Being a full time stay at home mom is definitely nothing like the way it’s portrayed in most movies and on the TV. You might have expected each day to finish with your husband returning from work to an immaculate house, angelic sleeping children and a michelin star quality meal on the table. But in reality, life is messy, complicated, and hard, but through all that struggle are wonderful unexpected moments of joy and meaning. Being a full time parent looks different to each individual, there are different needs for you and your household. There is no one right way for anyone to be an awesome full time parent. You have to find what works for you and your family. Lets get real… sometimes the only goal in a day is just to keep the little ones alive and that just has to be enough. Other days your may find room in your day for extra stuff like showering, play dates, outings, and grown up conversations with big people. Take your wins where ever you can get them. If you are struggling to embrace the full time chaos of motherhood there are some trick and tips that can help things go a little smoother, but the first thing you need to do is give yourself a mental hug and be kind to yourself. Motherhood is so rewarding and wonderful but it is also very complicated. Here are some tips below to help you navigate through full time mommy-hood.
Plan Your Days
Waking up without a single clue about what you and the kids are going to do through the day is really one of the first mistakes you can make. Without a specific aim or destination, it’s easy to get trapped inside and then shackled to the house. However, if you dedicate a few minutes each evening when the little ones are in bed to creating a brief plan of two to three goals or activities, like organizing a play date, reading books, and coloring time, you will save yourself a world of hassle the next day. Pretty much as soon as their eyes open you lose the opportunity to arrange anything at all, as your time is now directed towards their current needs and any hope of a silent moment to get your thoughts together is lost. Set certain days for certain tasks or activities, and ensure you have some idea of what you need to achieve each day to have a direction or goal. Don’t stress yourself out by too structured with your time and try to allow plenty of time to do the task so you and your little ones are not feeling overly rushed.
If you and your kids stay inside for the day, tensions will be high, boredom will be uncontrollable and the mess will have taken over. You all need fresh air and exercise every single day, even if it means walking around the block a couple of times. With this comes the opportunity of seeing other people, and even a smile in the street from a passerby may improve your mood a little. It’s terribly easy to slip into a bubble when you are a stay at home mom, inside which contains just you, your family and your home. Isolation will not be beneficial for you or your children, so make that extra bit of effort to break free and get outside. If it’s looking like it may be a hard task to get out of the house, just head to the garden and try to appreciate the difference in environment there instead.
Have Your Own ‘Thing’
Driving one child to basketball and another to dance class, picking one up from after school club and ferrying everyone else around in your ‘mom taxi’, you often forget that you are equally entitled to the same treatment. It’s very important that you retain a hobby or passion of some kind when becoming a stay at home mom, as you will need a break from your constant family life every once in a while to focus your efforts into something a little different. Going back to school is a great option as it will give you the opportunity to better yourself in more ways than one. Realistically you will not have the time or means to give the appropriate dedication to a usual course, but there are several internet based qualifications such as an online BBA that you can complete from the comfort of your own home. Even your kids will benefit from you investing time into yourself, as you will begin to develop a positive mental attitude and have a somewhat greater sense of purpose.
Bed And Nap Time
Ensuring that both you and your little ones get enough sleep is vital. Toddlers need on average about 14 hours of sleep, with the amount decreasing with age to just 8 hours as an adult. Getting this amount will have a huge effect on every aspect of your life, and it’s your duty to make sure your children have enough opportunity to rest when they feel they need to. Encourage regular nap times, especially when your babies are very young, and take part yourself every now and again to top up your reserves. Having a set bedtime and night routine will make it flow more easily, as the regular consistency will help your kids feel more relaxed and ready to sleep when they become used to the process. This also allows you to have a guaranteed window of free time before you too have to hit the sack, so you can unwind maybe Re-create a Spa Experience at home with foot spas, read some good books you have been putting off, do a facial. A little self care time can help you get a clear head to tackle in all over again the next day.
Encouraging your children to play on their own may make you feel like a terrible mom at first, but the wealth of benefits it will provide you both with should relieve any negativity. It’s really important for your kids to grow and adapt to learn to play independently, so they can develop their attention spans and boost their individual creativity. It will also free up some more valuable time for you to focus your efforts elsewhere, as you will no longer have to be the constant play buddy. You don’t have to let them stray too far, just enough for you to maybe take a bath or even just make yourself a cup of tea. Although of course you will still have to make a lot of effort with and pay attention to your kids, as their age increases you can take more steps to allow independence and ignite their confidence.
Staying at home with your kids all day has the potential of being an extremely isolating endeavour. Especially if your little ones are very little and have not yet reached talking age, it can seem like you’re completely alone in the world. The best way to combat this is to find a way of speaking with a group of people in a similar situation, and the easiest place to connect with others is online. By doing a quick search on your phone, you can find many different blogs and forums that allow you to read advice and tips from other moms, and create an account of your own to post a question or provide an answer. Not only will you be able to feel a bit more connected with the outside world, you may also get some very helpful information that will make your stay at home mom role a little easier to bear.
Let Dad Take Over
It’s so easy to take on all of the childcare responsibilities when you become a stay at home mom. As the kids will be so used to your company and you will be so regularly looking after them, it often becomes slightly toxic in a sense that your partner may dismiss their father role and take on that of just a ‘breadwinner’. Now, of course they need some time to relax when they return from work, but similarly being a SAHM is a full time job and you deserve a break too. Encourage your little ones and their dad to spend some quality time together each night, and delegate some related tasks that he can take over or help with doing of an evening when he’s available to offer support. Use your free time to get a little personal space; you don’t need to drive miles away, but taking a trip to grab a coffee or something a more indulgent, you can have a bit of well deserved ‘me time’ whilst your partner gets to look after the kids.
Make The Most Of It
Your little ones won’t be little for very long, and it’s so easy to get caught up the stresses of cooking and cleaning that you forget to enjoy the precious moments spent together. Make sure you are actively seeking out ways to add more fun to your families life and daily routine. While its our job to teach our kids how to be successful independent adults one day we can achieve all of that by making sure we are intentionaly having fun throughout this mom journey. This season of motherhood is meant to have fun and joy. It’s not always going to be an easy ride, but the experiences you can have and the bonds you can develop are truly beautiful in their own right. Put the vacuum down and crash into the sofa with your kids in your arms and watch a film together instead, the chores can wait. It really is true that children grow up so fast, and it even can seem as though you blink for too long and they’re walking, talking, and ready to go to school. Make the most of every moment you get to spend with one another, and take the opportunity to learn, play and grow alongside them.
Hopefully this guide can help you to rock being a SAHM. Try to remember that a ‘perfect’ family life does not exist, to find your unique parenting style and what works for your individual family, and to have fun. Parenting comes with ups and downs, but each experience will help both you and your children to become closer and stronger. Savour every moment you get with each other as a family, as it really won’t last forever.
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