Q: I'm new to being a stay at home mom (not new to motherhood, just this part of it) and it's killing me. Do you have any tips or tricks to share so I don't end up crazy and drunk?- anonymous
A: This is officially my favorite question in the history of ever. It's honest. It's real. And sister-friend, believe me, I have been where you are. I could be a smart ass here and remind you I'm both crazy and drunk, but really, I'm not drunk that often. I gotchoo, friend. You're gonna be fabulous at this.
I don't know if this is by choice or circumstance that you find yourself at home, friend. I've experienced both. I just want you to take a second, regardless of why you are a stay at home mama, and remember that you are winning at your life. Right this very second. You are like the Grand National Champion of being YOU. Keep rocking that magic.
Below are five tips that help make my life as a stay at home mama joyful. This is what works for me. Try some or all of them. Keep what works. Toss the rest.
1. Be an early(er) riser. The greatest gift I give myself is the precious time before my house rises. I use that time for meditation. You can use it for whatever you want. When it's time to rouse my Littles, the smell of coffee is going and I am centered. Now, it might seem silly to some folks that a woman who has the house to herself all dang day makes a point of rising before everyone else for "alone" time. The point of getting up early isn't so I can be alone. It's so I can start my day with intent and peace. It's so I can say to both mySelf and the Universe, "I'm here. I'm present. Let's do this thing."
2. Find joy in what you do. How does one find joy in washing yet another load of clothes, preparing yet another meal, and wiping yet another snotty nose? Well, friend, it's possible. When I worked outside the home, I took pride in what I did. Same goes for here. Am I the best housekeeper in the world? Hell, no. I suck at that part of it, but clothes get cleaned and the house does as well. (Eventually.) I really like the cooking part of my job so I focus on that part, but the other stuff is important and it gets done. Just remember- The highlight of your day doesn't have to be doing the thing that sucks.
3. Knock out the chores as quickly as possible to make room for the fun stuff. Seriously. It's a finite amount of space. Do what needs doing so you can get to something you consider fun. I like to read and garden. That is what makes me happy and is all mine. I may have a "to do" list that's a mile long, but it eventually has an end and I can do the things I enjoy doing.
4. Don't compare yourself to anyone else. Just because your sister, cousin, and neighbor seem like they are all hard wired for being a stay at home mama, doesn't mean you are failing at this. If you compare yourself to other people, odds are you're gonna find fault with your life. Just quit it. This is about you and what you do. Not about what anyone else is doing. What works for your sister/cousin/neighbor may or may not work for you. You know why? Because you aren't them. You're you. Get busy being you, boo-boo.
5. Find other mamas and form a tribe. I don't care if you aren't much of a people person. Shut up and make some friends. You know why? Because when you make mama friends, you aren't alone in this. No matter what stage of mamahood you're in, you need other mamas around you. Not to use as a basis for comparison, but to support and love you. Don't fall into the "play group" trap where you feel like you have to be someone you're not. I want you to seek out people who lift you up, who have either been there or are going to be there in their own mama journeys, and who will drink a cup of coffee or down a margarita.
People say that being a stay at home mama isn't for everyone. Women will line up against one another quick as that to defend their own choices. Mamas who work outside the home will point out that they do everything a stay at home mama does AND they hold down a paying job. Mamas who stay at home get defensive about their worth. When mamas fight over who works harder or who's doing it right, it just tears us all down. Why would we want to do that?
I'll leave you with this, friend. I describe being a stay at home mother as a great and terrible beauty. Motherhood in general is hard, but making it your main thing can be terrifying. This is your journey. You're gonna be really good at it. Does that mean your whites will be whiter and your children will be angels? Nope. Does that mean that folks won't secretly think you're eating bon bons and watching stow-rees everyday? Nope. Does that mean you won't be a little cray cray from time to time? Nope. It means you are going to learn the lessons that need learning, climb the mountains that need climbing, and laugh in all the right places, too. Why? Because this is your journey. You got this.
Do you have a question that needs answering? Just email OFM at mamabee@OneFabulousMama.com! For more Magical Monday Q&A fabulousness, go here