Staying at home is a great gig for a lot of mamas, and overall it's a job that we wouldn't give up for the world! But when the days are hard they are hard, and it's normal for you to look for things to help you keep it together. Well from one SAHM to another, here are five things that I hope will make your life (and mine) a little easier:
- Flexible Schedule When it comes to being at home all day with little ones, you need to be able to roll with the punches. I think it's important for SAHMs to set schedules for themselves to stay sane, and to make sure that they're making the most of their days and feeling like they are truly having meaningful, purposeful days. Please don't misunderstand me; I do not set my alarm for 7:30 every morning and proceed to wake up my child and sing songs to prep him for preschool; that would just be too much for my mental health to handle. But, we do follow a loose schedule at home that my son has learned to rely on, but is also able to adapt when things change up like when I have to head to the doctor, or we need to get the oil changed, or when I'm sick and need to skip one of his more favorite parts of the day (like going to the park). Being flexible in our home is mostly important around nap time, and so I stick to a critical period method; as long as he is down between 12 and 2, we are going to have a good afternoon. If we go pass that time, things are gonna get rough. So do your best to recognize those critical periods in your day, and be willing to roll with the day to make sure you and babe are both happy by bedtime.
- Meal Prepping Meal prepping isn't just for fitness babes on Instagram and Pinterest. Meal prepping can seriously save you from wanting to tear your hair out around 6 p.m. during the week when you're standing over the stove and your toddler is clinging to your legs, or opening every cupboard to show you how cool all the tupperware you own is. Even having a couple of meals ready to toss into the oven or the crockpot on a busy weeknight can make all the difference in how you view your quality of life. Saturday or Sunday are the best days for me to get a little meal prepping done, because hubby is home to play with my little guy while I chop veggies, separate proteins and get some meals put in the fridge and freezer to make sure we aren't eating mac and cheese three nights a week (no judgment though, mamas, do what you gotta do). It's also worth mentioning that your little kids are probably not going to love every meal that you make. I know, it makes me wanna cry too. So it makes sense to have a couple of things prepped for their meals so you're not reaching for a hot dog every night (again, no judgment because I've so been there).
- Low-Maintenance Beauty Routine This is probably my most tried and true tip for SAHMs. Dry shampoo has honestly saved me from many a tear, and that is not me being dramatic. As a SAHM (and one that is currently pregnant to boot), I can maybe guarantee washed hair 2 times a week. When I first became a SAHM, I struggled to find the reason to actually get ready for the day. I was just staying in, so what was the point? And don't get me wrong, some days I'm still totally in the comfy camp. But some quick shortcuts, and cutting down the amount of time it takes for me to get ready, make my life so much easier. Having some go-to wardrobe pieces, a simple five minute makeup routine, and a no-muss-no-fuss hair style means that I can get out the door without feeling like a complete hot mess. It also means that I'm not spending an hour in my bathroom while my little tag-along goes through every drawer and explores the intricacies of my lotion collection.
- Babysitter Having a reliable sitter will change the way you look at your relationship. Guess what, mamas? A date doesn't have to include the third wheel that is your child. Get in touch with your mama friends that live close by, any family that you have in the area, or even checking out one of the many reliable sources online for caregivers nearby, and get yourself a sitter that can watch your little one regularly. And I use that word, because every couple has their own sitting needs; some may be able to make a date night work once a week, others get lucky if they can fit it in monthly. Either way, make sure you've got someone you trust, and you won't be stressing about babe while you and your man are having a good time. I also highly recommend having a sitter that you can rely on for things that you've got going on during the day. As a pregnant mama, having a friend to take my son to, when I have constant appointments, has made my life so much better. The thought of having him at my appointments gives me heartburn! So whether you work it out to do a kid swap with friends, or you get a sitter from church, a good babysitter is a MUST, mamas.
- Treats Don't laugh, mamas. We all need treats. And they need to be there when we freaking need them, you hear what I'm saying? Every mama is going to have a different treat that helps them get through the day, so whatever yours is, make sure you have a couple of them on hand and keep them in a place where tiny, sticky, toddler fingers aren't going to stumble on them and demand that you share, because no. But since we're talking about treats, bribing isn't the worst idea in the world when it comes to making your life easier and keeping your little ones happy. I keep a little tube of mini M&Ms in my bag at all times, and when I can see my little guy starting to lose it, I ask him if he needs a little treat, and a little sugar usually does him a world of good. So keep your Cokes, leftover Easter candy, or ice cream sandwiches within reach and treat yourself, mama.