I have noticed the same questions circulating among my sahm friends and I decided it was time to do some research and delve into my inner self to figure out a solution to these issues. Being a sahm is probably the most challenging job I have ever experienced. Unlike a regular job, you don’t get to go home and recharge after your 8 hour day, there are no sick days or vacation days, and if you’re having a bad day there is no one there to help you out. Being a sahm is a 24/7 job and your child(ren) can become the central focus of your life, causing you to forget who you are and what gives you drive in life. Loosing your identity can cause depression and make you feel like your sanity has been lost among the piles of diapers and the daily repetition of household chores, nap times, bath time, play time and bedtime. I am going to give you my tips that I have found to maintain my sanity and retain my identity while being an successful stay-at-home mama to my little boy.
- Determine what defines your roll of being a sahm. Reminding yourself why you are doing this can help you to not loose your mind to all the mundane tasks that are left unfinished at the end of the day. Make a list of the most important and the least important aspects. For me, making sure my son is happy, healthy, and thriving is most important. If you feel like motherhood is TOO HARD, feel comforted that every mother feels that way at one time or another, no matter how picture perfect their life looks from an outsiders perspective, they may be crumpling on the inside. Being a sahm will be the hardest job on your resume. You will become proficient at multi-tasking because you will learn to juggle keeping a tidy household, maintaining a routine for your little one while being able to run impromptu errands, and trying to squeeze in time with your significant other and for YOURSELF!
- Don’t compare yourself to other mom’s. Everyone has their own parenting style that works for them and what works for one child does not work for every child. You may think someone is a rockstar mom and wish you could be like them but you have to remember you only see the highlights of other people’s lives, you don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. That rockstar mom may be trying her hardest to impress you but is falling apart on the inside. Sometimes it can be easier to fake a smile than explain to someone why you seem defeated.
- Don’t feel guilty for not giving your child 24/7 attention. It’s just as beneficial to play with and teach your child as it is for them to have time for independent play to develop their own skills. Use their independent play time or nap time to get the stuff done around the house you want to or just relax with a cup of coffee and Netflix to give yourself the motivation you need to get through the rest of the day. A little me time can really dust off the cobwebs in your head that mom brain tends to leave behind. Focusing on yourself and your own needs can help you be more present for your child(ren). Whenever I feel like my little one has maybe had a little too much TV for the day but I am having a rough day I remember what they tell you on a plane. If everything is crashing down around you out your oxygen mask on first before your child’s because if you don’t help yourself first you may be incapable to help them.
- Get a change of scenery. Being a sahm can give you some serious cabin fever and you can start to build resentment against the walls in your home. Make an effort to get out of the house, make play dates, meet friends for lunch, go walk around the mall or park. Sometimes I forget that there is still human life outside of my house and it is nice for both of us to remember how to interact with other life forms 😉 I know after a day outside I feel instantly refreshed and ready to tackle all the household chores that I dismissed the following day.
- Get ready every day! Even if you have no plans for the day if you wake up and get dressed you feel more motivated to get stuff done. I know it can be easy to just throw on your robe and wander mindlessly around your house but by getting dressed each day you are ready to tackle anything that comes your way. I know if I need to run some errands it feels like such a challenge because of all the steps it takes to get us both ready to walk out the door. First thing in the morning, I change my little ones diaper, change both our clothes, and brush our teeth. Having outfits pre-selected the night before can make this step even more routine for you. Once we are up and ready for the day it is only a matter of IF we should head out of the house for the day or spend the day inside.
- Pamper yourself! Take some time, at least once a week, to do something to relax yourself. If you withhold pleasure from yourself for too long you will begin to build resentment to your significant other, who is able to leave and not parent for 8 hours a day or your child who is depending on you for every little aspect of life. I like to spend my pamper time by going to a movie that I want to see (I can still choose the movie since my little guy doesn’t pay much attention to the movie). I usually go with a my little one and a friend or just the two of us. Some theaters have mommy movie times where it is ok for your little one to talk or cry and you don’t have to walk out of the theater worried about disturbing other people because its just other moms and their little ones. I will sometimes go to the first showing of a movie during the week as well because it is usually empty. During nap times or when my fiance is home, I will spend an hour by myself doing a face scrub and watching Youtube videos or taking a bath and reading a book. Having just an hour to yourself where you don’t have to worry about your little one and your mind can relax can really reenergize you.
- Plan or pre-make meals. After a full day of momming, the last thing I want to do is figure out what to make for dinner. I have found the easiest ways to fix dinner is to pre-select your dinner meals for the week on Sunday. It makes life so much easier already knowing what’s for dinner. To save time and money I like to either, meal prep my lunch and dinner meals, make a crock pot meal that I throw together in the morning, or use a food delivery service that provides me with the exact ingredients I need to make a meal, the step-by-step instructions as an easy guide to prepare dinner in 30 minutes or less. I have been loving HELLO FRESH and will leave you my referral link here (www.hellofresh.com/?c=CPINNE&utm_source=raf-share&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=clipboard) where you can get $40 of your first box. It costs us $9.99 for a meal for the both of us, whereas eating out can range anywhere from $20-40 depending on what fast food chain we choose. It has really helped to save us time as well as money each week.
I hope that these tips are useful to my mama’s out there to find a way back to your sanity and some methods to retain or regain your identity throughout motherhood. It never gets easier it just gets different so learn how to manage your life now before you completely loose yourself. You can do it!