I could never have predicted how 2020 would pan out when I decided to take time off work after having a baby, and we’re not even halfway through the year.
After making that decision (and being fortunate enough to have that option), I embraced my new role as a ‘Stay at Home Mom’. This meant a packed social calendar: swimming on Tuesdays, park picnics on Wednesdays, story time at the library on Thursdays, Baby Yoga on Friday mornings, and ‘beers n babies’ on Friday afternoons. I surprised myself with how much I loved it, and I enjoyed the social aspect of meeting other SAHMs who were way more interesting that I’d previously given them credit for.Then the pandemic hit, and it became clear that the reality of being a stay at home mom is very different to being a stuck at home mom. At points I’ve been miserable and utterly bored. My baby, on the other hand, is the happiest and most content he’s ever been. Shelter-in-place for him has meant extra time with Dad, the kind of nap routine people write books about, and no more trips in the dreaded car seat.
With no commute, my husband gets so much more quality time with our son. Under normal circumstances he would have traveled several times already this year, missing out on milestones and bath times. Now he joins us for lunch and never misses a bath time. It’s made a big difference to my day to be able to take breaks to pee in peace and I even manage to shower everyday!
Before shelter-in-place, we did not have a nap routine, nor did my little one sleep through the night. He now naps consistently 3 times a day, and you could set your watch by his bedtime and morning wake up times. I believe it would have taken us much longer to get him into the type of routine he now has if we’d still been rushing around the city to our various classes and meetups.
I’ve also realized that the classes we attended were really for the moms and not the babies. There’s no shame at all in that (and my philosophy is happy mom happy baby) but the extent to which I was packing our schedule and not just enjoying time with my baby, on reflection, was excessive.
As restrictions begin to ease, we’re slowly venturing out to attend picnics and walk in Golden Gate Park again. There have been so many downsides and devastating losses due to COVID-19, so it’s nice to reflect on a positive and make some changes. I feel more in tune with my son’s needs, which are simple and definitely don’t require a packed timetable of activities.