This week we’re looking at balance strategies for moms. Today we’re focusing on strategies for the stay-at-home mom. Tomorrow and Thursday we’ll look at balance strategies for the work-at-home mom and the working mom. One of those days should apply to you or someone you love. If it doesn’t apply to you, pass it along to a friend who needs the encouragement!
We’re also giving away a book this week. If you comment or add to the discussion on the day that applies to you, you’ll be entered to win the Hearts at Home book Balance That Works When Life Doesn’t by Susie Larson!
Being a mom-at-home is more of a demanding job than most people think. The responsibilities are overwhelming, and the 24 hour duty can wipe you out sometimes. A stay-at-home moms rarely gets anything accomplished that isn’t undone in an hour.
So how can she make it better? How can she learn to survive this season of life when the demands of children are unending? How can she take some time for herself? The answer is simple, yet difficult. She asks for it and plans for it.
I was a mother-at-home for over 20 years. Because of the age span of my children, I had a preschooler for 17 straight years. I remember those days well. Last week, I remembered them even more while I cared for two of my grandkids (ages 2 and 5 months) for four days. “Ah yes,” I thought, “this is why I wrote the book Professionalizing Motherhood for stay-at-home moms!”
Take time for yourself. Remember self-care is not selfish. Taking care of yourself is taking care of your family. On a daily basis, do something to fill your emotional fuel tank, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Read, take a walk, or read a post or two from your favorite blogs or website. Fill your spiritual tank, too. Read the chapter in Proverbs that corresponds to the day of the month it is (Sept 4–Read Proverbs 4). Grab a devotional and focus your thoughts on God for just a few minutes each day.
Use naptimes for “you” time. If you have an infant, sleep when the baby sleeps. The dishes can wait, your body needs rest. If you have a preschooler who is no longer napping, require rest time. Allow him to play quietly in his room or to read books on his bed, but require some down time for him and for you. Since few preschoolers can tell time, set a timer so he knows when rest time is over. If you’ll feel better getting something done during naptime, set a timer for 30 minutes and tackle the laundry, the house, or the dishes. At the end of that 30 minutes, do something for you!
Change your expectations. Caring for children requires a lot of time and energy. Expect interruptions. Allow more time for EVERYTHING to happen. If you have a “to do” list, cut it in half. When your expectations are more realistic, you’ll experience less frustration.
Leave your kids. Some stay-at-home moms are so focused on their kids that they fear leaving them in the care of dad, grandma, another mom, or a responsible sitter. When my kids were little, we labeled one night a week as Daddy Night. I would have dinner ready when he got home and then I headed out for the night to go to a coffee shop, meet a friend, or just enjoy some time alone getting errands run without kids. During another season, a friend and I traded days off. One Tuesday was her day off, and the next Tuesday was my day off. Our kids loved playing together, too! Set some regular time on your calendar to be away from your kids. This will help you be a better mom because you’ll be emotionally refueled.
Find your mothering community. No mom should mother alone. This is especially important for stay-at-home moms who are often isolated in their own home. Look for a moms group in your area (check out mops.org to find the closest MOPS group to you). Join a Bible Study. Attend a local La Leche league meeting. Find other moms who are in the same season of mothering as you are. These are your “co-workers.” They understand what your life is like and will be able to encourage you when you need it!
If you’re a stay-at-home mom and your kids are in school, you’ll enjoy this post I shared several years ago. Your balance strategies are similar, but just adjusted for your unique season of life.
How about you? If you’re a stay-at-home mom, what balance strategies have you found helpful?