The value of a resource goes up the more rare it is.
Because of their rarity, we all know that one of a parent’s most valuable commodities is time.
But perhaps an even more precious commodity, because it seems to ever be shrinking in substance and growing in demand, is a parent’s sanity.
In this post I will detail 4 things you are probably doing right now that are dwindling your capacity to hold it together. And how do I know? Because I’ve made every single one of these mistakes and they made me stressed, frazzled, and a little bit nuts.
I’m begging you. Learn from my mistakes and you will be happier and more sane!
Here are the fours things you should not do unless you want to find yourself crying in your closet with your kids beating down the door:
Say Yes to Everyone
I get it. Some working moms look at stay-at-home moms and think “I wish I had all day to be at home with my kids. I could get so much done. My time would be my own and I could contribute so much more to my kids and support their schools and yada yada yada…. If only I didn’t have to have this job that gets in the way of all those dreams.”
Because of this they have expectations for stay-at-home moms. “Oh, Jen is a just home all day with her kids, why doesn’t she volunteer for the PTA bake sale?”
What they (and society at large) doesn’t realize is that taking care of children is a job. In fact, child care in the U.S. is a 59 billion dollar a year industry. The only difference is that as a stay-at-home parent, you aren’t making money to watch your own kids, you are keeping money in your pocket that would have otherwise gone to someone else to do the same thing.
No one says, “Oh Rachel is just running a daycare all day, why can’t she bake the cookies?”
It’s ridiculous. You have a job. The most important job in the world.
The beauty of being a stay-at-home parent is that you do have flexible hours. You could sign up for the PTA bake sale, OR you could spend that time going on a nature walk with your kids, or getting messy with finger paints, or just sitting down to relax and snuggle with your kids.
You chose to be a stay-at-home parent for a reason. Don’t say yes to every request thrown your way because it will take time away from what you envisioned for your parenthood and it can make your life unnecessarily complicated and stressful.
Besides little snuggles and kisses, your flexible schedule is literally one of your only perks, don’t throw it away to any opportunity that doesn’t meet your priorities.
Combine Mixed Messages
The world is full of opinions. Most of them contradictory. Especially when it comes to parenting.
People see that you have children and they just want to unload all of their unsolicited advice on you. The internet, and mommy groups, and Facebook groups, and blogs (ahem!), and old people at grocery stores. They all have an opinion on how you should be parenting.
The thing is that you are a unique human being who is going to be a unique parent, and your children are all unique too.
The clashing insanity of advice out there can do little good for you in your own unique journey. Listen to it if you are lost, ask people you trust, seek out people with children just as weird as your own and learn from them– that is all well and good, but know that you have to filter it.
Your filter is your intuition. Just because it worked for little Jacob next door doesn’t mean it will work for your son, and your intuition and trial-and-error will help you filter the advice and find your own way.
Otherwise, you will go insane trying to follow the contradictory advice of everything you’ve been told.
Please, do not give up on everything you used to love because you feel like you don’t have time for it. Before I became a mom I studied literature and was a creative writer. When I became a mom I never read anything anymore. I thought I didn’t have time.
I expected to not have any time to read or write so much that the entire time I was pregnant I read as many books as I could because “I knew” I wouldn’t have time for it afterward. (probably because I was listening to every one else who said that would be the case- see advice above about not listening to everyone!)
And yes, the first few months of brand new mommy-dom does not include much downtime because you are learning so many new skills and not getting much sleep. BUT that doesn’t mean that all of parenthood means you can’t have time for what you love. When you give up on the things you love it will quickly lead to depression and even resentment.
Babies nap sometimes, and you can learn how to clean and do the un-fun household stuff with them around. Save nap time and bed time for something that fills your soul.
In life and in parenthood it is the same, if you let the days drift by without purpose, then you won’t be using your time wisely and you won’t be achieving the life that you really want for yourself.
You do not want to look back in 10 or 20 years (which will fly by like nothing) and think “I wish I would have…”
Use your time with purpose while you have it. It is so easy to let the days drift by waiting for bedtime to come. Instead, make a life you can be proud of.
Set your priorities, make goals, make time to meet those goals. In 10 and 20 years from now you will be glad that you did and you will feel good about yourself and be setting a good example for your kids in the meantime.
How do you set goals and actually have time for them when you are a busy stay-at-home parent? By finding balance in your schedule and with your priorities. To find out exactly how this is done, check out The Life-Balanced Mom course.
This course will take you from the big picture intentional planning to the every-day steps and time management skills you will need to be able to stay sane and productive as a mom, helping you to meet your personal goals.
Whether you want to be a stay-at-home mom and a writer or entrepreneur like me, or if you want to be able to stay present with your kids and have time to paint or play video games or cook more homemade dinners.
Or maybe you just want to feel like you are staying on top of the basics of home, family, and self-care.
Whatever is important to you, this course will help you create time for it- while still getting the every day necessities done and being there for your kids too.
Ready to create some balance in your mom-life? Get a free preview of the course here.