If you’ve ever tried it, you know… being a stay at home mom is hard work! (Case in point, at this very moment I am struggling to type out this post as my 2 year old is literally hanging on my arm!) You’ve never multi-tasked so much in your life!
Sometimes it can get discouraging. We have such high expectations of ourselves, and so many things to get done in a day. Some days we look around our disheveled home and feel like we have accomplished nothing.
You know, those days: by the time the evening has rolled around, there is laundry still piled up on the couch (or strewn all over the living room floor), dirty dishes spilling out of the sink and cluttering the counter top, the bathroom trash can is overflowing with dirty diapers, toys are everywhere, crumbs are all over the kitchen floor, and you have no idea what you’re going to make for dinner.
Days like this can make a woman feel very inept. But please believe me, we all have those days. Us normal moms do, anyways; some just hide it better than others.
1. Put Things Into Perspective
We all have our days when it seems that we haven’t had a moment to sit down and rest, yet it looks as if nothing has been done around the home all day long! I know I’m not the only mom out there who has these days. (Somebody back me up on this one!)
It’s easy to be hard on yourself and dwell on all of the things that you meant to accomplish that day but didn’t get around to. But I want to challenge you to look at what you did accomplish throughout the day!
The kids were fed three meals, plus snacks (even if dinner was a slapped together PB&J, and applesauce dumped in a bowl), you changed their clothes, brushed their teeth, taught them their homeschooling lessons, watched them playing and read them a book.
Diapers were consistently changed, a load of laundry was washed, the animals were fed, some gardening was done, the kids got their baths, and were lovingly tucked into bed at the end of a long day.
Tell me that’s accomplishing nothing! I always try to remind myself, too, that when my children are grown, they won’t remember the days when the house was a wreck.
What they will remember are the times when I sat down and played a game with them, the special part of the day when I read to them from their favorite book, the silly way that I made their bologna look like a smiley face for lunch, or the song that I sang them as I tucked them into bed.
This is why we are stay at home moms. Not to be perfect in all that we do, and run a spotless home with no time to do anything but cook and clean all day long. We are home for our children. We are home so that we can be the one who kisses a scratched knee; we are the one who teaches our children to read, who witnesses baby’s first steps, and who teaches Christ, and right from wrong, through our own actions.
2. Take Advantage of Nap Time
In many homes, nap time is sacred – and it should be in yours, too. Nap time isn’t only essential for the kids, it’s necessary for you, too. And for several reasons!
Let’s start with the little ones. There is no age at which a nap is inessential, but when you’re staying at home with young kids, know that babies and toddlers absolutely need their naps – and often, several of them per day. This should be something that is nonnegotiable. Set up a good naptime routine so that it’s impossible for your kids to argue or try to switch up the routine on you.
Naptime is important for you, too. If you’re dealing with a poor sleeper and are up, yourself, at all hours of the night, you can use naptime to catch up on some zzzzs. Even if you’re getting plenty of shuteye at night, naptime is essential to give you time to catch up on some work or even just unwind. You deserve it!
3. Try To Do One Fun Thing Each Day
Being a stay at home mom can quickly become overwhelming and monotonous. Every day starts to look like a lot of the same. An easy way around this is to try and build something fun into each day. It doesn’t have to be a fancy outing, although occasional trips to the zoo or park are great ways to stimulate your kid’s learning and to get out of the house.
It could be something as simple as planting a few plants together in the garden or going on a nature walk in the woods behind your house. Just try to get out there and do something you will look forward to – and enjoy.
4. Set Up a Schedule – But Don’t Be Afraid of Going Off Routine
Routine is incredibly important for maintaining your own sanity, and it’s also important when you’re trying to raise well-adjusted kids. Although there are probably very few teenagers who would admit it, a good routine is essential for cultivating a sense of security and well-being. As a stay at home mom, you’re in charge of the routine – so come up with a schedule at the start of the week and stick to it.
At the same time, don’t get stressed if something throws a wrench in your plans. Yes, a routine is essential – but you just can’t predict when the baby will have an ear infection or the dog will need to go to the vet. Try to take things as they come, and you will find that this can really save your sanity.
