Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Self-Evaluation & New Plan

I've been writing and rewriting this post in my head for the past week, and I finally think I've got it figured out. From the time I decided to stay home with JD, I've looked at it as my "job", and there are times when I remind Hubby that I "work" all day too. So why after almost 2 years do I so often feel like I'm struggling? Why do I have a hard time taking pride in what I've done at the end of the day?

When I was teaching, I would have to submit a self-evaluation each spring. I learned that what worked for me as a teacher was being over prepared and organized. I got up extra early every morning to make sure I had a little time to eat breakfast and read the newspaper. I was one of the first people in the building and would enjoy the quiet time to set up my classroom and prepare my lessons. When my students walked in I was calm, cheery, and ready to accomplish set goals. In my evaluations, I would often relate how I approached teaching to my past as a dancer. I felt most comfortable when everything was "choreographed" and "rehearsed", and feeling prepared gave me the freedom to "improvise" and get creative while still staying on task.

I've realized that what I'm doing now is the complete opposite. It is the equivalent of arriving to work empty handed just as the bell rings.  In essence I am rolling out of bed and going straight to "work".  It is not working for me.

I wake up exhausted when O wakes up, entertain him in our bed until JD wakes up, then stress about my messy kitchen while feeding JD and myself (and O started cereal this morning). While we do have a few regular activities that shape our week, there is rarely a "plan". Throughout the day, I constantly feel overwhelmed by the things that I'm not doing. My house is a mess...I haven't had time to shower...JD hasn't been read to...There is nothing in the house for dinner...I haven't put a single picture in a book since O was born... 

I fill spare moments checking twitter or throwing in a load of laundry, but it never feels like enough.  I stay up way too late with P90X, catching up with emails & blog stuff, cleaning, and watching TV, so I'm constantly tired. I finally make myself go to bed, but lie awake thinking about what I haven't done.   

I have all these fun ideas and the desire to be a great housewife and stay-at-home-mom, but I just can't seem to catch up enough to make it happen. I feel like I am going through my life right now half-a$$ing it and just surviving. In other words, things need to change.(Please don't get me wrong- I know I am doing a great job with my boys- they are happy & healthy, and we are incredibly blessed. I just want to feel the same satisfaction and pride in this role as I did in my old one. I don't mean to sound like a whiner.)

I wish there was an area of my home that is as organized & neat as my desk was.

In looking at an old teaching evaluation, I'm realizing that I can relate much of it to what I'm doing here, and I can easily see the areas that I want to improve.  I know I would not be happy with my answers to a lot of the questions, so I have decided that starting tomorrow, I'm going to approach staying home with my boys in the same way I did my teaching career.

My new plan:

  • Go to bed as close to 9pm as possible, not matter what is on TV or how neglected my blog/reader/twitter are.
  • Wake up at 5am (8 hours of sleep seems like heaven right now!) so that I have quiet time for myself in the morning to eat, straighten up, and get ready for "work".
  • Set a goal for each day and plan activities around that goal.
  • Give JD activities that he can safely do independently so I can spend more one-on-one time with O.
  • Spend the boys' nap time doing things for me- whether it's reading, writing, a shower or watching something from the DVR.  
  • On days that Hubby is home while they are awake, let him take the lead with the boys a little more so that I can accomplish more around the house.
I understand that my house will not be perfectly clean, meals won't be perfectly planned, and every day is not going to go perfectly according to plan.  This isn't about achieving perfection.  It's about satisfaction and feeling like I'm doing something to improve myself and help us enjoy my time at home even more.

I'll keep you posted on how it's working out.


  1. Oh I love this! I can sooo relate, too. I think I am going to start getting up before Hannah in the morning this summer (when I get to be a SAHM for a couple months--can't wait!).

    I'm like you in that I feel my best when I have a plan and things are well organized. And some quiet time in the morning always puts me in the right mood to have a great day.

    Thanks for posting this!

  2. What a great post. I'm also a major planner and always over-prepare for work stuff, so I can totally relate. Being flexible and accepting that things can change at any moment is a part of being a parent that has taken some serious adjusting to.
    It sounds like you have a good plan and I hope it works out for you.

  3. I didn't know you're a former teacher; that's currently my job. I do appreciate the schedule of our days, at home and at school. My son thrives off of it too, even if he doesn't know he does. When summer comes, I'm still going to institute a daily schedule for us, otherwise we'll both spend it in our pajamas.

  4. @gin Yes, I taught 7th grade English until JD was born. As of now, I am set to go back in Sept. 2012.
    It is definitely easier to take pride in a job when you are out of your PJs and have brushed your teeth :)

  5. @Randalin. Thank you. I'm glad you liked the post. Being open to teachable moments and going with the flow was something I struggled with when I started teaching- and having a toddler and infant has introduced me to a whole new meaning of flexible!

  6. @Wendy Thanks! It is definitely hard to get up early when you really don't *have* to, but based on how things are going for me today, it was definitely worth it, and it will get easier every day!

  7. Good for you! Sometimes just having a plan helps our whole perspective. Hoping that you will have more joy in being at home ... knowing that you are being intentional about this "job", too.

    Visiting from SITS :)

  8. First off thank you for stopping by from SITS! I too was a SAHM until all three were in school. They are now 25, 23 and 20. They are all back home from college and I am more tired than ever LOL!

    Followed on twitter and facebook too :-)

  9. Oh yes my friend can I relate. I feel the most accomplished when I have a written to-do list everyday that I can check off. I just started getting up this week at 5:00am to have time to myself and wish I did this a long time ago. But don't be to hard on yourself it is so hard with little ones. But I agree having a plan is the first step in gaining sanity back. Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

  10. While I've found that most days never go quite according to plan when kids are involved, I also feel better when I have an idea of our day. Even when that idea may be a general get through the day in one piece kind of thing.

  11. Thanks for coming by from sits and I am reciprocating

    Great plan, let me know if it works, seems with two kids it is difficult to plan so perfectly


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