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Staying at home has been a big change for me. Just months ago, our family relocated for an incredible opportunity that my husband was offered and I left my booming career in support of him. Of course we made this decision together, but it wasn’t easy. I was very passionate about my career, and I had never thought I would have the opportunity to stay full-time with our little guy, Barrett, so I didn’t know if I could do it (or if I would be any good at it!). Looking back, I wouldn’t change our decision. I am so blessed to be able to stay home and raise our son. However, it doesn’t come without challenges.. There are days of joy, laughter and fun messes – but there are also days of tears, frustration and the testing of patience. If you’re new to this, too, I’m sure you understand! Here’s my 10 tips for avoiding overwhelm as a stay-at-home Mom, to help you and I make it through together.
- First – Breathe
It is so easy to make a snap reaction when you’re overwhelmed – but anger and frustration are not going to get you anywhere. It’s not going to create a learning situation and it certainly isn’t going to make you feel proud or accomplished. Before reacting to the cup of spilled milk, or the broken photo frame – breathe. Walk away for 10 seconds and remind yourself that it is not the end of the world. My biggest test has been my patience and my reactions have become less and less as I realize that these small things can be replaced while my words cannot!
- Organize Your Day
Plan ahead – have an idea of what you would like to accomplish for the days coming. I used to keep a paper planner with my to-do list, shopping list and all of the other things that would pop into my mind while I was working so that I wouldn’t forget. This method hasn’t been very conducive to my new lifestyle simply because I’m not sitting at a desk all day. I’m all over the place! So recently I purchased this affordable, practical and easily installed sticker calendar – it has changed my life! I finally feel organized again. Score!
- It’s OKAY to have Quiet Time
Self-love is necessary. While the littles are napping, read a book, write a blog, browse Pinterest for an hour, do some yoga… It’s quite alright for mommas to enjoy what they love. Shoot, take a NAP! Yes!!
- Treat Yourself in the Evening
Babies are in bed, the home front is quiet… The husband wants to play some video games or go through his baseball cards? I’m all about it! My favorite treat as of late are these decadent bath salts from Finch Berry. The lavender and vanilla scent is to die for – and perfect for relaxing at the end of the day. I also love just having time with my hubby to walk about our property or just float in the pool on warm summer days. Us hardworking Moms deserve to end our day with a smile!
- Communicate – With your Kids, Spouse & Support System
Celebrate the ups, share the downs. You are NOT expected to handle this on your own. If you ever feel like you are alone, reach out! Join a church community, find a local group of Moms that are looking for the same comradery. Meet Up is a great application that you can download and find local groups that have similar interests as you and your little ones (because we all know how hard it is to actually do anything without them).
- Get Out and About!
To follow the last suggestion, getting out of the house is a MUST! It doesn’t always have to be social, but recent research suggests that being social is a benefit to both our mental and physical health. I am quite the introvert – I could keep to myself on our five acres for the rest of my life… But just as any normal person, I get cabin fever. Even more so when my toddler is having a tough day. The sunshine will improve your and your little’s mood (and health!). Here in “Green Country” in Oklahoma, we have so many beautiful parks and trails. There is no excuse for us to stay inside on a nice day. Plus, our bodies will thank us for the extra Vitamin D! Make it a lunch date – take a homemade picnic for you and your little one(s). If you’re up for it – find a new group of Mom friends to spend time with and invite along!
- Do what Makes you YOU
Do you have a long-lost love for sewing? Scrapbooking? Gardening? It is so incredibly easy to lose your identity when you’re a new Mom or a stay-at-home Mom. You pour your entire being into your family because you want them to be as full and happy as they can be, but we have to remember – happy kids have happy Moms. So take the time to do what makes you happy and make sure that you are still you.
- Find Joy in the Small Things
Being the 90’s kid I am, of course Blink 182 instantly plays in my head when I think of this concept. Though your kiddos might not leave you roses by the stairs, I’m sure you’ve had the half-dead weedy flower handed to you by your sweet little one. My little guy calls the “fwowas” and it makes my heart so happy when he hands it over. Savor these small moments.. they are truly what makes life beautiful.
- Make your Home Pretty
I know, I know, “with what time, Megan?!” It doesn’t have to be every day, or every week. Maybe reserve a day once a month to add a new decoration, re-flower a wreath or even go big and try that chalk-paint on an old piece of furniture. You will feel accomplished and proud of your space. My whole home is a project right now – but when I complete just a small piece, it helps me see the light at the end of the tunnel.
- “If It’s a Mess, Don’t Stress”
Before I was a FT Mom, I ‘suffered’ from OCD on how clean my home was. It would ruin my mood if the floors were dirty, if there were any dishes in the sink or even if I had an overflow of laundry. A clean home was my happy place. So as you might imagine, I had to get over this. The difference was – not only did we move into a home three-times the size of our previous home, but now we live in it. All-day. It gets messy. There are dishes left after dinner because I am simply too tired to wash them or because I want to spend time with my family. That is O-K-A-Y! It is okay. I promise.
Thanks for reading my share of sanity-saving advice! What is your favorite advice for new Moms, or new stay-at-home Moms?