When you make the decision to stay home, you're doing what's best for your family and your situation. It is relaxing to not have to get ready and go to a job every day but it does come with its disadvantages. What's not relaxing is waking up five times in a night to nurse or because the baby didn't feel like staying asleep. Staying at home is isolating, can cause a lot of disrespect from people who have never been unemployed- even your spouse. There are endless tasks that have to be done but there is some downtime. Check out these tips to make staying at home the best experience that it can be!
1. Ignore comments like "what do you do every day?" Those are often spoken in either ignorance or frustration and unless you're home all day with kids in school and you do sit around and ignore all other responsibilities, there is no merit. You don't have to answer the question. You know that you vacuumed, cleaned the floors in the kitchen 2 times at least and did a few large piles of dishes- only to have baby blow their diaper out on your carpet, spill a bottle of milk on the floor (or toss a whole plate of food) and create even more dishes.
2. Take time daily for self-care. You can try to wake up an hour before baby typically wakes up and do stuff for yourself or you can do it during nap time or after they go to bed. Just find a time to get some time to yourself in at least a few times a week. You need it to energize and not burn out.
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I’ve dreaded this day since the second I found out I was pregnant with baby #3. All the help and extra hands have gone home and Tyler has returned back to work (praise that he’s just down the hall though). I’ve spent months trying to not think about this day and then the months quickly turned to weeks and now here we are. Today hasn’t been easy and tomorrow won’t be either and I’m sure the next 18 years won’t be a walk in the park but I do know it’ll get better. I’ll get better. We’ll find our groove, the tantrums will fade, sleep will return and it’ll get better. I sure do love my children though and am so blessed to experience these hard times for them. They make it so worth it.
3. Along those same lines, make sure to spend quality time with your spouse/SO/partner. You both need it. Having kids changes a lot about your marriage and you need to make sure to stay close. For all the single moms out there, use this time to spend with family and friends. It will help you to de-stress and help the people in your life understand that being a stay at home mom is no picnic.
4. Take up a hobby. Have you always been interested in photography? Sewing? Knitting? Now is a perfect time to take it up. You could even learn knitting while nursing instead of playing with your phone or sitting around bored. It helps to pass time and if need be, when you're good enough, you can monetize those hobbies and start up a website or profile on a site like Etsy to sell it.
5. Take advantage of "mommy and me" or "mommy and baby" classes and days at local businesses. Use that time to try to meet other new mommies you can set up "play dates" or go out to lunch/dinner. Being a stay at home parent is isolating. Your partner gets adult interaction on a daily basis, you depend on them or even your parents to be your adult contact, so networking and meeting other new parents can really help.
6. Don't be afraid of calling your parents just to chat. They are the ones who raised you and they may be able to give you tips and tricks for some of the harder to handle things. They could also be your only source of adult interaction some days and you do need something other than nursery rhymes some days to stay sane.