From WAHM To SAHM…Sort Of

How amaze is my new crafting room?!?!?!?


As of today, our childcare situation has shifted pretty dramatically. For the past couple of years, we’ve employed a part-time nanny to watch our daughter in the mornings (while our son is at school), and then occasionally watch both children in the afternoons, whenever my wildly inconsistent work schedule requires. But over the past couple of months we’ve realized that Goldie is clearly ready for preschool, which means that both kids are now out of the house until early afternoon – and beyond the prohibitive expense of paying for nanny + preschool (nope), I just felt like I could…make this work. Somehow. I can get most, if not all, of my work done in the morning, then pick up the kids and get to have afternoons with them.

It sounds idyllic, almost. Even enviable. Until you consider the reality of the situation, which involves two central problems:

  1. On most days, I will quite obviously not have all of my work done by the time I pick up my kids. On the plus side, this will probably make for extremely lively conference calls.
  2. …What, exactly, does one do when left alone with two very young children who don’t want to do anything, ever, and definitely not whatever that thing is you’re suggesting (unless it’s “cupcakes”)?

I’m aware that I should probably have an answer to the latter question, having been a parent for almost six years now. But the reason that I don’t is that when I spend hours and hours completely alone with both children it’s either a) a weekend (in which case Kendrick is there), b) an anomaly (in which case TV), or c) a choice (because we’re having a big special day together).

Confession: I’m one of those people who would work even if I didn’t *have* to, because honestly, I would be a terrible stay-at-home mom. I’d be all rainbows and energy until around 9:30AM, when the fifteenth round of “That’s MY Toy” would commence, and then I would give up and put Virgil and Lucy in charge and go back to bed. Also – and can I say this? – being with kids for hours and hours and hours? Is boring. Their books are sweet and all, but they’re not exactly whodunits (spoiler: it’s always the rabbit). And if I have to pretend to lose tic-tac-toe one more time I may start to develop real self-esteem issues.

Basically, being responsible for the long-term care of small children sounds to me like being the unpaid manager of a ragtag band of assholes who think the game of “drop the thing and see what happens” is the height of humor and don’t even appreciate it when you give them macaroni and cheese.

adulting tank top from glam camp


But now, the time has come: I am officially – at least partially – a WAHM for half the day, and a SAHM for the other. (I hate those acronyms, too. But so sue me: I got kind of excited to get to use both in a sentence.) And so, in keeping with my simultaneous decision to take it a little easy on myself and allow myself to be “in the moment” (or whatever; you know what I mean), I’ve decided to really, actually try to shut down the computer at 2PM every day. Or…well…okay, so I won’t shut it down, but I’ll put it in the other room. And only check it occasionally. Three times an hour, tops.


This is a clearly a sacrifice for my work (or at least my sleep; I have a feeling the overflow is going to eat significantly into my This Is Us time), but I’m also…I mean, they’re really growing up. Our daughter bounds off to preschool everyday with barely a backward glance in my direction. Our son explains things like exoskeletons and the physics of water displacement to me. There really aren’t many years left when they’ll want to hang with me at all, let alone for hours at a time, and so I’ve decided to take advantage of these afternoons to come when it’s just the three of us and a empty little house.

And so? I am Pinteresting. We’ve never done a ton of crafting together – I’ve historically left the whole glue-and-paint situation to my kids’ teachers, because the one time I permitted an “art jar” to enter my house it exploded via Boy, and an entire year after the fact I’m still finding tiny pieces of shredded paper clinging to Lucy’s fur – but my kids love it, and so I’ve decided to use part of our garage renovation to create a Crafting Corner (do I have to call it a Krafting Korner because it will involve Pinterest-sourced Krafts? I hope not). I’ve been pinning paper plate spiders and making lists of supplies to stock up on, because I know myself and if I don’t put together a schedule for after school activities I’ll end up “winging it.” And winging it with two kids who reallllllly would prefer to entertain themselves by torturing each other over and over and over and over until finally they both get sent to their rooms (whyyyyyyyy) does not feel like an especially solid plan.

So come follow my Kids’ Ideas & Activities Board and my Spooky Halloween Party boards, and if you have any especially fun (and easy, please) ideas for after school entertainment – including suggestions, resources and hugs – all are extremely, even pathetically, welcome.

