Being a stay at home mom is by far the most rewarding and enjoyable job a mother could ever have. You get to leave your boring office job and take on raising your children the best way you know how which is incredibly rewarding. With every job there are pros and cons and while the pros of being a stay at home mom far outweigh the cons, there are still some challenges you face with being at home 365 days a year. Its easy to lose your sense of self when you are now at the beck and call of a little one (Or two or three!) but realizing this and making the appropriate changes will help you embrace your new role as a mom.
Always take time for yourself. Yes you are responsible for a helpless little being 24 hours a day, 365 days a year but make sure you get a moment of silence here and there to keep your sanity. Going to the office each day is work, but I always like to point out that you don’t have a screaming baby in your arms while you sit at your desk, you get a lunch break and you get to talk to adults in something other that goo-goo ga-ga baby talk. Whether it be a hot shower in the evening when your spouse can give you a break, or you take 15 minutes before bed to read a magazine or book, these little moments that you have to yourself will go a long way. Sometimes you might be distracted or rushed, but sneak these moments in whenever you can. Physical activity can be a great way to take some time for yourself. Not only can you work on getting back that pre-baby body at the gym, but you can get all those good endorphins going that will perk you up and leave you feeling calm.
Realize you may not get up each morning and make the commute to an office each day but you have a job and you have a role. An incredibly important role at that and you need to find a way to embrace that. Your child or children are counting on you each day to ‘show up’ to the job and make that day a success and a joy. It’s not an option to only give half the effort one day because you’re tired and that responsibility can be scary but it can also show you how important you are. Not only are you a caretaker but you’re now a chef, teacher, chauffer, cleaning lady, personal shopper, banker and therapist. It’s your job to budget for the family in many ways because you are now down one income and you’re planning for your family’s future. All these jobs are quite a challenge but when you look back on your day you’ll realize just how important of a role you had for your family that day.
Find something that interests you. That means something other than parenting! Its even better if you can make that hobby a profession of sorts and make a little income from your own home. With sites like Etsy where you can sell your own crafts and products its pretty easy to market your items and make a little spending cash. Look at what you did professionally before you became a stay at home mom. Figure out if there is some way you can incorporate that into doing something at home you enjoy. If you were a journalist, write from home, freelance or blog. If you were a teacher maybe you can tutor kids on the side or substitute teach. Volunteering can even bring great rewards if you have a cause that is near and dear to your heart. Not only can these things add a little bit to your resume so you won’t have a large gap one day if you decide to enter the workforce again, but you’re doing something you enjoy for yourself as well.
Make sure you feel appreciated. There’s nothing worse than giving a job your all and not having someone recognize your efforts. You do so much for the family that sometimes it can go unnoticed. If you’re feeling underappreciated and would like a thank you once in awhile make sure you communicate that to your family. It’s likely they appreciate all that you do but sometimes just don’t take a moment to recognize that. Keep in mind it might be a good idea to communicate this at a good time and not when you’ve just finished cleaning the house top to bottom and your husband comes in leaving a trail of his belongings behind him. Emotions might be high and you might not get your point across how you’d like.
The time in our lives that our children are young enough that they need our constant 24 hour care is such a short period of time that we need to not stress about the lost sleep or the nagging of a pesky toddler. Before you know it they’ll be off to school for 8 hours a day and you’ll miss having them around. Embrace your role as a stay at home mom and realize your importance!