You’ve probably noticed that modern media suggests a lot of ideas about stay at home moms. There seems to be a few versions that stand out the most. Sometimes stay at home moms are depicted more like trophy wives with a team of nanny’s ,personal chefs, rooms full of designer shoes. Sometimes they’re like modern day June Cleavers.- never a hair out of place, 3 course meal on the table by 4pm, perfectly manicured front lawn, etc. Sometimes they really sell you the dream! But other times it’s more like stay at home moms are coffee guzzling, pajama wearing zombies, covered in spit up and cheerios. The truth of the matter is that the vast majority of us fall somewhere in between all of the extremes.
One thing that’s for sure is that those of us who love our jobs have some things in common. I for one, thoroughly enjoy my time as a stay at home mom and even on the most hectic of days, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I would however, probably not pass up the whole room full of red bottoms and a personal chef on staff thing, though.
So, what are some things that happy moms have in common?
Things That Happy Stay at Home Moms do:
1.We wake up before “they” wake up. If you usually wake up at the same time as your littles then you probably know that waking up to a toddler is the equivalent of being woken up to pots and pans being banged together or a drill sergeant 3 inches from your face like, “GO! GO! GO!”. I know that if you have littles that are still up through the night this one can be hard, but I swear to you that it’s worth it. Waking up even just an hour before my kids makes my whole day an easier day. For starters, it allows me to get dressed and pull off at least basic hair and make-up. It seems trivial but if I actually stayed in my pajamas during the day I would just feel so off! Secondly, it allows me to make a cup of tea or coffee and ease into my day. It gives me time to gather myself. Lastly, once that’s done I can probably get a head start on a chore or two and start the kids’ breakfast. Basically, it allows me to start the day prepared instead of stressed.
2.We organize our home and our lives. The whole “My house isn’t the cleanest but the kids are making memories here!” ideal is adorable and I love it, I really do! But only to an extent. Our homes have to be baby proofed and kid friendly. There is no doubt that this impacts how we keep our homes and I personally don’t see a thing wrong with that. Having said that, your home is still well…your home! So you it needs to be a place that is comfortable and it’s pretty hard to relax in the middle of a total mess. Having a cleaning schedule and organizing my home in a way that is functional for us keeps my home way more comfortable and that’s less stressful for everyone inside.
I also have an approximate schedule for daily and weekly activities. For instance on any given weekday I know that after breakfast I’ll be doing learning activities with the kids, followed by free play, followed by a nap, etc. I also have their weekly activities planned in advance so that I know which days I’m free to get other things done or plan a play date. For example, if toddler time is on Monday and story time is on Wednesday then I know that Tuesday might be a good day for errands or if someone is due for a well-check. I’ve found that planning as much as possible in advance makes things a lot easier and lets the kids know that they too can count on our schedule.
3.We go out every single day. Don’t make your home your prison. You will go stir crazy and forget how to speak “adult” if you don’t leave the house often enough. Even on the days you don’t have a scheduled kid activity or any errands to do, make sure you at least go for a walk. Aside from the fact that it’s good for you and the kids, it’s really important to see something besides the same 4 walls all day and night. When you live where you “work” this is really important for preventing burn out. So, walk around your neighborhood, go for a cup of coffee with a friend, or even just take the kids to the park. Just make sure you go out.
4.We’re friends with other stay at home moms. I say it all the time- Mom friends are the best kind of friends! For starters, mom friends understand that any plans are absolutely tentative. For example, you’re 15 minutes late to a play date because someone can’t find their shoes. A mom friend “gets it” because the same thing probably happened to her last week. Or better yet; what about when someone projectile vomits out of nowhere on the way out of the door and you don’t make it out at all that day? Yep, mom friend “gets” that too! My favorite thing about mom friends (good ones, anyway) is that they help keep us grounded. As stay at home moms and wives we don’t have a huge office or tons of “co-workers” so to speak. So, our “professional” world can feel sort of small sometimes. With that, it’s easy to way over amplify a problem that we have. Like for instance, when your kid has refused to eat anything except gold fish crackers for 4 days straight (believe me, it could happen.) and you’re certain you’re the worst mom over. Mom friend will be there to tell you it’s not so bad and sometimes we really need to hear that! Remember, people who don’t have children are the strictest parents: “my child will never have a tantrum in public!” (Awww. Isn’t that cute? If you’re “one of those”- I offer you a word of caution: Buckle up buttercup, cause’ parenthood is comin’ for you!) But a Mom friend knows better and does no judging. Simply put – mom friends are the best.
5.We’re more flexible than Gumby himself. I’m pretty sure that moms will eventually evolve to have 8 arms or so but in the meantime we are pretty darn good at multi-tasking and dividing our time. We already know that any given task could potentially take way longer than it would in a kid-free situation. And, we know that a day’s plans can change at the drop of a hat. We roll with the punches. We know how to get things done in a million different steps because we already anticipate interruptions. Basically – we get things done no matter what it takes and we expect delays. What would overwhelm the average joe is just another day for most moms.
6.We don’t compare ourselves to other moms. As moms and wives we have to figure out what works for us and our families and make that happen. What works for one family might not work for another. You might not always feel like you have it all together but you are the most qualified person to decide what’s best. Believe me when I say – every mom has at least a few of her own challenges and victories going on at any given time. So, even if you feel like a hot mess you’re probably doing just fine!
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