The decision to be a stay-at-home mom is important, and many moms who make that choice are stepping into new and unknown territory. Many women put their careers and other ambitions on hold so they can take on this new role.

When I was a new parent seeking other's perspective, I heard many parents say "you find ways to survive." Well, I remember thinking to myself, “I don't want to just survive, I want to thrive!"

I've learned that a large part of our ability to thrive as a stay at home mom comes from having a positive mindset, energy, and ability to prioritize and manage time. With that in mind, here are the 10 steps.


1. Recognize that there is power in your choice to be a stay-at-home mom.

The choice you made to stay home, and the reason for it, is significant to you and your family. You will grow into your role and learn more about what you can expect as a stay-at-home mom. Each day will have ups and downs, and reframing your perspectives will help in the tough times. By embracing and owning your decision and your role, you'll feel more empowered and in control.

2. When it comes to raising children, accept that there is only so much you can do and control.

You'll have a lot of unanticipated scenarios come up, and you'll be challenged to embrace uncertainty. It may be uncomfortable but go with the flow. SAHM life will require you to frequently stop what you're doing to tend to your baby's needs, even if you're in the middle of taking a shower.

3. Be present because this time will go fast.

Many moms miss and reminisce about the days when their children were infants. Practice being present with your child, despite all that you have to do. Set boundaries and time limits to when you're using your smart devices. Bring your positivity and presence into what you're doing, no matter the task.

4. Set a schedule and time block your "must dos" and "nice to dos" around your baby's schedule.

Moms go through 2-4 hour intervals in caring for infants. You feed, clean, change, put your baby to sleep and repeat. It's most likely when your baby is asleep that you have the time to care of your “must dos" like cleaning bottles and stains, feeding and cleaning yourself, and taking a nap. Ideally, you also have pockets of time to take care of things that aren't an absolute must. Without a routine, the minutes and hours easily get away from you.

5. Get organized and set up your systems so that you know what to do at any given time.

Find a place for every item you own and put things back in their place every time, or at a specific hour. Staying organized will become a habit. I personally take pride in the system my husband and I have for cleaning, sterilizing and organizing bottles. It got done during naps, no questions asked.

6. Identify the tasks that you should automate and delegate.

Just because you're a stay at home mom doesn't mean that you need to do every household chore. You only have so much time and energy in your day. Ensure that you spend it on tasks that are most important, like taking care of yourself and your baby. Can you have groceries and baby items delivered to your home? Where else can you get help? Can you hire a housekeeper and send out your laundry to get done?

7. Acknowledge that as a new mom, you're living your purpose and being productive.

Your child is your number one priority right now. You may feel as though your primal instincts have taken over and that is exactly how it's meant to be. Your purpose right now is to nourish your baby, and give your baby your love, human touch and connection. Now, I also believe that what you provide for your baby is synonymous to what you need as a new mom—nourishment, sleep, love and connection. Take care of these basic needs for you and your baby, and you'll be productive on purpose.

8. Establish a morning routine that helps you kick-start your day with positive energy.

This may be challenging in the beginning but in time you will adjust to your schedule. Make sure that a screaming baby isn't the alarm that gets you up. Wake up earlier than those in your household and immediately hydrate yourself with a glass of water and lemon. Carve out 10 to 15 minutes of sacred time in your morning to stretch, mediate, pray, write gratitude statements and positive affirmations.

9. Assign themes to the days of the week for you and your family to take care of household chores, and other needs.

You'll feel more in control of weekly schedule. By structuring and streamlining what gets done, you'll find freedom for spontaneity and all the other things. You may decide that Monday is a great day to prepare meals, or Fridays is a good day to invite family and friends over. The themes are up to you. The consistency will help you maintain order in your household and create habits for other important areas of your life.

10. Find a positive and supportive community.

Staying at home to raise children can feel isolating at times. Know that you're not alone. Join a few mommy groups either online or in person. There are many inviting groups of moms who share their struggles, blessings, lessons and offer positive support to one another. Connect with other moms in those communities for play dates (if they're local), or coffee/tea chats on Skype.

These steps will help you maintain a positive mindset, stay connected, and make the most of your time, which in turn will help you thrive in your #1 role as mom.

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.


The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.

As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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As mamas we want our babies to be safe, and that's what makes what happened to Glee actress Naya Rivera and her 4-year-old son Josey so heartbreaking.

On July 13, the Ventura County Sheriff's Department announced the 33-year-old mother's body was found at Lake Piru, five days after her son was found floating alone on a rented boat. According to Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub, Rivera's last action was to save her son.

"We know from speaking with her son that he and Naya swam in the lake together at some point in her journey. It was at that time that her son described being helped into the boat by Naya, who boosted him onto the deck from behind. He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water," Ayub explained, adding that Rivera's son was wearing his life vest, but the adult life vest was left on the unanchored boat.


Ayub says exactly what caused the drowning is still speculation but investigators believe the boat started drifting and that Rivera "mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat but not enough to save herself."

Our hearts are breaking for Josey and his dad right now. So much is unknown about what happened on Lake Piru but one thing is crystal clear: Naya Rivera has always loved her son with all her heart.

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