13 Tips For Surviving Life as a Stay-at-Home Mom

The decision of whether or not to go back to work or stay home once you become a mother is a difficult one. For some women, there is no choice and once maternity leave is up, they head back to the corporate life. Some women, however, have more freedom in the choice and decide to stay home with their children. These women often don't realize just how exhausting the stay-at-home parenting thing can be. The perception is that they will have lots of downtime and become very bored. While it is true that many stay-at-home moms express feelings of loneliness, they certainly have enough to keep them busy. And in order to survive the stay-at-home mom lifestyle, it is important to follow these 13 tips.

9 Put Memories Before Messes

As the main housekeeper for your family, you are probably the one who does most of the cleaning. And when you have little ones, the messes are many and the time in the day to clean them is little. But don't worry about having a spotless home. Those messes are the result of memories that are being made, and even though sometimes it can be overwhelming to sweep or vacuum a floor ten times a day, you can never get those memories back. Clean what you can with what time you have, but don't sacrifice memory making with your baby just so that you have an impeccably clean house.

8 Get Out Of The House

Even if you have nowhere to go, just getting out of the house with your child can keep your spirit alive. Take trips to the park, or hit the library for story time. Or, go to Target and just window shop. Both your child and you will benefit from being around other people, and you can have fun creating your fantasy shopping list. You can even use it as an opportunity to teach your child. Go down the toy aisle and talk about the different toys. Point to shapes or colors, or animals and let your child communicate to you the things that they see. You don't have to get out every day, but once in awhile, it is good to escape the confines of home and experience some of the outside world.

7 Don't Try To Be A Supermodel

Life as a stay-at-home mom usually leaves little time for doing hair and makeup. But even when there is time, by the end of the day, a hot mama becomes a hot mess full of food, snot, dirt and other substances. The only reason to get all done up is because it makes you feel good. And that's great- if you have the time to put yourself together, go for it. But don't feel like a life lived in yoga pants, sneakers and a ponytail means a life of being unattractive. Your husband still thinks you're a hottie, and more importantly, your children couldn't find a more beautiful mother in the world if they tried. Embrace your natural self and don't worry about what anyone else thinks.

6 Get Out Of The House, Without The Kids

It is important to have time for yourself. And keeping your marriage strong is also important. So make time to get out and have drinks with the girls, or go on a date with your husband. For an occasion like this, definitely plug in that curling iron and pull out that makeup bag. A night with no kids means a much better chance of coming home in non-stained clothes and you will feel sexier and younger. If you aren't big on makeup, stick to what you're comfortable with. But definitely get a babysitter and get out for some grown up time.

5 Allow Yourself To Be Frustrated

Moms are usually more nurturing and sensitive, so it is hard to watch their children be upset. But truthfully, holding in your frustration in order to spare your child's feelings is unhealthy and doesn't send the right message to your child. If they are doing something that frustrates you, like not listening when you ask them to do something, it's totally fine to express to them, whether vocally or with your body language, that their behavior is upsetting you. This tells them that it is good to express your emotions, and communicates to them the things that mommy doesn't like. It will probably take several times before little ones get it, but holding it in only tells them that their resistance to you is acceptable.

6. Have A Drink. Or Two.

Even the most sober mother craves a drink when she's had a rough day. And if you've had "one of those days," get yourself a glass of your favorite grown up drink and relax. Once the kids have gone to bed, let go of the stress of the day and have a drink. It doesn't even have to be an alcoholic drink. Whatever your choice of beverage is, pour yourself a glass and drink it slowly. Savor every sip and take a deep breath. You deserve it!

4 Take A Nap When Your Child Naps

Most people offer this advice to new parents, referring to sleeping when their newborn sleeps. And many times, it is easier said than done. But if your child does nap, and naps well regularly, use that time to take a little snooze yourself. Don't worry about chores, or bills, or checking emails. As a stay-at-home mom, you work long hours and you don't get much sleep. So take advantage of the chance to squeeze in some shut eye, even if it's just for half an hour. A well rested mom is better than a mombie (mom zombie).

8. Have A Hobby

Whether it's scrap booking, antiquing or playing an instrument, make sure you continue to do the things you love. Don't stop making time for what makes you happy (other than your family). It is important that you maintain your individuality and don't lose who you are as a person in your role as a mother. You might not have as much time to devote to your hobbies as you'd like, but whenever you get the chance, give yourself to the activities that you enjoy.

3 Know That You're Not Alone

Some days, stay-at-home moms feel like it's them against the world. Like no other mother experiences the same struggles, or has a kid who misbehaves so much. But the truth is that stay-at-home moms everywhere are fighting the same battles as you. Meal time battles, bath time battles, bed time battles, all those trying times are being shared by other moms who also feel like they're fighting losing battles. Connect with other local stay-at-home moms who you can share stories and advice with.

10. Don't Feel Guilty

Just like working moms, many stay-at-home moms experience feelings of guilt. You feel guilty about not working. You feel guilty about getting upset with your children. You feel guilty about having days that you wish you were working. You feel guilty and you shouldn't. All moms have "off" days, and some weeks those days are more frequent than others. Feel confident in your decision to stay home with your children and focus on the positive. Life is too short to dwell on the "what ifs" and have regrets.

2 Give Yourself A Pass

Along the same lines of feeling guilty as a mother is feeling inadequate, or feeling like you are failing. These are negative self perceptions that you need to let go of. All mothers make mistakes. All mothers bend the rules sometimes. You need to allow yourself to be an imperfect human and learn from the things that didn't go as planned. Motherhood is a learning process, and one that is never truly mastered. Do the best you can and remember that you'll never be perfect. Don't be so hard on yourself. You have the hardest job on the planet, and you deserve to be employee of the month.

1 Accept Help When It's Offered

Sometimes women are lucky and marry men who are willing to help out with the housework and taking care of the children. Sometimes women have relatives who live close by and offer to babysit. Sometimes friends ask if you need any help at home. Whoever it is that offers some help, take it. There is no shame in having other people give you a break sometimes. Often people offer to help when they can tell that you are stressed out or need some time for yourself. Let them help when they offer.

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