I Blog All of the Time

Since I started blogging, I have discovered that I blog all of the time.  Every day.  While I run.  When I’m in the shower.  While washing the dishes, folding the clothes, or pushing my twins in the swings.  I am constantly, consistently sharing wonderful, informative little nuggets of information with you, every day.  All day long.  I am the perfect little addition to your daily dose of entertainment.

How do I do it, you ask?  Because you know you aren’t seeing that many blogs from me.  So where are they going?  How am I publishing them?  Am I talking in to a microphone while I work on other things, so that I can come back and type them all out later?

Nope.  I’m not doing that.  Although I have heard that it is a truly wonderful way to be productive.

I am doing something that I have done my whole, entire life.   I am talking to you, to everyone – to anyone who will listen – inside my head.

Yep, you read that right.  I am talking to you from inside my head.  All of the time.

And yes, I am perfectly aware that I sound totally insane.

I do it all day long.  I think of whole conversations, and talk them out, from within the confines of my own brain.  I talk to my husband.  I talk to my sister.  I chew out my kids.  I can’t tell you how many times I have had the “Birds and the Bees” conversation with my boys – inside my head – never out loud.  I haven’t worked up the guts for that one yet.

I give parenting advice.  I share tips I’ve learned over the years.  Did you know that I am an amazing motivational speaker?  You should hear the speeches I give.  Really.  I can work anyone up in to a frenzy!  Wanna run a marathon?  Let’s do it!  I can tell you how!  Do you have some goals you want to set, but you don’t know where to start?  Not a problem.  I can talk you through that.  All we have to do is roll up our sleeves, scrub some dishes, and spend a little quiet time inside my brain. We will never be interrupted there. No one will ever find us there.

The crazy thing is, once I started blogging, I had an outlet for all of these conversations I was having.  I had a real, tangible place to put the things I was thinking.  I didn’t have to talk to family or friends from inside my head anymore.  I didn’t have to scream and shout through the time/space continuum, knowing they will never get the message, but all the while, feeling the need to do it anyways.   I didn’t have to make up whole conversations.  Because I could type them all out on the computer and then share them with the world, instantly.  Now that’s crazy.

And it makes me look totally, perfectly sane!

Suddenly it’s okay for me to be having conversations inside my head, while I am running, or washing dishes.  The difference is, now that I am a blogger, these conversations are called “inspiration” or “ideas” or “brainstorming”.  I can use them, whole and complete, just the way they are, or in bits and pieces, here and there, just as soon as I get back to my computer.  It is all very professional, very kosher.  It’s quite handy, really.

So what am I saying to you, right now?  From inside my head?

“Don’t be afraid.  Get it all out.”

And blog on!

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I Need Your Help!!

Are you a stay at home mom?  Then please take this very short survey for me!  I am looking for advice, tips and strategies on how to manage your day as a stay at home mom.  How do you get a shower in during the day?  How do you manage to make a meal with a little one under foot?  How do you keep the kids from getting cabin fever?  There are so many challenges moms face during the day – how do you navigate through those?

If you are not a stay at home mom, and still want to help me out, that would be fantastic!  Working moms have to navigate through the day as well!  Please share any tips and strategies that have worked for you.

I need your help with my new book – a guide for stay at home moms on how to manage their day (From Board Rooms to High Chairs: A Career Guide for At Home Moms).  I had to keep the survey to ten questions, so if there is anything I didn’t cover, or you want to provide more information, share a story, or have more comments,  please feel free to comment on this blog post or email me at shannonjlambert@gmail.com.

Thank you for your help!

Shannon

Please click here to take the survey.

The Sweet Spot for Stay At Home Moms

Gone are the days of staying home all day long, playing in the snow, dancing in the living room, making cookies, giving long, lazy baths….

I was a stay at home mom with my oldest son for the first three years of his life.  For the first few months, it was just me and him.  After that, I ran a daycare out of my home for a couple of years.  Every day was spent at home.  Every day was full of fun activities for preschoolers and toddlers.

Now I find myself staying home again, this time to raise my “last batch” of children.  (My sister informs me that most families don’t have “batches” of children!)  But I kind of do.  There is eight years between my oldest “batch” and my youngest “batch”.  I think there might be a few families out there like ours.  I can think of one, off the top of my head.  And I know a few from the past.  My husband’s family, one could say, had “batches” of children in it – there were seven years between the oldest three and the youngest four.  So it’s not a new phenomenon.

