Many moms are choosing to stay home to raise their children. In recent years, the number of stay at home moms, or SAHMs, has been on the rise.
Why? There’s the shaky economy, skyrocketing gas prices, expensive day cares, and the simple reason of choosing to raise their children at home how they’d like.
There are many people out there who would like to discredit the choice to stay home, saying it’s an easy out of having to work at a ‘real’ job. These people have never been so wrong!
Yet, as many stay at home parents will tell you, it is very easy to get into a rut, especially in the beginning if you are transitioning from the working world to a more domestic role.
There’s no actual set schedule, you can be comfortable at home, you can watch more TV or spend more time on the Internet, you can eat Bon Bons, and stay in your jammies all day.
Sounds like the life, right?
Unfortunately, no. Dishes pile up. Laundry piles up. Dust piles up. Messes can be everywhere. Kids can be going wild everywhere.
While it’s okay to let those things go once in a while, it’s probably not a good idea to ignore them forever.
Becoming a Stay at Home Mom
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I was not born a Domestic Diva. I dislike cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. So how did I make the transition to a stay at home mom after being in the work place?
It took me a few months, but I figured it out: being a stay at home mom isn’t my title. It’s my job. I now have responsibilities that are on my shoulders in order to keep this house running and keep my kids happy and healthy.
Tips for Being a Successful SAHM
Mind you, my idea of a successful stay at home mom may be different from yours, and that’s totally okay.
In my mind, being a ‘successful stay at home mom’ means that you learn to manage your household and your schedule while raising your kids, all in a manner that keeps everyone happy and healthy.
Below you’ll find my tips about how to be a successful stay at home parent.
Make a list of your responsibilities.
When I first became a stay at home mom, I was astounded at how much I needed to do. How did I ever do these things when I was working?
Let me explain.
When I worked, my son went to spend the day at my mom’s house, and in the afternoon my husband would pick him up on the way home from work. From the time I got home, until the time my husband and son arrived, I cleaned, did laundry, and started making dinner. The house was pretty clutter-free since my son didn’t play with his toys all day at our home.
It was manageable, even after being tired from being at work all day.
When my husband and I decided I would be staying home with our kids, I had just become a mother to our second child, a baby girl. On my own while my husband was at work, I had two kids to tend to, plus the entire house to take care of.
Yikes. It was a big transition. I now had to raise two little kids and take care of the chores at the same time.
It might not seem like a lot, but have you ever really though about all of the care one or two little kids need on a daily basis? That list alone could be lengthy!
Thinking about all of that made me anxious, so I made a list of my household responsibilities that I needed to accomplish around the house on a daily basis.
Seeing a list was a relief to me and it became the tool I used to establish a routine.
Find a routine and make a schedule.
Once I saw my list, the tasks seemed daunting. How was I supposed to manage all of that work plus manage the babies on a daily basis by myself?
Finding a routine and creating a schedule helped. First, I mapped out my day based on how it normally went: wake up, get kids out of bed, make breakfast, run some laundry, catch up on dishes, play with kids, make lunch, put kids for a nap, make dinner, do some laundry, relax as family, go to bed.
There was a lot of wiggle room to add things in, especially when the kids went for their afternoon naps. (“Sleep when the kids sleep.”… Ha!)
I made a weekly cleaning schedule of tasks I had to accomplish during one week. Most of the time I did these tasks when the kids were napping so I could focus, but there were times when I did these things as they played around me.
Break your routine every once in a while.
When you were working, you were entitled to some sick or vacation days, right? You still have that right!
Every once in a while, or even once a week if you can swing it, take a break from your routine and schedule.
How is this possible when I have to take care of the kids, you ask? I involve them! Instead of doing the laundry, we go for a walk or play outside. We go on hikes in the woods or visit the local farm. We watch movies together and do a craft.
Sometimes, though, it’s great to have a chance to be by yourself, especially when you feel like you’re going to snap. It’s 100% okay to need take a break and take a mom timeout!
When my husband is home from work to be with the kids, I go out and about by myself for a few hours. If I can’t wait until he’s home, I’ll take a break during naptime and watch a movie on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.
Do whatever you feel will make you feel energized once more. Taking a break once in a while can actually make you a better stay-at-home mom as you won’t be stressed all the time!
Don’t spend your whole day on the computer, tablet or smartphone.
Hello if you’re reading this on your smartphone, tablet, or computer! Chances if you’re online, I am too. Many of us like to take a minute or five to check on social media or play a game throughout the day.
It can be very tempting to be on the smartphone, tablet, or computer all day, visiting social media sites, reading blogs or playing games, am I right? So many funny memes to share, especially those parenting ones!
While it’s okay to do these things, it’s not okay to focus on only them and to ignore other responsibilities, especially your kids.
I know when I’m looking at my smart phone too much. My son likes to say “Are you done texting the Universe, Mom?” How about that for a wake up call!
I try to monitor my technology use during the day so it doesn’t interfere with my kids or responsibilities.
How to Feel Great as a SAHM
Part of being a successful stay at home mom is feeling good about yourself. How can you do that?
Change out of your pajamas.
Okay, for many of us this is a standard procedure, but it can be really tempting to stay in your pajamas all day. Why not? You’re home, alone, with the kids all day. Who is going to see you?