5. Consider a Hobby or Side Business
If you’re a stay at home mom, you may have had trouble deciding whether this was the path you wanted to take – or if you wanted to continue to work. In truth, it can be a challenging decision to make, particularly if you had a rewarding career before you had kids.
But you can have the best of both worlds. Although it’s challenging, there are plenty of work from home jobs out there. Even if you aren’t earning any money, consider taking up a hobby to allow you to explore your passions. Your day can’t be 100% about your kids – you need to do something for yourself occasionally, too.
6. Don’t Neglect Your Friends (Particularly Other Moms)
As a corollary to the point above, it’s important for you to make time for yourself when it comes to your social life, too. Life as a stay at home mom can be isolating. At least once a month, get a babysitter or have Dad take care of the kids – you get out there and socialize! You need to take time to foster friendships so that you still feel connected to the outside world. Befriending other moms is a great way to make the most of this social time, too.
7. Make Time for Fitness
Even if it’s only a brisk walk around the block a few times a week, it’s important that you make time in your schedule for exercise. Exercise not only will boost your self-esteem, but it also releases endorphins that will give you the energy you need to power through the day. Take that, coffee!
8. Remember to Relax
For you, true relaxation might be sitting down in the bath tub with a big glass of wine at the end of the day. For another mom, it might be eating some chocolate while watching her favorite television show. Whatever the case may be, make sure you take the time to relax. Having a few minutes to yourself each day will help you recharge and feel more rested for the day ahead.
You don’t have to do everything yourself – don’t be afraid to delegate. Whether you’re leaving your kids with your husband for a night or hiring a babysitter one day a week so you can get things done, it’s important that you let go of the “mom guilt” and pass off some of your responsibilities from time to time. Learning how to delegate will make you a better mom.
10. Go to Play Groups
Play groups will not only allow your kids to socialize, but they’ll give you a chance to do so, too. Seek out local play groups in your area, and take advantage of them.
11. Teach the Value of Independence
As your kids get older, you may find that they rely more and more on you for entertainment. However, to save your sanity, you shouldn’t find yourself playing with your kids for six hours a day. Although it’s completely fine to play, it’s also important that you teach your kids how to become independent. This will foster skills that they’ll use later in life, such as creative, imagination, and self-awareness.
12. Get Ready for the Day
Here’s a simple tip – try not to stay in your PJs all day! I know, it can be tempting to stay in your “comfy clothes” when you know you have nowhere to go. However, this will turn into a vicious cycle and you’ll feel as though you didn’t get quite as much done at the end of the day. Take the time to at least throw on a pair of leggings and to shower – you’ll feel a million times better.
13. Remember to Sleep – But Also Get Up Early
If possible, try to follow a similar sleep schedule as your kids by going to bed early and getting up early (but ideally before your kids awaken). It can be tough to get the rest you need as a mom, but getting up a bit earlier than your kids will give you some time to get your head on straight. Even if that just means enough time to drink a cup of coffee and take a shower, it’s a great habit to get into.
14. Try to Stay Organized
Staying organized with kids running around at home can be tough – but do your best to stay organized. Make lists of things you need to do, or things you need to buy, keep a calendar of social engagements, use apps on your phone to track certain things you need to remember…whatever the case may be, keeping your physical and mental life organized will help reduce a lot of the stress associated with being a stay at home mom.
15. Make Peace with the Chaos – and the Mess
Ultimately, your house is never going to be 100% clean – even 1% of the time. There’s going to be mess, and you’re never going to have enough hours in the day to tackle everything that needs to be done. And that’s okay!
Make peace with the chaos and the mess and quit beating yourself up over it. Nobody expects you to be perfect – so stop expecting that of yourself!
Remember What Matters Most
I guess I write this because today was that day for me – the day where I felt like I had been busy all day, yet accomplished nothing. But I want to share this with another mother out there who may be feeling like a failure at times.
You are a precious gift to your children, and your time is priceless. So what if your “to-do” list was completely lost today. Your children are happy, healthy, and blessed because of you.
Give yourself a break, and know that tomorrow is another day, and another opportunity to finish one of the never ending jobs that comes with motherhood.
The day will come when you will long to have your children distracting you from your household duties; cherish your time with them while they are young, and still near. You can run a spotless home another day.
update 07/20/2020 by Rebekah White
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.