Being a stay at home mother is a full-time job. Whether you choose to be a SAHM or find yourself in a position where it is absolutely required, you will ultimately be faced with situations where you are burned out. The process can easily overwhelm or consume you. Just like any other responsibility or role in life, you will experience highs and lows. Some days will pass by like a breeze and other days, you will struggle to get a handle on all your chores.
From the moment you wake up, you will be busy. From handling your own affairs to those of your family and child, there is hardly a minute of peace. Your plate will be brimming with chores, duties, and responsibilities. As a stay at home mother, sometimes you cannot afford to even sit back on the couch and relax while the kids are asleep. There is laundry to fold and toys to pick up. There are meals to prepare and if you are lucky, you might just be able to squeeze in a shower.
And then before you know it, the kids are awake again. Truly, it feels like you are always on the clock. That is why it is completely normal and understandable to have some days when you are totally exhausted. For days like those, we have the perfect list of things to do to help you get back on your feet.
1. Dress Up
Do not ever undermine the effect of a great outfit. Even if you have nowhere to go, take some time out to doll yourself up. Take a nice long shower or soak in a warm bath. Do your hair. Put on some makeup. Pick out a gorgeous outfit.
By taking some time out to focus on yourself, you can instill a fresh sense of confidence and joy in yourself. You do not have to do anything too extravagant. A little effort goes a long way. Just be sure to occasionally take time out for yourself, too.
2. Add Some Movement
Moving your body is very important. You do not have to put in a full workout. Simply stepping outside for a few minutes, going for a walk with the kids or the dog, taking a stroll around the neighborhood, or dancing in your living room to your favorite song is enough to boost your mood substantially. A couple of times a week you can even incorporate a full-body workout to get your muscles moving.
This is a great way to help you clear your head and come back with a fresh mind. Exercising and moving your body releases endorphins that help improve your mood. It’s particularly helpful if you’re feeling frustrated or generally irritated. After just a few minutes of moving your body, you will feel the tension and stress dissipate.
3. Ask For Help
There is no shame in asking for help. In fact, you should ask for help before you get overwhelmed. It’s very important to know just when things are getting too much and when you need to take a break and ask for help. Unfortunately, most people assume that asking for help as a stay-at-home mom means child care. That is not true. Help can come in many different forms. Sometimes it means cleaning the house. Other times it could mean helping with the yard work or picking the kids up or keeping the kids entertained while you rest.
If you find yourself in a bit of a financial crunch you do not need to hire any help. You can simply reach out to your friends and neighbors instead. An easy way of determining whether you are at the point where you need help or not is to watch out for signs of irritability. These include losing your patience, raising your voice, or breaking down.
4. Be Prepared For Anything
In motherhood, there will always be periods of absolute chaos. And that’s okay! The best moms are those who understand that they are not perfect and neither are their children. Nobody expects you to know how to parent from the get-go. Besides, there is no such thing as the perfect parent. Thinking in terms of perfection will only limit your capacity to be and do your best. It’s time to let go of perfectionism.
You need to come to terms with the fact that sometimes your house will be dirty. Sometimes there will be stains on the kitchen counter. Some days your kids’ beds will not be made. And sometimes the toys will not make it to the cabinet by the end of the day. And that is perfectly okay. If you didn’t have time to do the laundry this week or if you ordered takeaway two days in a row, you have not failed as a parent. The best parents are those who make the most out of every situation and just go with it.
5. Promote Independence
Being a stay-at-home mother does not necessarily mean that you need to be your child’s companion throughout the day. Whether it is for playing, reading, or learning, you need to give your child some time alone. Kids who spend time alone develop important skills such as creativity and prolonged attention spans. Giving your child the chance to play on their own will help you catch your breath and will also help your child grow mentally. Make it a point to give your child some time alone each day so they can play by themselves. Plus, this is a great practice to help them develop their skills and mind in an independent manner.
6. Hold On To Friendships
Motherhood can get very lonely especially when you center your whole world around your child and shut everything and everyone else out. This is why you must hold on to the friendships in your life. As a stay-at-home mother, your lifestyle and schedule are most likely no longer compatible with your friends’. It’s time to expand your social circle and develop meaningful relationships with other mothers. Strike up conversations with other parents. Join the local mom group. Connect with other parents at the playground or the local childcare center.
You can also always arrange playdates for your children. The important thing is that you need to have meaningful relationships and friendships that go beyond your immediate family i.e. your children and partner. Even if it is a short morning walk around the block with your neighbor, this short exchange can give you the opportunity to unwind.
7. Stop Reading And Googling
You need to stop reading all of those parenting books and Googling every small question that pops up in your mind. You need to know when to trust your intuition above all else. Nobody knows how to parent your child better than you do. You can read all the parenting books that exist and join all the online forums for stay-at-home mothers, and still find yourself completely lost. Sometimes you just need to trust your gut. At the end of the day, you’re the best person who knows what your child wants and needs.
Being bombarded with advice from books or the Internet, friends or parents and relatives or perhaps even doctors can become very exhausting. This overload of information will exhaust you at one point. So put everything down and take a step back. Look at your situation from a fresh perspective. Just because you’re not doing things the way someone else is, does not mean that you are doing something wrong. Every parent has their own parenting style that does not necessarily have to be the same for other parents. You got this, mama! Have a little faith in yourself!
8. Take Short Breaks Regularly
When you feel your energy plummeting at any point during the day, give yourself a break. Take 5 or 10 minutes out to just breathe. Sit down on the couch, have a fun conversation with your child, or put on some music in the background. Whatever it is that you choose to do, it should help you completely clear your head. Taking short breaks during the day will help you re-energize yourself while also preventing burnout.
Even if it is as short as 5 minutes, a break is definitely a simple and quick way to get you back on track.
9. Practice Thankfulness
Sometimes when everything around you seems to be falling apart it can be difficult to focus on anything good. That is why it’s important to practice thankfulness. Take a moment out and think of five things that you are grateful for. Shift your focus towards what you have instead of what you do not have. The simple practice will help center you and will undoubtedly add joy to your day. Thankfulness is a gift. By exercising this gift, you actively choose to be happy.
And yes, sometimes it can be very difficult. Some days it feels like the entire world is falling apart. But by directing your energy towards counting your blessings, you will find it much easier to get through every day.
10. Take It Easy
A lot of parents make the mistake of being too harsh on themselves. As a stay-at-home mom, you will be challenged almost on a daily basis. It is important to understand that motherhood is a journey. No one knows how to navigate motherhood perfectly. You learn as you go and that is why you should go easy on yourself. Cut yourself some slack. Be kinder to yourself. At the end of the day, you need to be your best self in order for you to be there for your children.
Someone once said, “direct some of the love that you give to others, inwards.” As mothers, we always have a lot of love to give. It’s time we give some of that love to ourselves. Focus on the positive parts of your day more than the negative. It is very easy to get overwhelmed at the end of the day and only recall the upsetting moments you experienced. But that does not take away from all the good that you did as well.