I really do love being a stay at home parent but the perception of SAHM life is quite different from the reality. The lady of leisure picture is not quite how I’d describe my day to day life that’s for certain. Of course it’s wonderful not to have work stress but 24/7 ‘mummying’ definitely has its challenges too.
At times you can feel lonely and isolated even with three year old twins whipping up a whirlwind around you. Other times you are simply bored of the monotony and just crave some adult interaction.
Here are my top tips for keeping you feeling positive about your role, whether it is the one you’ve always dreamed of or one you’ve found yourself in for whatever reason.
Routine, routine, routine
Children thrive from a routine. Knowing what is coming next helps them feel secure in an otherwise unpredictable life. Meal times, nap times and bedtimes are great examples of points in the day to keep repetitive. When these are kept the same, the rest of your day slots around them and feels less chaotic.
Try and get out of the house often. If not daily then every other day. If you find local groups and clubs to join and commit to going for a few weeks, you might make some mummy friends. Don’t expect this to happen straight away and sometimes it takes some trial and error to find the right sort of groups. But persevere and you’ll look forward to regular meet ups with local mummies.
Before you go to bed, decide what your plans are for the following day and what time you need to be out of the house. With no plans, you are much more likely to rise slowly and before you know it the morning has disappeared and everyone is still in their pyjamas. This is great for a pyjama day but won’t make you feel too fab if it happens regularly.
If you’re having a day at home try and set yourself a few mini tasks to achieve on top of the usual. You still need to keep the kids fed, entertained and do all the other mundane housekeeping stuff. However, two or three jobs written down is immensely satisfying to tick off through the day.
With children around you all day, it’s hard to carve out some time just for yourself. We’ve recently introduced quiet time when naps all but disappeared. This has saved my sanity and breaks up a long day with children. Use any free time you have wisely. If you get a few hours in the evening, try not to use all of it glued to a screen but find something that excites you instead.
Tidy Up Time
Everyday after dinner, rope everyone in to tidy up the house. At first it’ll take some training with little ones but as they get used to it, they’ll speed up. When this is scheduled, it’ll help you relax during the day. Hopefully you’ll be able to resist spending all your time moving stuff from one room to another.
Having a clear space to sit in of an evening is much nicer than toys strewn everywhere. It should help you switch off a little. It should also give you back a bit of your evening for yourself.
Once your children are past the stage of waking regularly and you’ve got a good bedtime routine established, try to have an evening out every now and then. Maybe you could go on a date with your significant other or meet up with a friend for a few cheeky cocktails.
Proper adult interactions, the kind you had before kids are great for giving you a little boost and making you feel like more than just mum. Aim for a monthly evening out of the house.
If you have another mum friend nearby, you could try trading babysitting so you watch their children one night and they watch yours another. This is perfect for keeping down the costs on a date night.
What do you do to maintain your sanity as a SAHM? I’d love to hear your tips too.