I made the transition from working mom to stay at home mom about eight months ago, when I had my second child. Making that transition wasn’t easy. One, I was caring for a newborn. And two, I now had double the kids to care for (both of whom were in diapers). I was exhausted, completely overwhelmed and a little stressed out. Which is how the list of tips for stay at home moms began.
I started making a list of things I could do for myself that would help me get it together. Now, eight months in I feel like I’m starting to hit my stride. But I made my fair share of mis-steps along the way. Each time I did, things would devolve into chaos. Either the house was a wreck at the end of the night and I had a mountain of work left ahead of me after the kids were down. Or I was left just plain cranky each day and felt like I never had a break. Mom needed some sanity.
So I tackled what I could on the list and as soon as I could. Some were easy to accomplish immediately, some took awhile. And, to be honest, some I’m still working on. But each week things become a little more workable. I hope applying some or all of these to your stay at home mom experience will do the same for you.
TIPS FOR STAY AT HOME MOMS
This can mean a lot of different things to different people. For me it was a combination of things. One, it meant organizing the kids play areas in the house. My husband works from home too, so it was important that we had play space outside, upstairs and in the main living area.
Two, it meant that we needed to keep a cleaner house. When both my husband and I were working, laundry would get done on the fly and our guest room bed ended up being the storage facility for clean laundry. That could not continue to happen. So I started reading up on the habits of tidy people and implementing them into my daily life. (here’s a great post from Kath Eats Real Food on habits of tidy people that I really enjoyed.) One of the best tips I’ve found is never let anything get out of control. So I began tidying up throughout the day here and there to better keep up with things.
And three, I try my best to prep what I can the night before. I get things prepped for breakfast, cups of milk are ready in the fridge, dishes are clean (mostly), high chairs are ready, clothes are laid out for the day (mine and theirs). It’s really been a lifesaver in the morning to have everything running as smoothly as it can. You never know what mood your two-year-old will wake up in so the more you can control, the better.
Get Out Of The House at Least Twice a Week (Mon-Fri)
This sounds so easy, but sometimes it just feels hard with two little ones so close in age who need a lot of supervision. But this doesn’t mean you have to go to the zoo or aquarium for an all-day escapade. This could be going to the park, taking a walk or running some errands. Figure out what works for you. But it’s good for you and your kids to get out and have a change of scenery.
And, let’s face it, no one likes a cave troll. And I can definitely start to get a little ‘cave troll syndrome’ (the term my husband and I have coined) after multiple days at the house with the little ones.
Foster Adult Friendships
Having adult friends you can turn to is SO important. Outside of your husband and family, they are a great support system to have. I don’t care if it’s a play group or a bible study at church with other moms or a group of friends from college or your next door neighbor, but keep in touch with them and stay active with them. Yes, things will change a bit with kids. You may not have as much time for friends as you used to, but you should have an outlet outside of your husband and your children.
Get Your Sleep
Oh my goodness, this is so hard right now for me. But this is probably my second favorite piece of advice in my tips for stay at home moms.
My husband and I don’t sit down until sometime between 8-8:30 p.m. and that’s usually when I start working on this blog. Sometimes I’m going until almost midnight until we make ourselves go to bed. My little one has been getting up earlier than normal the past couple of weeks, which means I’m getting about 5 hours of sleep a night right now. Not enough.
Sleep is SOOOOOOO important. It’s important for your health and metabolism. It helps your body fight off illness. It gives you the energy you need to run after your kids. And, let’s face it, when you’re well rested your patience increases and so does your ability to stay calm amidst chaos. So find some way to get 7-8 hours a day – even if that means catching some time when the kids go down for a nap.
Have Some Time For Yourself Every Day
I have been waking up early and having about an hour to myself before everyone gets up and about. I have a cup of coffee (or two) and read a morning devotion. Then I may read some news or check out social media a bit. Whatever it is that fuels you, find some time and do it. Even if it’s 10 minutes to exfoliate your face in the bathroom or paint your nails. You are worth it!
Make Time To Exercise
Being a mom is awesome. It’s what I feel I’ve been called to do and be. But let’s get real for a moment…it’s hard. I mean really hard! You have little ones that are relying on you for everything. Some of whom can’t communicate. Diapers. Play Dates. Temper tantrums. Attitudes. Boo boos. Sibling rivalry. You name it! You need an outlet to get your stress out.
For me, the easiest way to do that is with the kids. They are young enough right now that I just load them in the stroller and hit the pavement. I try to walk 3-4 days a week. Right now, that’s what I can do. It has been a lifesaver. And let’s face it, you add to that running after your kids most days and you’ve got a legit workout regimen.
Keep Date Night Alive
Time for yourself is a must, but so is one-on-one time with your husband. He is your partner in all things and retaining a relationship with him that is separate from your kids is critical. When you and your husband aren’t in sync, you both just feel out of whack. And trust me, your kids feel it too. So plan some time together now. If you’re on a budget and need some cost-friendly ideas for date nights, check out this blog post.
Set a Budget & Review It Regularly
If you’re a stay at home mom, that means you are living on one income. And that may mean being on a budget. That certainly was the case with us. We use a financial tracking app (like Mint or Acorns) to track our spending and can pull up the details in a moments notice. I try to check it on a weekly basis to make sure I’m on track. My husband and I are also starting up bi-monthly money dates – where we take an hour and review our budget together.
Make a Weekly Schedule
I’m a planner by trade. I’ve never met a list I didn’t like. So I think about what I’m going to do that week. I plan activities with the kids, what day I’m going to the grocery store, what day is laundry day, etc… Sure, sometimes the plan changes (and that’s ok), but it helps me to have at least a plan so if something changes you just shift.
One side note here, if you have appointments that you can’t miss, put them on your calendar on your phone. It’s helpful to have that info at the ready in case something else pops up.
Plan your Meals for the Week
Since we are on a budget, I now do shopping at a few different grocery stores when things are on sale. So it’s important for me to plan ahead of time what we are having for dinner (and lunches and dinners) for the week in advance. Also, with a 2-year-old and 7-month-old, a “quick trip to the store” doesn’t exist any more. And, let’s face it, no one wants to get to 4:00 p.m. and be asking themselves what we’re having for dinner.
Planning also helps me plan the super easy meals when I know I may not have a ton of time for cooking. If I’m running with the kids most of the day, chances are we’ll get home completely exhausted and the last thing I want to have to think about is dinner.
Have other tips for stay at home moms? Leave a comment below and share what works for you.