Being a stay-at-home mom can be physically and emotionally challenging- if not completely exhausting. The task of cleaning after little ones, prepping dinners, putting bandaides on boo-boos, and trying to appease an unconsolable infant can stress anyone out. But the hardest part can come from the depression we sometimes fall into because of our isolation. In a room full of children an adult can feel completely alone. It’s important to take small steps to keep one from losing their grip. In raising happy and emotionally healthy children self-preservation is key. This isn’t to be confused with selfishness. Here are just a few tips that I’ve compiled from interviews with several ‘career’ stay-at-home mothers:
1. Wake up early – before everyone else- and take a shower. This is always a good way to start one’s day. Do your face and hair up, and spritz some perfume- if you’re a perfume kind of gal. Some kinds of perfumes are actually mood enhancing. Then dress yourself in regular, but comfortable clothes. Rarely does someone actually feel their best if they lay around the house in their pajamas all day.
2. Remember that procrastination is your enemy. If something needs to be done, like the dishes, or the bills, do them. Don’t put things off until they seem like unsurmountable tasks. This may sound like common sense, but one of the things I heard more often with most mothers is- I can never catch up on my laundry, and it stresses me out. But somehow these same mothers find time to watch The Starter Wife, and shop on E-bay. It only takes a few task designated minutes to get on top of the ball. I will set aside a laundry duty for at least thirty minutes everyday. I may not always be caught up, but I’m not so backed up that I am stressed either. Realistically, as far as laundry is concerned, your in-box will almost always be a quarter full.
3. Simplify. Get rid of old junk. Clear off counter tops. And make your home feel more at peace. Do you really need every appliance that is sitting on your kitchen counter? Sometimes it’s just best to put things away and out of sight until you really need them. And get rid of that old mail that has been sitting on top of the microwave for the last two weeks…I need to get to that now that I think about it.
4. Find a way to get some exercise. If you can’t join a class at the Y, then pump up the volume in your home and do some dancing. Get your kids involved. Little ones love dancing around with mama.
5. Get out of the house and take a class. Be it a college class, or an art class at the recreation center, it is important to find time to just be yourself and hone into your own interests.
6. Take your vitamins, and eat healthfully. B100 complex is common among my friends with children. I take one myself every morning and it helps me deal with stress.
7. Last but not least, you need to remain CONNECTED. Take your kids to the park, or join a play group. One of the biggest things that mothers need to remember is that they still need to feel like part of the community. Socialization is imperative for emotional health.