One of my closest friends, Tess, made the call to be a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM) when she had her first child in 2008. It’s a big decision for anyone and it’s not an easy one to make as there are so many things one needs to consider before stopping work from financial through to emotional aspects.
That being, I thought I would ask Tess to share some insight on how to stay SANE while staying at home with the kids. Here are her Top 11 (she just couldn’t stop at 10, sorry!) tips to keeping your sanity while being a SAHM!
Support! Support! Support!
If you don’t have it, get it or find it! Support in the form of your mother, sister, aunt, au-pair or nanny. You can’t do it alone and we weren’t meant to either.
Look after yourself
If you have some support in place and you know your children are well cared for, this gives you an opportunity to make some time for yourself. Even if initially time for yourself means taking one long bath or shower a day. Early days with a new baby is time consuming but as they grow you can manage those free moments doing something that brings you some joy.
Think simple things, going for a walk, reading a few pages from a book, catching up emails, Facebook, enjoying a cup of warm coffee/ tea, etc.
Traveling with kids can be tough especially if you have to travel far to get anywhere but with careful planning and timing you can ensure your trip is as painless as possible. Depending on how much your kids love the car and whether they rest in the day, make sure to time things at times you know will work best for your kids.
It’s important to be in the land of the living to feel like you are part of something else other than just being a mom all the time.
Meet OTHER Moms
Find out if about if and where a group of moms meet on a regular basis. If there isn’t anything consider creating a moms group of your own in your area. Just invite one mom and ask her to invite another. Your group will quickly grow.
Rotating homes is also a good idea so you have a break from hosting. It’s important to be in contact with other moms. Moms offer crucial motherly support to one another helping you realise everything that there are others are going through the same experience.
Organise play dates
These are great because you can enjoy a cuppa with a fellow mom and friend, have some adult chat and the kids can play together. Even with a new baby, the change of environment is very uplifting for the both of you. Babies do eventually grow up Having the kids play together while you have time with your friend is a win-win for everyone.
Take care of your health
Make sure you are taking some time to prepare healthy food for yourself, and your family. Being sick often or feeling ill due to eating unhealthy habits meals just makes a SAHM feel worse.
There is no fun in looking after children who are often sick. Teaching your children the importance of balanced eating through example is also important. By doing this, you send your children the message that Mom values herself enough to look after her body.
If you aren’t a good cook and you can afford it, consider hiring a chef for a day to cook meals you can freeze or organise healthy frozen meals to be delivered regularly.
I can’t stress this enough. Children are unpredictable. The more flexible you are or choose to become, the better you will feel about your everyday life and your children. Let go of expectations (when will baby sleep, will he/she finish his food, when will baby stop fussing, why is my child not sitting yet, when will he/she be ready to leave my side). Just go with the flow. All children grow up eventually.
Forget the CLOCK!
Remember, children do not understand the clock. They understand a daily rhythm / routine and not a daily schedule based on the clock. For example, baby gets used to waking, having breakfast, napping, waking having lunch, bath and bed but they do not know the time of each event. So some days this flow or routine will start at 5am and other days it will start at 7am. As long as you incorporate a routine your child will be content….try to let go of that darn clock!
Do things you enjoy doing or want to do
Allow the kids to entertain themselves around you while you get things done. Who said you had to play and entertain your kids all day long? It’s not realistic for you or your child. By all means play with your children but never force it. Children are incredibly perceptive and they will pick up when you don’t really want to do something. By doing this, you are being authentic and teaching your child to be authentic too. There is nothing wrong with saying “mommy doesn’t want to play with you right now but we can do something together a bit later or tomorrow”. However, if you do say you will do something later then keep to your word – ALWAYS!
Let go of the housework
If something has to give or be slightly neglected, let it be the housework. On a bad day, remember the most important thing is to take care of yourself and your children first and to let the housework slide – it’s REALLY (I promise!) not the end of the world.
Let go of the guilt
The famous mother’s guilt seems to multiply with the more children you have. As with anything in life, you will have good days and bad days. Remember there is no such thing as a perfect anything. You are doing what you can as a Mom and a person.
If you have any comments or additional tips, please feel free to add a comment below.
Thanks to my special friend, Tess, for taking the time to write this for Momtrepreneur!
Image Credit: SocialMoms.com