Going from successful career woman to stay at home mom (SAHM) has not been easy for me. It’s a huge lifestyle adjustment, and something I’ve had to work really hard at to find balance, satisfaction, and happiness.
After all, I never expected to be a SAHM mom. Life handed me this major change. But I’m not making myself a martyr either. So many amazing things have resulted from my new position at home. Aside from the obvious – having more time with my son, being home more helped me work on some long overdue tasks, like developing a family budget, and it reenergized my passion for writing, something I have put on the backburner for years and years. So I’m grateful for this enormous transition and everything it’s brought me, but there are some adjustments that really helped me find this happy place. Hopefully they can help you too!
- Use a schedule – I cannot emphasize this enough. Winging your day can make time go by at a snails pace. On mornings when I had no plans, I felt like I had no purpose. The day dragged on and it was frustrating and overwhelming. I watched the clock tick down until my husband would come home from work, because that was they only thing on my schedule! But it doesn’t have to be like that. With a baby, you can use a schedule to build out nap, sleep and eating times, and for toddlers, there are a million resources on Pinterest to help you build the perfect schedule at home.
- Find outside escapes – My toddler is very high energy, and very demanding. I cannot get through an entire day at home with no breaks and no help. I would lose my mind. So I found some escapes to break up the day a bit, stimulate my son away from the house, and keep me sane. Sometimes it’s as simple as going to the grocery store, but other times it’s taking him to the gym (where they offer daycare), going to the playground, checking out the library, or just going on a walk. I include these activities in my schedule so I have things to look forward to and can work around naps and eating times.
- Find people to talk to – I will be the first to tell you that making mom friends is so hard. So hard. But you need to find other adults to talk to because it can rejuvenate you after a long day of back and forth with a toddler. It’s a lifesaver, in fact. Since I’m still on my quest to find my mom tribe, I have learned that these people don’t have to be other new moms. Family, long distance friends, neighbors… these are all great resources to chat about anything and everything so you feel like a grown up for a few minutes a day.
- Use nap time to play – I used to use nap time to catch up on errands. Laundry, cleaning, bill pay. By the time my toddler woke from his nap, I was just as stressed and tired as I was when he went to bed! Don’t do this! Nap time needs to be a time for you to refresh as well! Now, I use nap time to write, brainstorm new blog ideas, or peruse Pinterest and think creatively about crafts, new marketing opportunities, and ways to build my blog. It gets me energized and excited and really feels like “me” time, so when my son’s back and ready for action I don’t feel cheated out of personal time. And chores? Do these with your kids. Yes, it takes longer and it’s not as efficient, but they can help and it’s good for them to be part of the process. Other things (like paying bills) may need to way until evening. But trust me, they’ll still be there!
- Embrace uninterrupted time with your children – The days are long. I know it. You know it. But keep in mind your time with them at home is very temporary. Once they start school, they will be on the school system until… well, age 18, right? At which time they’ll hopefully move out anyway and go to college or get a job. So this is it. This is your special time with your babies to share. It’s only temporary, so be grateful you have these moments because every day they get a little bigger, a little more independent. Soon they won’t cry out for you when they’re scared or want to hold your hand. OMG, just thinking about this makes me all weepy so I have to end it there.
Whether being a SAHM was by your choice or circumstance, it does get easier over time. I hope these tips help you carve your path toward finding that beautiful balance of parenting and personal satisfaction. You deserve it.