Being a SAHM is a unique job to say the least. I wish I could say I have always wanted to be a SAHM but that wouldn’t be the truth. I was pushed into the job when I was laid off from my corporate job in 2012. Since then, I have enjoyed the up’s and down’s of what most would agree is one of the toughest professions on the planet.
Since that “here’s your severance check” day, I think I have gotten pretty good at navigating the SAHM waters. I discovered what works and what doesn’t when it comes to keeping sane when you are home with your kids. all. day. long.
Before I share with you what I do to be a happy SAHM, let me get a few things off my chest….
First, I sometimes cringe when I hear the term “stay-at-home-mom”. I much prefer work-from-home-mom. Because, face it, whether we are leaving for an office everyday or taking care of the kiddo’s, all types of moms (and dads) are doing work.
Second, many SAHM’s are smart, educated, innovative, hard-working Mom Bosses. Although we may complain, we ultimately know that taking care of kids is purposeful and important.
Third, SAHM’s often go through their own struggles with self-doubt and loneliness. Are we doing the right thing? Are we a good mom? What is my purpose in life? Crap, my kids are stuck with ME as their parent?
Here are 6 daily habits that a happy SAHM should do (and also when to do them):
1. Get Up Before Your Kids – 5:30 AM
Honey, you need to get some work done before your kids start grabbing for your undivided attention. Get up early and write those emails, balance the checkbook, or, if you are like me, get your side hustle work done for the day. (I am an independent writer and also a blogger, of course) From my experience, most children wake between 6-6:30 am. Getting up between 5-5:30 am gives you a good solid chunk of time to knock out those dreaded to-do’s that need concentration.
2. Open all the Curtains & Blinds – 6 AM
As soon as my kids wake, I open all the blinds and curtains. I let the sunshine in! Even if it’s still dark out, the light will soon be flooding. There is something uplifting about natural light. It makes me feel more connected to the outside world. It also helps keep away that “walls are closing in on me” feeling. You may be tempted to only do some of your rooms – those most frequented. Don’t. I would highly suggesting doing them all. You’d be surprised at how much you go into those lightly-used spaces. Oh and definitely open those curtains in the nursery – you can close them when the little ones take a nap!
3. Actually Play with your Kids – 8 AM
I feel pretty confident saying that we all love our kids to the moon and back otherwise we wouldn’t be giving up so much to stay home with them. What I realized though is that I often get caught in the daily to-do’s rather than enjoying my time with them. Cleaning, laundry, making meals seem to gobble up the entire day. I realized I wasn’t actually playing with my kids. I started setting a timer for 30 minutes to make sure I dedicated my full-attention to them daily. No phone, no tv, no distractions. Sounds crazy but it works. You can read more about it here.
4. Reach Out to Other Women – 11 AM
You need to have connections with other women. They can be other mom’s but they don’t have to be. I get a ton of support from my own mother and also from single friends. Whether you meet with them in person, Facebook chat or make plans for the near future making time to build relationships with others will help keep the blues away. These “sisters” can also be great resources when you need advice like when your baby’s teething or your toddler is throwing tantrums or your 2nd grader is having trouble at school.
5. Do Something for Yourself – 2 PM
SAHM’s must have their own “thing.” Something just for them. My MIL use to take sewing classes. My mom would go bowling. I like scrapbooking and working out. Finding a passion that you can call your own is a way to reclaim your identity as a woman! Yes, we are mom’s (and great mom’s at that) but we are also individuals with our own interests and desires. Taking time at 2 pm (when the kiddo’s are napping) to do your own thing even for just 15 minutes will help you stay sane.
6. Reset Your Home Nightly – 9 PM
Before going to bed, I highly suggest resetting your home so it is ready for the next day. It makes the morning hustle and grind so much easier. And, once you get good at it, this task should take just a few minutes. Here’s is what I do during my “Home Reset”
Clean and dry all the dishes – put the dirty ones in the dishwasher (exception: bottles & sippy cups that can sit out and dry)
Sweep or vacuum the main living area
Pick up all clutter around the living space and return to their homes (your kids and partner should help with this too)
Set the coffeemaker
Wipe down the kitchen counters and dining room table (and clear them off of any clutter)
Charge my phone
Set out my kids clothes for the next day
Check my calendar for tomorrow’s activities
Now I realize implementing all six of these habits into your day may seem overwhelming and, in all actuality, it could be. But what if you tried just one of them out this week? Pick the one you think would be most helpful to your family and try it out for just seven days. If it doesn’t work for you after that week, ditch it. If it does, add another habit on. Small, incremental changes can lead to lasting results!
Happy SAHM’s unite!