For a lot of moms (and dads), being able to stay at home with the kids and ditch the 9-5 sounds like a fantasy. But once you’re actually at home with those kids 24/7, it can get a little monotonous (and chaotic) to say the least. It can be hard to actually enjoy it. So here are our 10 best tips on how to enjoy being a stay-at-home mom.
Every single day I spent away from my baby daughter while I commuted 1.5 hours each way to work I job I no longer cared for, I dreamed of being able to stay home with her. To have relaxed days of playtime, snacks, naps, and Mickey Mouse. The reality? It didn’t turn out exactly as I expected, and once I added brand new twins to the mix while also working part time from home, things got even more… complicated.
Some days were like a little slice of heaven, and other days had me seriously questioning my life choices… But over the years I’ve created a little toolbox of ways I don’t just deal with being a stay-at-home mom, but how to enjoy being a stay-at-home mom.
1. Go Hiking
I know, I know. You’re probably already exhausted, so the thought of loading kids into car seats and then either carrying them or chasing them around the woods seems… daunting… to say the least.
But getting out into nature does wonders for your mental health (and physical health), according to Harvard Health. It literally changes the way your brain is firing when you get out into nature for 90 minutes or more.
Now what I do with my kids is really more a calm nature walk than a hardcore hike. But we end up getting some awesome exercise, fresh air, sunlight, and a little dirty. The weeks we miss going on hikes I can really tell by my mood and their moods. (We are a hot mess without this time.)
If you are interested in hiking, but have no idea where to go or where to get started, check out Hike It Baby.
I love Hike It Baby! We go on hikes with other moms and kids we have found with this organization nearly every week. It’s not only awesome because it gets us out of the house, but it also means my kids (and me) get to make some friends! (which is the next tip)
2. Make Mom Friends
“It takes a village,” right?
The problem is that so many of us our isolated from our village. We have no community. We live too far away from family, or we just moved somewhere new. Maybe all our old friends don’t have kids yet, and we feel left out. There are a million and one reasons we can feel alone as moms. But we don’t have to.
When I first started thinking about trying to make friends with other moms I was a bit scared. To be honest, the narrative that has been told over and over again lately is that there is this little thing called Mommy Wars going on, and that moms are super mean to each other and not very inclusive.
In reality? It’s not like that at all. (at least outside of the more toxic Facebook groups…)
Every single time I’ve met another mom in real life she has been super sweet, helpful, and no matter our differences, we had something to bond over. Ya know, that whole being in the trenches together thing really helps you connect.
So check out local mom groups on Facebook or MeetUp. There are also new apps coming out all the time to help you connect, and like the above tip, Hike It Baby is awesome! You can also just start doing little things like talk to your neighbors or the mom you always see in Target the same day you tend to go.
It might take a littel vulnerability to get started, but the payoff is so worth it!
3. Ask for Experiences and Membership
Instead of physical gifts, like toys, we asked our family and friends to give our children experiential gifts if they wanted to give them birthday or Christmas gifts. We’ve become pretty committed to keeping our house un-cluttered to the best of our ability, given the fact that we have three kids.
Also, since none of our kids are in preschool, we want to get them out of the house and into the world as much as possible. An awesome side benefit of getting of the house is it’s super helpful for mama’s mental health too!
(You can only hear the hot dog song from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse so many times before your eyes start to twitch and you turn into Mad Queen Mommy.)
We ended up receiving a membership to a museum and zoo for the kids thanks to one of their grandmothers! So rarely does a week go by that we don’t make it out to one of them.
Protip: pack lots of snacks and drinks. Food and beverages get super pricey at these places. I have a rule that the kids need to eat all the snacks we bring before they get any of the treats they have there, and sometimes they just don’t get any because we already blew the budget on other things that week.