But it does make life for those moms a bit unique, particularly stay at home moms.

I have six kids.  The oldest three are teenagers and involved in sports.  That means there are basketball games on any given Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday.  There are basketball meetings, banquets, fundraisers, sometimes meals after games (at 9:00 at night – not an easy time for little munchkins) and family fun events.  (And that’s all just for basketball!)  There are band concerts, fall and spring concerts, parent-teacher conferences, college financial aide meetings and campus visits.  There is preschool every Wednesday for the three-year-old.  There is religious education on Wednesday nights and Sunday religious education after church.  There’s doctor and dentist appointments for six kids.  And somewhere in there, occasionally, groceries must be bought.  🙂

It’s a rigorous schedule.  And most often, the three little ones (and sometimes the older ones as well) have to come along for the ride.  I have spent many doctor’s appointments with four of my kids in the room, just for one child.  The twins often have to sit through late night games and school concerts. They have to travel to far-away places to sit in a crowded gym with a bunch of screaming strangers only to travel home again.  That is a lot of containment for a one-year-old body.  Crabby, tired babies make for crabby, tired moms and dads.

Life as a stay at home mom revolves and changes.  One could even say there are “stages” to being a stay at home mom.  When you stay home with little ones, with no older ones, you can go days without adult, outside world contact. The days can become long, tedious and monotonous.  I remember waiting for my husband to come home and then overwhelming him with chatter, just because I finally had someone to visit with.  Or I’d immediately hand off the baby so that I could have some much needed “me” time.  Those days were tough.  But boy I’d love those days back!

My youngest was eight when we were expecting my now three-year-old.  My husband was filled with mixed emotions.  His biggest expression, the one thing he shared with others when they asked him how he was doing, was “I was so close!  I could see the light!”  What he was referring to, of course, was that sacred time when your children become old enough to no longer need your constant attention.  We were just starting to  get our freedom back.  We didn’t need babysitters.  We could come and go when we pleased. Our kids all put themselves to bed.  You could say they were inter-dependent; they weren’t completely independent, but they didn’t depend on us for everything either.  (And, they were still a lot of fun!)  It was the sweet spot.

And so entered the second stage, having a mix of older kids and younger kids.  Now, I believe there are a lot of moms in this stage.  You don’t necessarily have to raise your children in “batches” to have some old enough to be involved in activities and to still have babies at home with you.  In this stage, you spend a lot of your day traveling. And anyone who has had young kids knows that your travels don’t begin when you get in the car.  A good portion of your travel time is spent in preparation for that travel and again, unpacking, when you return from your travels. With little kids, you don’t just hop in a car and go. It doesn’t work that way.  Traveling eats up a good majority of your day.

It is exhausting, to be in stage two.  You don’t have those nice afternoons of laying around on the floor, counting fingers and toes, or building snowmen.  Not that those are easy activities either – no activity with a little one can really be coined as “easy”.  But they are more laid back activities.  When you are in stage two, you have less laid back activities, less down time to enjoy just hanging out with your kids.  And let’s face it – that’s why we all signed up for this job, right?  To hang out with our kids more?

No, in stage two, you feel more like a chauffer.  You spend a lot of time on the road, a lot of time managing and entertaining your little guys.  A lot of time trying to balance nap schedules, meal time, dance classes, music lessons, and basketball.  Because you still have big guys that need attention as well.  In stage two, it’s helpful to drink a lot of coffee.

And, finally, after all that chaos, your youngest finally enters school.  For stay at home moms who don’t return to work at this point, you have just hit the sweet spot!  Congrats!  You have long periods of time at home, uninterrupted.  You can finally finish that scrapbook you started when your oldest was born.  Or take up a new hobby.  You can start your own business.  You can volunteer.  You can clean your house.  (That’s most likely what I will be doing!)

Stage three doesn’t come without it’s own challenges and complications.  You might face boredom in stage three.  You might actually have a hard time being less busy.  You might feel lonely, or isolated.  Or maybe you will be so busy getting caught up on all the things you couldn’t do before that you are even more exhausted than you were when you had infants!  I don’t know.  I haven’t gotten there yet.  A lot of stay at home moms never will, because they return to work first.  But for those that get the opportunity, I’d like to think it is pure heaven.  🙂

Let me know what you think.  If you are a stay at home mom, what stage are you in?  What are the challenges of that stage?  What are the wonderful parts of that stage?  Which stage do you think is the sweet spot?  Leave me a comment – I appreciate the feedback!

