Stay at home moms… there is a lot of stigma out there. It’s the hardest ‘job’ of your life. It’s the easiest ‘job’ of your life. It’s not even a ‘job;’ you just get to sit around all day and do whatever you want! There are many opposite ends of the spectrum on this. Of course I am a bit opinionated on this topic since I am a stay at home mom.
My thoughts may surprise you a bit. First of all, I 100% feel that being a stay at home mom is a job. Just because this ‘job’ doesn’t provide an income does not mean that it is not work! I think that this is the first misconception; because moms don’t make money, then what they do does not qualify as work. Let me clear this one up for everyone courtesy of Google:
activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result
- a task or tasks to be undertaken; something a person or thing has to do
The textbook definition of work. So yes, doubters, stay at home mom’s do ‘work.’ In any case, I also have to disagree with some people out there. Yes it is work, however, I do not feel that it is the hardest job out there. Being a stay at home is truly a blessing to yourself and your little ones. That in itself should qualify what you do as a ‘good’ job. But if you are struggling, I am here to help! Life does not have to be hard. There are simple steps that you can take to make your job easier, and definitely more enjoyable!
How to ROCK Being a Stay at Home Mom
Set a Routine
Take Time for Yourself
Connect with Other Moms
Do NOT Overextend Yourself
The early days of being a stay at home mom can be a whirlwind. Whether your baby is a newborn or you joined the ranks of SAHM as your kids are getting older, it can definitely be a culture shock. And of course if you are a new mom, life has totally been turned upside down anyhow, so your new life can be extra challenging.
Where to even begin??? Get organized! Get on this as quickly as possible. The longer you wait, the easier it will become to fall into a routine of no routine. Laziness, dishes piled sky high, and an empty refrigerator can all set in. And once you’re behind, it’s no fun playing catch-up!
Make lists of what you need/would like to accomplish on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Don’t forget about normal household duties. Write it all down, and make sure you don’t miss anything. Create a calendar. Log any recurring activities, bill due dates, and any other important information. Mom brain can definitely cloud your memory some days, I find lists to be invaluable! Just because you are a stay at home mom now doesn’t mean that the rest of the world stops spinning!
Set a Routine
I cannot stress this enough! Set a routine for your child. Set a routine for yourself. Kids, especially newborns and young toddlers, thrive on routine. I am not talking about a schedule. In my opinion there is a big difference between a routine and a schedule.
Say ‘NO’ to a Strict Schedule
Personally, I think a schedule is just setting yourself up for failure and undue stress. Kids are unpredictable. Life is unpredictable. It is unrealistic to think that you can follow a minute by minute schedule for your day. Things come up; kids sleep in, diapers blowout, toddlers refuse to finish their breakfast, bath time gets delayed… the list goes on and on. Save yourself the headache and unless you have somewhere specific to be, ignore the clock.
You have the luxury of being a stay at home mom. What this means is that most days, you can work from your own schedule. So embrace it. Snuggle a couple of extra minutes in bed with your little one. Play a few minutes longer after breakfast. Splash a little longer in the tub. These moments are fleeting and they FLY by. Enjoy each moment, enjoy each day, and PLEASE ignore the clock on the wall and embrace the moment.
Say ‘YES’ to a Constant Routine
I am a much bigger fan of a routine. From birth, (thanks to all of my pregnancy reading) I was pretty careful about following a predictable routine for my son. Although the routine changes as my son grows, he always knows what to expect each day. For example, today’s routine looks like this:
Wake up, breakfast, bath, errands or playdates, lunch, nap, play time, dinner, play time, stories and bed.
This is just a very vague description of our actual days. Of course we squeeze extra things in whenever we like, but this is the order we follow for the day. It makes life easy. There are never any meltdowns; my son always knows what to expect and when to expect it. It seriously makes life SO much easier!
Set a Routine for Yourself
In addition to a daily routine for your child, it is important to set a routine for yourself. You have a full day ahead of you, and a household to run, in addition to raising a tiny human. My best advice, if you can manage it, is to establish a routine that includes a wake up time earlier than your child.
I realize that this can be easier said than done. I am spoiled. My son has slept until 8am for as long as I can remember, and has never really had any night time sleeping issues. So I get plenty of beauty sleep myself, making an early wake up pretty manageable. If you just can’t do it, try to squeeze a little extra time into the end of the night.
My routine includes early wake up, workout and shower before my son wakes up. Then we start our day. During nap time is my time to catch up on cleaning, prepare dinner and work on the computer. After bed time, I will wrap up any extra work that I have for the day. If nap time is nonexistent in your house, schedule quiet solo play time or reading time for your kids to give you time to get your work done.
You can also set a routine for the week, too. For example, Monday is grocery day, Tuesday is the bank and any extra errands, Wednesday is usually a play date, Thursday’s are for our mom’s group and Friday’s are free days. Breaking up your week into day specific routines can help keep you organized and your days predictable for the kids.
