Being a stay-at-home mom isn’t the walk in the park everyone else assumes it is, no matter how much time you spend at the park. So how do some moms always seem so happy? Here are a few tips for making the most out being a stay-at-home mom.
Get Out of the House
Getting yourself and the kiddos out of the house regularly help keep things varied and interesting and prevent all of you from getting cranky with boredom and monotony. Whether it’s a trip to the museum, a playdate with a friend, or just a trip to the park, make sure to plan regular outings. Another option is to join a playgroup, which gives you an opportunity to socialize with other moms and maybe even some much-needed time to knock items off of your to-do list.
Encourage Independent Play
One mistake that many first-time stay-at-home mothers make is trying to entertain their children all the time. When they’re infants, mothers may feel like they’re neglecting their children if they don’t play with them all the time, but playing independently is actually good for them. It gives babies a chance to explore and teaches younger children self-reliance, and is the foundation upon which many other skills will rest as the child grows. Even more importantly, it will help keep you sane if you can tell your children to play by themselves for a little while so that you can clean, get some work done, or just have some much-needed time to yourself.
Make Nap Time Sacred
On the subject of having time to yourself, nap time is also a very important part of every stay-at-home mom’s day. Ideally, you’ll be able to use this time to accomplish things parents couldn’t while the kids were awake. For example, this is a perfect time to work from home, tackle a project, or even just catch up on some pampering or your own sleep. If your children are old enough to be outgrowing naps, you can exchange it for enforced quiet time, when they can read or play quietly in their respective rooms.
Keeping busy and doing things for yourself is one of the top ways to keep yourself happy as a stay-at-home mom. One of the first things to fall by the wayside is exercising regularly, so take a stand and make sure that doesn’t happen to you. While staying active will benefit you physically, even more importantly, taking the time to do something that is purely for yourself will have an even greater impact on you mentally. If it’s tough to get away for long enough to work out, joining a gym that provides childcare can help to make parenting more feasible along with maintaining health.
Maintain Work Connections
Even if you have transitioned to being a full-time stay-at-home mom, don’t abandon your work connections entirely. While it may not seem right now that you’ll ever want to do anything else, in today’s world it’s actually quite common for stay-at-home mothers to stay home for only a few years before going back to work. Once your kids go to school you may want to go back to work at least part-time, and depending on your industry you may need good connections in order to make a flex schedule like that an option for you. Keeping in touch with your former colleagues and perhaps even your former boss will keep your foot in the door, so to speak, and make it easier and smoother to return to work someday.
Happy Stay-at-Home Moms are Working From Home
If merely maintaining your business connections isn’t enough for you, if you find yourself getting bored during your children’s down times or just want to continue to contribute to the family’s finances, working from home may be a feasible option for you being a stay-at-home mom. Unlike most jobs, even part-time jobs, working from home offers superior flexibility with the ability to work when you have the time, whether that is while your children are napping, late at night while they are sleeping, or during the day when they’re at school. Working from home gives you the ability to be home when your child needs you to be. Most importantly, though, it gives you the confidence and purpose that comes from being efficient and effective.
Take All the Help You Can Get!
Finally and most importantly, the number one tip for being happy as a stay-at-home mom is making sure you use the help that’s available to you. Join playgroups, take family members up on offers for babysitting, delegate chores to household members, put your children in preschool, and hire sitters and other paid help when possible. Letting others help will ensure that you have enough time to be yourself even if you are always, first and foremost, a mother.