pre-schooler activity which is also free.

Ditto at local Nat Trust property?

NCT baby groups where you meet at each others' homes once a week.

Once you have something in the diary you may find the rest of yr day slots into place ie cleaning, cooking, nap time, activities at home.

DontSHOUTTTTTT Sun 07-Apr-13 23:06:00

Gosh, that does sound really dull.

I have never been bored being a SAHM but I admit the most lonely time was when I just had my eldest. It takes time to build up a circle of friends. I enjoyed it but it was a bit quiet sometimes.
I went to playgroups or whatever activities I could and was fairly proactive about making friends. I seem to remember using the slightly desperate sounding line 'I am new here and I don't know anyone and I would really like to make some friends'.
It was hard not to wish away the time sometimes. sad. I slowly made friends and by the time my second was born I was plenty busy enough.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sun 07-Apr-13 22:54:00

Ipadquietly

Did you mean to be so rude?

Permanentlyexhausted Sun 07-Apr-13 22:48:15

There are loads of websites packed full of ideas for crafts and activities. Try

hht://www.activitykids.co.uk
http://www.first-school.ws/
http://www.underfives.co.uk/
http://www.toddlertoddler.com/

Or just google!

WaterfallsOver Sun 07-Apr-13 22:35:25

Are there any nice gardens near where you live? I know some, such as Wisley, Kew etc offer annual membership which is wonderful with a toddler, they get to run around and you get a nice stroll in beautiful surroundings smile you could do that one day a week?

specialknickers Sun 07-Apr-13 22:30:51

Haven't read the whole thread, but I can sympathise and just in case no-one's mentioned it, life does get more fun when kids hit 3. Not only do they get free childcare, but they really have lots of stuff to say for themselves and stuff they're interested in so hanging out with them is way more fun.

I also think the key is to plan out a whole week so it's more manageable.

Here's mine or next week for example:

Monday: am: chores, planning week etc, pm: trip into city to see exhibition that I want to see

Tuesday: am: nursery, pm: trip to library

Weds: am bursary, pm play date etc etc...

For me it helps that I'm welsh very gregarious so always strike up conversations with randoms. This is how I end up with the play dates factored in, those are with other SAHMs I've clicked with. We drink tea and chat whist the children tear our houses apart.

Sure beats working for a living smile

Skiffle Sun 07-Apr-13 22:21:20

There are lots of good websites with ideas, I like The Imagination Tree. Although with a not-quite-2yo DD2 I wonder how the mum there manages to get her younger ones to actually do the activities rather than fling all the bits onto the floor within two minutes like DD2 does.

I find planning my week really helps, all the things that people have suggested - I find what to do locally and then write it on the calendar, I feel a lot better at the start of the week when I can look and see what we're going to do so that I don't have the "what shall I do today" panic.

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