Being a stay-at-home mom is one of the best jobs around, but it can also be a bit challenging at times. When I first started staying home with my daughter, I had to readjust to this insulated life. Some days I felt lonely, some days exhausted, and other days, just sheer pathetic…I would beat myself up for wearing pajamas too late into the day, or for getting out of the house too late. I was always feeling like I needed to “do more.” Since then though, I’ve learned some tips that have turned my days around. I have even embraced some of the things I once found difficult (I mean who doesn’t love wearing PJs till 10?). Here are my 6 tips to make being a stay-at-home mom a bit easier:
- Go Out! This may sound simple (or even obvious to someone who’s not a SAHM), but when you’re home with little babies or kids, its really hard to get out the door. Sometimes, there’s even less to do outside of the house than there is inside. You may have a pile of laundry, food to cook, bills to pay- it doesn’t matter! Find something, anything, you can do out of the house (and make sure you decide in the morning what that is) and do it! I have found that by even just going out to get a Starbucks or take a walk makes a big difference in my day. It forces me to look presentable and breaks up the day so that I have something to do other than look at the same four walls. I always feel refreshed and better when I come home and the bonus is, I’ve had the chance to interact with people, even if just to say ”thank you!” to the salesperson for coffee.
- Call Someone. I speak to my mom everyday, sometimes more than once. I will also speak to a friend, my sister, whoever, because I need that social contact. Calling someone (or more than one person) can really help to keep you feeling like you’ve stayed connected with the outside world and allows you to just express yourself- something women need! Plus, it can pass time that may be boring, like doing dishes or putting away toys.
- Get Dressed. So, as much as I do like the whole PJs thing- if I stay in them all day, by the time my husband comes home I feel so pathetic. I wonder what I did all day. Just by getting dressed (and even putting on some makeup if you feel so inclined) I feel like a human being again. In truth, it helps to up my mood. They say to dress for the job you want, right? So I dress for the day I want. When I put myself together I feel like I’ve come back to myself. Also, from a practical standpoint, it gives me flexibility- if someone happens to call and says, “want to go for a walk?”, or if I decide suddenly that I need to run out, I don’t feel stifled by the fact that I haven’t even put on clothes yet!
- Have a Routine. Some women will do this naturally, especially after reading a baby sleep book, but having some sort of daily routine will help not only you, but also your baby. They say kids need routine, but as it turns out, adults kind of do too. In the earlier days, I was pretty lax with my routine and would go out at random times. Now, I have a pretty set routine (with a level of flexibility). This means that my daughter naps at a certain time every morning, eats lunch the same time every afternoon, and eats dinner the same time every night. In other words, I know where I have to be when and this allows me to have the knowledge I need to make an appointment or go out. Again, this might sound simple, but I find that it makes my day a lot smoother It is much more predictable for my daughter too, and I don’t beat myself up for not getting out sooner. Which leads me to…
- Be OK with Late Check-Out. This one was a biggie for me! Earlier in the year, when I first started staying home, I used to feel so bad about getting out of the house at 1pm, 2pm, you know, by most people’s standards: late. However, one day I just decided to stop feeling bad about it. I would compliment myself for at least getting out and would realize that it didn’t matter that much. Once I was out, it didn’t matter when the “out time” started, and by the time I got home, I was tired anyways! Once I added my routine into place, the anxieties I felt about getting out late disappeared even more. I realized that this is what it is to be a mom. My daughter needs her morning nap, and lunch, and I just can’t leave until those things happen. That makes my mornings much less stressful and I am much easier on myself. Plus, I’m used to it now so it no longer feels so late. (*Side note- if you’re one of those people who can manage to get out really early for a coffee or walk with your baby and then come back for naptime, that works too. My sister does this and more credit to her, but it just never worked for me. I’m too tired in the morning and it takes me too long to get ready!)
- Make a List. So, to be honest, I don’t do this daily, but I find on the days that I do I feel a lot more accomplished. Even if the list only has three things, I write them down. It feels so good to cross tasks off, and I definitely feel like I’ve “had a day,” after doing so.
These are just a few tips I’ve found to help me be a better, calmer, and happier SAHM. I’m always learning and would love to hear what other SAHMs are doing. Leave your tips and tricks in the comments!