I’ve been at home for about two months now so I thought it would be a good time to check in and let you know how I’ve been doing.

For starters, here’s my new look:

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Unshowered, no makeup, sweats, big smile. Photo credit Kitten

My fashion game has taken a hit.  As you know, I love clothes and personal style.  However, since I’m not at work anymore there is little need for many of the items in my closet.  I worked with some really fashion forward people so I needed to look my best most of the time.  And while I’m not in sweats much at all, I have dressed way down for being at home.  I’ve embraced the sneaker as a necessity at home.

My stress level has been drastically reduced.  I knew I was burnt out, but I really had no idea.  I’ve noticed I’m a calmer, nicer person.  My anxiety level has also gone way down, as has my kids.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Productivity means something new now.  In the beginning of this venture I felt compelled to fill every waking moment with something on the to-do list.  I felt guilty if I sat down to watch a show or if I didn’t get a task completed.  I have been able to get a lot of projects done around the house.  (Part of my family room is now painted after two years of looking at paint swatches on the wall.) It dawned on me that after so many years in the work force I was hard-wired to think that the day was only a success if I had crossed things off the to-do list.  My mindset has switched and I now see the day as a success if I’ve done things I want to do and had fun while doing it.  Hang out on the playground after school for an hour? Sounds good.  Go for a leisurely walk with a friend? Bring it on.

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Just hanging around after school. Photo credit C. Fuss

I’ve gained weight.  This one I didn’t see coming.  You’d think having more time to work out, walking to get the girls from school, and not stress eating would have the pounds sliding off.  Nope.  I think it’s largely because I have ready access to food, unlike at work where if I didn’t bring it, I didn’t eat it.  Once I noticed the slow creep up on the scale I started filling the fridge with more veggies and fruit, that seems to be helping.

The things I miss surprise me.  I thought that I would miss the social interaction most, and at first that was true.  I am an introvert however, so I’ve adjusted to the level of social interaction I need.  I’m lucky that I have a bunch of friends who are home so I try to make time to see them when I can.  What I do miss is the intellectual stimulation of my job.  Being at home with the kids is not a mental challenge. At times it gets pretty repetitive and dare I say…boring.  I really miss the problems solving and collaborative decision-making that came with my job.  I haven’t found a solution to this one yet, but I will start volunteering at school in Lovey’s class soon and I’m hoping that will help a bit.  Honey suggested I start taking up crossword puzzles.  Not so much.

I get to be there for the important stuff in my kids lives.  Do you remember almost exactly a year ago when I wrote this post?  It was a lot about feeling pulled in different directions.  Well this year, I’m happy to report that I was able to attend the Halloween parade at school and it was fabulous.  Lovey recently learned how to do the monkey bars at school by herself and I was there to watch her triumphantly show off her skills for me.  I’m so happy I get to share all these things with them.

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I know our little experiment is only a year-long, and there are parts of me that look forward to getting back into the working world.  I’m glad I’ve had the experience of being a working mom and an at-home mom.  I can see strengths (and weaknesses) in both sides of me.  Hopefully, as moms we can all find success and happiness in whatever path we choose to take.