I feel so fortunate to be able to be a stay at home mom. I thank my husband (almost) every day for that opportunity. In Minnesota today we are having our first nice day since last fall. My daughter and I got to play outside and my dogs are in heaven being out so long. If I were working, I would have lost that time today and I am so happy I didn’t.
On the flip side, staying home full time can be a little rough as well. It gets lonely, repetitive, you start to lose a sense of who you are as a person besides mom, and you run out of crap to do. I have done a lot of thinking over the last year and a half of how I am staying home (almost) full time, but also staying happy and true to myself as a (mostly) stay at home mom.
Don’t compare yourself to other moms.
This is so important. After a while, all you see are chores, milk stains on your shirt, and a toddler that needs another bath even though its only been two hours. So looking on social media and seeing that gorgeous mom with the gorgeous kids only lowers your self-esteem and self worth. All your seeing here is a five second part of this mom’s day. You are not seeing the tears that came two seconds after the shot was taken.
We aren’t seeing the diaper blowout that happened with baby number two right before the cute picture was taken. These pictures are of the good days, or parts of good days. No one is showing pictures on Instagram of their crappy day and raining all over Instgram’s parade. They’re showing you the “perfect” part of their lives. They aren’t doing it on purpose, we love to have smiling faces to look back on of our kids. So don’t compare your spaghetti hair to her perfect braids… she has spaghetti hair too sometimes.
Go outside. Do something active. Like I mentioned, today is a gorgeous day here. Its the first time we have spent any real time outside in months. I will be realistic here. My daughter is a year and a half. It’s so hard to go outside with her when its -10 outside. She hates it, I’m miserable. Really, its just not any fun. But if its just a chilly day or if the weather is gorgeous, make a point to go outside. Sure, with little kids its a lot of work. If you have a younger child that can only sit or crawl it isn’t very exciting. But tough. Your body craves fresh air. Our bodies crave sunlight and a change of pace… So does your child. Schedule time in your day to get outside. Even if it is only for ten minutes that is enough to get some action in.
Wake up early every morning
Who am I kidding? We're moms, we're all up at the crack of dawn! Click To TweetBut, as your baby gets older, hopefully this means they are on more of a schedule and sleeping a little bit later. This should not change your routine though. Typically at my house I am up at 7:00 am. On a good day my daughter doesn’t get up until 7:30. This means I have (hopefully) a good half hour to drink some coffee, meditate, get breakfast going, whatever I feel like doing that morning. Either way, I have spent some time alone to get my day going. Start to do this every morning. It’ll get easier to get up before the kids stir and your day will be more productive.
Schedule Out Your Day
I’ll admit, schedules kind of suck a little bit. You are tied down all to your kid’s needs or your own commitments. However, schedules are necessary in life. In addition, children crave routine. They become easier to manage and handle when they know what to expect. A great example is bed time. If you put your child to bed every day at the same time, eventually their body naturally gets tired at that time. Every night if you change into pj’s, read about, and then go to bed, your child becomes less resistant. They just know that once they do those things it’s time to sleep.
As a mom, it makes your life easier. When a schedule is in place you are aware of time. We know the best time to go shopping, most convenient times to schedule doctor appointments, and everything seems to flow better on days we stick to the schedule.
If you need some help on where to start, click here for a link to an hourly and daily schedule with free printables on where to get started. (Part of the daily schedule is for cleaning purposes, but is a good start even without that element).
Shut Off The TV
If you are a new breastfeeding mom, or a mom with other kids that is starting over with breastfeeding please disregard. Seriously, nursing is hard AF. There is no need to make it any harder with no entertainment for your kid. You need to concentrate.
Every other SAHM, turn that thing off. Seriously. We have become so dependent on technology we don’t even know what to do with ourselves when we don’t have it. You get hooked on shows and get sad when you miss them. Parents start to use it every single time they are busy and need their kids to relax or keep busy. There are tons of activities your kids can do other than watch TV. Plus, we lose that quality time with our kids. Instead of going outside and exploring the back yard, our families are sitting in the house doing nothing.
To be totally transparent though, here are the times I use my TV as a babysitter:
When I shower- I don’t trust my one year old alone, so she sits in her bouncer and watches sesame street for ten minutes while I am in the shower. Side note, I hate showering at any time other than the morning so this is just how it’s going to be.
While I make dinner- Most days aren’t so bad, but some days I have all four burners and the oven going and I can’t concentrate on both.
When I’m sick or she’s sick- Some days just suck. I have no motivation or we don’t feel well. Those days we cuddle up and watch movies together.
I don’t actively “monitor” how much time she gets to watch TV. I just only have the TV on during those three times to keep myself in check and make sure that I don’t abuse it. We all have hard times and bad days though so keep that in mind. Don’t stress yourself out. If your kid watches frozen twice today, your little one won’t be scarred for life.
Make Time For You
My ultimate alone time is yoga. I love it. I love the stretches, how it makes me feel, the fact that it has raised my patience level a crap ton since I started. Everything about yoga makes me happy. Every night as soon as my daughter goes to sleep I do a half hour of yoga. This is my time alone. Its quiet, relaxing, and I feel so much better afterwards.
Do whatever works for you. Do you love a good bubble bath? Take one, make your husband be in charge of baby/toddler if they wake up during that half hour. Do you love to read? Take a half hour to indulge yourself in someone else’s life and relax.
It’s so easy to lose our “true self” when becoming a mom. Especially as a SAHM, you never really get to clock out. You never get to leave your job. By making sure you that you do you, life will be less stressful and in turn you will be happier.
Make Time For Your Husband
Anyone that has been a mom knows how hard this can be. Especially during the first few weeks when baby won’t stop nursing, they won’t lay down alone, and they only sleep for a half hour at a time. Life becomes so busy, and it becomes so easy to put your SO on the side burner. Remember how you got to be a mom in the first place? You fell in love with someone, got married, and had children together (or maybe another totally different story, but you get the point). Don’t forget how you got there.
In 20 years or so, it will just be you and your significant other. If you have spent the last 20 years ignoring each other’s needs or even just not making the time for them, what do you think you will have left? Go on a date night, make your home a movie theater and restaurant. Go on walks together. Sit and cuddle. Intimacy needs to be on the table as well. You have a baby so you know how to do it. Never let the special touch of your other half go away.
So there is my list of ways to be a happier stay at home mom. By doing these few things for yourself, you truly can be a happier person. One day you will look back and realize how fast it went. Make sure that you used your time to be a happy person. This is something that we will work on our entire lives so why not start now?
What are your thoughts? Think I’m wrong? Right? What do you do to stay happy as a SAHM??
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