Being a stay-at-home mom is just plain hard, and it is especially difficult these days without baby-sitters, day care, grandma’s house, and trips to playgrounds. Out of this dilemma, we have asked our mommy expert and blogger Jessica Hines along with Mommy Medicine creator and mommy extraordinaire Aimee Ghimire to weigh in. Together they talk about how you can have sanity and be a stay-at-home mom in these challenging times.
Is it even possible to remain sane as a stay-at-home mom?
Absolutely! Everyone will have good days and bad days, and you should never expect “perfection.” With a little bit of strategy, however, maintaining sanity and staying at home with your young children, even during the Coronavirus crisis, is doable. Here are a few tips to remember that will help you along the journey.
You have needs
First of all, you are human. You have needs. Every mom is tuned in very closely to the needs of her children. She knows when they need food, sleep, rest, stability, time outside, and even time to go to the bathroom. Believe it or not, you need the same things. How many times has the afternoon arrived and then you realized that you have forgotten to eat breakfast? Have you ever gotten to 4:00 pm and realized that you haven’t used the bathroom since the morning? Have you stayed up all night with a sick child and then gotten mad at yourself for being cranky with your children the next day?
The truth is, you are human. You have the same needs as any human has, and it is part of your responsibility as a mother to care for those needs too. When you neglect yourself, it makes it so much harder to care for your children in the way you would like to.
Learn to anticipate your needs
Let us use the example of your kids again. You know for a fact that your child will need three meals a day and probably some snacks in between. You know what happens if your kid skips their nap time – chaos and horrors ensue. So, you plan and you anticipate the needs that your children are going to have to make sure things run as smoothly as possible. Likewise, staying sane as a stay-at-home mom requires the same things.
What are your needs? What things help you stay sane? Some people truly need adult contact and communication regularly. At some point, the desire for adult communication goes from a want to a need, and if you do not meet that need, it makes life so much harder to handle. Messaging a friend regularly, scheduling phone calls, and making time to connect with others is important.
Some moms really need to have fifteen minutes to themselves at the beginning of the day just to focus, breathe, and drink their coffee. If that is what you need, it is a good idea to schedule it and try to keep it a priority.
Everyone needs healthy food, regular sleep, and human kindness, and that includes you. Yes, being a stay-at-home mother can make getting these three essentials hard, but you and your kids need you to keep them as priorities for yourself too.
Be kind to yourself
Being a stay-at-home mother is hard! You work all the time! Do not forget self-care and to be kind to yourself because you deserve it. Sometimes, you just need a piece of chocolate. Now, it is not going to end up good for you if you eat a bar of chocolate a day. However, a piece of chocolate, a cup of coffee, a Netflix movie here and there can be an important part of self-care. You matter, mommy.
Exercise is a powerful weapon. When we exercise, we release certain brain chemicals called endorphins. These produce very real physical and emotional benefits. Exercise can combat anxiety and depression, lifting our mood and giving us greater energy to meet the ever-present demands of our family. Exercise can even help with sleep and prevent chronic illness like high blood pressure and diabetes.
I know that exercise can be just one more thing that takes time out of your day, but the rewards are worth it. You can even exercise with your kids. Infants make great weights. Toddlers can lay on your back while you do the “plank,” thus increasing your abdominal and shoulder muscle workout. Older children can try to exercise along with you if you are using a workout DVD. And pushing a stroller while walking or running is an excellent cardio workout. Be creative and remember that even stay-at-home moms have bodies that need to be cared for.
Create space to breathe
Breathe, mommy. You can do this. Imagine this: the three young kids are finally all down for a nap. The glorious sound of silence reigns in your home, and you as a stay-at-home mom get to make a choice. Do you do the dirty dishes or sit down and drink a cup of coffee? Do you clean the laundry or do that house project you really want done that will take only a half-hour and has been on the list three months? Dirty dishes and laundry do need to be done, but they cannot run our lives. Sometimes, we powerfully choose to let them wait. There will always be more dishes. It is not wrong to choose to drink that cup of coffee, give time for your current needs, or do that project that makes you feel happy.
Sometimes you need a mommy break , and it is a real need that you should not ignore.
Breathe deep and take in the moment
Breathing deep is actually a form of grounding. If we combine that with taking just a few seconds and focus on the sights around us, noticing the color of the sky, the sound of the birds, the feel of the wind, and the sensation of the ground beneath our feet, we are doing what psychologists call “grounding.” This can calm us and help us concentrate on the moment rather than the endless lists of to-dos.
While you are pushing your toddler in the swing and holding your infant in your arms, you can notice the sights, smells, textures, and sounds around you. This is not some “woo-woo” meditation but simply a way of letting your body and mind catch up, and you can do it anywhere and anytime.
Taking in the moment can help you focus on what really matters, intentionally enjoying the sound of your child’s laughter as you tickle his toes or intentionally gazing at the face of your sleeping baby.
Nature is a treasure we are given that strengthens and calms us just by being around it. The sound of running water or falling rain can soothe our worries and calm our racing thoughts. Smelling the roses can bring a smile. Once again, we can intentionally enjoy and focus on the moment, and nature pulls us to the present simply by being around it.
Kids love nature, too, so this is a win-win for all you stay-at-home moms!
Enjoy what you love
Like we talked about before, Mommy, take time to enjoy what you love. Who does not like a nice hot shower? There is nothing like the steamy water washing over you that relaxes your tense muscles and brings you back into the present. Showers are glorious, and you are definitely allowed to enjoy them.
It is true that it can be hard with young children to even have five minutes to shower or do something else just for you, but definitely don’t feel guilty about taking those five minutes when you can.
At the end of the day, mommy, don’t beat yourself up with judgment and condemnation, be kind and gentle to yourself, smell the flowers, and hug your children. You will get through this.
Mommy Medicine is a group of moms that love sharing tricks, tips and strategies with our fellow moms. Send us your mommy questions you would like to see as the subject of a blog. We would love to hear from you! Subscribe here to receive posts straight to your inbox!
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (5/5/2020)
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