Before becoming a SAHM, I worked full-time. I hustled in the morning to round up my sweetie and everything he would need that day for morning daycare and school. I prepared myself for the day, loaded him into the car to drop him off, and headed to work.
I spent all day at a job I half hated and half loved, feeling the guilt of leaving him in someone else’s care while I went to work. My paycheck was just covering the cost of daycare itself.
It was always in our family plan to have me stay home with our children, but we never seemed quite ready to make the leap. With my second pregnancy, however, the decision to stay home became an absolute must. The cost of daycare ALONE was enough to convince us, among many other factors.
The transition from working full-time to staying home at 20 weeks pregnant was pretty easy. I basically napped all day while Max was at school, counted kicks, and went to my prenatal appointments. I mean, who could complain?
But the transition from one kid to TWO at home all summer by myself was exhausting. It’s been a year since we’ve transitioned to two, and I can tell you that most days I am still pretty exhausted.
BUT I've found a couple tricks along the way that have really helped me maintain my sanity and keep my eyes off of the clock during the day...
Develop A Routine And Stick To It
Now you may be thinking, where have I heard this before? Oh yeah, every single baby book and article ever written. Well, here it is again, listed at #1 because it FREAKING WORKS.
It is soooooooooooooo important to get everyone in the house on board too. Babies that are on a routine (you’ll actually be lucky if they put themselves on a routine FOR you!) are happier. It doesn’t need to be fancy or charted it just needs to fit everyone’s immediate needs in.
Not to mention, if you have all the kids in bed by 8:00 p.m., you can plan your glass of wine, catch up on your favorite shows, etc. It’s called “Mom’s alone time” and we all need it.
And on another note, STICK TO YOUR ROUTINE. Last Tuesday, I woke up an entire hour later than I usually do, and while we weren’t late to anything, it threw our day completely off. And I felt no more rested than I did the day before! Not worth it.
Shower At Night
This is kind of obvious too, but I used to drive myself crazy trying to shower during naps. It just isn’t plausible to shower during the day. The little one wakes up, or the older one needs me to open something/attach a Lego man’s arms that have somehow popped off his body, while his dad was originally two feet away from him on the couch.
Put those babes to bed, and then jump in the shower. You'll have the best chance at actually cleaning yourself, and maybe even shaving.
Learn To Be Present
What I really mean by this, is to play. The millennial generation of parents is actually expected to fully entertain their kids...by the minute. Talk about demand! I imagine that babysitting grandparents probably feel that demand now too. I don't condone or agree with entertaining your kids 24/7, that's just exhausting, but I do think there is something to the idea of playing with your kids.
So drop the laundry basket, and play! I find that I feel incredibly stressed trying to do everything around the house that needs to be tended to while my children are constantly fussing for my attention.
So one day, I dropped the broom, the sponge, and the Swiffer. I sat down, and I played... like a kid. My kids loved it. I listened to them babble, talk, and make explosion noises. We were all happy just being together.
It is hard to ‘ignore’ the overwhelming pile of laundry in the hallway, the scuffs of dirt on the kitchen floor, or the obvious shed of dog hair all over the sofa.
But I discovered that by being present for playtime, they felt heard, and I felt released from my duties as a ‘maid’ for a while. I could worry about cleaning later.
Involve The Kids In Cleaning
Yep! Not only will they have to learn these life skills later in life, you need help with them now. Just like you teach them to clean up after themselves when they are done eating, you can teach them to do certain age-appropriate chores around the house.
This not helps you out but also teaches them responsibility.
My son Max actually LOVES to help me load the washing machine and then empty it into the dryer. He will hand me clothes to wash (little does he know he is actually learning to separate colors, whites, jeans, etc.) and then I will hand him the washed clothes to load into the dryer. He even pleads with me to put the dryer sheet in each time.
Netflix, Hulu, Movies, Lifetime, etc. I used to watch a lot of Netflix, and it can be really easy to do when you have kids.
Binge watching a show steals your attention from your routine, from your kids, and everything you need to get done! While I was more entertained on an adult level, so to speak (no ABC’S or Dr. Suess, yay!), I was also sucked into a TV show all day that became the only thing I wanted to pay any attention to. And I found myself feeling more sad and lonely.
So that prompted me to….
Weather permitting, you should be getting the kids outside. It’s actually great for your memory AND any mental fatigue you’re having. #MOMBRAIN, anyone?
I found that on the days I spent at least 30 minutes outside were my happiest days. It can also be so freeing to feel the wind in your hair – you forget the four walls surrounding you and all the loneliness that comes with being the only adult in the entire house all day. Not to mention how much energy the kids burn once outdoors (and more energy burned = longer, deeper nap).
Also, try to find out when and where some local kids activities are happening in your area.
A great place to find these is on Facebook, under 'Events'. You can see what's happening around you and decide if its something your kids would enjoy. I love to scan this section of Facebook so I can see local face painting events, cider mill openings, fairs, and plays I know my kids would love to get out of the house for.
Talk To A Friend
Hopefully, you’ve got some of these, because having kids can really isolate you from the world. At least, that’s how it feels.
My best friend and I FaceTime at least once a week, and it really helps my sanity. I’m not sure she even knows it, because I’m sure on the other end of the phone I look completely worn out and am probably too tired for complete sentences. But it truly does help, especially the parts of the conversation that have absolutely nothing to do with my kids. I love hearing about all of her “adulting”, her family, her sweet poochie, etc. She also reminds me that I am not so awful at “momming”.
So find yourself a friend that will let you download your day, and make you feel like you really are rocking it as a mom!
Set A Plan For The Day, And Get It Done!
Being a SAHM is really tough. It is literally, and I feel like such a whiner when I say this, harder than any other job I've ever had. My advice is to write what your plan is for today, tomorrow, and the next day. If it helps you to plan your meals, habits, to-do for the day, errands, etc, do it!
With #mombrain going on, it's so hard to remember, well, anything. I have a FREE Printable Daily Planner if you need a quick printable option for organizing your day (and even more free printables for my loyal subscribers).
That’s it for now! I’m still figuring it out as I go. There are challenging days, and it can be difficult trying to keep up with it all. But these eight little tips/tricks have really helped me regain some mind power and energy so I can better channel it to raising these little monsters of mine.
I’d love to hear some tips my readers might have that have helped you while staying at home. What works for you?