I was eight months pregnant and had a two-year old potty training toddler when I decided to take a break from my very passionate career I had in the Cosmetology industry. Half of me really wanted to stay, but I knew that was my one and only chance I would ever get at taking a shot at the stay at home mom life for a bit with my precious littles. After all, that was time I was never going to get back.
The first week I started my new title, I probably cried about five times. I’m talking the ugly cry. My toddler even apologized, it was so ugly. Maybe it was that my spirited toddler started boycotting her nap routine or that I was carrying a bowling ball in between my legs all day on top of pregnancy insomnia, but it was definitely a hard transition. I envisioned having endless amounts of free time to do whatever we wanted to do whenever we wanted to do it. Girl, I was SO wrong. I could stand on my feet for 10 hours straight doing hair and be half as exhausted as I was at the end of the day with my minions. It wasn’t until I found our groove after my son was born that I finally got the hang of this SAHM thing. Here are my tips for keeping your sanity intact (kind of) while being a stay at home mom:
Find friends with similar schedules
Whether you utilize the community groups to find other stay at home moms or moms who work part-time, find moms that you can rally with during the day to burn your toddler’s energy together. To be honest, you will also need said moms for emotional support. When I started my journey as a SAHM, I would never had made it through the transition (while adding a newborn to the mix) without her. She was there to cry or vent to when I was hormonally imbalanced and overwhelmed, but most importantly she ALWAYS keeps my perspective in check. She’s there when we take the kids on adventures to be my peripheral vision. Bonus: she won’t judge you if you’re sporting sweatpants and mascara as your outfit to impress and usually comes attached with coffee and donuts on the hard days.
Find “you” time and never feel guilty about it
Maybe this is because I’m the type of person that requires it, but getting alone time occasionally is essential. I’m not talking a few days or even time that requires a sitter; I’m talking “mommy time outs.” When your toddler has you on making their third lunch because the first two were, “How could you serve me that mom? Disgusting,” and the baby is screaming because he’s cutting teeth YOU TAKE THAT MOMMY TIME OUT! I’d rather lock myself in my bedroom for two minutes with Sour Patch Kids than lose my temper to my kids any day. But yes, bonus if you get a night out with the girls. I used to feel so guilty about taking “me” time when my daughter was in daycare and I spent full days working away from her. Working isn’t “you” time. Working is work. Give yourself the time you deserve.
Coffee and other superpowers
Where do I even begin? Every mom knows the struggle. You haven’t “slept” in eight months. You were up every hour feeding the baby… heck, even the toddler got up once or twice. You stumble out of bed before the sun rises because society pressures you to look somewhat human today. I don’t know about you, but I keep the path to my brew clear so I can make it there in a sleep walk if necessary. What I’m trying to say is coffee is necessary to survival among things like toothpaste and food. I’ve noticed with each kid I’ve had the brew keeps getting darker roasted. Coincidence? I think not. I drink at least two cups a day and I still manage to take off and leave my double BOB stroller behind in a snowy mall parking lot. Not a fan of coffee? Tea. Water. Smoothie. Whatever your superpower is, find it because you will need it!
Validation. I never thought I would use this word so much until I became a SAHM. I get up with my kids generally by 5am and wrestle while educating them constantly until my husband rolls home around 5pm. I stand on my feet, barely getting lunch, 12 hours a day, and I make zero money doing it. Why do you think daycare is so expensive? Don’t get me wrong, the time that they are this little and getting to see every milestone is priceless but that doesn’t curb the need to get validation. While I was behind the chair I heard multiple times a day how I made women feel beautiful and how they loved their hair. Validation is a love language to me, so when I didn’t hear that constantly throughout the day anymore, I had to make sure I was hearing it from my husband or myself. That’s right! Validating yourself is also important.
You’re only little once. I tell this to myself constantly when I give my toddler treats I usually disapprove of or avoid to make it through the day. On the hard days, don’t stress the small stuff. If you put on a movie every so often to survive- your kids will too. Your toddler ate pretzels and cheese for lunch because you ran out of time? They will survive. Don’t beat yourself on the days filled with imperfections.
I hope whoever created Pinterest is up there in the money chain with Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates because my family would be starving without Pinterest. I’m not kidding. My grandma would roll over in her grave if she saw some of the meals I made when I first started staying at home. If you’re like me and a hazard in the kitchen, get those recipes off of Pinterest. Bonus: they have tabs for people like me marked “easy.” Yes, they do have easy recipes on Pinterest. Start small and then go big.
I am thankful I get the leisure of having options. We get the choice to wake up daily with a fresh slate to choose how we are going to take advantage of our day. We get to choose what we want to learn or practice each day. We get the flexibility to cram ten adventures into one week. It’s the hardest, most exhausting thing I’ve ever done, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. What was one the most helpful things you or your friend learned while becoming a stay at home mom to help ease the transition?