Sometimes "staying at home" is good enough

This morning I woke up with great ambitions. After Clara and I picked Owen up from the bus stop, I planned, the three of us would go home and pack a picnic lunch. Then we’d walk downtown to the bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, eat our lunches, maybe go to the children’s museum, stop for an ice-cream cone, and head home.

But…it had been a late night followed by an early morning. By the time noon rolled around I was hungry – past “I could eat” to grumpy, cranky, low-blood-sugar hungry – and tired.

It’s a beautiful, warm and sunny day, and as I considered nixing the picnic plan, I felt conflicted. My go-go-go mom side urged: “Your kids need to be out! Doing stuff! Seeing sights! Having opportunities! Being enriched!”

And my normal, human Mom side groaned, “But I’m tiiiiired.”

Maybe I was just that foggy today, but I’m not sure why it took me a full twenty minutes of debating with myself to come up with this compromise.

I made some turkey sandwiches, sliced up a couple apples, grabbed juice boxes and a sheet and the front yard.

Maybe not the most exciting solution, but I just didn’t have it in me for a longer trek.

And you know what? We had a lovely time.

The sandwiches tasted just as good in our (slightly overgrown) (majorly under-landscaped) front yard.

Clara was so excited for our makeshift “pick-i-nick,” you would have thought we were going on a intercontinental excursion.

And I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone love a juice box so much.

For “enrichment”, Owen performed The Robot for us.

It was quite the experience.

…and he practiced his photography skills. I think he might be better than me. And that counts as an “opportunity”, right?

When I was a newer mom, I often joined other at-home moms to protest, “Why am I called a ‘stay-at-home’ mom? I’m never home!” The implication being, of course, that home was somehow not good enough, and that really successful, good moms would fill their days with activities, lessons, and play groups in order to give their child as many “experiences” as possible.

I still struggle with that go-go-go mom impulse sometimes, but along the way I’m learning that some of the most valuable experiences are the ones that happen inside our own four walls (and maybe inside the front fence, too.) It’s OK – even good – to prioritize quiet time, spent with the people who are most important to you.

Going places is fun. Activities are nice. But most of the time, staying at home is good enough.

More than good enough.

Have you ever felt pressured to be a go-go-go mom because “just” staying at home didn’t seem good enough?


October’s theme at The Happiest Mom is “home”! Here are some of the posts so far:

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