How to be a Stay at Home Mom Without Going Insane
Keeping Your Sanity While Staying at Home
I never planned on being a stay at home mom. In fact, I thought the decision to go back to work was going to be easy for me. Once I had my daughter, my husband and I changed our minds, and after my second child I knew that being at home was going to last longer than the couple months I had originally planned. I often miss my career and feel like I might need a sanity check, but I don’t regret my decision
Being a stay at home mom is anything but easy. Although it is labeled as the ‘most rewarding job’ it can often feel like most unrewarding. I would swear that sometimes my days run together, and pulling my hair out is often in my thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the fact that I am able to stay at home with my kids, and I love them more than anything in this crazy world. However, I am not sure that everyone knows or appreciates how hard it is not to lose your mind when you are a stay at home mom.
Here are some tips that have helped me over the years
1. Have a hobby that does not involve the kids. For me this is writing, for another friend of mine it is photography, and one of my friends is a fantastic artist and she draws. Find your interest and nurture it. You may only have ten minutes during the day to do this, but it is important to know that you have an identity outside of your children.
2. Appreciate the fact that you are able to stay home. I have to remind myself of this often. I am lucky to stay at home with my kids and this was a choice that I made. It may not be the case for you, but there are many moms out there that would love the opportunity to stay at home with their children.
3. Read or watch a movie. I find that the escape I get from reading or watching a good movie is invaluable. I don’t always make it through the movie, and maybe I just get to read a page or two at a time before it is lunch time, diaper change time, bath time, referee playing time, mommy I need you time, etc. but it does help.
4. Let go of having the perfect house. I recently wrote a hub about saying goodbye to my clean house once I had children. Just because you are a stay at home mom doesn't mean you can do everything. I often wondered how my working friends were able to keep such clean homes and then I remembered that no one was home at their house all day. There were no toddlers running around throwing toys behind the television, rubbing dirty hands on walls or dirtying endless piles of dishes. If anything, I’m pretty sure that being a stay at home mom makes keeping a clean house a little more difficult. So be okay with a house that isn't perfect and let go of those expectations you put on yourself.
5. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t feel like playing with your kids all day long. I always thought that since I was at home with my children I needed to entertain them and play with them all day. It's okay to tell the kids that mommy wants to take a break and watch a movie, or take a bath. If the kids are old enough, it’s nice for them to have alone time too explore their own interests.
6. Call a friend or family member. Sometimes I just need to vent. I get frustrated and need a timeout so I call a friend or a family member and it really helps, especially if they can relate to what you are going through. Not everyone is going to understand your frustrations, but those that do probably have some great advice or can tell you that they understand, and it helps to not feel so alone.
7. Make play dates. Play dates and coffee dates with my friends are truly one of my favorite things to do. Every Friday my friends and I meet for coffee at one of our houses and let the kids play while we visit. Not only do I look forward to the adult conversation but my kids love to play with their kids as well.
8. Get a break. Whether it is your husband, a friend or a family member, try to get a break from your children for a couple hours once a week. Have some time to yourself, and I suggest actually leaving the house. If you don’t leave the house you are bound to find something that needs to be done, or one of the family members is going to need something. Go for a drive, go see a movie, or go to the mall. This time without the kids will help you to appreciate your time with them even more.
9. Dance. When I start to get stressed and the kids are fighting, and we are all just having a rough day, I turn on the music and dance. The kids really get a kick out of it and the physical movement is good for everyone. We all dance together and laugh, it really takes the tension out of anything and it’s those moments that I love being a stay at home mom more than anything.
10. Give yourself credit for what you do. Being a stay at home mom may not be making you any money, but the job you do is very important. You are raising children, this is an amazing job and a very important one. You should be giving yourself kudos for doing the job you do so pat yourself on the back.
Cherish These Times
My son is napping right now and shortly he will wake up and want to play, my daughter will want some mommy time, and my husband will want dinner soon. I am endlessly busy , and even though I don’t always feel it, I know they all love me very much and I adore them. Some days I question my sanity, and other days I am more than grateful to be at home with them. It is a very crazy journey but remember that you are not alone. Many of us have chosen to be stay at home moms and we know how hard it can be. Hang in there and reward yourself for your accomplishments, your wonderful children.
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