Staying at home to take care of your family is a full-time job. It’s rewarding and fulfilling, but also challenging and stressful. It can leave you feeling overwhelmed, lonely, and even depressed when you’re the only adult at home all day. How do you take care of yourself so that you can take the best care of your family? Below are some tips for staying sane as a stay-at-home mom.
1. Create a routine for the day
One of the best ways to stay sane is to have a routine for each day. This will help you and your child or children know what to expect, causing less stress for everyone.
Some things that you may want to set in the schedule are
- breakfast time
- playtime with mom
- school or learning time
- housework or errands
- nap time
You may also want to set aside some time for yourself each day, such as reading a book or taking a walk. While routine is great, it’s okay to be spontaneous or schedule blocks of “spontaneous” time yourself and your children too.
Some fun activities you and your children might like:
- Go out for ice cream
- Check out a new playground or science center
- Get your nails done
- Play a new game together
- Watch a movie together
These activities will help create fun memories with your children too.
2. Prep for the next day
Everyone, even those without children, can benefit from preparing ahead for the next day. But when you have children, it’s absolutely necessary if you don’t want to scramble and pull out your hair the next day.
Some preparations you can make for the following day:
– Pack lunches and snacks for kids (and yourself)
– Prepare ingredients for dinner.
– Write down your to-do list for tomorrow.
– Quickly tidy up the house.
– Pack a diaper bag or backpack with all the essentials for any outings including diapers or extra clothes, snacks, and toys.
– Plan outfits for tomorrow.
When you’re set for the next day, your mind rests easier and you breathe a little better as you go to sleep.
3. Take care of yourself
Your children make you happy, but you’re an individual with needs and interests that should be addressed too. Take care of yourself by setting aside time for yourself, eating healthy, trying to get enough sleep, and doing things that make you happy.
Try to carve out some time each day to focus on yourself, even if it’s a short break each day. That might be taking 5 minutes to close your eyes in the middle of your day to take some deep breaths and unwind.
It could be getting up earlier before everyone else in the house. This is hard if you’ve had a grueling night. Your time might be spent trying to catch up on sleep. On the days you can get up early though, get up and do what you want:
- A long hot shower
- Sitting down with coffee
- Writing emails or letters to friends
If you’re not able to wake up early or carve out time each day, how about once a week? Put it on the schedule.
Some other ways to find time for yourself:
- Take turns babysitting with another mom or nanny
- Have your partner watch the baby or children for the evening
- Check the community center, gym, or studio for childcare while you take a class
- Check local gymnastics gyms for “Parents’ Night Out”
4. Hold on to your hobbies and interests
The hobbies and interests you had before having children probably allowed you to relax and enjoy yourself. You may have had to cut back or give them up when you had children. Can you pick them up again?
Blogging and exercising are my favorite hobbies, so my free time is spent doing those things. I’ve heard of other people taking up rock climbing once a week or getting back into painting.
You might like baking, doing crafts, or singing in a choir. You may not get to do as much as you did before you had children, but whatever it is, dive in and enjoy it again. Your children get to have hobbies and activities. So should you.
5. Keep the house clean so it’s not overwhelming
Think about how good you feel mentally when you have a clean home versus a dirty or messy home. Dirty dishes, toys on the floor, and laundry piling up cause stress. A messy home can make you feel like your mind is a mess too.
Try to keep the house clean. It doesn’t have to be spotless, just tidy.
Ask for help from your partner and your children. They make the mess so they can help clean it up too. Children can help put their toys away, make the bed, and sweep the floor.
If it’s only you and you need to clean in a hurry, take five minutes to do the most important things like putting away things that are laying out, throwing all the dishes in the sink, and putting all the laundry in the hamper or washing machine. You’ll feel better with those things tucked things out of sight.
6. Hire help
There can be a stigma around hiring help when you’re a stay-at-home parent. If you’re already home, why do you need to hire someone to watch your children or clean the house?
It doesn’t matter what others think. You need to do what’s best for you and sometimes that’s hiring someone to help. You’re a great mom but you don’t need to do everything all the time.
Hire someone to help with childcare, housekeeping, dropping off and picking up the children, your side business, or cooking dinner.