Take Time for Yourself
Mommas, this one is SO important! Please do not feel guilty about taking time for yourself. Mom guilt is such a real thing these days, and it can especially rear its ugly head amongst the stay at home mom crowd. Because there is so much criticism and debate about whether being a stay at home mom is a ‘real’ job, many moms can feel guilty doing anything for themselves.
Personally, I struggle with this to some degree. I take time for myself in the sense that I exercise and work on my website, but ALWAYS when my son is sleeping or resting. I really have a hard time leaving or taking time off when my son is awake. Mom guilt; it gets to the best of us. Needless to say, I still encourage taking time for yourself to some degree! Self care is so important to your mental well being, and definitely helps make you a better parent, spouse and partner.
Take the time when you can get it. Maybe it’s 5 minutes at the start or end of your day. Maybe it’s during nap time. If your days are simply too full to manage, schedule time at least once a week, maybe when your spouse is around, to take some time off for yourself. Do not feel guilty, you are doing this for your sanity; trust me when I say it benefits your family just as much as you!
Connect With Other Moms
Since becoming a stay at home mom, my circle of friends and people who I connect with on a regular basis has inevitably transformed. Old work friends no longer have time to catch up, you, as a mom, no longer have the freedom to go out and visit with friends on a regular basis. Life has changed. It’s a new season, time to meet some great new people!
This of course does not mean kick all of your old friends to the curb! I am simply suggesting to add some new friends to your inner circle, too. Making friends and connecting with stay at home moms like you can really help you to relate with someone in your shoes. Even your own spouse can have a hard time understanding what daily life looks like for you. Fellow stay at home mom are right there in the trenches with you. You can share advice, swap stories, vent to each other, and even set up play dates. The bonus is you can add some adult interaction into your Disney Jr. filled life!
I was blessed to stumble upon an absolutely amazing group to connect with in my early days as a stay at home mom. At Preston’s first swim lessons, I met one of my dearest friends, a fellow mom, who introduced me to MOPS. MOPS is a Christian organization devoted to helping fellow moms connect on a regular basis. Our group meets every other week and provides a couple of hours for moms to chat while the kids play in an education based childcare. Through my MOPS group, I have met dozens of moms just like me to connect with. The memories we have shared and the connections we have built have truly been invaluable.
If you don’t have a MOPS group available or it simply isn’t your cup of tea, there are endless activities for kids throughout the week. Get on Google and check out all of your local events. Not only will it provide great experiences for your kids, it will provide you with an opportunity to meet and connect with other moms in your area.
Do NOT Overextend Yourself
Nothing can make life as a stay at home mom more overwhelming, stressful and unenjoyable as overextending yourself. Committing to too much. Offering too much help. Signing up for every committee and group activity. It is great to be involved. It is also important for yourself and for your children to be involved with the outside world. However, if you have to search 3 weeks out to find a blank spot on your calendar, then you may be over-doing it.
Once my son was old enough to really get out there in the ‘real’ world, I spent plenty of time researching every age appropriate activity that was offered. I was so excited to expose him to all that life had to offer; I did not want him to miss out! Which is fine until the activities start piling on, you meet other moms and start scheduling play dates, and you are offering your help to anyone and everyone since ‘all you do is stay home.’
When your calendar suddenly becomes ‘work,’ it is no longer fun. Momma, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with taking a step back and downsizing. Limit yourself to 2-3 ‘scheduled’ days a week and save the rest of the week for free days. Trust me, life will be less chaotic and overwhelming, and having a flexible schedule will definitely help ease the stress!
I will leave you with my most important piece of advice; HAVE FUN! These are truly the best days of your life. I know some days can be hard. Some days can be lonely. You can feel overwhelmed. But at the end of each night, when you sit back and reflect on the day, pick out the cherished memories that will stick with you. Hold on to them. Squeeze tight and don’t let go, because if you blink you can miss it. Suddenly your kids are packing up for school, making friends, and you will wonder where the days went.
You are blessed to be a stay at home mom. You have the opportunity to be there for every single moment; for better or worse. I would hate for you to look back and regret a single moment of this time. So please, please, please have fun. Enjoy each day to the best of your ability. Make memories to last a lifetime. Laugh more, worry less. Be goofy. Make messes. Fly by the seat of your pants. See the world through the eyes of your child. Embrace each day.
Don’t take everything so seriously. Yes, being a stay at home mom is a job. But like I mentioned, it can be the BEST job if you let yourself enjoy it. Your attitude sets the tone; you decide if these will be the best or most challenging days of your life. I suggest to embrace the good in each day; have some fun and your entire family will be rewarded!
ROCK It, Momma!
You are a mom boss; embrace it!!! Now it’s time for you to ROCK it! You successfully run a household, take care of yourself, and raise an awesome tiny human! (or 2 or 3) Give yourself a pat on the back; you are on amazing, multi-tasking momma! And let’s be honest, for all you accomplish, you also have a super demanding baby boss!
I would love to hear how you are rocking being a stay at home mom!