I always knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom, but when it finally came to that time, I had a little bit of a hard time with it. I’ve worked since I was 16, always been in school, and had lots of extracurricular activities and plenty to do’s on my to do lists. I was so excited to have my baby and stay home with her, but I knew it would take some adjusting, and boy did it!
In those first few weeks, I no longer could do anything I wanted or needed to do and often found myself frustrated. There wasn’t a schedule at all! I never knew if I was going to have time to take a shower and I often forgot to eat a decent meal because I spent so much time taking care of my baby or trying to catch up on some sleep. I often emailed friends and family members who recently had children and asked them what they did. I got some really good tips that I want to share. I also learned, it was just going to take some time. My baby wasn’t going to be a newborn forever and I needed to enjoy those precious moments with her. So, I put aside my to do list and just spent time holding, playing with, feeding, and changing my baby.
The newborn stages were soon over and now I find myself with a 13 month old! She’s growing and learning every day and I love watching her development! I also love that now she has a pretty set schedule. I know about when she’ll nap, when to feed her, when she’ll go to bed, what she likes to do when she’s awake, etc.
I often felt like I was a bad mom for not feeling like I had purpose and not getting things accomplished. I knew I was supposed to take care of my daughter, but was this going to consume my life to the point that I couldn’t do anything else? That’s what I felt at the time, but now I know differently. It does take some adjusting and getting used to, but it really is the most wonderful thing in the world! I love, love, love being a stay at home mom! I just had to learn how to do it. 🙂
So here are some pointers I was given and things I found that really helped me find purpose in being a stay at home mom. I hope they help you too!
1. Don’t worry about a schedule yet. It will come. I think my baby had a little bit of a schedule around 2 months and then it really started to get in a rhythm around 4 months.
2. Make goals to get a few things done. Maybe you just get the laundry done that day or only get to the grocery store. Figure out what’s most important and just try to do that.
3. Take some time for yourself. I feel the best way to keep sane is to do something that you like to do; whether that’s reading, doing crafts, searching the web, blogging, taking walks, etc. Make sure during the week you do something fun for you. It would be nice to be able to do something every day, but that doesn’t always happen. 🙂
4. Ask your spouse for help. My sister-in-law told me that every night when her husband gets home, he takes the kids for an hour so she has an hour to herself to get some things done. And this way you have a little bit to yourself. My husband is great at taking our daughter for a little bit when he comes home. Sometimes you just need a little break.
5. Try to get out of the house. I always felt better when I left the house; even if it was to go to the grocery store or the library or just to get the mail. It’s hard to be cooped up all day especially when you live in a little apartment. Try to at least go outside and get some fresh air!
6. Remind yourself that you have already done the very most important thing on your list: taking care of your baby. My sister-in-law told me this and it really helped a lot! Some days the only thing you’ll do is take care of your baby which is the very most important thing you can do! That’s a great accomplishment right there!
7. Be spiritually in tune. Whatever your religion or beliefs, make sure you spend time pondering and learning. Whether that’s reading the Bible, doing yoga, praying, or meditating, allow time to process that you have the capacity to be a mom.
8. Talk to friends. I have a lot of friends who had babies right before or around the time I did. I love talking to them about things – what’s normal, tips in getting baby poo out of clothes, when to feed your baby solids, stuff like that. I found great comfort in getting advice from friends.
9. Sleep when you can. Sometimes I would sleep all morning! But I was exhausted! I would take 2 hour naps while my baby slept and realized that was time lost I could have been doing things. But I also realized how important it was that I was taking care of myself so I could better take care of my baby. Even now I’ll take a nap when my daughter does. I need my sleep and I’m totally OK with it!
10. Don’t stress about it. Just take one day at a time. Most days won’t go as you had planned and it always seems to happen that your baby has a blow out 2 minutes before you’re supposed to leave for a doctors’ appointment and you have to change their entire outfit…but it’s OK! Things happen and with a baby, people understand. They’ve been there too!
QUESTION: What scheduling tips have you discovered while having a new baby in the house?
CHALLENGE: If you have a baby in the house, and you feel you just aren’t getting anything done, try to make a short to do list, instead of a long one.