I’m what you might call a newby to being a stay at home mom. I was laid off of my business job a few months ago and decided that maybe finding another job was not the right next move for me. So here I am, feeling my way through being a stay at home mom while trying to maintain my sanity. Before we go any further, let me just say that being a stay at home mom is by far the hardest most rewarding job I have ever had. And I was even an accountant for several years so I know all about long stressful days!
But through my transition to becoming a stay at home mom, I found a few mistakes that I made that I knew I had to rectify in order to be happy in my new stay at home mom position. So here are my top 3 mistakes I made and what I did to rectify in order to maintain my happiness (and sanity):
- Not putting myself first…like ever- What a mistake! From the time my feet hits the ground in the morning to the time I lay down at night, it’s usually all devoted to my family. I even get the kiddos ready in the morning and “maybe” I have time for myself to brush my hair or throw on something decent before someone is hungry or insists on checking on their “baby” who is sleeping downstairs on the couch. Oh and let’s not forget about the lack of time to complete a cup of coffee. I know I’m not the only member of the Microwave Coffee Warmer Club. Have you ever put your coffee in the microwave, then step away to do something else, then come back to the microwave hours later just to realize you had forgotten all about your coffee??? Happens to me all the time.
Solution: I started to give myself the first 5 minutes of the morning. Before I change diapers, or look for stuffed animals, or start breakfast, I brush my teeth and wash my face and do all the other little hygienic things you take for granted until you have kids. I try to tell all of my child-less friends to enjoys all of the little things and their alone time before children come along and suck that all away. And once I paint that picture of doom for them, I make sure to tell them how much of a joy it can all be.
- Not leaving the house- I know I am totally guilty of this mistake from time to time. Stay at home moms to small children, like myself, could find it tedious to just do a simple outing. Even a simple trip to the grocery store requires me to have snacks ready in my bag to keep my fussy tot occupied and quiet and gum or change to buy a muffin for my oldest son to keep him from complaining. Let’s not forget about diapers, wipes, sippy cups etc. It’s to just say that it’s easier to stay at home.
Solution:Get out of the house and pack your sanity with you! Even if it’s just for a stroll around the neighborhood. Just leave your expectations at home. I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten packed up to walk in the stroller and about 50 yards down the road, my toddler insists on not staying in his stroller, so two minutes later, we end right back up at the house. Which is crazy because sometimes he loves riding in the stroller and will even fall asleep and some days, it’s a no-go. The real mistake here is expecting too much and not just going with the flow. Life is unpredictable and sometimes, so are our little ones moods.
- Making Mountains Out of Moles- My mother bought this book years ago called something along the lines of Don’t Sweat the Small Things. I never read the book, but as a mother of two boys, I think I could have written that book by now. It’s a true saying to live by, especially as a stay at home mom. Yes, you have more time at home and those naive thinkers may think that more time at home should equal a squeaky clean home and a gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinner. But that’s just not the case when you have the little ones at home all day as well. So my mantra is: Don’t sweat the small things. If my tot only wants crackers for dinner and refuses to eat his spinach and asparagus, OK that’s fine. No guilt here, we’ll try again later, or if later doesn’t work, if he’s happy, I’m happy. If I brought the laundry down but didn’t wash a thing, OK that’s fine, there’s always tomorrow.
Solution: The problem with not following this rule is it bring unnecessary guilt upon yourself and who needs that?! I don’t! Continue on being the best mommy you can be Don’t Sweat the Small Things.
- Not Taking Care of Myself– If you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll be in no condition to care for others. I can’t tell you how many times I made sure my kids were eating two fruits per day and at the end of the day, I realized that I haven’t eaten any myself. Or, wait, my personal favorite mistake. I snack all while I’m cooking dinner and once dinner is ready, I’m full off of junk and I don’t want to eat the nutritional meal that I prepared for my family.
Solution: Take your vitamins, go to the doctor when you are not feeling well ( I’m still struggling with this one since I claim to be super woman), take some “me” time, whether it’s five minutes or an hour per day.