Becoming a stay at home mom has a lot of emotions surrounding it. When you are expecting, you imagine these lovely slow mornings full of cuddles and sleepy smiles with your newborn. You imagine it transitioning into sweet mornings of building towers with blocks with your growing toddler. In these fantasies, you have it all together: the house is clean, you are a patient mom, and your child has nothing but good days.
Or maybe you are terrified of having that much free time. And what will your life mean without your job? What do you do with a kid all day long? And how in the world do you clean a house and cook with a little one around all the time?
My Transition to Stay at Home Mom-hood
I was somewhere in the middle when I made the transition to stay home with my little man when he was born. I expected the newborn months to be sweet and easy and there was anxiety about what in the world you do with a toddler all day long. I also expected myself to be the perfect housewife since I was staying home all day every day. Well, my little man is now 19 months old and I can say it hasn’t been all sweet, my house is regularly a mess, and that there are days we have to go to Target just to get out of the house before we both go crazy.
I realized very quickly that I needed at least a little bit of structure to my days. I’m a very accomplishment driven person and just being home with Will all day made me feel like I was wasting so much time. I started watching ridiculous amounts of Netflix during nap times and never really getting anything done. Laundry only happened when we ran out of underwear. Dinner was regularly a fend-for-yourself-night or quesadillas. And as all this happened, I slowly sank into a puddle of mom-guilt.
Now some of this was my depression and anxiety but some of it was heading into a new “job” without a game plan or any sense of direction. The truth is that motherhood didn’t come as naturally to me as I expected it to. It was this weird thing that I thought would have way more visual purpose to it rather than constantly repeating tasks.
I’ve slowly learned how to handle stay at home mom-hood. I needed a sanity plan.
The Sanity Plan
Below is my “Sanity Plan.” It’s all the things I’ve found to help me adjust to and start thriving in my stay at home mom life. And occasionally I start to stray from this list and find that I slowly start losing my sanity again. When I do, it just takes a quick look at this list to realize where I’m going wrong again.
Find a MOPs group or some sort of mom community.
Finding a community of other moms is so important to retaining your sanity and not spiralling into depression as a stay at home mom. This should be your number one thing to do. I’m a part of a Mothers of Preschoolers group at a local church and absolutely love it. They have child care so Will goes and plays with his friends while I get to sit and eat while having grown up conversations with other moms. If you don’t have a MOPs group near you, find a group on MeetUp.com or at your local library. Community is the number one key to thriving in motherhood.
Engage in regular play dates with other moms and kids close to your child’s age.
Pair this with your mom group. I know this seems like a repeat of the previous tip but I consider it seperate. Most mom groups don’t meet every week. MOPs meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month for us. So that leaves every other week without any interaction with other moms. It’s also hard to form friendships when only seeing each other twice a month for two hours at a time. We have a small play group of four moms all with little boys around Will’s age. We started meeting when the kiddos were only six months or so. So they weren’t playing together yet, but we would sit and chat together while they would stare at each other and occasionally roll over onto each other. Now, they run crazy and get out every single toy at whoever’s house we are at while we chat and drink our coffee.
Get out of the house every day.
I found that I started to view my house as a cage. I felt trapped and that I was going to explode if I didn’t get out of the house. As hard as it is to get the kiddos ready to go anywhere, it really is worth it to get out. Whether it’s just to story time at the library, to stroll Target, or to go grocery shopping, I always feel so much better at the end of the day if I got out of the house.
Turn Netflix off.
When you get home from your errands or mom group, don’t turn on the TV. I’m someone who doesn’t like silence and can’t have real conversations with my child yet. So I typically turn to Netflix to have “conversations” running all the time. Do yourself a favor and listen to a podcast or music instead. You’ll feel better about your day if you didn’t spend two hours in front of the TV.
Pick up a new hobby that is completely unrelated to your child.
Find a purpose that isn’t related to your child. Also, pick a hobby that has finishable tasks. Motherhood is full of tasks that immediately get undone or that have to be redone over and over. Pick up painting or knitting or scrapbooking. Choose something that interests you and dive in. I chose to start a blog. It gives me a creative outlet and I’m striving toward growing it and therefore have a reason to have goals and purpose.
Clean one thing a day or use a rotating cleaning schedule.
When you know your work will get undone very quickly, why bother doing it in the first place? That tends to be my mentality. Until I’m going to have people over and then I’m in a panic trying to clean absolutely everything. It works way better to pick one area or job each day and get it done first thing.
Ask for help with cleaning and acknowledge to yourself that the child is a full time job.
I struggle with feeling like I should have the house pristine since I’m home all the time. I don’t typically count being with the child as my full time job. My husband is absolutely wonderful and is great at reminding me that it’s not my job to keep the house perfect and that he is there to help. Because of that, he cleans the kitchen every night after dinner. We also split up the rest of the cleaning of the house. About once a week we go through the major cleaning tasks like bathrooms, vacuuming, and mopping and split them up between us.
What helps you keep your sanity as a SAHM? Tell me about it in the comments!
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Hey there! My name is Rachel and I’m a 23 year old wife and mother. I’m decidedly in favor of DIY projects and decidedly against mom-shaming. This blog is my place to take a stand against superiority and to share ways to thrive in motherhood. My hope is that you leave this site feeling validated and encouraged in your mom-bilities.
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