Being a stay at home mom can be stressful. When home and family is your job, it’s a 24/7 gig. This can mean that you never really get a moment to shut down, decompress and reset. Over time, this can definitely take a toll on your physical and mental health. Taking time to reduce your overall stress in life can also help you be a better mom. And, while the stressors themselves may not go away, there are some strategies you can use to make your life run a little more smoothly and extend a little more grace towards yourself. Keep reading to learn about 5 stress-reducing ideas that may help you find more joy and relaxation in your life!
- Make Alone Time (Even Small Amounts of It) a Priority
Get a few minutes out of the house alone when you can. This can be a hard one for stay at home moms with young children. However, just a few minutes of quiet can give your brain some much needed quiet time. You don’t have to think big. Everyone knows it’s hard – and not always realistic- to get away for a lengthy amount of time when your kids need you. However, you can think small. Can you plan to grocery shop on the weekends when your spouse (or someone else) can be with the kids? Shopping alone can feel so luxurious when you’re used to constantly multi-tasking tending to others’ needs. Also, (I’m just going to say it), you can make a rule that – when mom is in the bathroom- the door stays CLOSED. Little things like this can make such a big difference in your daily stress level!
2. Take a few shortcuts to reduce your workload.
You don’t always have to do things the hard way. Look for simple short cuts that can help make your day easier. Everything from a vacuum that can mop your hard floors, to the ever-popular Instant Pot, can be used to help take some of the stress off of you and allow you to get more done in less time. One of my personal favorites is the Roomba. It’s funny, when I’m overwhelmed by the messiness of my house, just putting that little machine on helps me feel instantly better– it’s something checked off the list that doesn’t consume any extra time. Utilizing more crock pot meals are also a really good strategy for daily life. I love starting a recipe in the crockpot in the morning and getting to smell it cook throughout the day.
3. Delegate chores.
This goes right alongside with taking shortcuts with housework. You don’t have to do everything on your own. I’ve heard a lot of women say that they feel like they should always do everything household-related because being a stay at home mom is their job. However, there are a lot of other factors that can and should work into the running of household chores. For one thing, your partner may not even realize that you want or need help. Simply communicating that you’d like some help with a couple of specific things can actually be good for your household, and even for your relationship! Most of the time, people who love us are willing to help; they just might need some honest communication and specific direction .
You can also definitely assign age-appropriate chores to your children. In addition to helping YOU out, this is also really great for them. It teaches them responsibility and adds structure to everyone’s day. In fact, I actually know many homeschool families who consider chores to be a part of the school day because knowing how to do basic household tasks is a really important life skill! So don’t feel guilty, mama, about not going it alone. Delegation can be a really great thing for your home, your family, and your sanity!
Is clutter driving you crazy? For some reason, the older I get and the noisier life gets, the more clutter seems to stress me out. I don’t know if you have read (or watched the show based on) Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up, but this organizational guru does a really good job at explaining how much more peaceful life becomes when you get rid of the excess and only keep the things that you use regularly (and that “spark joy”). This is something that I’ve definitely found to be true in my own life. However, I know it can be really hard to let go of excess stuff (especially if most of it belongs to the tiny hoarders that may live with you.) One thing you may want to try is, once or twice a week, going through your home with a box and put as many unnecessary items into it as you can in 10-15 minutes. I like to do this and then immediately stick the box in the trunk for my next donation drop-off .You can also do as Kondo suggests and do a massive overhaul on your home, going by category (rather than by room). Of course, this does involve getting everyone on board (which isn’t a bad thing, either!)
5. Don’t Forget Who YOU Are
One of the most difficult things for a lot of women about motherhood is that we can fall into this tendency of forgetting our pre-parent selves in favor of the label of “mom.” Now, being a mother is incredibly important and rewarding, but it’s also important to make a habit of connecting with our own thoughts, feelings, interests and gifts on a regular basis. This isn’t just good for you, it’s also good for the people around you. You can actually gain respect from, and even inspire, your family by not losing track of the unique and amazing woman that you are. There are a lot of ways to integrate this priority into your life, and many of them are stress-relieving in and of themselves.
One of the best ways to re-connect to ourselves actually comes in the form of connecting with others. Find a way to get out of the house to make time for some adult interactions and friendships every once in awhile. If “getting out” isn’t realistic, you can also just take some time to have some adult interaction with either your partner, a close friend or family member, right inside your own home. If you find yourself in a place where you’ve lost previous connections with old friends, think about joining a bookclub or bible study to make some new friends. It can be so unbelievably good and relaxing to spend time with other adults every once and awhile and remember that we are adults, too!
Another place where you might to get some YOU time is the gym. Physical fitness is so beneficial, not only for our physical health, but also for our mental health! I swear, working out keeps me sane. And if a gym membership isn’t possible for you, simply getting outside for a walk (either alone or with a friend) can be good for the soul and help you de-compress.
Reading, writing and being creative can also be great ways to re-connect with yourself. Reading can be a way to go on a mental vacation or learn about things that interest you, and creating something (like a garden, or a scarf or a painting) can give you a way to re-connect with skills you may have forgotten you had (or discover new ones). Both are fulfilling and relaxing activities that don’t necessarily have to take up much of your time!
We hope that these ideas help make your life a little bit less stressful, and a lot more joyful. In the midst of the crazy, multi-tasking, noisy, messy world of stay-at-home-mom life, never forget that your role in your family is incredibly important. You are valuable, and the work you do for your home is priceless. Don’t forget to take care of yourself and remember the things that make you the special person that you are ! It will ultimately benefit you and everyone around you, too!