I've been a stay-home-mom for 7 years now. I made the plunge when sonshine was a day old. I just couldn't hand him over to a stranger or send him to a child center. I knew I have to raise him myself.
At the risk of sounding like a brag, I honestly do not find being a SAHM challenging. In fact, I think being a working mom is harder. I take my hats off working moms for juggling so many hats at a time and still have to manage the guilt or desire to spend more time with the kids.
How did I keep myself afloat for these 7 years? Here are my survival tips. The fact that I don't find SAHM life challenging means there must be something I have been doing right, I suppose?
1) Keep yourself mentally sane and physically well rested
This is my most important survival tip, it's above all others. This means when the kids are resting/napping, you rest too. I know it is terribly tempting to finish up the chores while the kids are sleeping. I used to do that too but I soon found myself feeling frustrated when the kids wake up before my chores are completely done. That always leaves me even more tired and short fuse than before. So I decided, for the sake of the kids and myself, I choose not to lift a finger when the kids are napping. I choose to pamper myself with a cup of hot coffee, surfing the net or stoning in front of the television or better yet, take a nap with the kids- whatever makes me happy.
So when do i do me chores? I do it when they are awake. Then what about spending time with them? This bring me to my next point.
2) Stagger, schedule your chores
Don't be overly ambitious & make yourself finish all the chores in one day or take it upon yourself do heavy chores everyday. For instance, make Mondays- vacuuming/mopping day. Tuesdays- laundry and ironing etc. I like it this way because it's is achievable and it sure makes me feel like I've hit my KPI (key performance index) daily and I don't feel so bad say if on Mondays my laundry is not done since I've schedule it to be on Tuesdays. Moreover, I don't allocate a truck full of chores per day, it's easily attainable and leaves me more time in a day for other stuff like the kids, surf net, surf net and erm surf net.
Also, as a sub point, try to outsource your chores if you, like me, have no stay in help. I also found my 'best friends' in cleaning products like Magic clean which works just as brilliantly as a vacuum cleaner (no I was not paid to advertise this brand)!
3) Don't be a slave to chores
Don't be too obsessed by how neat or messy your house is. Otherwise you will forever be a slave to the state of your house & your kids will 'lose' their mother who's always busy cleaning up. When you are too tired to clean up, please take a back seat and rest. Even if there's a mountain of laundry or a sink full of dishes. My rule of thumb is, will anyone die if all the chores are undone or the house is Topsy turvy? No? Then they can wait. The state of my mind is way more important.
4) Have a fix routine
This is my life saver. I would not have breeze through SAHM life without this point. When I say routine, I don't mean go by the clock rather, go by the sequence of events. For instance my kids know the drill everyday, after lunch, it's nap, then mid noon snack, work, play then dinner. They know what's next and so I don't have daily battles with them to move on to the next event. I think this is also my secret to why Sonshine, 7yo, is still napping. This has always been part or his routine since he was a baby, it never changed. He knows that after a certain event, it's nap time. I don't have battles with him on this, he knows nap is nap time.
5) Train your kids to be independent
A friend wonders why my kids don't demand for my time while hers are always asking her to play/entertain them. As a result she can't cook or do much when they are awake. I am half ashamed to say this, but since when they were young, I rarely entertain them. I expect them to entertain themselves. My kids know to leave me alone when I'm cooking. Both will wander around the house and look for their own entertainment. They know where to look for their toys/books etc. I think it also helps that I don't put a lot of restrictions as to what they can do even if they leave a huge mess. (So long they don't kill themselves- I am good). But that's the price I am willing to pay so that I can cook in peace & finish up the chores.
6) Simple meals are okay
When it comes to preparing meals, I go for simplicity. But don't let that fool you. My meals are still pack with nutrition though there's usually minimal preparation. If you are like me, don't have time to spare or simply too lazy to hover around the stove, just make one dish meals and steam it over the rice as it boils in the rice cooker. Nowadays I try to add more variety simply by baking my meat in the toaster. All I have to do is let the food cook into my rice cooker and toaster & leave it to my 'best friends' to do the cooking. And they say, steaming & baking are the one of the most nutritious cooking methods! Win-win!
7) To each her own
All of us are unique & different. We have differing lifestyles, goals and schedules. What works for one mom may fail for another. So don't compare or try to imitate another SAHM's lifestyle just because it fits her perfectly. Find your own formula and don't be afraid to stick to what works for you. I know you may face criticisms but bottom line is, if whatever you're doing brings peace to the household, hey- then it IS good (as long as it brings no harm to the family)! You've got to find your own rhythm don't look for it outside, the answer lies in your family. :)
Always fall back to your original intention of being a Sahm, don't ever let the mounting chores make you lose sight of it & enjoy the journey!
This post is part of a blog train hosted by Gingerbreadmum where 31 stay-at-home mums share their survival tips. We hope that you’ll find our tips useful and remember that you’re not alone!
Adeline will share her survival tips!
Adeline is very thankful that we don't live in the Stone Age, and that we can use technology to make our lives easier. After being a SAHM for almost two years, she has learnt to close one eye (though sometimes, both eyes need to be closed) to all the chaos in the house, and tries very hard not to sweat the small stuff. Visit her blog at Growing with the Tans to see what her top SAHM survival tips are!