Like most mothers out there I have my struggles. Each day has its own battles that are hard fought and not always won. But there are also days that are so beautiful and so rewarding that you can’t help forget what the bad days are like.
20 Habits of a Healthy and Happy Stay at Home Mom
Become an Early Riser and Wake up Before your Kids
Now I don’t mean that you need to get up at the crack of butt every single day, but making it a regular habit to wake up before anyone else in your house, especially your kids, can give you that extra bit of time you need to mentally prepare yourself for the day ahead. You can take those moments to plan out your day, take stock of the things you need to accomplish or even just sit in silence.
Even if you aren’t into setting an intention for your day you will at least have the time to enjoy a hot cup of coffee. ALONE. Now when was the last time you were able to do that?
Get Ready for Your Day
A few months ago I had a conversation with a woman who was shocked and almost appalled at my decision to be a SAHM. Her reaction to learning about my life choice was to say “Oh, not me! I could never spend my day sitting in my pajamas without accomplishing anything. What do you even do all day?”
Now, as much as I wanted to give this lady a real piece of my mind, she did bring up a point. I couldn’t remember the last time I had taken the time to really get ready for the day. I had a closet full of a ton cute clothes that I never wore because they didn’t go with my usual baseball cap and ponytail (hello yoga pants).
The next day, I woke up early and took the time to do my hair and I even applied a little makeup (GASP!). I put on an outfit that I hadn’t worn since pre-pregnancy and you know what happened?
I felt AH-MA-ZING!
It was as though I suddenly had more self-confidence. I felt better about myself and right away that put me in a better mood. Being in a better mood made me want to do more with my day. Not only did I feel more productive but I WAS more productive.
Though I do still rock my yoga pants once in a while, taking the time to get dressed for the type of day I want to have is a definite priority on my list of things to do.
Create Goals and Write Them Down
You may wake up with the best of intentions, thinking of all the things you want to accomplish that day but then your kids wake up. Suddenly you are neck deep in “Mama do this!” and “Mama I need that”.
Without taking the time to create daily goals and writing them down (whether on paper or on your phone) it is shockingly easy to allow your kids to dictate your day. Before you know you it’s almost bedtime and you have accomplished absolutely nothing.
Writing down your goals (aka your list of to-do’s) not only keeps you more accountable but gives you a sense of accomplishment. I don’t know about you, but there are few things in life more satisfying than crossing off a to-do list. Especially when it’s a long one!
Develop a Routine and Stick to Your Schedule
I can’t begin to tell you the importance of having a routine!
Now, of course, there is something to be said for spontaneity but even that has its time and place. When it comes to staying at home with little ones having a routine and sticking to that schedule can mean the difference between sanity and complete and utter chaos.
I don’t mean that you have to do the exact same thing every single day as that kind of monotony would eventually make anyone go a little crazy. But having a solid structure or framework in place can make a world of difference – plus it makes assessing your child’s behavior that much easier.
Clean a Little Bit. Every. Single. Day
Part of being a stay home mom is taking on the majority of the household responsibilities – ie. The Cleaning. The idea of trying to tackle cleaning your entire home with small children can be absolutely terrifying, I totally get that! But I have to tell you that it is possible.
The key to keeping a (relatively) clean home without being completely overwhelmed is to have a cleaning schedule with small manageable tasks. Certain things should be done daily – such as the dishes, laundry (as needed), sweeping and making the bed, while other tasks can be done weekly – like mopping, cleaning the bathroom and dusting.
Taking 15 – 30 minutes each day to stay complete these tasks regularly actually means less work for you in the long run – and this is coming from someone who absolutely loathes cleaning.
Get out of the House
Being a stay home mom doesn’t mean that you actually have to stay home! Get out of the house, explore your neighborhood, even just spend some time out in the yard! Changing up your scenery doesn’t just provide mental and visual stimulation for your children but is likely going to be what saves your sanity (ever heard of the phrase “going stir crazy?”)
Plus, spending time outside of the house gives you the opportunity to make some other mama friends – which is so important that I even included on my list!
Get Involved in your Community and Make Some Friends
As I mentioned earlier, being a stay at home mom can sometimes be incredibly lonely. That is why it is so important for you to get out and focus on building friendships. Finding your tribe and having a group of friends that know exactly what you are going through is only going to help you feel supported.
I know that making friends as a new mom isn’t always easy, but I can promise it is definitely worth the effort.
Quiet Time, Naps, and Bedtime
Naps, Quiet Time, and Bedtime are non-negotiables in our house – even with a 1.5-year-old. Having that quiet time is crucial to becoming a happy stay at home mom. Not only are good sleep habits essential to your child’s overall health and development (you can read a great article about that here), but they help prevent meltdowns!
Fewer meltdowns = a happier mama.
Plus the added benefit of guaranteed “me” time certainly doesn’t suck either.
Encourage Independent Play
Independent Plays helps to develop your child’s problem-solving skills, encourages creativity, and increases their self-confidence. If that isn’t enough to have you sold Independent Play, the freedom it gives you as a Mama should be the cherry on top.
While your little one plays independently, you have the opportunity to focus on whatever you want – even if it’s just sitting down and taking a moment to yourself!
Limit Screen Time
I am not talking about your child’s screen time – though that is hugely important – I am talking about yours. Whether it is the time you spend on your smartphone, computer, or just watching television, taking the time to unplug can do wonders for your mental health (and your physical health too).
By limiting your screen time, you are encouraging other and often healthier behaviors. Remember, kids are sponges so everything that you do they are going to want to do too!
So, instead of reaching for your phone, take that time to read a book. Instead of watching a TV Show, go for a walk or even squeeze in a quick yoga practice. You won’t regret it!
Remember the quote “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” from the movie Legally Blonde starring Reese Witherspoon? Would you believe me if I told you she was actually on to something?