Reach out for help from family members and friends. They may not ask on their own but may be more than willing to help if they know you need it. Whether it’s asking family to watch the kids for an hour while you run errands or hiring a babysitter every once in a while, take that time for yourself.
7. Get out of the house
Make it a point to get out of the house every day. You might not have anywhere to go and that’s okay. Browse a map of your area or do an online search of interesting places near you.
You might find coffee shops and parks to visit, a place to picnic, stores to window shop, or even a new route that opens your eyes to different homes and scenery.
During the cold winter months or hot summer months, try visiting the public library, walking around shopping malls, or visiting play centers with the children.
If you’re open to it, get your kids involved in activities like sports or music lessons that will get you out of the house and give you an hour of free time too.
Fresh air and a change of scenery will do wonders to reset your sanity.
8. Start a side business
I know how valuable starting a side business has been to me when I was worried about income. If you’re concerned about making ends meet, think about what you can do to earn money from home.
You’re already contributing as a mother, but you’re not just a mom. Having a side business has many other perks:
- Earning money toward the household
- Building a business and maybe even a career from home
- Learning new skills
- Talking to other adults
There are many jobs you can do from home now. If you already have skills perhaps from your former work or career, try applying those now. Many companies are hiring remote workers and part-time workers.
For those that can’t or don’t want to go that route, there are many other opportunities:
- Sell printables on Etsy or your own website. This Printables by Number course is my favorite course on how to make printables and where I learned to make them.
- Find desirable items at the thrift store, garage sales, or discount retail stores and resell them for profit online.
- Become a virtual assist
- Do freelance writing
- English tutoring online
Try finding something that fits your interests and schedule. If the job is difficult to complete and causes you more stress, that’s not helpful at all.
It’s also okay if you try something out for a while and find it’s not for you. Move on to the next job. And none of these should cost you a fortune to start.
You might want or need to take a course to learn the basics like how to make printables or spend money sourcing items to resell, but these jobs should not put you into debt that you might not pay off.
Do your research to avoid pyramid schemes and any job offers that sound too good to be true. Keep looking for a job that works for you.
Having a job separate from being a parent can make you feel like your old sane self again.
9. Find a way to have fun with your kids
Our children grow up too fast, hence the idea of slow days and fast years. Set aside time for them and when you’re with them, be present as though they are the only people that matter.
Then have fun together. That might be going for a walk in the fresh air, visiting the beach, playing ball in the backyard, reading a book together, or revisiting a game your child loves.
Leave any chores, work, and other distractions aside so that they don’t interfere with family time. If you can manage it, spend one-on-one time with each child so he or she feels special and important.
One of the hardest things to do nowadays is put down electronics. Most people have their phone in hand or at least nearby all the time. The phone will distract you, and you don’t want your children to see that behavior and feel they have to compete with it for your attention.
Put the phone on silent or put it away to charge in another room. If you need to keep track of time, place a clock nearby or set a kitchen timer. Then think about how you get to spend all that quality time focusing on the ones you love.
10. Spend time with your partner
Being a mom can consume your life. Before you know it, your partner and marriage are back in distant second and third places. This can lead to disconnect with your partner when you really need each other’s support.
Plan a date night once a month with your partner and make it special – an outing just for the two of you!
If you don’t want to pay for a babysitter, have a date night at home after the children go to sleep. The children are in bed by 7 or 8 pm, so that’s another 2 or 3 hours to enjoy together.
If you and your partner are tired of it being just the two of you, invite friends to dinner or dessert so you can have an adult conversation.
11. Connect with other stay-at-home moms
Being a stay-at-home parent can be isolating. You might even wonder if your vocabulary is shrinking and you only know children’s songs anymore because you spend your time with children all day.
The people who can relate best to you are other stay-at-home parents, so try connecting with them.
- Join an online forum or group specifically for stay-at-home moms. This is a great way to get support and advice from other moms who are in the same situation as you.
- Attend local events or meetups in the community or through your children’s school and activities
- Joining a parenting class or support group
It’s sometimes a challenge to keep your sanity as a stay-at-home parent. You have the joys and struggles of parenting with little time for yourself or your partner. There is always something that needs to be done or someone that needs your attention. But it’s important to prioritize yourself too so that you stay healthy in body and spirit. Try the tips above to make that happen. After all, you and your family deserve a healthy and sane you.