When I was 20, I dreamed of getting married and having a house full of kids. I had visions of playing at the park, baking cookies, and reading Bible stories together. My husband would return from work each evening to a delicious dinner. My home would be tidy inside with a yard full of flowers outside.
20 years and 5 kids later, life is pleasant, but not in the rosy “Leave it to Beaver” daydream I once had. Much to my surprise, my husband works out of town and actually cooks better than I do. Endless diapers, active toddlers, sleepless nights, and food on the floor is my reality. Learning how to be a happy stay at home mom took a lot of adjustment.
Whether you are a new mom with a sweet infant in your arms or you’ve been blessed times six, juggling the demands of motherhood is challenging. When it boils down to it, we all have similar needs. These are often overlooked, leaving us feeling overwhelmed, tired, and unfulfilled.
11 lessons I’ve learned about how to be a happy stay at home mom
Shower, make your bed, wear something you like
Isn’t that what you did when you had a job? I guarantee you will feel more ready to embrace life when you are ready for the day. Being a stay at home mom is depressing when we let ourselves go.
Notice that I said “wear something you like” and not “wear something nice”. Depending on the age of your kids, you will get baby puke, food, paint, and dirt on your clothes. A potty training toddler will undoubtedly have an accident while sitting on your lap and they will unashamedly wipe their nose on you. You will spend a lot of time on the floor or bent over so be comfortable (welcome to the world of stretch pants!) but if you wear a color or a pattern you like, you will feel better about yourself.
Accomplish something every day to enjoy being a stay at home mom
It is 8:00 p.m. and you look around at the baskets of unfolded laundry, toys on the floor, art supplies on the table, and your cold cup of coffee sitting in the sink. What did you do all day that your house remains in this condition?
I will tell you. You lived life as a stay at home mom. Remember the happy giggles when you bathed your kids or snuggling on the couch reading books? Remember the sticky kiss and the loud “mmmmm” when they bit into a slice of watermelon?
It is easy to get overwhelmed, leaving you wondering if you are doing any of this right.
The key to enjoying being a stay at home mom is accomplishing something every day. This will look different from day to day and can be big or small. Do not feel discouraged if it feels insignificant like reading for an hour with the kids or teaching them how to play a new game. These are a much bigger deal to them than we realize.
Have a goal in mind. At the end of the day when the overwhelming stay at home mom stress begins to rise, you can note that the whole family cheered for your oldest as he scored his first soccer goal, your front yard looks pretty with the new flowers, or your fussy 2 year old ate veggies because you snuck them into muffins.
Create a schedule
Learning how to be a happy stay at home mom will include developing some kind of schedule.
Whether you are the type who has a color-coded calendar in every room of the house or the type that just “wings it” you will feel much more settled and prevent stay at home mom stress when having a plan.
You will know what to expect each day and so will your kids. This way you will be less likely to forget dentist appointments and dinner will not be a frazzled last-minute ordeal.
Your schedule does not need to be extremely detailed and should be flexible enough to accommodate life’s unexpected changes. Also, keep in mind that as your kids grow and your family changes, your schedule will too.
The following is a list of activities to include in your daily schedule:
- Mealtime (including prep) and snack time
- Naps (tired kids make for crabby kids)
- Cleaning chores
- Mom time
- Appointments and shopping
- A relaxed bedtime routine
Eat well and drink plenty
Plenty of water that is!
As busy moms, our first priority is our kids. How many times have you sliced up apples and cucumbers and made pb&j for your kids, only to grab a handful of crackers for yourself?
Our bodies need nutrition, especially those with nursing infants. Not eating well or skipping on the water will lower your immunity and leave you feeling sluggish.
Learning how to be a happy stay at home mom means learning how to take care of ourselves as our role changes.
Neglecting God will turn you into a miserable stay at home mom
You can’t pour from an empty cup. Am I right?
The fastest way to turn into a miserable stay at home mom is to neglect your time with God. We need to regularly edit our lives for spiritual growth (an excellent post by Cheered on Mom).
Some women wake up early to read the Bible, others wait until bedtime. I’ve even had my devotions in the middle of the night when nursing newborns.
Podcasts, daily devotionals, journaling, and Bible studies are good ways to keep us focused on the only One who can provide us strength and direction in the midst of our busy lives.
Music is an important one for me. Worship and praise songs while washing dishes or while sitting on the floor putting puzzles together lifts my tired mood and encourages me.
Learning to rely on God goes a long way in learning how to be a happy stay at home mom and that inspiration can only come when we remain connected to Him.
Being a stay at home mom is depressing if we neglect activities we enjoy
I know, you are going nonstop all day. Diapers, laundry, appointments, messes, meals. You fall onto the couch exhausted once the kids are asleep. Who has time to do something they enjoy?
Being a stay at home mom is depressing if we neglect the activities we enjoy. These do not have to be long trips to the beach. They can be simple everyday activities and might look different from day to day.
Long, hot showers are a luxury which I embrace. Maybe reading a book, going for a walk, enjoying your hobby, watching Netflix with a bowl of ice cream, or painting your toenails will refresh you.
Whatever it is, be sure you do something for yourself. Again, you can’t pour from an empty cup. If you get a few minutes to relax, it will help your whole day.
