When people find out I’m a stay at home mom and ask me, “What do you do all day, don’t you get bored?”, I literally want to throw them over a bridge. Literally. But if they have no little ones or have never actually been a stay at home mom it’s really not their fault. You really don’t know what being a stay at home mom all entails until you are actually in the trenches of it. If I could get everything accomplished that I wanted to every single day I would be ecstatic! But that’s just not the case. Sometimes just getting dressed is a goal to reach……..
I am very BLESSED that I get the option to stay at home with my kids and I know I’m blessed. I have worked full time in the past and I hated it. God made me to do what I’m doing and I’m just grateful that we are in a place in our lives where that’s an option. I seriously do love staying at home with my girls and I feel like God made me for this. But just because I’m blessed doesn’t mean that it’s not hard sometimes.
Over the last 5 years or so I have found ways to help create a more peaceful, organized life for myself. These things may or may not work for you, but they work for me. Some of them may seem very simple but sometimes it’s the simple things we need reminded about. And I must add that having God be a part of my every day life and really growing in my faith the last couple years have helped me TREMENDOUSLY. Without HIM nothing in my life would work.
So here they are, 10 things I do that help me survive staying home with young kids:
- MAKE GOALS FOR EACH DAY: Every night I make a list of what I want to accomplish for the next day. I have my everyday basic goals like: dishes, make supper, clean bed-rooms, make bed, do my devotional, keep the kids alive 🙂 , etc. And then I’ll have goals that are more specific to that day like: do payroll, send a birthday gift, get groceries, etc. This may seem like something simple but it has changed my life drastically. If I write it down then the next day when I get a free 10 minutes here or there I’ll look at my list and do one of the items, cross it off and go on to the next when I get more free time. I usually never get everything crossed off but it helps me stay on task throughout the day.
- TAKE CARE OF MYSELF: This is one I am still working on but I am a firm believer that if we feel good about ourselves then we are a much happier person and in turn a much better Mom. When I make the time to put on an outfit that makes me feel good, do my makeup and if I’m really going for it… my hair, then throughout my day I find I have way more energy, am in a better mood and get way more accomplished. There are still days I throw on a pair of sweatpants and a hat but as long as I don’t let myself get in a rut of doing that ALL the time then I am good. Maybe for you, it’s a morning workout session or simply some mascara and lipstick. The point is, whatever makes you feel good about yourself: do it. I have been in a bad rut before of not taking time for me and I felt pretty crummy about myself.
- HAVE A SET BED-TIME FOR KIDS: This is one that has really helped me keep my sanity. Obviously this is impossible if you have a baby but if you have older kids having a set bed time can mean a couple hours for you to get caught up on whatever you need to, relax and/or spend time with your spouse or even go to bed early yourself. Have a bed time routine so every night your kids know what to expect. On the weekend we are definitely more lax on the set bed-time but during the week we stick to it.
- KEEPING A ROUTINE: Kids like routine. Kids like to know what to expect. I try my best to keep us in a routine. We get up around the same time most days, have breakfast around the same time, eat lunch and take naps around the same time. I always have us try to eat supper around the same time and we have our bed-time routine. Baths, pajamas, brush teeth and books read. There are days where our routine gets messed up but that’s just life. But for the most part keeping a routine keeps us on a schedule. And when I’m on a schedule my day always seems to run smoother.
- HAVING AN OUTLET: Whether it’s working out, painting, taking pictures, volunteering, etc. it is necessary to have an outlet for yourself. I like painting, decorating, and playing volleyball. I make sure that I am able to do these things. In the past I would always make excuses as to why I couldn’t go do this or that but you really have to MAKE it a priority in your life. Make it work. I play volleyball Wednesday nights and it’s a night that I always look forward to. Decorating my home brings me joy which I can do throughout my days here and there. I can forget about life for the time being and just focus on what I’m doing at the moment. If you don’t have an outlet…… find one! God wants you to enjoy your life!
- HAVING ALONE TIME WITH YOUR SPOUSE WITHOUT THE KIDS: This one is probably where I struggle the most but I know it’s important. After having kids your relationship with your spouse changes, it just does and I think that’s true for 99.9% of couples in this world. Your life revolves around this tiny being who seems to take up all of your energy and at the end of the day you just don’t seem to have any left. Add another tiny being and 1 more and maybe even a couple after that; and it’s a real struggle sometimes to even speak 2 sentences to your spouse without being interrupted. It’s really hard sometimes to make time for each other but when you feel connected and in-tune to your spouse life really does become more enjoyable. And to do that you have to spend time together. When the kids go to bed make it a rule to spend a certain amount of time with each other. Something we do is pick out a couple tv shows that we watch together a few nights out of the week. Date nights are important as well. We don’t live by family so finding a babysitter can sometimes be tricky, but we can still find ways to make date night happen. It doesn’t usually happen every single week but usually at least once a month we make it happen. (Sometimes. Still need to work on having more date nights!)
- PUTTING GOD FIRST (This should really be #1 on my list): When I make time for God in my day my day always seems to run smoother and better. Knowing I can put all of my hurts, worries and troubles on GOD and he will help me through them gives me such a sense of peace. I am human. I am not perfect…. I never will be. I have my insecurities, hang-ups, and problems but GOD shows me his grace and always leads me in the direction I need to be going. I find even if I go a day or two where I don’t spend some sort of time with God I start moving backwards and all those things I struggle with come creeping back in. I NEED him every day and even if it’s just spending 5 minutes with him in the morning or reading my bible for 10 minutes…. those things keep me focused on him and my day always runs smoother.
- CLEANING UP BEFORE GOING TO BED: I really hate waking up to dirty dishes and a dirty house so I make it a point to always have the dishes done, kitchen cleaned and the living room cleaned up before I go to bed. I can never accomplish all the cleaning duties I want to but if I have these 3 things done I can let go of those other things. Waking up to a clean kitchen, no dishes and a clean living room (the 2 areas of the house where we spend the most time) helps for a more peaceful morning. And when it’s a more peaceful morning I usually have more time for my girls and other things I need to do.
- GETTING UP BEFORE THE KIDS: This is a constant struggle for me because I am not a morning person. I don’t want anyone talking to me, looking at me or needing anything from me the first 30 minutes I am up. I sound pretty pleasant, huh?! I really strive though to wake up before the girls and make time for me. Whether that is doing my makeup for the day, spending quiet time with God, or maybe just getting prepared for the day ahead, I always feel better when I get up early.
- NOT EXPECTING PERFECTION: Life is not going to be perfect….. ever, so get used to it. (I speak to myself as well when I say this, believe me.) Things happen unexpectedly, especially when you have little ones and that is just life. My house is never going to be perfectly clean and organized, my kids are not going to be perfect and never do anything naughty, we will get sick, we will go through hard times, circumstances will not go our way, money will be tight at times, we will be annoyed with one another, cars will break down, dinners will be burnt, there will be days where hats are covering our dark circled eyes and we might feel like nobody notices what we do every day. But you my dear, you are priceless to those little ones looking up at you, reaching out to you, needing you. Don’t you dare give into the thought that what you are doing isn’t worth anything. You are not “Just a stay at home mom”. You are a warrior. On those days when you feel less than, on those days when you feel insignificant remember that to those little eyes you are EVERYTHING. What you are doing does matter. It is making a difference. God sees you in the mess. Cling to that truth in those hard moments.