SOS! – Help for the Stay-At-Home-Mom From A Veteran

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When I was pregnant with Mami (my first child), I had put very little time into researching parenting, having a baby, etc, and all the details that ago along with that. As my pregnancy progressed, I talked to people around me and started to do old style research – the library and bookstores!!

One of the first things I decided on was that I definitely was going to breastfeed. A childless co-worker gifted me a book on the topic and after reading the information (I highly recommend checking out “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” by the La Leche League), I absolutely had to breastfeed my babies because it is so much better for their health. After that, I started considering childcare vs staying at home. Again, I determined that if I was going to breastfeed, it was not only simpler logistically to stay home, but it also allowed my baby to be taken care of by the person who most probably loved them the most in the whole world – MOM!! Whereas, they would be more of “just another number” in the daycare scene.

While I notice in my immediate world of today, that there are several new mommies staying at home with their babies (including Mami), there is quite a dialog on the internet about “all things mommy” (interestingly called “Mommy Wars“), including the topic of being a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM).

There are many things to consider, such as do you want to stay home with your baby; when you run the numbers; is it possible or beneficial for you to stay at home; do you have options to freelance or work part-time that are doable for you; will your relationship with your partner not only survive but thrive if you stay home; do you have the dedication and ability to maintain a sufficient amount of self-care to keep your own battery charged to handle being with your baby/kids for very large amounts of time consistently; etc. You can find additional considerations about the pros and cons of staying at home here.

Some of the most beneficial things for my staying at home time period were:  remembering WHY I was doing what I was doing – because I believed it was the best thing for my baby/child. After I remembered that, all other decisions became secondary and were figured out based on how they could be accomplished given the primary decisions (for me, breastfeeding, staying at home, exercising and eating a healthy diet).

Based on these decisions, I then added in things like getting together with other mommies, creating a play-group, creating a mother’s group (where we traded off days we were the caretaker or had the time off for me-time), and as the kids grew older, finding other groups to join for mothers/kids for activities, learning adventures, and athletics. Through these groups, I was also able to connect with other parents, learn from them, make friends, share information and enjoy myself.

As a couple, we tried to regularly have time without the kids by having them spend time with either grandparents or friends. This was for shorter and less frequent times when they were smaller and became more frequent and for longer periods as they grew older. At various times over the years, I also created arrangements with teenagers to babysit, traded time with other mom’s so I could go to school, and eventually doing overnight stays (or longer) with relatives and dear friends.

I also developed the habit of having a system for almost everything I did. The systems were typically based on efficiency, and creating work habits which accomplish tasks without adding to the load. For example, let’s say the pre-mommy you was a little lax (possibly a bit like a slob…) and you just left your dirty clothes lying around where you took them off, or you left dirty dishes by the computer or tv, etc. Now you have created an additional job of cleaning up after yourself, whereas if you just put the dishes in the kitchen (better yet, in the dishwasher or hand washed, if you do that) right after you were done eating or drinking or completed the show you were watching or project online, your house is much easier to clean and doesn’t need the frequency of clean-up you do if you have the messier habits. Making these improvements in many areas (cooking, shopping, doing dishes, laundry, organization of desks and bill paying, planning menus, activities, etc) all add up to reducing the amount of time required to complete more and then reducing stress as well. You can use calendars now, I use the one in my phone quite a bit, but I have also heard of a couple apps that are available now that are quite popular. A very popular planning and family calendar one is called Cozi. Yowza provides coupon help and Manilla helps you organize the family budget. Remember the Milk helps you with list-making options. Picksie helps you to find potentially fun activities in your area.

Of course, Google can always help you find some answers or suggestions to the challenges you are currently facing, as can chatting with friends with similar interests and values or family members.

Blessings to you and thank you for all the loving parenting you do; it makes a better world, one Sweetie at a time.

Hug attached,

Koolma  : )

 

What tips and pointers have you learned to help being a SAHM be more enjoyable or easier? Are there other areas of consideration you have been challenged by and need some suggestions about or have some to offer?

We’d love to hear from you – please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section so we can help each other, remember, we are all in this together!

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