It’s not a matter of who’s going to see you; it’s a matter of how you feel when in your pajamas. Pajamas are made for sleeping and lounging, not for managing a household.
That’s not to say that you can’t be comfortable. A pair of jeans and a nice t-shirt can do the trick.
Not into jeans (or for many moms, not into comfortable, fitting jeans yet…)? Wear cotton pants, capris, or yoga-like pants with a comfy top.
Basically, you want to wear something that is comfortable and practical enough to make you feel like getting up and tackling the day. Pajamas just may not give you that effect.
Practice Good Hygiene.
Since you’re not going to be out of the house as much as you’re used to, it can be tempting to skip a few of your daily hygienic practices, such as brushing your teeth.
Don’t skip these things! Brush your teeth at least 2 times a day, take a shower when you can, and use some deodorant.
You can also run a brush through your hair and perhaps even a bit of basic makeup to your face if you would like.
On a daily basis, I brush my teeth, brush my hair, wash my face, use deodorant and apply a little makeup (liquid foundation, mineral powder, and a little eye shadow). I wash my hair and shower every other day (which is healthy for your hair anyway).
Why do these things? They will help you feel good about yourself while keeping you healthy. Also, should you need to run out of the house for any reason—food shopping, doctor’s visit, pickup a sick kid from school—you are set and ready to go.
I think this is something that many people wouldn’t think about as part of a stay-at-home parenting routine. Drinking enough water to stay hydrated can be key to feeling well and staying active.
Being hydrated helps you to maintain body temperature, avoid headaches, keep your skin from getting dry, helps you lose weight, and keeps your body and organs functioning normally.
Aim for at least around eight 8oz (64oz) cups a day. The more, the better. Keep a reusable bottle filled and drink from it throughout the day.
Eat a healthy diet.
Be sure to make healthy choices about the foods you eat. It can be very easy to eat all day since you have constant access to food in your home, but it’s important to be a good role model to the kids and make healthy choices.
If you want a snack, have a piece of fruit or some veggies. Find healthy recipes and have the kids help you make them.
Eating a healthy diet can help you lose or maintain your weight and keep you feeling great. Eating greasy foods or too many snacks can make you feel sluggish, which won’t be helpful when you need to complete your daily tasks or want to play with the kids.
Get some exercise.
Staying active can be very easy when you are a stay at home parent. You want to be able to chase your kids, right?
Incorporate an exercise routine into your daily activities. Exercise can be anything from walking, jogging, playing outside with the kids, yoga, Pilates, dancing or anything that makes your heart beat. Aim for 10-30 minutes a day of activity.
I try to go for daily morning walks before the kids wake up in the morning. I also play with them and go for walks around the neighborhood. It helps me to feel energized and keeps my muscles strong to take care of my other household responsibilities.
Confession of a SAHM
Ok, I’ll admit. There are days when I want to stay in my pjs all day and do absolutely nothing. Don’t you feel like that some days too?
If you want a pajama day, take one! In fact, make it a pajama day for the whole family. Everyone can wear pajamas and relax. Watch a movie together. Play some board games. Cuddle up and read some books. The laundry and dishes can wait, at least for a few hours.
An older mom who had been a stay-at-home mom while her kids were young told me this: “If the house is clean, so what if it gets cluttered now and again. So what if the laundry basket or the sink is full for one day. Is your family happy and healthy? Then that is all that matters. “If the house is clean, so what if it gets cluttered now and again. So what if the laundry basket or the sink is full for one day. Is your family happy and healthy? Then that is all that matters. #momlife #stayathomemom #parenting Click To Tweet
Ways to Stay Connected as a SAHM
Part of being a successful stay at home mom is not losing yourself as a person. Here’s a few ways to stay connected to the outside world.
Stay connected with people from the outside world.
It can be so easy to lose your connection to the outside world when you become a stay at home parent. Why? While you’re home with the kids, everyone else is working or doing other outside the home activities.
There are quite a few ways to stay connected to the outside world when you are a stay at home parent. For one, you can take your kids so many places where you will find other parents with which to connect. Libraries often have days when you can bring your kids for story time, or you can join a class at Gymboree.
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You can also keep in touch with family and friends. Have get-togethers at your house, visit a park together, or have a play date at a friend’s house.
Being connected via the Internet is another option. Using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram helps you to stay connected to those from the outside world. There are even groups just for stay at home moms! (Just don’t forget to spend too much time online.)
Remember Your Kids
Why did you choose to stay home? To be with your kids, right? Don’t forget about them in your busy home life.
Make time to be with them and watch them grow. Take any opportunity you can to just sit with them to talk, read a book or play a game. Play with them outside or go to the park for fun. Let them help you with your chores or teach them to cook.
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Tend to their needs as they occur, making sure to be the best caregiver possible. Volunteer at their schools and be their best cheerleader at their sporting events.
They’re going to grow up before you know it. Don’t miss out on anything they achieve, even if it seems like a minor milestone.
Kids will only be kids once. Along with keeping the household running, you’ll be the most successful stay at home mom and dad just by giving them all the love and attention they deserve.
Are You a Successful Stay at Home Mom?
What makes you a successful stay at home mom? Share any extra tips you have!