After our daughter was born a little over 2 years ago, I was fortunate enough to take 5 months away from work. As maternity leave started dwindling away, panic set in. (You know what I’m talking about, moms. I can’t be the only one who has frantically googled ‘work from home’ in the middle of the night.) Even though my mom would be the one caring for her while I was away, countless concerns rattled through my head. What if she won’t take a bottle while I’m away? What if someone misreads what she’s crying about? What if she needs ME??
For financial reasons, the original plan was for me to return to work after 12 weeks, but somehow I managed to squeak another 2 months out of the fund we’d struggled to save. In my desperation to stay home with my baby, I was ready to sell my car, cash out retirement funds, whatever it would take to have a few more weeks at home with her.
Within the first 18 months back at work, I transitioned from working full time night shifts to part time days. I don’t honestly know how we’ve made that work financially, but it is beyond worth cutting back for the sake of my family’s sanity. I am now finding myself back in those challenging infant months with our 3 month old son. Although maternity leave is NOT by any stretch of the imagination a vacation, I am now facing the reality that I will soon have just as much on my plate at home as I do now, in addition to leaving the home for work. Plus, asking Grandma to watch two children instead of one is quite the game changer.
During these 2 stretches away from work, there has been something both refreshing and confining about being solely responsible for the well-being of my family. It took me some time to identify what I really wanted. I love taking care of my kids, my husband, our household. I love cooking. And I absolutely love the ability to experience new things with our children. But I miss using my brain in other ways. I miss communicating with other adults, getting out of the house, and I miss making money on my own. I have spent countless hours googling work from home jobs, how to be a stay at home mom, but none of these ever seemed reasonable for our particular situation.
This is where the idea for The Caffeinated Mom Club was born. In the midst of these super difficult months where I can barely hold my eyes open but want to stare at my sleeping baby all night. The days where I desperately want to go have coffee alone and once I get there, I sit and wonder what the kids are doing the whole time. The days where I pull my unkempt self and my crabby toddler out of the house to see a friend, because I need to know what she does to get by.
The purpose of The Caffeinated Mom Club is three-fold. First, it’s a place to share experiences in parenting. Hearing what my friends do and what works and doesn’t work for them is FAR more helpful to me than any traditional advice anyone has tried to give me in regards to raising our kids. Secondly, you’ll find posts about home life. I LOVE food, so there will be tons of recipes posted to this site, but you’ll also come across home organization ideas, fun and inexpensive DIY stuff, and money management tips. Lastly, this site is committed to supporting, encouraging, and promoting a wide range of businesses ran by Stay at Home Moms. (If you are a mom trying to make an income from home and want to know how The CMC can help, please refer to our Contact page.)
As I write this first ever post for The Caffeinated Mom Club, I am enjoying one of the first moments I’ve actually had to myself to relax and reflect in the last few months. We are staying with my parents and my brother in a vacation rental in Central Oregon and have spent the weekend laughing, swimming, and eating. I was almost hesitant to come on this trip because of the ridiculous amount of time and energy it takes to pack up two small children and spend hours in the car together. There were a lot of tears on the way (shockingly none of them were mine…) a few napkins torn to a million pieces for entertainment, and several roadside poopy diapers. But yesterday we took my daughter and spent $15 to let her ride a pony. I am fairly certain that it was the most exciting day of her life so far. I was so thankful to witness this moment that completely blew her mind. This is what it’s about! Whether it’s tasting a new food, going to the movies for the first time, or having the opportunity to sit on a pony for a few minutes, I want to have the chance to be there. This is my journey to creating the life I envision for myself, my husband and my kids. And I am dedicated to making this a resource that can help you reach your goals as well.
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Life is beautiful and scary and hilarious, and experiences are amplified once you have kids. I oscillate pretty quickly between having tears in my eyes at the sheer smell of my daughters hair, to carrying her across a parking lot like a screaming sack of flour. A single minute can consist of my heart overflowing with love and also feeling like I’m going to burst into tears out of frustration. This is a place for you, normal moms, who understand that we all have different ways of doing things because we are all just trying to get by. There’s no room for being judgmental. Really, there’s no room for anything except for helping each other. Parenting is SO rewarding and it’s also SO. HARD. Good job, moms that manage to brush their kids hair everyday and make Pinterest-worthy lunches. You’re awesome. And kudos to moms that can admit that sometimes the answer is plopping your kids in front of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse so you can stare out the window and think about absolutely nothing for 20 minutes. (Ohhhh Toooooodles???) We’re all different and our kids are all different, so there’s no one right way to do this. I’m sharing with you what seems to work for me, and I would certainly love to hear your stories too. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, comments, and ideas. And make sure to sign up for our monthly newsletter to find out what’s next!