I don't like labels. I don't like the work-at-home, stay-at-home, or working mother titles. We all work in our own way, and we are all doing the best we can.
Therefore, if you don't leave the house for a normal 9-5, I consider you an at-home mom; simply put.
Being an at-home mom comes with plenty of stereotypes, many of which are true. Getting dressed is a daily challenge, as what's the point if you're surrounded in spit-up 24/7? And cleaning. OMG. The mountains of laundry never seem to stop. And "me" time!? What is that? It's a foreign term.
Anyway, I've come up with 8 sanity savers for the at-home mom. Please note: I do NOT claim to do all the below. It's a constant work in progress.
1. Give yourself a small allowance
And by small, I’m talking a few bucks. All I seem to buy is baby stuff: diapers, wipes, toys, etc, totally disregarding the fact I’ve had 2 pedicures in a year and can’t remember the last time I bought myself a new shirt. I’m not suggesting you splurge on a monthly shopping spree--we can all agree times are tough and money’s tight--but I do suggest allotting yourself some “me” money. Maybe treat yourself to a coffee once a week. A little “you” pampering (and you time) can go a long way.
2. Find an outlet
Trust me, I’m the first to admit I don’t have much spare time, and when I do, it’s often spent folding laundry or taking a cat nap; however, maintaining a sense of self is VERY important. If you like writing, start a blog. Even if you don’t gain a following, who cares; a weekly entry would fulfill your creative passion. If you like cooking, create a recipe book of meals you want to taste-test. If you like photography, take fun pictures of your kids. Do something (anything!) that reminds you you’re more than a mother.
3. Date at home
Before having children, I told my husband we’d go on weekly date nights. Well, that promise surely blew up in my face--I can’t remember the last time we’ve left the house without a third wheel. Babysitters are pricey, leaving young kids can be stressful, and finding the time and energy to romance can be scarce. However, YOU ARE STILL A WIFE. Do what works to date at home. For example, have breakfast in bed (while baby naps) on a Saturday morning. Play board games in your pajamas. Take a hot bath together once your little one falls asleep. Rent a movie, make popcorn, and snuggle on the couch.
4. Get ready once a week
I used to get dolled up on a daily basis for work. I’d wear stilettos, trendy dresses, and I’d have my hair blown and a face full of make-up. Fast forward to the now...I take a 5 second morning shower, throw my hair in a pony, put on leggings, a tank top, and consider myself ready for the day. Yes, my new daily attire is yoga gear--and I don’t do yoga. By the end of the day, my clothes are full of spilled puree, milk, and spit-up. I’m sure you can agree it’s just unrealistic and unnecessary to get overly ready on a daily basis, but I really think it’s important to “put your face on” at least once a week. Remind yourself you are still a beautiful woman who cares about herself.
5. Give yourself a break
Being an at-home mom is a beautiful blessing, a wonderful privilege, and a total joy. You never miss a first, and you really have the opportunity to befriend your children, get to know them, play with them, snuggle them, and savor them. With that being said, some days are tough. Some days your toddler just won’t nap, the house can’t get clean, you’re utterly exhausted, you feel like crap, and you want to scream. And so I grant you permission that on those days, to give yourself a break. Flip on the TV to occupy your child. Give them pudding instead of veggies if they’re refusing to eat. And yes, go ahead and lay down with your baby. One nap with him won’t turn him away from the crib forever. You’re human--remember that. Breathe.
6. Join a mommy & me
Getting adult time can be challenging considering many of your friends likely work 9-5s and don’t necessarily want to do lunch with you and your fidgety son or daughter. However, there are plenty of options that will get you out of the house doing something fun and stimulating with your child AND people your own age. Seek out a mommy and me class--there are tons in just about every town in the country. Yes, you’ll be singing baby songs and dancing around the room, but you’ll be doing so in good company. Plus, it will help you make friends with other at-home moms in your same boat.
7. Get outside
Sometime I’ll look at the clock, it will be 5pm, and I’ll realize I haven’t even taken a breath of fresh air. Getting outside is sooooo important--it’s revitalizing, refreshing, and a free and fun thing to do with your child. Go on walks. Go to the park. Picnic outside. Make it a daily commitment to take in some sunshine.
8. Lose the guilt
I recently read a blog that stated at-home mothers are a luxury to your spouse. The truth is, you are doing the most important job in the world, whether or not it’s bringing home the bacon. Just because you don’t leave the house at 9am, report to your cubicle, and return home at 5pm, doesn’t mean your job isn’t significant. You are mothering your children and taking care of the home, and many of you (us) are doing it while working from home, running a business, etc. Don’t feel guilty. Enjoy this time. Years from now you won’t look back wishing things had been different. I promise.