When I decided to be a stay-at-home mom (SAHM), I thought it was going to be pretty easy. I wouldn’t have to report into anyone, wake-up to get to work on time, or have the normal stresses that come with earning a paycheck.
I was wrong. I DID have to report to someone (my son). I DID have to wake-up before I wanted to (because my son needed to eat). And I had a whole new set of stressors related to keeping my son alive and thriving.
But the one thing I never anticipated missing was feeling fulfilled and accomplished.
When I worked outside of the home, it always felt good to walk out the door after a long day of work. Like something was accomplished and I was now rewarded with my “freedom” when I left.
When I became a SAHM, there was no door to walk out of at the end of the day. My job was never over, and I rarely felt like I accomplished anything.
After a few months on the new SAHM job, I felt really unfulfilled. Then I felt guilty about being unfulfilled because I thought I was supposed to want to do this SAHM thing and enjoy it!
Some time and another child later, I figured out that this lack of fulfillment problem would diminish when I put the tips below into action.
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12 Tips to Feel Fulfilled as a Stay-at-Home Mom
Tip 1: Plan Your Day Ahead of Time
Do your best to plan your days ahead of time. If your kids are really young, you may feel like your days are too unpredictable to plan. But plan something, even if it’s prepping bottles for the next day, or planning dinners for the week. This will give you some sense of control, and a feeling of accomplishment when the plans are carried out.
If your kids are a little bit older, you could even designate your weekdays for certain activities:
- Monday is Library Day
- Tuesday is Playdate Day
- Wednesday is Make Something Day
- Thursday is Get Outside Day
- Friday is Fun Outing Day
Tip 2: Make a Short To-Do List
As a SAHM, you carry out many tasks through out the day. But at times it can feel like nothing ever fully gets done.
At the end of the night, or in the morning, create a short to-do list of three things you want to get done that day. It could be as simple as putting one load of laundry in the washer, washing all the bottles, and prepping for dinner.
You will get the satisfaction of checking off your to-do list and feel like you fully accomplished something.
Tip 3: Move Your Body
This can really be anything. When I had young kids, I did a lot of walking while pushing the stroller. When the weather made it hard to be outside, I would take them to the mall and walk while window shopping.
You don’t have to put in a strenuous workout, just find something that makes you move consistently for a period of time.
You will feel better after, and you are role-modeling to your kids how important it is to do something for you and your body.
Tip 4: Find Other Mom’s
I didn’t think this would be a big deal since I had friends with kids the same age as mine. But what I didn’t consider is most of them worked outside the home during the day.
When I started staying home, I realized that I felt pretty lonely and isolated. I eventually connected with a local mom’s group through Facebook.
I wasn’t even fully active in the group, but I met a handful of women and took them up on offers for playdates.
Through this group I found out about a free strollerfit class (through the YMCA) that met down the road from my house.
This class saved my sanity. It was twice a week in the morning, and it was outside. My kids got a little fresh air, while I worked out and talked with other moms. Afterwards we would gather at the playground so the kids could play a little, then I would head home, give the kids lunch, and put them down for a nap.
The friendships I made in that mom group have lasted over 5 years now. I have some of my best friends from this group.
If you are feeling alone or isolated, look for opportunities to be around other mom’s. It doesn’t have to be a mom group, it could just be storytime at the library or a music/art class for your kids.
Tip 5: Get Out of the House Once a Day
There are mornings you wake up and the last thing you want to do is leave the house with your kid(s).
But if you push yourself and walk out the door, you can reap the many benefits of leaving the house:
- You can be around other adults and meet other moms (see above)
- Just hanging outside provides you and your kiddo’s with mental and physical health benefits
- Visiting places helps teach your child how to behave in different environments
- If you are driving, your kids are strapped into their car seat, and you have some alone time in the front seat
- Going places takes up a good chunk of time
- You can enjoy seeing your child interact with other people and new surroundings
Once you return home, no matter how fun or chaotic your outing was, you will feel good that you made the effort.
Tip 6: Do One House Chore
It can be easy for housework to add up when you are focusing on your kids all day. Plus, the last thing you want to do is clean the whole house while your child is napping.
Instead, break the cleaning and tidying up into small chores. Maybe one day you vacuum your main area, and another day you clean one bathroom.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed with everything, focus on one small task. Once that task is completed, it will feel good to know you accomplished at least one thing!
After the kids went to bed, I would turn on the TV and sort through all the toys that were left out, and put them back where they belonged. This one task would bring me so much joy after a long day. I was able to complete the task fully, and notice the “before” and “after” of the living area immediately.
Tip 7: Stick to a Morning and Night Routine
Having a morning and night routine gives structure to your day. It helps your kids feel secure because they know what will come next.
Building a solid routine will help you to be more productive while feeling less stressed.
I’m not going to talk too much about routines here, but if you want more information, these will help you:
Tip 8: Take 15-30 Minutes for You
Whether you take this time before the kids wake-up, while napping, or while they are playing, take 15-30 minutes to do what YOU want to do.
For me, this is usually reading a book, or working on my cross-stitch.
Taking this time isn’t even necessarily about downtime for you, it’s about spending a few minutes everyday on something and seeing how that adds up. You could actually finish something using this time! A book, a project, or even a puzzle. You will feel proud and accomplished when it happens.
Set your timer and take the time for you.
Tip 9: Find a Hobby
If the last tip had you puzzled, like you can’t figure out what that one thing is for you, then start looking for a hobby.
In Awesome Hobbies for Moms: 50+ Hobbies to Cure Your Loneliness, Rachel talks about the following benefits of having a hobby:
- Gives perspective
- Helps rejuvenate
- Prevents you from losing your sense of identity
- Allows you to express your creativity
She also lists over 50 hobbies you might be interested in. You can check those out here.
If you’re still stuck for hobby ideas, then head on over to Pinterest. If you find something that you envy – like DIY birthday parties, book clubs, or scrapbooking, then you may have found your next hobby.
And if all else fails, think about what you enjoyed doing as a child. That’s how I returned to reading and cross-stitch. You may find that you want to draw or color again. Or maybe you want to check out sticker books or start to journal?
Tip 10: Take Advantage of Community Programs
From story time at the library or Barnes and Noble, to educational events at the zoo, your community most likely has free programs available for young children.
Look in your local newspaper, or go to your local library to see what your community has to offer.
Your kids are only young once. After they start school, you won’t be able to take advantage of these fun events anymore.
Make it a goal to attend one community event a week.
Tip 11: Encourage Your Child to Play Alone
While you are prepping dinner, or taking that 15-30 minutes to yourself, encourage your child to play alone. Start this from a young age and it will be second nature to them as they get older.
There are many benefits of solo-play for your child, one of the most important being increased self-esteem. But your child will also challenge their imagination, learn to be alone, and recognize that they can have their own fun apart from you.
If you are looking for ways to encourage your child to play independently, checkout The Value of Solo Play.
Tip 12: Push Past Your Comfort Zone
You might not be a routine person. You might avoid social interaction with strangers at all costs. You might hate the idea of having to look presentable. You might be afraid that your child is going to throw a huge tantrum and people will be judging you.
Whatever your fear is, being a stay-at-home mom requires you to push past your comfort zone so that you feel fulfilled. After all, if you keep doing the same old thing, you are going to get the same old results.
Let’s help each other out! If you have a tip that helps you feel fulfilled as mom, click here to submit it. I will feature your tip in a revised version of this post, and provide your name and website (if you have one).