Being a stay at home mom is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have, if you are in the position to do so. But it is no secret that staying home with children all day can be an incredibly stressful experience – even for the most together mother. Changing countless diapers, feeding every couple of hours, cleaning messes, changing clothes, keeping kids entertained and staying on top of the housework can make the entire experience seem like a huge burden. It is difficult to enjoy time with your child(ren) when you constantly feel like a stressed out mom. If you are feeling overwhelmed with it all, be assured that there are several ways you can fight the burnout and begin enjoying this special time again.
Keep a Written To-Do List
One of the tell-tale signs of a stressed out stay at home mom is that she is always talking about what she needs to get done. Whether you have a new baby, and you’re trying to get on a functional daily schedule, or you have older kids who have places to be each day, keeping a written to-do list can mean the difference between sanity and struggle. If you can begin each day with a clear idea of exactly what needs to be done, you’ll find that you are more relaxed and worry free. You can keep your to-do list on your smart phone, or go old-school and write it down. There are some great templates you can buy online which help you to prioritize each item so that you have a better idea of what really needs to be done right away and what can wait. Try to create your list each evening after the kids are asleep. It’s a great way to unwind before bed, as you can rest easier knowing that you’re all set for the next day.
Make Time For Yourself
As a stay at home mom, it can feel like your life is all about your children. But it is imperative that you take time out for yourself every once in a while. Try leaving the children with your partner while you run to the shops for supplies. Take turns sleeping in on the weekends, and plan an hour or two to get your nails done or take a yoga class. Even for single moms or those without a good support system, there are various ways you can carve out some “me-time” every now and then. Look for some stay at home mom groups in your area where you can join other mothers for outings. Even with your child in tow, getting the chance to interact with other parents can be a huge relief. Once you’ve built up a rapport, you may even find that your new friends will want to trade off for play dates or babysitting duties. At the very least, take the time while your children are asleep or in school or otherwise engaged in play to take a few minutes a day for self care.
Take a Break
When home all day long with one or more kids, it is easy to feel like you are always on call. But the truth is that it is okay to take a break once in a while. If you find yourself getting stressed out and overwhelmed, walk away from the situation. Make sure your child/baby is safe in a crib or contained area and then walk away. They may cry or fuss, but if they are safe then you can take a few minutes away from the situation to calm down. Grab a piece of chocolate and hide in a closet if you need to. Once you have calmed down and had a few minutes of peace, it will be much easier to deal with whatever stressed you out in the first place. And remember to be honest with your partner. If you have had a difficult day, or if you are just struggling in general, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Let them know you need a break. It could be a couple of hours for a bubble bath, or maybe you need a night away in a hotel. Being a great stay at home mom means knowing when you need time away from your kids.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
Even the most stressed out mom will have some point in her day where everything falls away, and something wonderful happens. It can be as simple as your baby smiling at you in a moment of upset. It can be a hug or cuddle from your toddler. It can be your child coming home from school with a good grade. At the end of each day, try to think of at least one good moment that made it all worthwhile. Keep those moments in a gratitude journal. Write it down every day, and in your harder moments look back through them to find some peace of mind. Keeping an attitude of gratitude will help you to feel grounded and thankful for the things you have rather than angry or bitter about the harder moments of your day.
Shake Things Up
Remember that any schedule that you set for yourself is totally negotiable. Life is not over if you cancel a play date, feed your baby ten minutes later than normal or leave the dishes for later. Don’t be afraid to shake things up. Making memories with your kids is far more important than adhering to a planned agenda. If things aren’t going the way you hoped, then shrug it off and create a new plan. We all need to lose control once in a while, and your kids won’t mind being a little spontaneous.
One of the most overwhelming parts of being a stay at home mom is the constant need to clear up. Taking care of kids means endless piles of laundry, overflowing toy boxes and constant wiping down of surfaces. Consider how much easier life would be if you had less STUFF. There is much to be said for living simply, and this is extra true when you have children. A child with one toy will play with it for hours, while a child with ten toys will go back and forth between them, leaving a trail of discarded toys throughout the house. Pack up what you don’t need. Use storage containers to put away excess toys and extra clothing that you don’t need. Every week or month, trade out old items for new so that you have a constant cycle. Your kids will be thrilled that they have “new” toys to play with so often, and you will have much less work each day keeping the house in order.
Find a Hobby
While it may seem unlikely that you can find a single spare moment in your day to work on your own projects, the truth is that there are many hobbies for moms at home. Finding a solitary pursuit that can be done in stages is your best bet. If you are the mom to a baby, something like a puzzle is a great idea. You can sit at a table to complete it during feeding times or when your baby just wants a cuddle. Since the child is too young to climb up or grab pieces, you can leave the puzzle out for days or weeks as you strive to complete it. Other things for a stay at home mom to do include crossword puzzles, Sudoku, solitaire, or game books to keep your mind sharp. Finding small bits of time to work on something of your own can help you to cope with being a stay at home mom without burning out.
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While being a stay at home mom can be a huge blessing, it can also be overwhelming and difficult for some. With these seven tips, you may find that your stress levels are a little easier to manage, and life is more fun for you and your children.