Well, if you've been around here very long at all, you can probably guess that my change would be to become a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM).
How do I think this would change my life?
Well, on an abstract level, I believe I would be less stressed, because I would no longer be trying to juggle the working world and the home life, no longer feeling the pressures of contributing to our family's finances, plus 95% of the housework and the vast majority of the child care and the greater part of the animal care as well. I wouldn't be so overwhelmed that I felt like I was drowning and / or failing most days.
This decrease in stress level would reverberate to my relationships with my husband and my daughter, as well as my extended family and my friendships, even my pets. All would improve. Or have a better opportunity to improve, at least.
On a more concrete level, we would obviously be doing better financially, since we couldn't make this change without already being there.
And I would have more time.
Ah, sweet time.
Let's look at today, for instance. What difference would being a SAHM make to my day (theoretically, since I don't really know).
Real Life (as a working mom): I've been fighting off an illness for over a week, so I overslept. Again. Woke up and was immediately rushing around trying to get everything ready to get FireGirl & myself out the door at a decent time. Had planned on packing my lunch, but no time this morning. FireGirl has also not been feeling well and has been sleeping in. I don't usually have to wake her up, but at 8:05am, I have to. I've got everything ready to go, except her. Bring her clothes to her in bed, dress her, still in bed, carry her to the car. Buckle her in, and floor it to the preschool. We got there so late we missed breakfast. Her classmates are already back in the classroom. So I sit with her while she eats breakfast by herself. Walk her to her room, put her things in her cubby, say goodbye. Drive to work and get there at 9:15am (I know, still pretty impressive, huh?). Work 8 1/2 hours. Drive to preschool. Pick up FireGirl. Drive home. Arrive home a little after 6pm. Thank goodness for a short commute. Make dinner. Eat dinner, finish around 7pm. She plays while I start her bath. Bath time is the most 1x1 quality time we'll have together today, without distractions, and including washing, playtime, drying, and putting on PJs will probably last until around 8pm. She'll help me change the chickens' bedding, and it's now 8:30pm. Watch a show or read 2 books (her choice), hopefully in bed by 9pm. After being quiet for 15-20 minutes to make sure she's asleep (open floor plan + nosy toddler = if we're not quiet she gets up to see what we're doing), I'll fold a load of laundry, put another load of laundry in the wash, do the dishes, and begin clipping coupons for tomorrow's grocery trip. At some point I'll feed the dogs and the cat. Hopefully I won't pass out from exhaustion, and will be able to do at least 2 loads of laundry tonight, plus I have two gigs coming up, so I really need to sit down and go thru those materials within the next few days, so that would be nice too. And while there are about 50 other things on my To Do List, those are the minimum for me to do tonight and not feel like a slacker. I should get to bed between midnight and 1am.
If I were a SAHM? : Well, I don't know how long we would have slept, but since we're both fighting illness, we need to rest and get better. So... let's say I woke up at 8am. Folded some laundry & put another load in. Had breakfast waiting on FireGirl when she woke up at 9am (cold breakfast - just because I'm suddenly a SAHM doesn't mean I've learned how to cook... yet). We casually eat breakfast, then clear our plates. I take a shower & get dressed while she plays in her room or reads. Then I get her dressed. We play a game together. I put another load of laundry in (or not, maybe I wouldn't be so behind on laundry if I stayed home). I promise her we can paint after lunch if she plays by herself for a while, so she does and I do the dishes. Then we eat lunch. Maybe tomato soup (her favorite). After clearing the table, it's time for paint. We do paint, and then maybe Play-doh, or craft. Something else that causes a mess. Because why not? Then it's rest time / quiet play and I send her to her room (we actually do rest time / quiet play on weekends). I proceed to clip coupons for tonight's grocery trip. Since she's not been feeling well, she falls asleep sooner than usual, after about 30 min. After I finish the coupons, I tackle the chore list: maybe some dusting or sweeping? A few simple things I can fit in during her nap, nothing major. Go outside and spend a few minutes with the dogs. Around 5pm I start dinner (I don't know what, like I can cook yet, right?). She wakes up soon after, and we eat around 5:30pm. Then we head to the grocery store. Home around 7:30pmpm, straight to bath time, but not quite so long since we've had good play time together the rest of the day. Nighttime routine is similar. She's still in bed by about 9pm. I relax on the couch for 30 min while she falls asleep. Feed the pets. Go thru my items for the upcoming gigs. Check the clock. It's 11pm and I decide to head to bed.
See the difference? I do. I really do.
And just like every day now is different, every day as a SAHM would be different to, so that's just one possible scenario. But do you see the difference? The chores that I have to save for the evening are done in the afternoon, and more! The grocery shopping I'll have to wait and do tomorrow, would get done today! The time I would have to read and play games with my daughter, just to be with her. I mean, do you see the difference?
Still busy. Very busy, in fact. But what a difference. What a real difference.
So... what's a change you've been wanting in your life? How do you think it would change things for you?