Moms who stay-at-home (or those of you that work from home) and who rarely leave the house, I’m sure you are quite acquainted with yoga/sweat pants. Before my first child was even a pea in the pod, I would daydream what it would be like staying at home, playing with my child, running errands, doing housework in heels, making breakfast, lunch and dinner on time, and well…just looking like the perfect housewife.
Boy was I way off in my thinking.
Sure, I may not have actually thought life would be that perfect, I mean, I’d probably be vacuuming in flats, not heels, but still the house would be clean. Sometimes we feel so pressured to have everything together. As moms, we’re the “go-to” for Band-Aid’s, we run all the errands, find all the missing socks and shoes around the house (and other gems hidden under furniture), keep everything picked up, make the schedules, keep the family running nearly on time for events, teacher and role model for our children, the enforcers and in addition to our 24-7 mommy duties…some of us work another job on top of that. Regardless of what your daily to-do list has on it, we all know if you’re a mother, that to-do list is a long one.
Up until my son reached seven months, I was doing fairly well. I could put him in his bouncer or swing and he would eat that up for at least 30 minutes at a time. And nap time, man, he owned that. I would sometimes be lucky enough to have four to six hours to get things done in the day during his naps. WHAT?! Well, once he started crawling, dare I say, it all went downhill. The dishes wouldn’t just be piled up from the night before, but more like three to four days before. The laundry started to pile up, and although I’d wash it…I’d forget to dry it, so I’d wash it again (and again). Aside from my house looking a mess and my schedule all over the place, I noticed I also had thrown my love for fashion out the window when one day after running around like crazy, I glanced in the mirror and realized my shirt was on backwards, I had a boogie smeared on my yoga pants, I had mismatched socks on and I hadn’t showered (and it was 1:00 in the afternoon). As I looked in the mirror, I glanced over at a picture of my husband and I on our wedding day and wondered if I’d ever feel that “fresh” again. Would I ever figure out how to schedule “me time” in my day, would I ever have time for date nights, could I really clean my home, get my work done and be able to pay attention to my child to provide him with the time that he needed from me as well? It was an overwhelming feeling to have so much on my shoulders.
I’m sure you were hoping that I uncovered the secret to having everything together. Truth is, I found that I simply couldn’t do everything…and do it 100%. When you become a mother, you choose to give up certain things. Every new beginning in your life requires this, just in different ways. You may not have a home that stays clean all the time, you may not get that two hours of getting ready time in the morning, you may even consider chasing after your kids your new work out time.
Here’s my advice:
- Learn to laugh at yourself and during the stressful moments in your day.
- Know it’s okay if your home doesn’t look like it belongs in a magazine. Your home should be lived in…and it’s okay if there’s evidence of that.
- Having children can be like a putting your relationship through boot camp. Take the time to hug and kiss your spouse, ask how their day went, give them your undivided attention, schedule alone time, have a date night…and actually get ready. It’s important to continue dating after you’ve had children. This doesn’t mean spending money going out all the time or on trips. Have a movie night on the couch after the kids are asleep or check these Stay At Home Date Ideas out for more possibilities too! Get creative and spend time together…just the two of you.
- Instead of trying to find a schedule that works around your children, figure out what will work around your schedule. Although it can feel like your whole day revolves around your little one, figure out a healthy way to structure your day for child and YOU.
- Prioritize; you won’t be able to get everything done in one day. But you can schedule out your week so that you make time for the things that need to be done.
- Pick a block of time everyday that you dedicate to cleaning up. You can pick one room to work on each day, or specific tasks. What doesn’t get done can wait until tomorrow.
- Turn off the TV. You’d be surprised and how much more time you can find in your day if you turn it off.
- Focus on your kids. You’ve been given the most important job as a mother. The house won’t be sad if you don’t clean it, Facebook won’t “unfriend” you if you take a break from it. Put down the electronics and play with your kids. Get out of the house and go for a walk, go to the park or get a snow cone. Enjoy life, live life, and know that each stage of your life will be different.
- Ask for help. Have a friend watch your kids so you can spend a little more time with your husband, have your mother or mother-in-law help you with some laundry, pay the kid down the road ten bucks to mow your lawn. Whatever it is you feel overwhelmed with, ask for help.
- Once your newborn is no longer a newborn, clear out the baby items from your bedroom and make it your retreat again. Moving children to their own rooms is important for your sanity as well as your relationship.
- When mommy’s in a good mood, everyone is more likely to be in a good mood. Take some time for yourself. When you make this a priority, it will happen.