So okay, I’ve been a mother – and a so-called ‘Stay Home’ one – for coming 6 years.
While I cannot and dare not claim I’m a better stay-home mom now than before, I do dare say that I’m getting better at understanding what my role as a mom , stay-home or not, entails.
So I would not even dare say I can give you tips to put you in good stead for having a smooth sail into SAHM-hood ( because I’m still searching for those 100% success-guaranteed tips myself!).
But what I would really like to share with you is some sanity-handles that I’ve found to me of utmost usefulness in my many moments of almost-losing-it, lost-it and can-this-get-any-worse?
And so if you’re up for grappling with the nitty-gritties and a less-than-picture-perfect SAHM life, then read on.
#1. Write a ‘Dear Self’ letter.
A ‘Dear Self’ letter is one that you should write to help you remember why you are choosing this SAHM journey when all other configurations of being Mom are available to you. It’s a letter where you record your motivations and purpose in choosing to be a SAHM. If you can include a few inspirational quotes or the trigger events that led you to this critical decision, do so. You’ll appreciate these when you read them again in the deepest pits of discouragements. And if you never trip up, then you’ll have a wonderful heritage keepsake to pass on to your children.
A ‘Dear Self’ letter written right before you jump into this new SAHM game is probably the MOST important one you want to spend time writing. If you haven’t done this before, and you’re into your nth year, it’s still a valuable exercise .
Put this letter or letters somewhere you can get to when you ever hit that spot of ‘Bleah’.
So, how do you recognize the Spot of BLEAH?
If your inner thoughts sound anything like:
WHAT am I doing home?!
I cannot stand another minute of being home with the kids!
Why did I choose to do this to myself?
#2. Tell yourself that it is okay to drop all expectations of yourself and everything else.
It’s always great to make a plan lest we fail. But sometimes, we women can set such grand plans and forget that we are ultimately still human. We need our sleep. We need our feel-good foods. We need our ‘Me-Just Me’ times. And we need to be able to look after ourselves without guilt.
Drop all the ‘should haves’ and ‘ought tos’ from your daily thoughts. These often lead to too much unproductive negativity.
Instead, try to focus on counting your blessings and being thankful for some things even when you don’t feel like it.
Take joy in your life and in yourself – no matter how far short you feel you fall.
I find Ann Voskamp an extremely inspiring and encouraging mother to emulate in her spirit of Joy. Check out her Joy Dare here.
#3. Don’t believe everything you see or what they say.
This will sound ironic since well, you’re reading my blog for my tips on surviving SAHMhood. But hey, I’m telling you – Don’t believe all that you read or see on the web!
I’ve fallen into the trap of measuring my SAHM-worthiness against one too many Pollyanna-Mama, Pinterest-Perfect and Bloggerific moms. And mind, it got pretty downright depressing.
So if you find yourself thinking: How does she keep it altogether? How does she do so many million things and still look so fab? I cannot! I’m a failure! I’m not cut out to be a SAHM!… then I think you may need to check your internet and media diet, you may want to do some detox and disconnecting. That was what I did end last year. I’m still struggling with my media addictions
I love it when I meet moms who tell me they are just loving it (SAHM life) because their enthusiasm for a life of seemingly relentless laundering and cleaning help put my attitude in check.
But seriously, people don’t always tell us their own battles in entirety. So don’t be too gullible and believe that their lives are rosier than yours. Comparing yourself with others is the surest way to head for discontentment. Discontentment, as we all know, is one unwelcomed leech on our inner joy jars.
#3. Give your hubby decompression time.
Marriages can take a big hit during parenthood.
On bad days, as the parent staying home to deal with the majority of domestic issues, you may sometimes grow resentful of your partner for various reasons such as the ability to take a decent meal without having to clean out regurgitated food from your hair or using the loo without being hunted down by your child.
I have realized I need to consciously remind myself that my husband is out there working hard to earn money to feed our family.
I very often like to greet my husband with a ‘Finally! You’re home! Boys, Daddy’s home. Now you can get him to play with you!’
When he gets home, it’s like ‘YAY! I can take my break now!’
But I realize he needs time to unwind from a long day at work and having boys bounce all over him as soon as he steps into the house is not a great idea. Two snappy parents do not a happy family make.
So now, I’m slowly learning to give him some time to decompress before handing him the kids.
#4. Map out your sanity support network – include diverse persons and means.
Have different friends you can call when you feel you need a listening ear.
I have different friends I know I can talk to about the various aspects of my life.
I especially love that I have more mature moms I can call when I feel like a mom-failure because they always have a new, and often reassuring, perspective for me to consider.
But my sanity outlets also include non-persons like activities.
Having time by myself just reading a book or staring into blank space while I indulge in a Magnum is something I relish.
#5. When all else fails, remember you are NOT a failure.
However terrible a day or week or a situation may seem, remember these things do not determine who you are.
Breathe. Now’s a good time to pull out your ‘Dear Self’ letter.
#6. Now read, Oh! The Places You’ll Go!
Finally, I like to highly recommend this book by Dr. Seuss.
Life is a journey. You don’t stop going places or growing.
With some borrowed words from Dr. Seuss, I’ll like to send you off, or back, into your SAHM journey:
It’s opener there
in the wide open air.
Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.
OH! The places you’ll go!
If you would like to find out more practical tips on transiting from working to stay-home mom life, do check out my blog post over here at Maybe Baby.
This post is part of a blog train hosted by Gingerbreadmum where 3o other stay-at-home mums share their survival tips.
Next up on this blog train is Angelia Ang of Growing Hearts.
SAHM for the past 5yrs with 3 kids.Believes in Growing Hearts not just minds of the kids. She will be sharing the activities she does and attitudes she developed along the years. Want to know her best friend that keeps kids contented in their routine? Check it out at her blog tomorrow!