How to Enjoy Being a Stay At Home Mom
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Motherhood is one of the hardest jobs you’ll ever have. And it’s not uncommon for many moms, especially stay-at-home moms, to feel a sense of loss in their identity. Hence the struggle to enjoy being a stay at home mom at times.
But losing your identity isn’t the only source of feeling a lack of purpose. Many stay at home moms voice the overwhelm, the ‘being touched out’, feeling isolated, and struggling with the mental load that only they have to carry.
After being a stay at home myself for the last, almost 5 years, I can assure you it didn’t come without many sacrifices. Many selfless moments.
And though many sacrifices have been made, the decision to be a stay-at-home mom is the best one I ever made.
The art of finding peace amongst the day to day chaos is one that takes practice and time. It’s the kind of work that you choose at the end of the day when your kids have been arguing, you just ran out of milk, your partner is still at work, and you’re just counting down the minutes til’ bedtime.
Bedtime comes, and you’re reading books, carrying your little one over to bed when they say “Mommy, I love you so much. You’re the best, mama”.
And then, you are brought back into the joy of this work. The presence in being their safety, home, and peace.
So, let me share some of my best tips on how you can enjoy being a stay at home mom, too.
How to Enjoy Being a Stay At Home Mom, 12 Practical Tips
Stop aiming for perfection
I’m going to be honest here. Us moms spend soo much time often worrying about perfection.
We worry that if we aren’t this perfect mother, society won’t accept us. Someone will look down on us if we don’t have it together 24/7.
We have failed our children, if we don’t perfectly meet their needs all the time.
These are the beliefs that often lead us to burn out really fast. Because the reality is, motherhood and parenthood are not about perfection.
And why are we so focused on being perfect? Because we are surrounded by beliefs and imagery that instill that message into us.
From the picture-perfect mom bloggers on Instagram to the societal belief that moms need to raise upstanding citizens, work full time, be a good wife, and make sure she’s not ‘losing it’ at the same time. It’s just, impractical.
Shifting away from a perfectionist mind frame can be challenging, but worth it:
- It will require you to practice showing yourself more grace.
- It will take a conscious mindset to let go of being a people pleaser (because most people pleasers are *ahem* perfectionists).
- It will take time for you to make this mindset shift and won’t just happen overnight.
Letting go of perfectionism can be one of the best things you do for yourself as a mother (coming from a recovering perfectionist herself).
Make time for your mental health & needs
You’ve probably heard this before, but mama, your mental health matters! And if there is one thing constantly being pushed to the edge as a mother, it’s likely your mental health.
Between prenatal and postnatal hormones, relationship challenges as new parents, transitioning from a working mom to a stay at home mom, having little time for yourself, navigating the demanding toddler years of big feelings, and more…it will take its toll if you don’t arm yourself with the tools, skills, and resources to do so.
Here’s how to get into a good routine of prioritizing your mental health:
- Take 5 minutes a day to reflect or journal
- Make enough time throughout the week to have activities that help you decompress (whether it’s socializing with friends, moving your body, getting pampered at a spa, grocery shopping without the kids, getting a haircut, etc…)
- Ensuring your basic needs are being met daily
- Eating a balance of healthy food to support your overall health
- Have a weekly debrief with your partner on how they can support you and you support them
- Go to therapy if you need that extra support (especially if you’re a new mom or postpartum mom experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety)
A really sweet and favorite book of mine that was gifted to me by the author is called, The Lovely Haze of Baby Days. If you have young children, it’s a really sweet and quirky book to read that really showcases the hard parts of motherhood while emphasizing the beauty within them.
I found it really therapeutic to read to my son when he was a baby. It just helped me feel seen and validated even though it was just a book.
Build your village (aka make mom friends)
Having a group of mom friends that just get it will be crucial to sahm life (sahm = stay at home mom). On a bad day, you can reach out to your best mom friend knowing she will be there to have your back.
If you’re struggling to keep up with the household chores, dial up your bestie so she can bring her little one over and you two can tackle them together while the kids play.
You don’t need this extravagant social life, but you do need a few people in your corner, in your village, who you’ll find solidarity with.
Need help making more mom friends? Check out this post with quite a few ways to build your motherhood tribe and make more mom friends.
Be a cycle breaker
One of the hardest parts of being a stay at home parent has easily been learning that I had a good amount of cycles to break.
I’m talking about getting triggered when my child doesn’t listen the first time or feeling overstimulated when I’ve cleaned up 5 messes with an endless amount of mess in sight and my toddler is being too loud.
Yes, these things can be extra triggering when you spend your ENTIRE day with your child, but the reason they feel so overwhelming is that you don’t have the skills to manage these triggers. You don’t have the skills to understand them either.
And you don’t possess these skills because instead, you learned dysfunctional patterns of handling them, such as retreating when things get hard, maybe even yelling at your child, or feeling so flooded by your child that you just shut down.
This work is not easy, but it is worth it. Breaking the cycles so that you can learn to be more present, more connected, and less overwhelmed is work worth doing as a stay at home mom.
Stick to a simple daily routine
One of the most common challenges stay at home moms face is mastering their routine.
An uncertain routine when you’re home every day with your kids can certainly set you up for failure. Failure in that you will survive the day and feel depleted before it’s bedtime.
If you’re into using planners to organize your day, using something like this planner for moms might be helpful.
