I recently saw a friend post a picture with the hashtag (#) "PlayAtHomeMom" and was intrigued. It was the cutest picture of her kiddos out on the back porch covered in paint, doing an art project on a large piece of butcher paper, and it looked FUN! When I explored further, all of the pictures with that hashtag were of someone's kids basically doing something fun, whether it be out at the park, something at home, a creative project like my friend's, or snuggles on the couch. When you get down to it, it's really just all about taking that "stay-at-home-mom" title to a whole new level, because believe me, it's REALLY easy to be a disengaged stay-at-home-mom. That might surprise some, as it is the ONLY job that a stay-at-home-mom has, but in today's world, it is honestly very easy and convenient to stick our kids in front of a TV show, a video game, the computer, or a phone, and go about our own business. Likewise, it's quite simple for a mama to check her phone every five minutes and spend more time interacting online with her "friends" than doing any face-to-face interaction with her kids that are in the same room, probably acting out to get her attention. I'm certainly not trying to come down on anyone or say that we're all like this, but I've had my days and moments of this, and can honestly see how it can easily become a habit. It takes a conscious effort to be a hands-on, engaged mom to my kids everyday, and some days I get it wrong. But when it comes down to it, I certainly try.
So it's been about four months since I was let go from work and adopted the "stay-at-home-mom" title as my own, and forgive me if I haven't blogged during these months, but I took a break to really try to be the "play-at-home-mom" my kids need me to be by...
Volunteering at Jake's field day
Letting them splash in the puddles, even though I knew they'd get their clothes (& my car) dirty
Having pool parties in our backyard
(Yes, Jake is holding Lilly's doll... he was "teaching her how to swim")
And even braved the real pool a few times... by myself... with two kids! Yikes!
Spending a little longer at the grocery store than normal so he could push his own cart
Going to the park...
And sometimes with friends
Making new friends... and role models
Returning to Small Town, Illinois to visit old friends
(Yes, they remembered each other and it was soooo cute!)
And meeting new ones
(Their brothers have been friends since birth, but these two had never met!)
That trip also included the world's greatest backyard slip-n-slide, which Jake enjoyed immensely
(even though his mama had several minor heart attacks)
Taking the kids to the fair, where Lilly finally braved a few rides!
(Granted, we carried her onto them before she even realized what was happening!)
Expressing ourselves through fashion
And wearing costumes (or nothing) just because
Snuggling... I'll take it when I can get it!
And taking bubble baths... with extra bubbles...
even when it wasn't bath time
Riding bikes in the cul-de-sac
Although some prefer pushing instead
(but with her helmet on of course... safety first!)
Visiting local places that we've always wanted to go, but never had time for...
(such as the Explorium)
Where we tried to figure out what we wanted to be when we grow up
(Don't worry, Jake... I still don't know the answer!)
And story time at Joseph-Beth Bookstore...
Where we saw the Ringling Bros. Clowns...
And clowned around ourselves
Taking road trips...
To the Zoo!...
Where we pointed out all of the "puppies"...
And ate junk food rather than healthy snacks
We partied 'til we just couldn't party no more
And am pretty sure we took advantage of everything summer has to offer
So in the aftermath of some of the most surprising and potentially devastating news for our family, I have to say, I've never had this much joy or had this much fun. God always knows what He is doing, and knew that I'd never take my focus off of that job long enough to focus ALL of my attention on these sweet, awesome, funny, cute kiddos that He's blessed us with. I can already see what a blessing that lay-off has been, and thankfully I'm experiencing what blessings these two are before I blink and they're all grown up. So forgive me if I blog less in this new chapter of life, but sometimes being a "Play-At-Home-Mom" takes a lot of (really worthwhile) work! There is certainly nothing else I'd rather be doing!