As a stay-at-home mom, there can be so much pressure to create the “perfect” home and lifestyle for your children. There are endless curated (and seemingly perfect) photos and videos out there encouraging moms to “do it all.”

As a first-time mom, I felt like I had to keep up with these unrealistic expectations: such as making my baby’s food from scratch or never allowing screen time. As I settled into motherhood, I realized that wasn’t sustainable. I have since let go of the pressure and learned what really works for my family—and I’m honestly a lot happier now. 

Related: Dear husband: What I need you to know as I transition to being a SAHM

I have learned what not to do as a stay-at-home mom, and I’m here to say that you don’t have to be perfect. It’s not realistic and it doesn’t make you a bad mom. In fact, not doing it all actually makes me a better mother to my children. I’ll explain why.

5 things I don’t do being a stay-at-home mom

1. I don’t play with my kids all day

I still play with my boys a lot and sit near them while they play, but I also make sure to give them time to play on their own. This gives me a little break and fosters independent play—which I am a huge fan of!

2. I don’t home cook all their meals

With all of the snacks and meals three little boys go through, it is completely unrealistic for me to cook every single meal from scratch. Instead, I make use of frozen food, pre-made options and pouches on a regular basis. They are eating, they are healthy and I am not spending 24/7 cooking food that they might not even touch.

Related: We need to admit that the ‘choice’ to be a stay at home mom is a privilege not all moms get

3. I don’t have a set amount of screen time per day

Trying to adhere to a set amount of screen time can put added pressure on parents. Instead, I try to limit it to a few short episodes or games in the morning and before bed, understanding that there will be days when they watch more and days when they watch much less.

4. I don’t clean as I go throughout the day

My house is very lived in—and it should be that way. I let my boys play throughout the day without hovering to pick up every mess as it happens, and we clean things up together before bedtime.

5. I don’t let other people make me feel inferior or small

There are people who will try to make you feel inferior for “just” being a stay-at-home mom. There are people who will make you feel less important, or act as if you aren’t contributing. Don’t listen to those people! Find a support system and people who will love you and understand you.

Related: Just because I’m a stay-at-home mom doesn’t mean I have to do it all 

There can be a lot of pressure—externally and internally—to be the “perfect” parent, but there’s no single correct way to parent your children. There are so many things that we do for our kids throughout each and every day, and letting go of some added, unnecessary pressure can help make everyone feel better. Being a stay-at-home mom is a full-time, 24/7 job that takes every ounce of a person. So despite what anyone thinks stay-at-home moms do or don’t do, you are amazing, mama! Don’t doubt it for one single second.

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