Not only does regular exercise help control weight, prevent disease, and promote better sleep – it also increases energy and improves your mood.
Even if you don’t want to join a gym or a mom and me fitness group, going for regular walks or family hikes is more than enough to get that blood pumping and those endorphins moving.
Another great alternative is Yoga. Not only is it an incredible form of exercise, but the stress relief and mental health benefits associated with Yoga are unparalleled. If practicing yoga in a room full of people isn’t your thing, try YouTube! My personal favorite is Yoga with Tim. His 30-day challenge was exactly what I needed in my life!
Include the Kids
As a SAHM it is easy to feel as though you are responsible for absolutely everything – from the cooking and cleaning to taking care of the pets and the family budget. I am sure that the idea of creating more work for yourself is the last thing that you want to do.
But by including the kids in your regular day to day tasks – like the cooking and the cleaning – not only are you fostering really great habits for your children, but you are creating essential bonding moments.
My little one is barely a year and half old, but he loves to ‘help’ me sweep. We even purchased him his own little dust pan and broom. Sure, it creates a little more work when he ‘helps’, but he has fun and I love watching how his little brain works.
Plus it means that cleaning is fun for him and if we can continue to keep this up, it might even make getting him to clean his room when he is older a whole lot easier.
So if you have little ones that are showing interest in what you are doing, find a way to include them! Can they help you stir? Set the table? Feed the family pet? It might take a few extra minutes in the beginning, but eventually, all that extra work will pay off!
Find New Hobbies or Pick Up Old Ones
Whether you are an avid knitter, DIY’er, or gardener, having a hobby that provides you with a much-needed break from your everyday stressors is key to being a happy stay at home mom.
Having a hobby encourages creativity, promotes stress relief, and increases self-confidence. Plus, it can provide you with another opportunity to go out and meet new people.
If you don’t have already have a hobby consider learning how to play an instrument, take a dance class, or even join your local Roller Derby League. What’s important is that you find something that you can 100% for yourself!
Schedule ‘Me’ Time and Time with Your Spouse
There is no doubt that spending uninterrupted quality time with your children is important, but so is spending quality time with yourself and your spouse. As moms (and parents in general), we tend to put our kids before ourselves and our relationships, but that shouldn’t always be the case.
You can’t run on empty. You need time to recharge your batteries. Have a bubble bath. Plan a Date Night – even if it’s just at home after the little ones go to bed. Don’t be afraid to be a little selfish.
You and your relationship will thank you. I promise.
It sounds simple, in fact, it IS simple, but learning the art of patience takes, well, patience.
It’s easy to become frustrated when you’ve just spent your whole day cleaning and your kids manage to destroy all your hard work in a matter of minutes. It’s also easy to become (incredibly) annoyed with your partner when they come home and the first thing they ask you is when dinner will be ready.
The thing about being frustrated and annoyed is that those emotions do nothing but affect your happiness. Being frustrated isn’t going to get your kids to quit making messes, and being annoyed isn’t going to stop your spouse from being hungry.
Be patient and take everything with a grain of salt. Learn to shake off the little things and let them go. Whatever you can’t let go of can be used as motivation to find a new hobby or to get your butt to the gym!
Ask for Help
Want to know the number one secret to being a happy stay at home mom? It’s asking for help when you need it.
There is a reason why the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child” is a phrase in the first place. No one expects you to be able to do it all on your own and you shouldn’t have to. You have people around you that I am sure, would love to help if given the opportunity.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It doesn’t mean that you are failing or that you are a terrible mom. It means that you are human.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Other Moms
If asking for help when you need it is the number one secret to being a happy stay at home mom, then not comparing yourself to other mamas is secret number two.
With Social Media being what it is these days, it’s easier than ever to compare yourself to other moms. You can’t scroll through Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest without seeing a perfectly styled mama and her well-behaved children posing for a beautiful photograph. A photograph that also happens to show her incredibly spotless home.
That’s not real life though.
We don’t know how long it took that mom to take that picture. Or whether or not her children were having temper tantrums just moments before (or after). For all we know, that room could have taken hours to clean and might be the only clean room in her whole home.
Most of us only post the best moments, not the ones full of tantrums and messy rooms. So while it’s easy to compare someone’s best moments to our messy ones we need to remember that every mama has their own struggles and that not everything is always as it seems.
Don’t be so Hard on Yourself
There are going to be days where nothing gets done and your only accomplishment will be having kept the tiny humans alive. Do not allow yourself to feel as though you have failed in any way. Remember that you are a human being and that sometimes sh!t happens.
Bad days are going to happen. You are allowed to cut yourself some slack.
Do Something out of the Ordinary
Routines and Schedules are important when it comes to being a happy stay at home mom. But so is throwing caution to the wind and shaking things up. Plan a day trip, check out your local museum or make a plan to meet some mom friends at the nearest indoor play gym.
It doesn’t need to be crazy and extravagant, it just needs to be different. Both you and your kids will thank you for it!
When in Doubt, Just Dance it Out
There is something to be said for an impromptu kitchen dance party. Whenever I find myself feeling frustrated, or a little down, I grab my little one and crank up the tunes. Then we just dance it out.
If dancing isn’t your thing try a tickle war or a pillow fight. Jump on the bed or build a fort. All that matters is finding a way to be silly with your little ones. You can The Adventures of Napkin Man for this one!
Being a stay home mom certainly isn’t easy and no one (not even those allusive Instagram/Pinterest Moms) is perfect. Every mama has their own struggles and their own ways of dealing with this crazy (and wonderful) life. These tips and tricks have worked to help make me a happy stay at home mom, and I hope they can work for you too!
So find your tribe, ask for help when you need it, and don’t forget to be silly and have fun!