Monday, August 12, 2013

How to survive being a SAHM.

I just had a conversation with a neighbor who quit her job due to frustrations and decided that she would stay at home with her two children until she decided what she wanted to do next.  I talked to her before she had her first day at home and she was very excited.  She was excited to spend more time with her children and to have time to get some projects done around the house.  That was a week ago.  I spoke with her this morning, two hours into her new career of being a SAHM.  She was already miserable.  She was saying that the reason she didn't stay at home is because she's bad at it and is anxious for school to start.

I have been at home for 6 years now and I know exactly where she is!  People who don't stay at home think it is easy to be at home with little people who are unable to care for themselves.  They think I am on vacation every day.  Ummm....it is definitely not a vacation to be in a house with four small children who all want and need different things constantly.  It is not easy to have to nurse the baby while your two year old is holding their crotch because they have to use the bathroom while the four year old is swinging a toy around, hitting your six year old with each swing.  In order to maintain my sanity there are some things I do.

1.  Keep a schedule.  I like to know when things are going to happen with my kids.  I like to know what time we are going to eat breakfast, lunch and take naps.  Especially when the kids will be taking naps.  When the kids are on a schedule, they also know what to expect each day.  I don't have to struggle with kids taking naps because it is the same every day and they just understand that napping is something they will do that day, like brushing their teeth.  A schedule doesn't have to be so rigid that fun things can't be done, it's actually the opposite.  With having a schedule, I know when I can fit fun activities in for the kids, like going to the park or the pool.

2.  Have your children nap.  God gave children naps so parents could recharge.  I use the children's naptime for many things.  I like to eat my own lunch in peace while they are sleeping, catch up on the news, prep dinner or make dinner ahead of time, read, fold laundry, pick up the house, workout, or (dare I say it?!) take a nap myself.  When the children are napping I get much needed "me" time.  There is no one pulling me in any direction and I can just do something for myself, even if that is having the house be completely silent for a while.  With my four and six year old, they have rest time or quiet time.  They quietly read books and take time to just calm their bodies for about an hour.  They actually really enjoy this time.

3.  Take time for yourself everyday (or at least MOST days).  I usually take my "me" time during naps but there are times when that doesn't happen and I will ask my husband when he gets home from work to take the kids for a while, even just a half hour is enough sometimes.  Sometimes I will run to the store alone while my husband is home with the kids.  I don't think it matters what you do, as long as you just have a little time to be yourself instead of MOM.

4.  Find the humor.  Children are frustrating as much as they are enjoying.  I try to laugh with my children every day.  When my two year old is crying because he doesn't want to stop playing, I laugh, sing and tickle him to take his mind away from being sad.  Even in the middle of being frustrated with a child making poor choices, I remind myself that this span of time when my children are little is so small in the grand scheme of life.  I never resent where each of my children are right now or what their needs are (which at times are A LOT) because there will come a time when they don't need me at all and I will wish they were little again.

5.  Ask for help.  I'm not the best at this one but I do ask my husband to help.  Sometimes I get frustrated because I want him to just know what needs to be done the way that I know what needs to get done but men really aren't like that typically.  So I ask my husband to do things like the dishes, setting the table, changing a diaper, switching laundry, whatever.  If I ask him to do something he is more than happy to help and then I don't have to walk around in a huff doing everything myself, secretly seething inside expecting him to ask me what needs to be done.  I also ask my parents for help.  I have asked my mom and dad to take one or two of the kids overnight, for the day or just for a couple of hours.  If my husband is traveling I will sometimes see if my mom can come over to help with baths and bedtime.  I have even had neighbors help when I was really in a pickle.  It doesn't really matter who it is, just don't be afraid to ask for help.

6.  Find others like you.  I have a SIL with 8 kids so I talk to her a lot because she knows exactly what I go through as a SAHM.  I also talk with other mom's at my children's school because there are a lot of big families and SAHMs there.  I enjoy talking with the other mom's in the neighborhood too just to find out what struggles they are having and how they are working through them.  I have gotten some great advice that way.  When I only had my oldest I went to a weekly playgroup and I loved it.  That is too hard now with having such an age range but I would definitely recommend it if it works for you.  And of course the blogosphere is a great place to meet other moms!

Staying at home is really hard but incredibly enjoyable.  There is nothing else I would rather be doing.  You can't stay at home expecting other's to appreciate the sacrifice you are making for your family-they won't get it.  I am really blessed to have the opportunity to stay home and a husband who is supportive and understanding of my role in our family.  I would love to hear what other's do to survive being a SAHM! 

Thank you God for the gift of staying home with my children today.  Help me to take care of myself so I can best take care of them.

Thanks for reading!

Busy Mommy Blogger