Through this whole process, of learning to firstly adapt to being a parent, to learning to balance motherhood, social life, personal time, couple time, and juggling the wants and needs of three small children I feel I have learnt a thing or two at how to manage all of the crazy whilst still keeping your shit together and even managing to be happy.
Whilst some mothers absolutely thrive on being a stay at home mother, I unfortunately do not! I don’t completely hate it but I do struggle. Some days are good and some days are bad. The role of stay at home mum wasn’t really a conscious choice I made but was rather inadvertently thrown on me due to our financial circumstances and having our children in quick succession.
It can be quite frustrating and limiting to realise that you actually can’t afford (financially) to work! A statement which sounds completely crazy to me, that thing that people do every week ( and sometimes hate) where they go out into the world mingle with other adults who can wipe their own butts and feed themselves and get paid I can’t do! I can’t afford to earn money, that is so ridiculous to me!
Tips on how to survive being a stay at home mum
Learn to Triage
I can’t count the amount of times I’ve been faced with at least two or more of my children crying either because of hunger, soiled nappies, wanting cuddles or attention or have hurt themselves, which can be so overwhelming, as you feel yourself sweating trying to grow extra arms and simultaneously deal with three kids at once, the best way to deal with this is to not! Hear me out! The stress caused by trying to do it all, can be too much and will leave you feeling haggard, try instead triaging your children’s needs. Yes this means all the crying won’t stop immediately, but kids are resilient and you’ll find overall you’ll sort everyone out quicker than if you tried to do it all at once. For me I triage like this; safety first (so removing a child from a possible dangerous situation (e.g. they’ve found the fridge power cord) injuries next, followed by fights, soiled nappies, hunger and then the cuddles are unfortunately last! Whilst every one of these situations needs attention, always use common sense and know that this applies to general everyday situations and only when I have more than one child needing my attention.
Always Look on the Positive Side
The more worked up you get about a situation the harder it is going to be to deal with. If you find yourself waking up in the morning already dreading your day you can guarantee you are going to have a bad day! I assure you cause I’ve been there done that (had my own bout of post natal depression) and found that changing your mind set does so much more than you can even imagine. I’d like to point out here a couple of things because I can already hear peoples thoughts being; ‘well I’m not a perky or positive person’ or ‘I can’t control my emotions’. I am the most stubborn, emotionally charged and overly sensitive person you could meet! And even I can do it, which if you know me that’s saying a lot! The best way for me to keep a positive mind set is to start the day off right! Now as much as I would like to begin the day with a peaceful yoga session, followed by quite time to have tea and do some positive affirmations and write in a gratitude journal before the kids wake up at a reasonable time, that scenario is beyond impossible and is just never going to happen. Instead what I do is simply accept that the first 30mins of actually getting out of bed will be hectic (breakfast routine) but after that I take a quick couple of minutes to have a tea, do my makeup (this personally makes me feel good) and take a quick look at social media or pinterest at images that either make me smile or make me feel empowered and positive. Another thing I like to do before I even jump out of bed I take a couple of seconds to think of three things I’m grateful for (usually done with multiple children in the bed either wriggling, crying or demanding breakfast) The rest of the day will follow at the same frequency of your morning attitude, and you’ll find you can face the day and whatever it throws at you as if you’ve had a giant bowl of coffee and will generally feel a lot happier.
Let it go
Either you’re running late, or the traffic is being particularly annoying, the kids have spilled or broken something, dinner turns out to be nuggets and chips or whatever the scenario, just relax and let it go! For starters there is no such thing as a perfect parent. I think kids benefit more from having a happy parent then they do a perfect daily routine, diet and well planned extra circular activities. Kids’ minds are so imaginative and innocent; they are full of trust and conditional love. So they’ll forgive you if you have three nights of easy dinners in a row, and they’ll be entertained for hours with a box and crayons or water and kitchen gadgets, they won’t remember their early birthday parties, or money spent on them. What will last is the love and attention you give them, evident as they grow into confident and happy slightly bigger little people. Your kids will remember the love and happiness over anything else, so don’t get worked up over spilled milk, just clean it up, let the unwanted emotions past, and just move on to the next thing, something that’ll get easier the more you do it. The more relaxed you are the more relaxed and happy your kids will be, which will have a rippling affect and continuously make your life easier and more enjoyable.
Balance and Dealing with Guilt
I’m very into the concept that a mother is and can be more than just that, a mother! This isn’t a stretch either, think about it, you are most likely a mother, a spouse and a daughter, three identities which most people don’t even think about! But the one that I see most mothers give up when they have children is being an individual who has wants and needs! It is so important to do things for yourself, and not things that are on the basic or the essentials list, you NEED to indulge in your own wants too! Have goals, dreams, and aspirations, be selfish at times, everyone else in your family will already be doing these things (and so they should). Dads do this brilliantly they take time for themselves regularly and don’t feel the least bit guilty about it. Mums on the other hand become a martyr to the cause of motherhood, feeling like a failure, bad mother or inadequate in some way if they for some reason desire to do or go somewhere without children. And we feel completely guilty about even just thinking about it not even actually doing it, and worse still is the expectations and judgement other mothers place upon us, holding us up to an unattainable standard which no doubt they hold themselves to and feel just as guilty about. Women for some reason really struggle to support each other, and mothers are no exception, (ever been to a clique-y bitch-fess gossip fuel mothers group? Not a nice experience!) You will be a more loving, compassionate, involved, dedicated amazing mother if you take care of yourself, your emotional and physical wellbeing and allow yourself to have guilt-free personal time.
So there you have my tips on how I survive being a stay at home mum, whilst I may not tick all the boxes or even parent to my ideals and Pinterest inflicted goals, I’m happy and so are my kids and that’s the main goal.
Hopefully you are able to take away and or adapt some of my tips into your own life or even acknowledge that other people are going through similar situations and experiencing similar things.
Photo Credit: Anna Angenend (an amazing lifestyle photographer, writer and mother).