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.