I have always wanted to be a Mum and not only that I’ve always wanted to be a stay at home Mum. I know, shock horror, how dare I ever admit such a thing in this day and age of trying to ‘have it all’. Please don’t stop reading here…
I took voluntary redundancy while on maternity leave with my son and from then on we decided that I wouldn’t go back to work in the same way after my maternity leave was over, at least not while the children were little. We then learned how to manage on one income so that we could afford to do that.
Like anything, learning how to be a stay at home mum took time, I had to find the best way to make it work in order to keep us all as happy and sane as we could be… (this didn’t always go to plan as I’m sure you can imagine)!!
I thought I’d share some things I’ve learned about being a stay at home mum that helped me while my children were little in case they are helpful to you too:
Always get dressed no matter how little sleep you’ve had, no matter how rubbish you feel and even if you aren’t leaving the house. It will make you feel so much better.
Always try to get a bit of fresh air if you can. There will be times when you really can’t face it and that’s ok but whenever I forced us out of the house, even for a walk down the road to the park both me and the kids were so much happier for it.
Know that you can’t do it all! I’m definitely guilty of feeling like a failure more than once because I didn’t have a freshly cooked meal on the table every evening. It’s fine to have pasta and stir in sauce for the third night in a row if you’ve had a rough week – at least everyone is eating!
If you have a hobby or interest do your best to keep at it even if it’s just very loosely. Sewing, knitting and baking honestly helped to keep me sane during my days at home and if you can get the kids involved in something you’re interested in – win win!
Go out and meet other mums even if you don’t feel like it. I’m naturally an introvert, if I’m feeling rough the last thing I feel like doing is talking to other people when I could be cosied up at home in my safe little haven. There were so many times in the beginning of motherhood that I literally had to force myself out to playgroup or music group on little sleep and feeling rubbish. I now have some amazing mum friends that I don’t think I could have got through those first few years without.
It’s ok to have a CBeebies day, or even an iPad day (gasp!!) Sometimes you just need it and guess what, the world won’t fall apart and your child won’t be permanently damaged by it. And no they wouldn’t be better off at nursery because you are a rubbish mum – they are with you and that’s what makes them happy!
Don’t feel bad for not playing with your child ALL OF THE TIME! Of course they will want you to play with them all the time but if you have to go off an start dinner don’t feel bad for it. This is one of the things I used to struggle with the most, then I learned that independent play is actually good for kids and I probably didn’t encourage it enough.
Make time for yourself. So, so difficult when essentially your day job has become full time carer to everyone else but, if you can, do something that’s just for you. Even if it’s just once a week! One of the things I missed the most was probably the lovely hour lunch break I had at work to read my book.
Don’t feel bad for not enjoying every single second with your children. Yes time flies and yes you should make the most of them but some days are horrid and you just need to accept that and know that tomorrow is another day.
- Resist the urge to punch anyone that asks you what you do all day! Staying home with your kids is hard work, it is more than a full time job that you don’t get paid for and often don’t get much recognition for. It can be seen as an easy option and I’m here to tell you it’s blinking not. You and only you are responsible for a good chunk of your child’s upbringing day to day and that can be both wonderful and terrifying at the same time.
I hope these tips are a little bit helpful, they kind of focus on the more difficult aspects but I’m happy to say that, for me, I absolutely loved my time as a stay at home mum. I’m so pleased and grateful to have had that time with my children, it has changed me and my outlook on life in so many ways but that’s another post. Of course, I’m really talking here about before my children started any kind of preschool or full time school. I mean I guess I am technically still a stay at home mum now, I work on my business at home around the children after all, but now they are in full time education life is very different.
I know staying at home is not right for everyone and you must do what’s right for you. This is in no way a judgemental post, I just wanted to share my experience of what we thought was best for us. I sometimes wish I could go back in time and tell myself some of these things at the times I felt bad or questioned myself but really I don’t think Mum guilt ever ends does it, I just have other things to feel guilty about now that they are older!
Lots of love