How to Be a Happy (and Sane) Stay-At-Home Mom

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(Photo: iStock)

Having the ability to be at home with your children during the day can be one of the biggest blessings in life, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy.

In fact, we’d venture to say it’s pretty darn tough most of the time.

As a stay at home mom, you can never “clock out.” You’re the bottle maker, diaper changer, nose wiper, ballet carpooler and hide-and-go-seek player 24/7. Oh, and you also cut the crusts off all of the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches; seriously, no crust is safe around you.

As much as you love your role as Super Mom, there are times when the daily grind can feel totally overwhelming. In order to keep balance in your life mentally, emotionally and physically as a stay at home mom it’s important to take certain steps in order to maintain your happiness – and sanity.

Actually get dressed for the day.

It’s beyond tempting to stay in your ridiculously comfy sweat pants all day long, especially when there’s a good chance whatever else you put on will end up doused in spit up or applesauce or a rogue blue marker from a craft project gone terribly wrong. Sometimes your “morning shower” won’t come until 4 p.m., but by pulling yourself together, even if that’s simply changing out of your PJs, you’re setting the tone for the day. We promise you’ll feel better afterwards.

Hydrate. 

And by that we mean strong coffee in the morning, loads of lemon water throughout the day and wine as soon as it’s socially acceptable -- but we won’t tell anyone if your wine o’clock slowly becomes earlier and earlier.

Exercise.

We know firsthand how your entire workout regimen gets disrupted -- or even eliminated altogether -- after a baby arrives. Staying home with your kids doesn’t allow you the freedom to take a quick trip to the gym whenever the mood strikes, but that doesn’t mean you should give it up completely -- it just requires a little more creativity now. Strap the kids in the stroller and go for a long jog; order a home workout DVD and squeeze in a sweat session during the kids’ naptime; take your clan to the park and do some walking squats or lunges while they play. Getting innovative with your workouts will save your sanity while toning your bod: it’s a win-win.

Ask for help when you need it.

We repeat: ask for help, and don’t be ashamed. So many times moms think they should be able to “do it all,” even if they lose their minds in the process. But if you feel like you’re hitting your breaking point, there’s no shame in hiring extra help. When you need an extra set of hands, look into hiring a babysitter or even a part-time nanny to help you out with carpooling duties or even housework that never seems to get done.

Do something for yourself.

You spend the majority of your life doing things for others; you love it and wouldn’t have it any other way, but it’s imperative to set aside time to focus on yourself when you can. It might seem unnatural or even selfish, but trust us, it’s a very healthy habit to get into: have your husband watch the kids while you go get a much-needed pedicure, ask your mother-in-law to babysit while you sneak away to a spin class, or even invite another mom friend over with her kids and have a glass of wine over some good conversation while the kids play. We guarantee it will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated and ready to tackle the next parenting hurdle.

Join a mom’s group.

Research any groups, clubs, classes or organizations in your area and make it a point to get involved. Not only will it provide entertainment and socialization for your baby, but you’ll be able to attempt adult conversations with other moms who are most likely going through the same things you are.

Don’t neglect nap time.

There’s not a more freeing feeling than the sight of your baby dozing off for a hopefully long nap during the day, which is your cue to finally get around to the approximately one million other things you haven’t had a second to do, or even simply just a time to actually just lay down and zone out to Bravo TV – whatever it takes to get you through the day. Make a strong effort to enforce regular nap times every single day, If your child has aged out of nap time, you can require “quiet time.” Both you and your children will benefit from this time of rest and relaxation.