Surviving Stay-at-home Mom Status
Whether you planned on being a stay-at-home mom or it was thrown unexpectedly into your lap (yours truly), there are a few guidelines to help keep your sanity.
1. Friends from both worlds: It's good to have friends who are also moms so they feel your pain and can sympathize, laugh, and cry with you. But it's even more important to have friends that don't have little ones. One of my best friends, who assists in keeping my pre-baby self intact, is a 55 year old woman who has one grown kid so we don't talk babies or kids, but we do talk about everything else.
It's easy to make our kids our life even to a point where we find ourselves constantly thinking and talking about them so a friend who gets you out of that world for a little bit, is a true blessing. As moms, we also tend to compare ourselves to other mothers and having a friend you can't compare yourself to is refreshing.
2. Home alone: The best way to get the much needed peace and quiet you deserve is to have a trusted friend, relative, or spouse take your kid (s) somewhere while you stay at home without the kids. It's not the same as getting away from the house on your own, it's much better. Imagine relaxing in your own home- sounds great huh?
Being a stay-at-home mom means that we're always at work because our homes are our workplaces. We never seem to be able to relax at home because of this. Our home represents noise and activity. If we get time at home without the kids, we can experience our home as a peaceful and relaxing place too. This is actually a psychological trick so we break the pattern of associating home with work and kids. It's not as eerie as you might think to be home alone with complete silence.
3. No Elmo allowed! : Whenever I visit another mother's house, I am astounded by all the kid stuff EVERYWHERE in every room- even the parents' bedroom. Not exactly romantic unless Elmo is some sort of kinky turn-on for you. Parents wonder how their kids ended up with so many toys, well it's because they divided and conquered every room and bred like super bunnies. It's a massive take over!
If you want to teach your kid boundaries, even at an early age, this is a great start. Designate one area/space or room of your home to be kid free and a place for only adult stuff - somewhere you can sit when your child is napping and you need to be reminded what it's like to live in an adult world. Like all things you teach your child, be consistent about keeping their toys out.
4. Involve your partner in your stay-at-home venture: Talking with your partner about staying home is a good start and a start that is best addressed sooner than later. But don't end his involvement there. Keeping your husband involved with the kids or housework actually helps diminish a father's jealousy of your stay-at-home status. I don't know any husbands of stay-at-home moms that don't get a little jealous, have some resentment, or take our "leisurely" life for granted. Getting your husband involved also lets him in on your world a little bit by seeing that it's not all play time and Cartoon Network.
About the 50th time my husband asked me "what do you do all day?", I began writing on an eraser board on our refrigerator all the things I needed to do that day or did that day. This worked in two ways- first, my husband got to see how busy my day actually was and second, he pitched in and finished things that were left undone on my list. He gets it now.
5. Prioritize Happiness: Does it seem like your job is to make everyone happy? What happened to just taking care of the kids, but now you're responsible for dinner, tracking appointments, cleaning, prepping your husband for work, and making everything run smoothly.
The trick is making everyone happy. Yeah right! Ask your children and your husband what ONE thing would make them happy that you could do ALMOST every day. If your children are too young to answer then they are the age where quality mommy time and meeting their basic needs is enough for them to be happy. My husband likes his lunch made for work- that's realistic and I can do that (almost every day) even with a toddler. If I don;t have time for other things, I know what one things he will take notice of the most. We forget that the small things are what make people happy so prioritize these.
6. Grown-up stuff: Get a hobby that doesn't involve anything to do with kids, like golfing, reading adult books, going to the gym, painting, or anything you enjoyed before you had kids. Somehow when we have kids our hobbies change- of course they do, what didn't change when we had kids. Slowly scrap-booking and knitting crept it's way into your list of hobbies. Never underestimate how much you need a grown-up hobby, even it is only once a month. I go to a cooking or health type class at my local healthy foods grocery store- many stores do this and many are FREE!
7. Budget, Budget, budget: It's simple, if you budget, you won't have that extra worry. Money worries happen for families that have a stay-at-home mom. Can you afford it? Yes anybody can- truthfully. Before I had my daughter, my husband and I had the same annual income. We doubted cutting our finances in half would be possible, but it worked and is still working. It only takes one month of closely monitoring your spending habits to find out where you can cut costs. Our habit was spending $600 a month on fast food and restaurants and fancy coffee drinks! Almost every couple I know has a spending habit monster lurking in their bank accounts.
On the flipside, here's an idea of money you won't be spending by staying at home; Medical bills from your child getting sick at daycare, daycare tuition, gas money spent traveling to and from your work and daycare, a second car, on-the-go eating, cost of your work clothes- sweats and t-shirts are acceptable attire at home (not glamorous or trendy, but acceptable), nails and pedicures and other fluff 'n stuff. Second hand stores for your little ones are great too!
If there is any way of making a supplemental income while at home, look into it. You could freelance, do some form of virtual assisting, babysit other kids, or get creative with some other venture. Stay-at-home moms are making money creatively nowadays- so can you!
Extra tip:Always have at least one person you completely trust that can care for your children- emergencies come up. Have someone you can confide in and/or an outlet, like writing on hubpages :))
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