“Take me now” use to be my mantra after having our first child. I was stressed and frequently uneasy about my decision to be a stay-at-home parent. I was overwhelmed with our child’s constant demands and complete dependence on me. On top of that my partner would come home and question “what did you do all day?” I was frustrated and very close to losing my mind. I am so thankful things are different now. Here are 8 ways I keep my sanity as a Stay-At-Home Mom.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is essential for my mental health. Lack of sleep makes me irritable, stressed, cranky, lethargic and exhausted. Especially when our youngest was under one-years old, I made sure to sleep as much as possible. What’s the point of being a stay-at-home parent if we are all exhausted. We slowed down and cut out a couple of activities, especially those that started too early. This way, the entire family would be well rested and not constantly rushing.
2. Create a schedule
Making a schedule that fits our family’s needs helps me to keep moving and feeling productive. Of course my schedule is not like most. For example, we don’t have breakfast everyday, it’s more like brunch by time we are all awake, washed, dressed and I have cooked. We wake late and go to sleep later than most families - yet it works for us. Each week we have a repeating schedule of activities that our children can look forward to and creates a sense of routine in our lives (for example, every Tuesday is cooking class with my retired Aunt). I don’t want to be stressed by a rigid schedule - so I am thankful we do not have to fully commit to any activity and are able to move at the kids’ pace.
3. Get Out
I met many caregivers that are fine with staying indoors all day — but being inside of our four walls makes me lose my mind. Between having to constantly clean up after the children and them being bored from the same environment — I found staying at home to be extremely overwhelming. We prefer to have fun together outside of our home, so that I can get a break from the housework and they can explore and have new experiences each day.
4. Have A Support Person
Many around me do not understand why a mother would choose to stay home and care for their children instead of working. It can be discouraging when so many people are giving unsolicited advice about how I run my family. I’m thankful my husband is supportive, because without this shared vision, our children would not have a stay-at-home parent. Additionally, he helps me ignore the noise and stay focused on our family goal. In addition to my partner’s support, I also had to….
5. Build A Village
My village is made up of family, friends, children, parents, grandparents, neighbors, community members, elders, doctors, teachers, and many more personalities from different walks of life. We visit, have play dates, vacation and have new adventures together all the time with our village. It creates an extended family for our girls and an even bigger support group that I can observe and learn ways to better parent.
6. There Will Be Tough Moments
Yes, I definitely still have tough moments - but they are just that, moments. A co-worker once taught me, “you can start your day over at any moment.” If I’m having a bad moment, I try to make sure it doesn’t ruin my entire day. I understand that I am in charge of my sanity, and this difficult moment will pass.
7. Take It Easy & Enjoy The Moment
Being a new parent I was overly concerned with the wrong things. Any and everything you could think of distracted me from what was really important in our children's lives. Now, as long as my children are healthy and happy, I have peace of mind.
8. Time Off
There are very few people I feel comfortable leaving my children with and the kids feel comfortable staying with. I usually don’t get a full day off, it’s typically a couple of hours. Nevertheless, it is a break, and I try to be very efficient with the little time I have. Afterwards, I come back refreshed and my children are always happy to see me.
Are you a stay-at-home parent? What helps you keep your sanity?
Until next time...
Peace & Love,