Also, don’t try and restructure your entire routine all at once. Start small. Focus on the morning routine, then the midday routine, then the evening routine, and take them one step at a time.
Embrace asking for help
Going back to that perfectionist mindset we talked about earlier in this article, it can make asking for help feel almost impossible.
Whether you have friends or family members willing to help — if you feel the pressure to do it all yourself, you’ll likely find it difficult to speak up and advocate for the help you need.
Remember this, the phrase “it takes a village” doesn’t translate to you doing everything all the time. Moms also need help.
Maybe you haven’t had a break and you simply need someone to watch your kids while you do a solo run to the grocery store.
Maybe you are starting a business from home and hire a part-time nanny to watch the kids while you get your work done.
Maybe you’re a newly postpartum mom who needs support from a postpartum doula because the recovery is pretty rough.
Help looks different for all of us. Don’t be ashamed for asking for the help you need.
Emphasize your sleep
It is hard work to be ANY kind of parent when you’re sleep deprived. And I struggled with this a lot during the first year of my child’s life as a stay-at-home mom.
I felt like whenever my son would finally close his little eyes and drift to sleep that I needed to be tasmanian deviling through the house knocking out every single chore or else who would get them done?
Let me tell you, I was so wrong.
I spent so many days surviving the day on absolutely nothing. No energy. Not even a double shot of coffee could pick me up.
And it wasn’t until I started doing the infamous “sleep when the baby sleeps“, that I began to feel more functional.
And as a breastfeeding mom, having my partner help me at night by changing my son’s diaper so that my only job was to feed or pump was a huge help in prioritizing my night sleep.
I encourage you to make sure you are prioritizing your sleep, it really is an important thing if you want to ensure you’re not getting burnt out as a stay at home mom.
Don’t be a helicopter parent
As a stay at home mom, you will often fall into the default parent role. The parent who knows all the ins and outs about your child.
This can sometimes lead to a bit of helicopter parenting. The urge to always keep your little one close by and safe instead of letting them explore on their own.
Helicopter parenting can look like:
- Playing a game where you control the game and rules instead of letting your child lead the play
- Being at a park and physically hovering over your child to keep them safe instead of letting them attempt things on their own
- Always interjecting if your partner is parenting differently than you (highly recommend you listen to this wonderful podcast on parenting when you and your partner don’t agree).
Give yourself grace
If you left your job or career to be a stay at home mom, you can consider that your new full-time job. And, it’s not easy.
Caring for babies, caring for young kids, and even caring for teenagers will all come with a unique set of changes and challenges through the seasons of motherhood, so do yourself a favor and give yourself grace to take em’ all in and evolve through them.
This will be one of the most important things you can do, to be a happy stay at home mom.
Master Your Child’s Behavioral Problems
If you’re a stay at home mom who is finding her child’s behaviors are too much to handle, I encourage you to learn more about these behaviors.
Every behavior is communication.
Think of it this way, when you’re angry and snapping at your partner — is it for no reason at all? Or is it because there is some uncommunicated issue going on that hasn’t been resolved?
Well, it’s the same for our kids. Except, our young children often don’t have the skills to fully communicate what they need. Just like a baby can’t tell you when he or she is hungry or tired — so they cry.
You might even be like me, parenting an autistic toddler who has even more complex behaviors that be harder to understand and become that much more triggering, but I promise you, you can come to a place of understanding your child and your triggers, thus leading to being a much happier stay at home mom.
Read Affirmations on a Daily Basis
Positive affirmations are a great way to start the day when you’re a stay at home mom.
Affirmations can be simple, positive, and uplifting. And when you hear them enough, you will become aligned with them. Heck, place them on your fridge to see it throughout the day if you need to.
Below are some of my favorite parenting affirmations for stay at home moms:
- I’m not a perfect mother, I’m imperfectly perfect.
- Growth in motherhood is not a weakness.
- I believe I am the best mother for my child.
- I am thankful for my children.
- I am grateful to stay home with my children.
- I am grateful to live this precious life.
- I am worthy of self-care without guilt.
- I will model self-care for my children so they learn that pouring into yourself is a healthy habit.
Get Out and Enjoy New Experiences
If you’re struggling to decide if being a stay-at-home mom is the right decision for you, just remember, life doesn’t inherently stop because you’re a mother.
Yes, priorities may shift, but you can still get out and enjoy new experiences with your child.
Things as simple as play dates at the park to exploring a local museum together and even just getting outside for a neighborhood stroll — these are all wonderful ways to build memories and share new experiences with your children.
Being a stay at home mom isn’t for everyone. However, there are some moms who would give anything to be home with their little humans. So, if you’re going to be a stay at home mom, might as well learn how to enjoy being a stay at home mom so you aren’t looking back one day wishing you had been more present or cheerful with your children.
This post was updated on 04/02/2023
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While things have gotten easier as our daughter has grown, I definitely remember a number of evenings when cooking was not on the cards – and I like cooking! In addition to the “seeing other adults” challenge of being a SAHM and a WFHM, I find the guilt difficult. Some days, keeping our daughter happy and occupied and meeting work deadlines means NOTHING ELSE gets done. And even then, either work or our daughter tends to get a little short-changed. I have not found the solution to that one yet.
I hear you mama! It’s so hard trying to balance both worlds and to an extent it’s impossible. Just keep doing the best you can, I’m sure your little girl loves and appreciates everything you do for her oh so much! <3