There can be very few life roles as Demanding of your inner resources and strength than that of the Successful Stay at Home Mom. Being in sole charge of your day, your kids’ well-being, family dietary needs, and communication with the broader world can make you put yourself last. Accomplishing this feat and also managing to keep your own needs entirely in focus is all about self-direction. Especially when embarked on after years of going out to work with all the surrender of autonomy that that entailed, staying at home can be a recipe for self-neglect and loneliness.
How to Be a Successful Stay at Home Mom
As we all know, the absolute key watchword is “structure.” Easy to say, hard to implement. At seven in the morning, a day can seem like an amorphous, daunting, out-of-control opponent. If not corralled and taken in hand, that day can beat you. Any sensation of defeat is to be opposed fiercely, as, in the manner of all vicious circles, it will eat at that hard-won confidence in yourself as the architect of your own life.
Successful Stay at Home Mom’s Top Tips
How to do it? Take a leaf out of the books of the millions of mums who have gone before you. Key coping strategies come up again and again. Embrace them, and you will get the most out of this potentially excellent phase in your life. Firstly, plan the program for the next day the evening before. Include at least one mission that takes you out of the house – other than just dropping or collecting a child or children from school or pre-school. Deliberately fit in a social element to that outing, if only a ten-minute dog-walk with a fellow mum or twenty minutes running in the park with a fitness buddy.
This brings us neatly to the third top tip: exercise; far from being selfish, scheduling time for your own physical well-being will impact positively on your whole family. Remember to factor fun and exercise into the day’s program specifically, not as a ‘reward-if-I-have-time.’
The Importance of Your Network
Fellow parents in a similar situation to your own are indispensable to your mental health. Keep in close contact with the ones with whom mutual support is a given. Don’t let the circle shrink; add new acquaintances to your phone contacts list, and don’t be afraid to call them up. On the other hand, when you are with your kids, put your relationship with them first. So, although some of that valuable mom-and-kids’ time will be spent with friends and their children, be sure to set aside a distraction-free hour or two for interaction: playing, reading, making things together or just chatting and chuckling.
Nevertheless, no-one can blame you for wanting – any, demanding – a break from time to time. Use a grandma, another relative, much-loved babysitter or friend who is willing to take the children off your hands for a few hours. And don’t feel guilty if what you decide to do with that gift of time is sleep!
Don’t Neglect Your Skills Set
Rather than thinking of work as something that is slowly but surely leaving you behind, keep up your occupational skills. Update your knowledge by whatever means you can, whether by finding free online resources, volunteering on an occasional basis, or even by being mentored by an ex work-mate in the workplace on an odd morning.
Last, of all, keep your partner in the loop about what your priorities are and what strains if any (and there will be some) you are under. If at all possible, take turns at helping with homework, at planning menus and shopping and at putting the children to bed. Nobody expects you to be a saint or a supermom, and the sooner you establish that you’re not, the better.
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