By: Shayne R.
There are many reasons women choose to leave their careers and stay at home with their children—for some of us, it’s the only thing that makes sense. I never imagined myself as a SAHM, and while the first couple of months were blissful, I soon came to understand why stay-at-home moms have a reputation for being weary and worn out. The thing is, being responsible for another person’s well-being and happiness 24/7 comes with a lot of both physical and emotional demands. For me, that makes this job the most challenging and exhausting one I’ve ever had. But despite how cliché this sounds, it is by far the most rewarding. And really, once you let go of some of the pressure to be “perfect,” it makes for a pretty awesome lifestyle. Here are some of the things that helped me become a happier stay-at-home mom:
Let it go. No, I’m not encouraging you to belt out the omnipresent tune (though that may help too). What I mean is, just cut yourself some slack. In a world of Pinterest, Instagram and mommy blogging, it is arguably the most difficult time in history to be a mom, let alone one whose job is to be a mom. Focus on meeting the needs of your child or children in whatever way works for your family. Your mommy intuition is pretty much all you need to keep your family happy, so put down the parenting books, avoid projects that make you feel bad about yourself, and most of all stop comparing yourself to other moms.
Get out. I know how hard it is to get out of the house some days, but it is so important for your sanity and that of your kids. Make an effort to get everyone outside for some fresh air and free play at least a few times a week even in winter, to help reboot your mind and let the kiddos burn some energy. Whether it’s five minutes in January or five hours in July, I promise you’ll see the benefits.
Exercise. I didn’t join a gym until my son turned two, but I started incorporating exercise into my days about a year before that. For me, exercise isn’t about losing weight, but about getting and staying fit and feeling strong. You see, when you feel physically strong, it’s easier to tackle your most challenging days. If you don’t have the time or money for a gym membership (though if you can swing it, do it--the kid-free time a couple of times a week is totally worth it), try stopping to do squats or lunges at random times throughout your day, do a 10 to 15 minute online video two or three times during your week, or just get out for a walk.
Work if you want to. If you don’t want to let go of the working world completely, you don’t have to. There are a plenty of opportunities for moms who want to work from home. If you’re crafty, you can make things and sell them, you can consult in your old field, go into telemarketing, write a book, build websites, whatever it is that fulfills your need to contribute outside the home.
Meet people. If you don’t know many other moms, go meet some. Join a local moms group, head to the library for story time, arrange play dates, check your local area for daytime events for kids you can attend, go to the playground regularly, and just talk to the other moms. Being able to get in some adult conversation—even if all you do is talk about your kids—feels so good and you’ll leave feeling confident that we’re all in this together.
What steps do you take to be a happy and productive super-mom?