My first years of motherhood I went through a rough period were I felt lost, overwhelmed with the kids, house chores, work, self image and more! One day I decided I’ve had enough and needed to stop feeling sorry for myself. Why was I unhappy if I had everything? So, I decided that before I started my search for “happiness” I needed to get my life under control. This is how I did it:
I have to start by saying that even though some days are better than others, I always feel extremely blessed, lucky, proud, and happy to be a mom and wife. Sometimes you will have an off day with kids crying and not feel productive at all, but that’s what being a stay at home mom is.
Stick to a schedule. I have learned that with little ones, it’s so important to keep them on a good routine/schedule. Schedule changes are so hard on children, so try to stay consistent. We try to have the same time every day and night for waking up, naps, play time, lunch and dinner, and especially bed time. I find the hardest times of the day are dinner and bed time so that’s the routine we try to work the most on. One way to make our supper time routine less stressful is by having our family menu planned out weekly. This saves me time on deciding what to make! I use my monthly calendar that hangs in our kitchen !
Become an early riser. I used to sleep until the alarm went off . Then we would be running around like crazy chickens, trying to wake up and get some breakfast in, dressing up and it would become chaos. Now I try to wake up before the boys so I can have some coffee and sit by myself and organize my day and maybe watch the morning news. Get yourself ready for the day during this time. Shower, get dressed, do your hair, brush your teeth; whatever your routine for getting ready is, do it in this time. That way if you do have to go somewhere, you just get the kids ready and go. Plus it’s a kick start to the day and that way you can get more done instead of sitting in your pajamas all day.
Make lists/goals/rules. I’m the type of person who makes lists for everything, but it really does help to have a “to do” list everyday. The night before I write down things I need to get done the next day. It’s a good idea to not forget anything important that needs done (which is easy with little ones!), and the feeling of crossing something off your list is a feeling of satisfaction. Writing down goals helps as well to always have something you are working towards, whether it be for yourself or helping your kids. If your kids are old enough, it’s a good idea to put a lists of rules or chores that are visible for them and to stick by just like at school.
Keep up on housework. Yes, at times this is impossible, especially with a four-year-old and a six-year-old, but it’s best to try and stay on top of it! I’ve seen some people only designate one day a week as ‘cleaning day,’ however I find that with kids, it’s more efficient to do a little bit of cleaning everyday. Besides keeping up with the laundry and dishes, I try to do one room a day. It also makes everyone in the house feel so much better when toys are picked up before bedtime, so the next day you can start fresh and not with a leftover mess from the day before. When you keep up on the housework, it means more quality time with family.
Get out and get involved. Just because you’re a stay-at-home mom doesn’t mean you literally have to stay at home. Get out of the house with your kids and go to the park or library. Even going for a walk or playing in the yard works. We make it a point to go outside at least twice a day, and when the weather is nice out we might be outside almost all day! Fresh air and a change of scenery are good for both mom and kids. You can also make play dates with other moms or go to reading groups for kids so they can interact with others and you can be around another adult and have some mom time.
Go on date nights and spend alone time with your partner. This is so important! Staying connected with your hubby while raising children can sometimes take the backseat so always take the opportunity to have some quality alone time with them. Go out on a date or to a movie; you can even take the kids to a babysitter and have a movie night at home, just the two of you! Time away from the kids a few nights a month is good for your relationship.
Do ‘You Time’. Having time for yourself is important as well. Sometimes we as moms forget to take care of ourselves because we are taking care of the kids and house all day. It’s important to set aside time for yourself, whether it be early in the mornings, during nap time, or after the kids have gone to bed. Find your own hobby if you haven’t already. In my spare time, I found my new passion, Blogging!
Limit electronics. Using your phone all day or leaving the computer and TV on all day can cause you and your kids to become zombies. Shut them off and have some time to actually get down on the floor and play with your kids, read books, sing songs, do crafts, or play outside.
Slow down and include the kids. When you are cleaning or cooking, if your child shows interest in what you are doing, let them help! Most household activities kids can participate in with you, and it will make them feel like your big helper. It may take longer to get done, but it will teach them what you are doing and make them feel special. In the end they will be learning responsibilities and having fun with mom at the same time!
Learn to say NO! Stay-at-home moms have the tendency to say “yes” to it all – the bake sale, the church bazaar, the school picnic, the homemade play dough month – whenever asked, there’s a sense of obligation. It is as though some part of you says, “I am just staying at home.” Don’t fall for it! You have every right to say no to unwanted obligations because your plate is just as full.
Show love every day. The most important thing in my opinion and it goes for everyone, not just stay at home moms, is to show your love for one another. I think that when you show love to your family it makes it easier for them to show love in return, which equals happiness. Hug them, kiss them, and cuddle them. Make them know that they are loved every day!