Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Be a stay-at-home Mom Without Losing your Mind

I've had several people tell me that they think it would be harder to stay at home with their kids than going to work. I totally get that. At work, people respect you, take you seriously, your space is your own and you feel like you accomplished something at the end of the day. Staying home is not like that, however, I'm the complete opposite, I think going to work would make my life incredibly chaotic. I'd rather stay home and have less money than try to manage kids, meals, housekeeping and a job without my brain exploding. But, I won't pretend it's not hard to be around toddlers all day, morning-til-night with little adult interaction save my texts with my husband and the occasional chat with someone at the store.

I've been thinking about ways I can avoid going crazy. Today is super hot and we're stuck at home because I had a ton of housework to do and, I'll be honest, I'm a little crazy. Earlier I huddled into a corner of the kitchen with my back to everyone just to eat an oreo by myself.

Try to have a clean house to wake up to. At night, load the dishwasher, put away toys, and fold some laundry while watching tv so in the morning you wake up to a tidy space rather than more craziness. It's easy for me to get into a lazy relaxed mindset once the kids are asleep but I can't stand waking up to a mess!

Take a cue from pre-school and have a plan. I find that if I'm always thinking one step ahead, especially when we're home all day, everything runs much smoother. We'll do something fun, like playdough for 30 minutes or so, then have a snack, then play with toys for awhile before lunch. Changing things up every 15-30 minutes helps keep the kids occupied. Even just turning on music works wonders for my kids.

Clean up one thing before moving on to another. My kids know the "clean up" Barney song very well. Growing up, we always had to clean up one activity or toy before playing with something else, and I've adopted that rule, too. I don't want my house to look like a daycare at the end of the day, and I don't want to spend nap-time picking up toys.

Utilize nap-time. It's really easy for me to sit down and get lost on Pinterest during nap-time but if I use it instead to make some pizza dough or vacuum or scrub the sinks, I feel much better.

Do one thing a day. I like to keep busy, running unnecessary errands, doing crafts, hanging out at my parents house, etc. Not only that but my kids are little. They're 16 months apart, remember? There have been seasons where all I can do as far as house work goes is one thing a day. Whether it is laundry, dishes, doing the floors or cleaning the bathroom, let it be good enough. Let yourself sit down. Don't let yourself go crazy.

Have realistic expectations. If you give your kids spaghetti for dinner, expect to be on your hands and knees cleaning the floor later. If you keep your kids out late, expect some tantrums. Our big one is that if we are out doing something during nap-time then we have to be okay with the fact that the kids will probably fall asleep in the car and that will be it for naps that day. We have to expect it.

Start over. I start over all day long. When all the whining is making me lose my mind...start over. When Asher's climbing everything and I can't turn around or he'll tumble to his death...start over. I am not good at shrugging my shoulders and moving on. I have to really try. Here's how I start over: "I can't change the way he's behaving, I can change the way I'm behaving." Or even, "I can't change the way I just reacted, but I can react differently this time." Be in constant prayer, ask forgiveness, ask for strength and help and the fruits of the Spirit and just start over.

This list is really for me but I hope it helps you, too. What do you do to avoid going crazy? I really want to know.

1 comment:

Gillian said...

Jessi I really enjoy your blog as a little insight into your life, but also for thoughtful tips! I think this list is actually very useful beyond stay at home moms (besides utilize nap time, which to me means: take a nap).Thanks for your thoughts and hope you are well!