As a mom of four, like any parent, my family is my biggest priority.
When our daughter turned two I decided to stop commuting two hours a day, and stay home with her. I did this until we had our next son, and then began Driven Day when he was six months old, while staying home with him.
However, one of the biggest pieces of advice I received when deciding to be a stay at home mother during that time was from my mother in law. She's raised ten children, is a preschool teacher and a true role model.
She said, "Never underestimate the value you're giving her and the connection you're forging with her by being home."
She couldn't have been more right.
That being said, navigating being a stay at home mother is anything but easy. It's easy to get lost mentally without a specific place to be at a certain time, and being the primary caregiver is a HUGE undertaking.
Here's a basic schedule which includes making sure you get some ME time, followed by a few tips.
STAY AT HOME MOTHER SCHEDULE:
Wake up, get yourself and kid(s) dressed.
Breakfast and clean up (include kid(s) in this one).
Downtime- This goes for you and the kids. While they nap make sure you do something for yourself like sit and eat a snack, workout, but the key here is to give you both some type of break, this isn't vacuuming time.
Lunchtime- Make sure you eat something substantial also. Again, involve kiddos in clean up.
Get out somewhere!- This could be to the Starbucks drive through, a mommy and me class, a friend's house, the library, a park when the weather is nice, or even your backyard. The goal is change the scenery and be active as a family.
Downtime #2- This is where you attack any of those tasks you can't do while actively occupying the kids like laundry, cleaning, bills etc... If you have a baby this can be while they're taking their second nap. If your kid(s) are past this stage, this is either quiet time with calm music playing, an activity they can play independently like play-dough/coloring, or screen time.
Dinner Prep- Ideally it can be really rewarding to include your kids in this, if your baby is still young enough to do tummy time or a swing, then go for it. If it's too hard with kids up to do both, then dinnertime prep happens during downtime #2.
Dinner and kitchen cleanup.
Unwinding time for mommy, phone calls and texts you didn't get too, catch up with your husband. Go out to run some errands solo etc...
Last tasks- Defrosting meat for tomorrow's dinner, laundry, bills etc..
A few tips:
1. You Still Need Support:
I'm not sure when it happened that raising a human wasn't enough of an accomplishment, but cleaning help, babysitters for coffee with friends, or partner's support are all equally if not more important for stay at home moms.
2. Treat Yourself Like a Working Mom:
You would never judge a working mom for keeping dinner to something quick and easy, or ordering takeout. You are a working mom too in the most amazing way. Just because you're home raising your kids doesn't mean you have more time than anyone else.
3. Make Sure you are Mentally Stimulating:
It can be a lot, so attending a class once a week on a topic you're interested in, going to the gym, reading a good book, are all super important.
4. Getting Dressed for the Day you Want to Have:
If you plan on going the park, putting on those sneakers first thing in the morning is crucial. If you're meeting a friend, feeling pretty and adult can be a real pick up. If you're tired and want a cozy day at home, wearing a yummy sweatshirt and messy bun signals to your brain and body that today is going to be CHILLED.
5. Be Silly:
Make sure you're enjoying your kids, smiling, and laughing. Being goofy is one of my fav parts of kids, and of being a mom.
Hope this was helpful. Enjoy!