Stay at Home Moms VS Working Moms

I’ve been doing some reading lately.  I’m writing my first book, From Board Rooms to High Chairs, a practical, hands-on guide for moms transitioning out of the work force and in to their home – full time.  So, I have been reading a lot of books about being a stay at home mom.  If I’m going to write one, I have to know what has already been written, right?

I’m quickly learning that my book is a lot different than what is already out there.  My book is so very practical that it can almost be called a “how to” manual.  But it’s not!  It’s of course, called From Board Rooms to High Chairs.  What I have noticed in most books so far, though, is that they talk a lot about more abstract ideas, such as self-worth, identity, feminism, and etc.  And while I think all of these things are very important, at the end of the day, a mom just wants to know that she did the best for her kids.  She wants them bathed, fed, clothed, played with, stimulated, educated and otherwise loved.  So my book is more about how to do that than it is on how to keep your identity outside of your home (although there is some on that as well….).

With that said, I have noticed a general theme among the books I’ve been reading.  There seems to be an “us versus them” attitude.  There is a lot of discussion around being a stay at home mom versus a working mom, what’s better for you, what’s better for your kids, what is better for the feminist movement, and what is better for society.  While I certainly have my own thoughts on all of that, from Board Rooms to High Chairs will not discuss any of it in great depth.  It may touch on it, but that’s about it.

What I do wonder, though, is this: Do moms in today’s world still feel this way?  Do moms still need to “justify” why they are choosing to stay home with their kids; do they still need to “justify” why they are going to work and putting their kids in to daycare?  Because, I have done both in my life, so I can look at it from both perspectives.

To me, it’s kind of a non-issue.  You do what’s best for you and your family.  End of story.  But, I never have gotten in to office politics and the overall, big picture.  I mean, I honestly don’t care what feminists think about me staying at home.  Or if those who believe a woman’s place is at home were upset when I went to work.  But,  without folks who do worry about those kinds of things, I wouldn’t be voting today, have an education, or worked outside the home at all – all things I appreciate having had the opportunity to do.

So at some point, it might be a good discussion to have.

I’m wondering where other moms weigh in on this?  Do you feel guilty, ever, for staying home with your kids and not working?  If so, what brings on those feelings of guilt?

Or, do you feel guilty for being a working mom?  And if so, what causes you to feel that guilt?

Or if you aren’t feeling guilty at all, in either situation, what influences the guilt-free feelings?  (Why are you so lucky?!?)

Where do you stand – stay at home mom versus working mom?

Or can we all just get along?  😉

Weigh in – let me know your thoughts in the comment section.  Thank you!

From Board Rooms to High Chairs: A Career Guide for At-Home Moms

I’m working on my first book, From Board Rooms to High Chairs!  In my past life I worked as a social worker at a community action agency.  I was the manager of the Family Services Department.  I managed 11 different programs, wrote grants for these programs, completed all the reporting requirements for these programs, and was actively involved in networking, meetings, and etc.  On top of all of that, I provided direct case management, enrolled people in to our programs, offered direct financial assistance and helped folks find other resources.  My days were busy and I loved it!

After the twins were born, I decided it was better to stay home and raise my boys.  I went from a fast-paced environment to days in the sandbox and about a gazillion diaper changes.  Raising kids has a multitude of challenges, and it can be just as stressful, if not more so, than a job outside of the home.  But balancing six kids, temper tantrums and clingy behavior is not quite the same as balancing eleven different funding programs.  When I had time to think about it, I missed my old job.  And my “old self”.

Moms who had a career before becoming a stay-at-home mom face a unique set of challenges.  They face different issues than other moms.  They may have a hard time with the slower pace during the day, or with less stimulating work.  Repetitive chores can be mind-numbing.  Speaking only with a two-year-old all day long can be stifling.  They may lose their identity, or feeling of self-worth.  They might feel like they aren’t contributing members of society anymore.  They may face depression.

From Board Rooms to High Chairs will address all the unique challenges moms transitioning out of the work force may face.  It will challenge moms to look at their new position as their career.  It will teach moms how to set their new job descriptions, work hours, and daily activities.  From Board Rooms to High Chairs will be a practical, hands-on guide for  moms now working at home.  After all, being a mom is the hardest job any of us will ever do.

If you are a stay-at-home mom, or have been, at one time, and would like to complete a survey and/or be interviewed for this book, please sign up by emailing me at shannonjlambert@gmail.com.  Please put “Interview Me” in the subject line of the email.

Thank you!