This year, I made the transition to a stay-at-home mom (SAHM). This is HARD. Being a mom is hard (actually, being a human is hard), but staying home all day is a whole new level of difficult. You are basically a personal assistant to a little tiny boss who seems to have multiple personalities. Unlike a job, where you can get a little time away from difficult bosses, this one will not leave your side! And you have to bathe them and put them to bed and make their breakfast!
It can be really difficult to stay sane and keep your cool sometimes (all of the time?). When I was working, I was so focused and able to actually accomplish things. But, not so much now. While I am somewhat productive when my toddler is sleeping (if by “productive,” you mean scrolling Facebook for an hour), it is difficult to focus enough to finish a task. I have serious “monkey mind.”
I realize to be a better mom, I need to try to get (and stay) focused. Here are some things I am doing to help me focus and not feel like at the end of the day, all I did was play with my kid and wear my pajamas (although, those days are kind of awesome too).
P.S. – most of these things I did when I was working, so you moms who are holding down a job can use these tips too:
I get up at 4 a.m. each day and head to Barre3 (my exercise of choice). The hour I spend with these awesome women gets my day started in the right direction and helps me wake up and feel ready. The workout allows me to get out any frustration I feel from the day before. If you do not want to get up before the sun and go to a gym, try an online workout or take a walk during lunch. Any exercise/movement by yourself helps (I think the “by yourself” part is important!).
Reading keeps me sane, but audiobooks, in particular, help the most. I listen to them in my car (when I do not have to listen to XM Kids Place Live), while I make dinner, and while I am getting dressed in the morning. Audiobooks are a great way to fit reading into a busy day. I read tons of books to my toddler, but I also like to read novels meant for adults sometimes. The problem with mom life is that if I am sitting, I am sleeping or falling asleep or trying to think of games that might involve sleeping to play with my toddler. So, audiobooks make it possible to read while I am still awake.
I am a total creature of habit. Some things I do that might make me seem crazy and a lot OCD, but help with the day to day of LIFE are…
- I have the same thing for breakfast every morning. I am the only person in the house this will work for, but at least it is one thing I do not have to worry about. I also lay out as much of said breakfast as possible the evening before.
- I empty the dishwasher and fold the laundry every single morning (note that there is no putting away of laundry. It’s sitting in a huge pile in my laundry room RIGHT NOW, but at least it’s folded and clean).
- I workout at the same time every day (see above).
- I lay out my clothes every evening before I go to bed. Right now, my toddler is not in school but when she starts school, her clothes will be laid out each evening as well.
- I have certain days that I do certain things. I think I learned this from MY mom. She cleaned our house each Monday. Like, if you wanted to do something with her on a Monday – too bad, she was cleaning the house. It was her standing appointment to ensure it got done. My standing appointments are: Friday – Costco; Monday – library; Saturday – grocery shopping and change sheets. You get my point … make appointments to get the things done that often fall by the wayside or end up happening all on one day (probably the weekend), making a time that is suppose to be relaxing, not so much.
Seems like there are many moms who are super into essential oils. I am one of those moms. I love the smell and I really do believe that they help with certain feelings and ailments. Lavender is my favorite and has the most uses, I think. It is great as a stress reliever. Just smell it or drop a few drops into your bath or on your wrist. It also helps heal minor cuts and takes the itch out of bug bites. I use essential oils to balance hormones, to help me relax, to keep me healthy, the list goes on. Find some you like and use them.
I am still working on this one. I tend to want to say YES to everything and not so much because I am trying to please people, but because when asked, I really do want to do the things I agree to. However, many times, when that party, volunteer commitment, play date, etc. rolls around, I just do not want to go. And, I’ve realized it is OK to back out or say no sometimes. Even if you want to do all the things. If you feel like you need a break, take one. Your friends will understand.
I think this one is the most difficult on the list. Mostly because it is almost impossible to find a few minutes alone in your day to do it. Before the toddler, I would meditate right after I got up in the mornings, but now I am rushing to get to the gym or to find out why she is crying or to jump in the shower before she wakes up. You really only need five minutes to start a good meditation practice, so now I do it right before I go to bed in the evening. Everyone is asleep and I am able to settle and focus for a few minutes. Finding five minutes to just sit in quiet and reflect on your day will do wonders for your mindset and mood. If you can find a little bit more time, add a bath into the mix. You will sleep better and wake up ready to meet your little tiny boss with a smile!