Although I haven’t had a ton of kids, I have been a stay-at-home mom to two girls who were either colicky or extremely high need. And in that time, I’ve learned a few tricks that I thought I’d share in this survival guide for stay-at-home-moms with young kids.
First, let’s get real. Staying at home with difficult babies, toddlers and preschoolers sometimes feels like you’re stuck in the 5th circle of hell and cannot escape.
We love our kids beyond comprehension, and they can be the most beautiful and angelic creatures walking on Planet Earth.
But sometimes they won’t stop screaming in your face.
Sometimes they won’t give you 5 minutes to yourself.
Sometimes they want you to carry them around 24/7.
Sometimes they get up a million times a night.
Sometimes, well most of the time, they are so flipping loud.
So aside from throwing them at our husbands the minute they get in and looking for a good place to hide, is there anything we can do to make these hard times any easier?
(And if anyone says something like “Treasure these moments; they go so fast,” or “This too shall pass,” I will throat-punch you. Just kidding. Sort of.)
I definitely don’t have this all figured out. There are still at least a couple days a week where I question whether I can do this thing even one more day. But this is what I’ve figured out thus far.
- Make time to be by yourself.
When you have someone beating on the door every time you go to the bathroom, time alone becomes a valuable thing. So, even when you know you should probably be cleaning house or doing laundry, set everything else aside and take an hour or two to yourself. For me, that means getting out of the house. Even taking the car through the car wash is a treat when I go by myself.
- Don’t take on other stress.
When you are in a stressful situation at home (new baby, kids all home for summer, special needs kids), this is probably not the time to take on a big new project. Like maybe the kitchen remodel could wait, and it’s certainly not the best time to take on Whole30. No point in adding any additional stress unless you have no choice.
- Pamper yourself.
If your family can afford for you to have a spa day every now and then, then I’m super happy for you and a little jealous. But if that’s not in the cards, you can still pick a great TV series to binge watch on Netflix or pick up a book you’ve been dying to read. You have to find something to look forward to, something to enjoy about your life. My current non-guilty pleasure: watching Arrow on Netflix.
- Decide what’s most important to accomplish.
When you do get a small window of free time, decide what is the most important thing to do. For example, unless you are completely out of clothes and everyone is running around naked, making dinner is more important than laundry. It’s too easy to get sucked into social media or non-urgent projects, but remember, you’re in survival mode here.
- Ask for help.
Trust me, this is way harder for me to practice than preach, but you probably need to ask for help. In my experience, husbands, family and friends would love to help but can’t read our minds.
- Take a 5-minute break when you are about to lose it.
When it gets to the point that you can feel yourself turning into the Hulk, you need a timeout. Putting your baby down in the bed and sending your bigger kids to their rooms for 5 minutes won’t hurt them. Even if your baby cries the whole time, so what? Better that than losing your ish and screaming at them.
- Give yourself grace.
Before I had kids, I vowed to keep them away from technology. (Sorry, but that Kindle Fire has saved my sanity a few times.) And when my oldest was younger, I thought about the fun obstacle course I would create for us in the backyard. (Did I forget that I despise the Memphis heat and humidity that lasts half the year?) Or when I was pregnant with my second, I vowed to still do fun things with my oldest, thinking I would just put the baby in a stroller and go. (Uh, my little one hates the car seat with a passion, so there goes my stroller idea.) Point being, we are all doing the best we can and that is good enough. If our kids know we love them, know God loves them and are kind to others, we are rocking this mom thing.
- Be positive.
I always believe that the best possible scenario will happen. My baby will chill out by the time she hits six months. My oldest will master potty training in one week. Flying with 2 little kids will go smoothly. Things don’t always work out like that, but I am a much happier person because I choose to believe something great is about to happen versus thinking things will never get better.
Like I said, I’m not even close to a parenting expert. But I can share my experience and what’s working for me.
If you have any other tips for me, comment below or post on Defeating Busy's Facebook page.