My daughter is over 1 now and as many of the moms I met have recently gone back to work, here I am still at home with Isla. I am so fortunate that I am able to stay home with her and I know that if I had to go back after 1 year I would feel sad that I couldn’t spend more time with her. Especially with her schedule, she gets up around 7 or 8 and goes down as early as 5:30 – 6, so my time with her would be extremely limited and I’m sure I would miss A LOT! But on the flip side, I would really appreciate the short amount of time that I would have with her and I would get a lot of adult time everyday (which I sometimes miss).
I’ve been able to stay pretty sane during our days and really enjoy most of the time we spend together.
Here are some simple things I do to make our days fun and interesting.
Make A Schedule
I am such a scheduling/planning obsessed kind of person, so I find having a schedule for our days really helps me. It took 6-8 (chaotic) months to really establish a regular schedule, which is totally led by her sleep. Once we had her sleep schedule on track, everything else fell into place.
Our typical day starts around 7am, we eat breakfast and play until her nap (around 10/11), after which we try to get out of the house and/or get social (some tips on this below). She has quiet time and a bottle around 3 and then more play and dinnertime followed by a bath around 5:30-6 and bed!
After talking to a lot of other moms, I realized how early Isla goes to bed… This came about when she started fighting her afternoon nap (at around 8 months), and was absolutely exhausted by 5. She’s gotten into the habit of this early bedtime and it really works for her, so we take advantage of the evenings to ourselves to have dinner, do some work, and clean up from the day.
Even though we do have a schedule, it is pretty flexible which I really like. If we have something that needs to happen in the middle of the day, we try to fit her nap around it. As long as she gets her 2 hour nap every day and is in bed by 7 at the latests, she is a happy camper.
Get Out Of The House As Much As Possible
Go to the park or go to play groups, if there are no play groups start one! Get yourself out and talk to others, it’s so important to socialize with people your age, and for your kids to socialize with other children. Isla has been a pretty shy and cautious child and is just now coming out of her shell. Even though she still doesn’t always actively play with other children, it is great for her to be around them, I know she is watching and learning from them. And when she is ready to get out on her own and play, I know she will be a little better equipped for it.
My favourite place to go at least once a week is Play Cafe where I can have a coffee and socialize a little bit and Isla can play in a fun environment with different toys. I also love the Family Resource Centre, every Tuesday and/or Thursday we go to the drop in group where she can play and there is always a circle time which is fun because she loves singing and dancing. We also plan on taking her swimming again every week at the Wellness Centre now that summer is almost over.
Peterborough is great for family-friendly activities, but I’m sure all communities have similar things happening – so just check it out online and find some places to get out and be social!
Take Some Time For Yourself
Her nap time is when I tend to take my alone time. And once a week my mom watches her so I can go to the coffee shop and get some work done. This is my favourite time of the week! My husband also works from home (which is AMAZING), but if I need to pop out to get some groceries, have a shower or go to a yoga class, he is here to watch her.
Having time to myself felt selfish at the beginning, but then I realized how crucial it was for my sanity and made me enjoy my time more with her. The last thing you want is to feel bored of your child, or look forward to their bedtime.
It gets tiring (for me) playing with the same old toys, so I keep a chest full of toys that we can rotate every month or so, this keeps things somewhat fresh and keeps her interested. I try to keep the amount of toys limited so we don’t have toys taking over our entire house. It’s also cool to see her development with some different toys after she hasn’t had them in a while.
The Family Resource Centre has a toy library which is amazing, so you can keep toys fresh without having to buy new ones. We will start using this resource much more now that she is old enough to choose new toys herself.
Get Dressed Everyday
I don’t do this everyday because I don’t have to, but on days when I actually put on an outfit (other than yoga pants and a tank top) and put some makeup on I feel SOO much better about myself. I’m trying to do it more often and with Fall upon us, I’m pretty excited to get some of my favorite fall clothes out.
I first learned this when I stopped working in an office and started working from home. It is very easy to get stuck in the “I’m at home so I’ll wearing pajamas” trap… If you put on an outfit in the morning, you will most likely have a more productive day.
Every age brings a new set of skills and development, when she is a little older I plan on structuring her days a little more as if we are a “home school”, and having scheduled time for crafts, music, relevant development, etc. But always keeping things loose enough to just get up and go on a daytrip, lose ourselves on a hike or have an extra long playdate with a friend. These are the moments that we’ll never forget and I always try to remind myself how lucky I am to be around for them all!
How do you spend your days at home with your children??