Being a stay at home parent is a blessing in many ways; I am there to witness every milestone, I am able to teach her new things daily, we have fun outings, and I never have to put real pants on. Being a stay at home mom also means, I get to experience every melt down, I have no break, and no adult human interaction until I go through Sheryl’s line (Target cashier), or Jamari comes home from work. It’s a guilt trip every single parent goes through (and if you don’t, we can’t be friends because you are a liar). You want to stay home with your kiddos but when you actually do…you miss the freedom and identity that outside employment provides you.
Here are 5 of my sanity tips for stay at home parents.
Wake up before the baby
Being sleep deprived is miserable and I truly believe every parent is sleep deprived until their kid is out of the house. So why would you want to wake up any earlier than your human alarm clock? Because you’d be amazed how 15 minutes of waking up by yourself and getting to brush your teeth in peace will start your day. I wake up before Audrey to purposely read news headlines, read my daily Bible verse, pray, check social media, brush my teeth, and occasionally get a cup of coffee in. Although, I normally don’t get out of bed and start moving around until I hear her, it starts my day better when I have a few minutes of start-up without the abrupt shutter of a crying human.
Get out of the house
Sure, it is easy to stay in the same pajamas for 3 days and never leave your house. I would be lying if I said I never fell into the SAHM vortex and did that, but it is really unhealthy (and gross). I make a plan every day to go out once. If it means that I walk aimlessly through the aisles of Target and collect $50 worth of stuff I didn’t need, then that is the risk I am willing to take. It is essential for my mental health to see other humans. It is also good for Audrey to get out and socialize. Our standard stops are Target, Trader Joes, Starbucks, Marshalls, Gymboree, and the park. As ridiculous as it sounds it gives me something to look forward to and it also forces me to brush my hair and put real clothes on. FYI: “real clothes” are stainless and freshly’ish washed yoga pants, t-shirt, and mom bun.
Carve out couple time
I could never understand pre-Audrey how couples become so obsessed with their kid that they never leave them for alone time. I still can’t. While I adore and cherish my time with Audrey and love when we spend time together as a family, I NEED time with my husband. We have a designated “date night” every week. We are fortunate that Audrey goes to sleep at 7pm every night so we have a lot of time to spend together each night, but once a week we get to go out sans Audrey to enjoy each others company. It is crucial for us to keep dating each other and staying connected. Our marriage was strong before Audrey and we are committed to keeping it strong now. I cringe when I read posts on Moms groups that say they haven’t been out with their husband since their child is born (and their kid is 2). Our dates don’t have to be elaborate, some of our favorites are sitting in the local In and Out while chatting, but it’s a few hours of time with just him and I and that’s special.
Meet other stay at home parents
Being home all day with your child can be isolating and after suffering with postpartum depression the isolation was suffocating. It was important for me to connect with other parents. I attempted to join a “Mom’s Club” but that was horrible. So we joined Gymboree, which was a game changer for me. I am able to get out everyday, do something fun for Audrey, and chat with other adults. Gymboree was so much easier than waiting by my window with Audrey prepped in the stroller and running out the front door to introduce myself to any random woman I saw passing by with a stroller. (Don’t laugh, I did this for months)
Self care is so important
I talked about the stay at home parent vortex that sucks you into wearing yoga pants and a mom bun daily because it is so easy. I admit 90% of my wardrobe is “active wear” but that is totally in style now and that counts as a win. Something clicked when Audrey was around 3 months old (read: my meds kicked in) and I realized I needed to care for myself in order to be able to care for her and Jamari. Even though I can’t call in sick to work, I can certainly call in a sitter, and I do. I often call a sitter to come over while I go up to my bedroom, take a nap, take a bath, apply a face mask, and binge watch shows while eating snacks I don’t have to share. Some call it selfish, I call it brilliant. This little act of self love allows me some time to myself and it makes me a nicer person which is a win win for everyone. You are no good when you are worn out, stressed, and unbathed.
There are days when I search the internet endlessly for another career, and the time will come where I will re-enter the corporate world. But in this season of life, my career is being wife and mama and while it is harder than any other job I have ever had I adore this opportunity.