I can’t believe I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for almost six months now. And as my daughter gets older, I think I get a little bit wiser.
I remember when I used to have this overwhelming desire to prove myself to anyone who knew me. I wanted to prove that I was a good mom, deserved the opportunity to be at home, and wasn’t squandering my time away.
Most of the time those urges came when I was spending another day in the house, nursing my daughter in the middle of the day, hungry and still in my pajamas.
I would think, “there’s got to be a better way to use my time and be more productive.”
I would fool myself into thinking I didn’t deserve to be tired, and that I should have this stay-at-home mom thing down to a science.
For a while, I would avoid asking for help even though I had a baby who was just weeks old and nursing constantly. I lived in my pajamas, didn’t do much to my hair, the laundry piled up, and let’s not talk about our meals.
I accepted any help that was offered, but I just didn’t want to give anyone a reason to think I couldn’t hack it as a stay-at-home mom.
Nowadays, I will ask for help.
However, I still find myself questioning my role.
Should I have the house spotless everyday before my husband comes home?
Should I be cooking every meal our family eats?
Should I be having extra time to work from home or be completing every DIY project I have on my Pinterest boards?
Then I remember why I left the daily grind of a daytime job: to focus on being the best mom I can be.
In other words, I shouldn’t worry about proving myself to anyone other than my child.
At my best, my “job” is to make sure my daughter is loved, happy, and growing into a healthy, well-rounded, respectful human being.
And the beauty of the stay-at-home “job” is that I can do what works for me and my family.
There is no textbook way to do things.
Some days will look like a day at the park, a play date with friends, or a car ride where she can see the world as it speeds by and I run errands. Other days it will look like a mess of colorful toys sprawled on the floor, an afternoon with great family members or snuggles on the couch.
Even so, I’ve learned that it is important to have some things that never change. These things allow me to feel productive, even on my laziest day.
1. I have a schedule for my days.
I don’t have a written account for every minute of each day, but I like to have a general plan. I have time carved out for educational cartoons, playtime, downtime, cooking, cleaning and other tasks on my to-do list. As a woman who’s worked since she could get a permit to do so, it’s nice to see where my time is going. It makes the days somewhat structured like a traditional workday.
2. I keep my schedule flexible.
I know that anything can happen when you have children. Plans can go out the window in a moment’s notice. That is why I don’t commit to much, or commit with a disclaimer. I also do the most important things early in the day so anything else can be done at a later time. Leaving yourself open to the idea that things may change keeps you from beating yourself up about the things that don’t get done.
3. I stay organized.
When things are done intentionally and everything has a place, you can get more done at a faster pace without getting overwhelmed by clutter. I like to think of this as an instance where the old adage, “work smarter, not harder” would apply.
4. I make time for me.
I think it’s important to do what makes you feel good and recharges your batteries, as long as your child isn’t suffering or being neglected. For me, it’s getting out of my pajamas daily and finding time to take long showers, do my hair, rest and write each week. I know it’s not always possible to find time to be alone, but finding a good support system in my husband, his family, and our church makes it easier for me.
Being a parent, much less a stay-at-home parent, was never designed to be easy. But with God’s grace, we can take each day, learn from it, and find what works.
Linking up with Kristen at WeAreThatFamily for Works for me Wednesday.