Let’s talk about balance. More specifically, let’s talk about how the heck to find balance when you are a stay at home mom. For me, this has been one of the most challenging quests in my journey through motherhood. My oldest is three years old, and I am still not yet in a place of totally balance. Honestly, I am not sure that state can be achieved when you have little children, but every day I feel like I have just a little better handle on how to best juggle all of the many hats I wear.
How to Find Balance as a Stay at Home Mom
When I first wake up in the morning, I let out and feed the dog, then I make my husband his morning coffee, and set it by his keys and wallet. I make my kiddos breakfast, help my son brush his teeth, change my daughter’s diaper. Then dishes and laundry. Bank, grocery store, library. We have lunch and read books, clean up toys and take naps. The house needs to be cleaned. The laundry needs to be folded. Oh, and what are we having for dinner?
On top of all the daily tasks, maintaining a household, and keeping up with those kids, are all of the expectations of a stay at home mom. When you are a stay at home mom, your home is expected to be pristine. The meals you prepare, the activities your kids do, your own personal fitness, are all expected to be above average because you have the time. THE PRESSURE IS RIDICULOUS!
Meanwhile, you know the truth. Maybe you didn’t before you started your SAHM gig, but you know it now. The truth is that kids do not allow you time or space to do ANYTHING from start to finish. They don’t adhere to a schedule, at least not all the time. You will want to escape them. You will worry you aren’t giving them enough of you. You will long for the days when you worked with adults all day, and then you will cry because time is going too fast and your babies are growing up.
If you are like me, you might start to feel crushed by the weight of the expectations and the high standards. Being at home all day and yet having no time to do anything. Everything is out of control. You definitely don’t feel BALANCED at all.
Where Do You Start?
First and foremost, have some grace with yourself, Mama. You do so much. The most important job you have is to love your babies well. It’s okay if you are a hot mess express. It’s okay if you’re late. It’s okay if you cry sometimes. It’s okay if your kids had scrambled eggs for dinner a few nights in a row. We all stumble; your kids will forgive you. You need to forgive you too.
Don’t overload your plate.
Learn to say no to anything that doesn’t feel important or causes you stress.
Shorten your To Do List.
What works for me is just trying to accomplish three tasks a day. I decide on three tasks I would like to accomplish when I am planning out my day the night before. I estimate how long they will take me and I schedule myself a time to tackle the task. Some of these tasks might be to schedule a doctor’s appointment or put away the laundry. I try not to take on too big of a task – I save those for when I have help with the kiddos.
Plan everything. Planning has saved me anxiety, money, and time. It has taken me a while to realize how much this would help me. I plan meals and snacks. I visit the library weekly and get a new book for each day of the week. I plan a few activities for the kids and myself. I (roughly) plan what I hope to accomplish that week and each day. I schedule my days around my kids’ schedule.
Focus on what’s important.
You are a stay at home mom. You aren’t a stay at home housekeeper, or a stay at home secretary or stay at home chef. Your primary job is a sacred one – care for your children. It’s okay if some things don’t get done today. Your kids won’t notice dirty dishes in the sink or if you didn’t do your hair.
Remember to take care of yourself.
Your relationship with yourself is the most important one you have. Take time to do what makes you happy. In your very core. The things that set your soul on fire. Do those things, often and regularly. It is good for your family to see you prioritize yourself. And care for yourself in the most basic ways too, the ways we often forget to do. Exercise, eat a healthy diet, get a haircut when you need to.
Find your tribe. Hang with your tribe.
You can’t do it alone. You shouldn’t have to. Reach out to friends and family. The real ones. The ones you can call at 3:00 A.M.. The ones to whose home you can bring your children without anxiety. The ones who get it and get you and make you feel at home. Seek these people out regularly. Make it a priority. Their support is priceless. In my own world, this looks like the women in my MOPS group, a few close friends, and family. It’s a small circle, but it’s a high quality one.
Balance is an Idea
Maybe there is a mom out there who has little ones in her home all day long, whose home is always perfectly neat and tidy, who never feels out of control, who does her hair every day, fixes only well-balanced meals, and still has time for herself. I haven’t met any. I have come to believe that balance is an idea, and because we are human, we will never totally achieve it, and that is okay. But moments of peace, snippets of joy to hold on to, a break from anxiety and overwhelm – that’s what balance looks like to me. And that is enough today.
Leave me a comment and share your personal tips for staying balanced!