  • Olivia

    You should check out M is for Monster – it is a subscription box and SO cute – I could also get you a free one to try if you’d like 😉 Seriously though, it’s a great tool – because HOLY HELL THESE DAYS ARE SO LONG. I have the same schedule and my DAYS NEVER END. LOL! I wish people talked more about work at home moms and they’re…actually working…because often times people don’t believe me (especially other moms). Anyway – we will be dying pasta soon and making rainbow pasta and Trader Joes has Halloween gingerbread houses…and TV, always TV.

    • jordanreid

      THANK YOU.

    • gdreizen

      don’t you dare touch that gingerbread house without me.

  • Ronja Stavrou

    I think it helps to set a schedule. Like from __ to __ we spend time outdoors, then ___ to ___ is either a craft/reading/music/etc. Then the kids get used to the patterns and you might feel less “what the heck do we do now”.

    • jordanreid

      Yes, definitely. K and I have also decided to make sure we go to after school classes (martial arts, etc) with flexible attendance days on the same days every week for the same reason.

  • gdreizen

    “.. and don’t even appreciate it when you give them macaroni and cheese.” — I seriously don’t understand children. You have the best food, EAT IT. Also– I think you have to call it Krafting Korner bekause Kendrick?

    • jordanreid

      oh crap. I totally do.
      re: Mac and cheese, I mean, they EAT it, but they definitely don’t appreciate it. And definitely don’t share it with me, which is the worst part.

  • Julia Dossett Morgan

    Go play outside. After spending most of their day at school controlling their bodies, they’ll want to use them. Pack a snack, pick them up, minimum 1 hour at the park. By the time you get home, wash hands, blah blah blah it’ll be time to start dinner and they can watch a show. If they get bored at the park make them pick up litter.

    • jordanreid

      “make them pick up litter.” I love this, lol.

      question: my son always wants to “rest” for half an hour when he gets home, by which he means “watch a show or play Minecraft for half an hour.” I remember doing this myself as a kid – watching a little TV just to decompress. but maybe letting them run around right when they get out would be better…?

  • Staci Lawrence

    We are living parallel lives in so many ways that I want to cry with Joy. SOMEONE GETS IT! SOMEONE IS SURVIVING IT! I swear one day I’ll write you the best fan letter ever (that will for sure be too long to actually read). Thank you for bringing a spark of happiness into the world right now. xo P.S. I don’t give my littles (4 & 6) down time after school…I pick them up with M&C I just made, pirate’s booty, and fresh water, they watch a video on the in-car DVD player, and I dress them and do their hair – either in the car or at home – for dance/gymnastics/swimming depending on the day and off we go. I hated the time after school in the first few weeks where they begged for Netflix and Starbucks muffins so I filled it up with activities…on dance days I walk to the wine bar, on gymnastics day I read a book, on swim day I watch them swim because it’s Friday and we did it. =) I still feel like I’m doing something wrong but it feels fantastic…

    • jordanreid

      I love this!!!!! thank you!

  • shilpi

    This was my schedule for a couple years! (and will be again once I get this second baby out of the dependent baby stage). My son also likes the total unwind time right after school (often TV), and we survived after that by doing things like: bike rides or walks around the neighborhood, playground or picnic-ing, hanging with friends, building stuff with LEGO and magnatiles. I love taking meandering walks around the neighborhood, so I’ve gotten him to love that, too. We spend MANY afternoons at our neighborhood cafe eating mac and cheese. Sometime we went to family capoeira class, and I’m sure numerous classes will be in our future.

    I don’t do much crafting in my house cause I feel like he gets enough of that at school (sitting in one place and making stuff). It’s nice to be outside and moving. Also, preschool requires a lot of attention for these little ones. i like making their home time a chance to have relaxed, unscheduled time with no particular demands on their attention.

    As someone who has had a lot of the SAHM time in the past few years, I’ll say the best thing for our sanity is to not that the “AH” thing literally — once I started leaving the house a lot, we all became so much happier.

    • jordanreid

      that’s great advice. thank you <3

  • Christina (montessoriishmom)

    This is so interesting to me! Most days (unless it’s a grumpy / teething day), I kind of love having hours with nothing planned because I like watching what my son chooses to do. For me, the key is not feeling like I have to play *with* him all the time. Sometimes I’m in his room while he’s playing, but I’m reading a book. He generally plays more independently if I’m not just staring at him. I can’t wait to see the crafts you come up with, everything you do is beautiful!