Controlling your environment will prevent stay at home mom stress
How do you feel about messes? Dirty dishes piled on your counters?
- If you are the tidy type then the toys on the floor and the constant crumbs on the table are driving you nuts. I hear ya!
- If you are the less tidy type, you will get to a point in which the stack of dirty dishes has grown too big for you and you feel overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed is what we are trying to avoid because it is a major source of stay at home stress.
Figuring out the point in which your home’s condition causes undue stress will go a long way in figuring out how to be a happy stay at home mom.
- Clean up toys at certain points throughout the day. Teach your children early on to help. Dishes should be loaded into the dishwasher or washed every day.
- Laundry should be done regularly. Some people choose to do 7 loads once a week or one load a day. Obviously, this depends on the size of your family and your schedule. I choose to do laundry four days a week and this works well for us. However, you choose to do it, just be sure it is getting accomplished. Once it begins piling up you will be back to that overwhelmed feeling and the stay at home mom stress will begin to rise.
- Often times the basics are good enough. I have a bunch of boys so cleaning the toilets regularly is a must. I also vacuum and sweep daily in an effort to control the crumbs and dog hair.
Figure out what is most important to you as far as controlling the cleanness of your house and then work it into a daily schedule. (Check out my post “How to Create an Easy Housecleaning Schedule you will Stick with” for a few helpful tips).
Will it be perfect? No. What we are going for is a feeling of comfort for you.
Make mom friends
I remember when my oldest two were young. We would go to the library storytime just so I could get out of the house and see other adults. You know what? All the other ladies there with their kids were doing the same thing!
- Mom friends will save your sanity. Being a stay at home mom is depressing when we struggle through it alone.
- Library time, park dates, play dates, zoo outings, community events, walks, etc. Having another mom to chat with makes life more enjoyable.
- Most towns have organized play groups and programs such as MOPS.
- If you aren’t the outgoing type, don’t fear. Frequent the above-mentioned places and you will find other moms just like you- I promise. Push yourself a bit and make small talk. I guarantee you will find other moms doing the same thing. They are also struggling to figure out how to be a happy stay at home mom!
Bored stay at home mom ideas
I remember how excited I was when at 9 months pregnant I quit my job, washed all the tiny baby clothes and prepared for my new adventure as a stay at home mom.
One little human being can completely change your life. Caleb, my firstborn, was a fussy baby. He cried ALL THE TIME. Not what I expected.
As the months went by and I adjusted to carrying him around all day and not sleeping at all, I realized that every 24 hour period became the same. Sleep, eat, diaper, eat, sleep. On and on in this blurry sort of fashion.
I was not thriving and surviving as I had anticipated (a wonderfully encouraging post by The Titus Woman). I had gone from an engaging, thought-provoking job to this odd routine. I was bored out of my mind!
For those of you who are at this season of life, I’ve compiled a short list of bored stay at home mom ideas! These will help you as you adjust to your new season in life and teach you how to be a happy stay at home mom.
- Get out of the house. Go for a walk, the store, or the park.
- Take up a hobby. For me, it was scrapbooking. I have HUNDREDS of pictures of my firstborn. Everything he did was cute in those days.
- Visit an older friend, grandparent, or neighbor. They love kids and most have valuable parenting advice that they will undoubtedly wish to pass onto you.
- Keep up with the activities you enjoy. We already touched on this, but it is often forgotten in these early days.
Learn to love your husband and kids
I probably should have put this first because in my mind it is most important. Unfortunately, it is one of the last lessons I learned.
“the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children” (Titus 2:3-5 NKJV)
I recently went through an attitude adjustment when I read these verses. At first, I thought it was odd that Paul was instructing the older women to teach the younger women to love their husbands and children. Seriously, don’t we all do that naturally?
But how do we show it?
I had reached the point in which I was frustrated pretty much all day long. Spilled milk on the table, wet towels on the bathroom floor, homeschooling, grocery shopping (do all kids eat as much as mine??) ignored quiet time, the list went on and on. The smallest inconvenience set me off.
When I read Titus, I realized that I was treating my family as if they were some kind of chore on my daily to-do list.
Motives are key to being a happy stay at home mom
My motives were not grounded in love. I was simply going through the motions and not taking the time to remember that I am raising wonderful people. My husband deserves more of my attention than me telling him to please clean up after himself (I don’t think I actually used the please word).
You know you would do anything for your kids because you love them, so why do they become a chore?
What if we began looking at the messes, meals, and laundry as acts of love? We would no longer battle with the feelings of being a miserable stay at home mom.
We would pause in our day to play a game or read a book or simply enjoy our children for who they are. It is no longer about everything we HAVE to do, but about what we are doing to show we love our family.
How to be a happy stay at home mom is more about you than you think
Do you understand that learning how to be a happy stay at home mom is really learning how to balance the needs of your family with your own needs? Lullaby Lark has a wonderful post on avoiding stay at home mom burnout.
For many years I fell into the misconception that sacrificing myself to the point of losing myself was a Scriptural truth of homemaking. I became overwhelmed, frustrated, and stressed.
What about you? What have you learned about being happy as a stay at home mom? I’d love to hear your tips. Leave them in the comments below.
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