In the past two weeks, I have had conversations with two different women about staying at home with my kids.
The conversation started each time with a simple question, “do you stay home with them” and when I replied “yes” both women had the same reaction. Something along the lines of, “oh good for you, I couldn’t do that”. And it has caused to think.. is it a sort of achievement to be able to stay at home and not lose my mind?
I know a lot of women that work at least part time because it keeps them sane to get some time out of their homes. I get it. Boy do I get it. Staying at home is not always easy. So I have compiled a list of things that has helped me to maintain my sanity while also staying home full time with my kids.
- MOMS Club – I searched for “moms groups” when I was a new mom and found the MOMS Club of Coastal Delaware. They are geared towards stay at home, work from home, and part time working moms because most events are during the day, during the week. It was an enormous group of 120 moms all in my local area. That area is a beach town, so it is filled with townhouses and condos which contributes to it being so large. But they had play dates scheduled weekly, Moms Night Outs, park dates, library classes, you name it and they were doing it. Together. We moved a few months later, so I didn’t get to attend a lot or make a lot of friends, but the beauty of this club is that they are an international organization so when I moved, I went to the website and found my new local group and began attending events shortly after my daughter was born. In just a year of membership, I am now the president of our club and I love when we find a new mom looking for friends and we can offer them some support. After all, the name alone stands for “Moms Offering Moms Support”.
- My Gym & Gymboree – If you’d like something with a little less commitment, these two establishments have locations all over and they offer weekly or drop in classes throughout the week. Camden and I attended a weekly class for his age group when we first moved to Maryland before we found MOMS Club. It was a lot of fun, it got us out of the house, and we had something active to do in the cold winter months.
- Library classes. Your local library is sure to have a lot of baby/toddler geared classes for you to check out. I have attended them with one or both of my kids throughout the year. Sometimes there is a theme, like Lily and I just went to a block building class last week and sometimes it is just as simple as reading a book then free play afterwards.
- Schedule. Being at home can seem like one long never ending day if you don’t block out time for certain things. On days when we are set to be home all day, we have a schedule. We eat breakfast and lunch at the same time, we try to go outside during the same time gap each day (weather permitting), they nap at the time time, they have snacks at the same time pretty usually. This makes the day go by a bit easier, they know what to expect and I know where in the day we are without feeling like the day is dragging. Obviously this is not always the case. Some days we do nothing on schedule.
- Plan at least a little outside time each day. Whether it is outside in your yard, a local park, or the Chick Fil A play place – time outside of your house is always good. I know for us, my kids tend to be a little easier to handle (a little less whiny) when they are out of the house so I try to get us out of the house for a little while each day. But with that being said..
- Expectations. Realize that not everyday is going to be action packed. Sometimes you and your kids just need to build a pillow fort, watch a movie, and hangout. The toys you have at home can be so much fun when you rediscover the ones you forgot you had. I spent a lot of time thinking we had to do something every. single. day. and then not only was I tired, but I could tell my kids were getting worn out from all the go go go.
- To do lists. As a stay at home mom, not only am I the care taker of the littles – but I take care of the house which includes cleaning, laundry, running errands, taking care of whatever the house may need, and our dogs. I always make lists of what needs to be done so I can make sure I am not missing anything that will cause me to be frantic later. I also try to group all my errands together so we aren’t running out of the house 3 times in one day because we forgot something. I have the cleaning schedule which allows me to clean a little bit each day so it doesn’t pile up and become overwhelming.
- Self care. This can mean moms night outs, an afternoon of pampering, a bubble bath at the end of the day, or binge watching reality tv during nap time. But whatever it is.. make sure you’re doing something for you. Until recently, I always put myself on the back burner. We don’t have family close by and I didn’t have a good sitter that I trusted, I didn’t want to use the only day my husband is home to run off and do something alone, so I just wouldn’t. I wouldn’t do anything for me. But we’ve found a few great ladies, courtesy of Cams preschool, that I trust to watch my children and I have been taking advantage of that. Being able to call on one of them so I can pamper myself on my birthday, or go to dinner and concert with my husband, or to a moms night out with some of my new friends, is a beautiful thing and it makes me so happy to be able to do things I enjoy. I get to come home to my littles feeling I like I did something for me.
- Ask for help. If you are feeling overwhelmed, tired, run down, don’t be afraid to ask someone for help. Whether it is family, friends, your husband.. whoever.. just ask. As moms, we tend to hold in the fact that we need help. We do it all ourselves. Then we become resentful because we aren’t getting help. But, a person cannot know how to help you if you don’t tell them. I am so guilty of this, but getting better. I expect my husband to just know what I need instead of saying “hey, can you help me with this”.
- Pride. Don’t ever let someone say you’re “just a stay at home mom”. Take pride in your title. Own it. Realize that what you’re doing is shaping your children for the future, helping them become whoever they may become one day. Don’t allow anyone to make you think what you’re doing isn’t important. If you’re a do-it-all mom like I am, you’re running your house, caring for your kids, running all the errands, making all the calls, doing the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning, the list goes on. You are doing the work of 100 people. And judging by the reactions of some of the women I’ve encountered – not everyone can do. My husband thinks the amount of work I do somedays is impressive. So wear your stay at home mom badge proudly. You’re a superwomen.