So, You’ve birthed your baby, you’ve now brought that new baby home, everything is new, everything is hard, and everything hurts. Then, if your story is like mine, your partner (if you have one) probably has to return to work within the first few weeks. Sound familiar? You might be thinking what do I do now? Well, take on the roll of The Stay at Home Mom is exactly what you do.
Who is the stay at home mom? She is the wearer of many and all the hats. She is the chef, the diaper changer, the maid, the laundry do-er, the organizer, the boo boo kisser, the song singer, the teacher, the chauffeur, and many more all wrapped in to one. She may have left her job permanently to raise her children full time, or may be planning on returning to work after maternity leave is up. Her children can range anywhere from newborn up to teenage years. There is no textbook definition of the stay at home mom, but we do all have some major components in common.
For the sake of this post I will be mainly focusing on the first six months at home with my daughter Marlow. How I have coped with fatigue, frustration, loneliness, being overwhelmed, and did I mention fatigue? I have adapted a few key things in to my daily life, and I couldn’t imagine my life without them now. It took us awhile, but Marlow and I have found our groove while Michael is at work full-time – which we are so grateful for because this allows us to live the life we do. (Thanks Babe!)
This is the NUMBER ONE most important part of my day. My morning routine is simple, it consists of doing the same thing each morning to clear my head, take care of myself, and get going on the right foot. There is no set time as to which I wake up and start my day – it greatly depends on the night that Marlow just had. Whatever the time, I do these three simple things each and every day.
What does my morning routine look like?
- Get up and make my bed
I learned once that making your bed every morning is extremely important. I must admit when I learned it, I thought it was bogus and a complete waste of time, and even refused to do it. Now I can’t start my day without doing it. It gives me a small sense of accomplishment, especially when the laundry and the dishes from yesterday are piling up.
- Make breakfast for myself
Another simple one. Lately, I have been hooked on either oatmeal (good for breast milk), or yogurt with granola, bran flakes, banana, and almond butter. They are both simple, take no time at all to make. I also am a big tea drinker, so I make myself a cup of tea.
- Sit down and eat
Quite possibly the most important one for me – to actually sit down and eat. I don’t know about you, but I do not function well in the mornings on an empty stomach. Marlow is now used to this each morning, and she knows that she will be on her floor mat playing while I eat, and is quite good at keeping herself occupied during this time.
That literally is it. Three simple things I do each and every morning to get my day started. Find something that works for you, and make it part of your routine.
Find a Support Group
I have only lived in Vancouver for a little over a year and a half. When Michael and I found out we were expecting I had zero mom friends around here. What did I do? Searched the Internet for “mom groups in my area” and a whole list popped up. I was so fortunate to find the one I did. What started out as a small (5) group of expecting mamas, has turned in to a tribe of over 40 expecting and new moms combined. We support each other, have weekly (sometimes more) get togethers, and keep in contact daily.
I cannot begin to explain how important these women are to me. I have never valued female friendships the way I do now, and can’t imagine my life without them now!
Having people that are going through the same things as you are that you can lean on is so important. Even just being around other women makes me feel better, like a pick me up! I look forward to our get-togethers each and every week. If you are unable to find a group – make your own! Social media is a great way of finding and connecting with like-minded individuals.
Getting out of the House (even when you don’t want to)
Another important one for me. I get some serious cabin fever if I haven’t left the house in a couple days, and sometimes I have to push myself to get out the door.
We walk almost every day. Walking is a great way to get some exercise, fresh air, and I don’t have to pay a babysitter while I go to the gym. Throw in some earphones, play your favourite tunes and just start walking. Exercise releases endorphins that make you feel good, and can calm you down in times of stress and frustration.
I am so very fortunate to be living in this city, there are so many places to explore, and most of it in walking distance for us.
Check online for some free events in your city, if they are free and kid friendly – GO! Don’t even think – just GO!
Libraries, Community Centers, as well as Pools usually have some free events for moms and babies, call around and find some that work for you.
Ask for Help
There, I said it! The dreaded three words no mom wants to admit they need. Asking for help is SO important during these early days when there is no real set routine yet, and sleep is scarce. Though we have no family in our city, both of our sets of parents have made the trip more than once after receiving a frantic phone call or text saying that we need help!
If you don’t have family you can lean on, there are other options you can look at for getting a helping hand. Some of these could be hiring a nanny, or mothers helper. Being The Stay at Home Mom is a 24/7 job, and you are allowed to ask for help. In fact, you SHOULD ask for help – even if it is just a few hours a week. Search what options may be the best for you and your family.
Don’t Forget About Your Spouse
I remember when little Marlow made her arrival and Michael and I had not slept for a few days in a row. We were on edge, we were beyond exhausted, and I seriously didn’t know if we would make it through it together. Fast forward six moths and we are a fantastic team as parents, but that is only a small piece of the relationship puzzle.
We have to make time for each other these days, and we are working around a babies schedule. It can be 15 minutes on the couch watching TV after your baby goes down to bed. It can be taking a walk with the baby in the stroller. Whatever it is, make the time to do it, you’ll thank yourself later.
Don’t expect your spouse to know what you are feeling, or what you need. You need to ask for it, I need to ask for it. They don’t read minds. If I resort back to this way of thinking, I find myself getting more frustrated and short tempered with him, and that’s not fair to anyone.
Not one family dynamic is the same, not one child is the same, and not one mom is the same. We are all different, but we all need some stability in our lives. This is just what works for me on a day to day basis to help me keep my head on straight! I would encourage you to find what works for you and stick to it!