I was super confused when I was to write about stay at home moms (SAHM). The first question that came to my mind was, how can one stay at home?
After speaking to a handful of SAHMs, I learnt the fact that it isn’t as glorious as it sounds!
It is nothing less than working in four-walled rooms. Or we can say, it is a parallel transition from a 9 to 6 job at an office to a full-time job at home, with few more hours of overtime work.
Firstly, I would say kudos to all the stay at home moms, not because you are a housewife, but for the choice, you made. I understand it isn’t an easy choice considering in the generation we are. It might be a sudden shift from a working woman to a woman dedicated full time towards raising a child. You are no less than those women who are out there managing home and work both. You too are professionals. Parenting is a profession in itself. So let’s begin with first making peace with yourself.
Acceptance is the best policy:
The first set of changes that probably come in a woman’s life is after her marriage. But wait that was the beginning, wasn’t it! The second major change in a woman’s life comes when she learns about her pregnancy. There might be several working women who would have planned their maternity leave and have thought they would resume work after six months.
But what is a life without twists and turns? Often the plans change either during pregnancy or in the postpartum period or after one year of childbirth. And at that time, the world seems to be cruel. A woman goes through a lot of dilemma at that very moment.
I would only say, breathe for a few seconds and think about how can you ace motherhood as you did at your workplace? It is very important to make peace with yourself first before starting the motherhood journey.
How to be a successful stay at home mom?
1. Plan your day effectively:
Plan out your day one night before. I know, we like to go with the flow and we hate sticking to a time-table. Trust me, it helps. From what will be the first thing to do as you wake up to what are the things which need to be done through the day, jot it down.
2. Prepare for the next day:
What will be breakfast? What will pack in tiffin for your husband or your child? Chop few vegetables – that might stay intact till the next morning. In case you have a maid for cooking food, think of what instructions you will give the next morning.
Don’t try to be a super mom and make a seven-course meal in the morning itself. Only cook what is needed.
3. Make a to-do list:
Take a post-it card or plain paper. Write down, your top-priority requirements and must-do are in your first 5 points. The work which can be postponed or is not important can follow at the end of your list.
Don’t forget to stick these post-it cards on your fridge or the easily visible place which will keep reminding about the chores.
4. Assign work:
If there is anything on your to-do list that somebody else can handle, please feel free to assign it. For example, if a medical store is on the way of your husband’s office, he can pick the diaper, medicines or grocery, on his way back home from the office. If you have a helper at home- a maid, parent or in-law, you may ask them to help you with laundry or bathing your child or feeding him or her.
5. Say no:
Women have a tendency to say yes to everything. This habit might bring frustration later and turn out to be harmful. Whatever you can’t do, just say a no. There are no obligations.
- You don’t have to attend all the calls at home or parties or guests.
- You don’t have to cook when you can’t.
- Just because you are home, you don’t have to pay the bills.
6. Talk it out at home:
Say it out loud if you are unable to do it yourself. If you are tired of looking after the child. You won’t be judged at all. Things might turn out to be too hectic to manage. And it is normal to happen so.
Therefore, instead of building up the negativity in your head and feeling frustrated which might also come out in a wrong way, just talk it out. Speak to your husband or anybody else in the house with whom you are comfortable.
8. Make time for yourself:
I know it is super hard to imagine even 10 minutes of the day for yourself. Motherhood can get exhausting, demanding and isolate you from the world. But, you have to take out time for yourself. ‘Me time’ is important to keep sanity.
Make the most out of the time you get when your child/children are sleeping or away from home. Don’t hesitate to allow your relatives to take your child/children out. It’s a blessing in disguise!
What you can do in me-time? Well, read on to get some ideas!
- Nurture your hobby:
If you like reading, then read books. If you like listening to music, then do so. If you are a painter, then paint something. Whatever is your hobby, follow it every day. Sneak-peak sometime to do it.
- Break the monotony:
Go for a walk alone, or hit the gym. Go for grocery shopping or clothes shopping. Parlour, cafe, library and if you can spare 3 hrs for a film then superb. But do something for your own-self.
- Stay fit:
Do yoga, job or pilates, meditate for some time, it will help you, stay fit. It will benefit you in keeping a healthy mind as well.
9. Be kind to your partner:
It might be frustrating when your partner isn’t around to always take care of you and your child/children. But remind yourself, he/she is working for you and your child. Things might have gone equally wrong for him at the workplace like it has been for you at home but just let them go. Many times these differences create distance and misunderstandings!
Go for a movie or a dinner date with or without child/children (in case there is someone to take care of them).
10. Step out of your stay at home mom zone:
This time with your child/children. Take them to playgrounds or activity clubs. It will help your child get engaged with other children. They will learn communication skills. And not punch a new face. Children learn the best habits and motor skills outside.
You meet like-minded people here. There might be plenty of stay at home moms who are equally finding people to share their feelings and tedious lifestyle. Make new friends.
In short, being a stay at mom is also a full-time work. Don’t make yourself feel dependent or feel inferior to any working professional. Also, most importantly keep yourself happy and refreshed.