Being happy as a stay-at-home mom is crucial to your overall well-being and that of your family. So first of all, congratulations on taking on one of the hardest jobs out there. And many times it feels like a thankless job but at the same time it can be so rewarding when we put intention behind it. Though let’s be honest it’s a calling that can easily lead to overwhelm, isolation, and pure stress. Raising children in itself besides all the stuff around the house is a full-time job. Just like any endeavor in life, the more you put some thought and intention behind it, the more fulfilling it will become. It’s only when you let life happen to you and lose control of your own narrative that the overwhelm takes over your enjoyment and filling of purpose.
So how do we maintain a positive outlook and find ways to stay happy and fulfilled as a stay at home mom? In this blog, we will discuss 20 strategies that can improve both your own life and your ability to parent and find the best version of yourself again . From prioritizing self-care, taking up hobbies, to mindfulness, support, and connection, these strategies can help you stay balanced, content, and fulfilled in your role as a stay-at-home mom. Whether you’re a new mom or a seasoned veteran, these tips will help you find joy and satisfaction in the rewarding and challenging journey of motherhood. The key is to listen to “your gut” as you read- tune into your own self and inner voice and learn to feel what comes up. While you may have heard these strategies, the key question to ask yourself is “Am I doing the ones that speak to me and help me feel happy and fulfilled?”
Therefore, as you read forward, embrace the idea, “I already know that” because chances are you’ve heard of many of these strategies already and do! In my own journey as a mother, I’m no stranger to hearing that voice in my head, “Ya ya I know that,” but my actions and life would never truly shift. Remember that knowledge is wonderful, but action is where the magic and change happen. Don’t be afraid to take action and test out or even fully embrace any strategies that jump out for this moment in your life. Keep in mind that some strategies will be more beneficial than others depending on where you are on your journey and what is happening in your current environment- two weeks from now a different one may pop out!
How to Be happy as a stay-at-home mom
As you read, look for the one strategy that you want to implement for only 10 minutes in some way that moves you forward. Listen to “your gut,” that feeling that says “yes this one will help me or I can start with this one.”
1. Release Your Own Creativity
As a stay-at-home mom, it’s easy to prioritize your children’s needs over your own. However, taking care of yourself is just as important for being happy as a stay-at-home mom. Finding a way to release your creativity helps to rejuvenate you, such as journaling, drawing, coloring, building with clay/playdough, and creating art. So to start here, ask yourself, “How do I best express myself?” I recently was speaking in a Workshops for Moms Weekly and one of the other speakers Umayal, and she explained how to keep an art journal. For me, I’ve always wanted to draw but never felt I was good at it. Therefore, I would always put it off. But she described simply taking a drawing notebook and using watercolor pencils and simply drawing lines with the color that spoke your feeling at the moment. Then taking a paint brush with water to spread the color and blend. The movement and motion of using the color you felt was so therapeutic and so simple anyone no matter the artistic ability could find a sense of calm and creation from this process. Finding simply ways to ignite your creativity can be so rejuvenating.
2. Get enough sleep
This is an area I know from all the research out there how important it is, but as a mom it can seem almost impossible because the time after my kids go to bed is just for me. But before I know, it I’ve stayed up too long and then what happens when the kids wake you up during the middle of the night. So what are some strategies that I can implement into my routine to help me get some sleep? You may not like my first idea, but limiting your screen time before bed by putting the cellphone and electronics down. You can even keep your phone outside of your bedroom to limit the temptation by charging your phone outside of the bedroom. According to Harvard University, “the National Sleep Foundation’s most recent Sleep Health Index found that people who used technology such as phones, tablets, or computers in bed before they went to sleep scored lower on measures of sleep quality than those who didn’t. Nearly 50% of American adults polled said they used technology in bed at least once a week, and nearly 30% said they did so every day.”
I admit I’m still working on perfecting the phone charging strategy to limit my use before bed, but I notice a major difference when I don’t touch the cellphone. Look at the temperature at which you keep your room during the nighttime. Sleeping at a cooler temperature will help you have a more restful, deep sleep, and getting all the lights out of your room can make a huge difference as well. Reading instead of TV right before bed helps to calm the mind.
3. Say “yes” to what serves you
Learning to say “yes” to things that serve you and “no” to things that don’t is an important skill for staying happy and fulfilled as a stay-at-home mom. This means prioritizing activities, relationships, and commitments that align with your values and goals. This requires taking an honest look at what you are doing with your day, did you say yes to another activity at school because you thought you had to? Did you say yes to hosting another group that you didn’t actually want to? Don’t be afraid to say “no” to what doesn’t serve you: It’s okay to say no to things that don’t serve you, whether it’s a social event, a commitment, or a task. Prioritize your time and energy for things that align with your values and bring you happiness. Saying no can help you set boundaries and avoid burnout.
4. Take breaks and ask for help
Taking breaks and asking for help when you need it are essential for preventing burnout and keeping you healthy and happy. It’s important to identify when you need a break and to seek help from friends, family, or professionals when necessary. Planning a break for you during the day, during nap time where you don’t have to feel like you need to do more. Or getting out of the house for an hour when your spouse gets home once a week. Think about what would feel good to you.
5. Care for yourself
Taking care of your physical and mental health is essential for staying happy as a stay-at-home mom. This means making time for things like exercise, healthy eating, and stress management. If you want even more specific examples check out the chart in this blog.
6. Give yourself grace (no perfectionism)
As a stay-at-home mom, it’s easy to fall into the trap of perfectionism. However, it’s important to give yourself grace and acknowledge that you don’t have to be perfect. Instead, focus on progress and growth rather than perfection.
7. Find time for learning
Learning new things can be a great way to stay stimulated, engaged and happy as a stay-at-home mom. This can include taking online courses, reading books, or learning a new skill or hobby. When we challenge ourselves and try something new then we start to feel more alive. Caution: the beauty of learning something new is that we also learn that we aren’t perfect at everything and we need to start somewhere. You will fail along the way, but do you pick yourself up and keep going?
8. Find time for hobbies and activities
Taking time for hobbies and activities that you enjoy can help you stay happy and fulfilled as a stay-at-home mom. This can include things like crafting, cooking, or gardening. Ask yourself, “What do I like doing?” If you aren’t sure, put intention behind the question as you look around in curiosity intentionally looking for an answer.
9. Get dressed
Getting dressed, even if it’s just changing out of your pajamas, can help you feel more put together and motivated to tackle your day. According to the Huffington Post, the behavioral act of getting dressed can have a significantly positive impact on our mood, confidence and behaviors, according to Sheva Assar, a licensed clinical psychologist in Orange County, California. She believes the act of getting dressed up first thing in the morning may “increase our motivation to do other things throughout the day, to experience more energy and to want to do more things.” Listening to the Mindset Podcast, I was reminded that motivation comes after taking action. Therefore, taking first actions like putting clothes on can motivate you to keep moving forward the rest of the day.
10. Decide when to do housework and seek help if needed
As a stay-at-home mom, it’s easy to feel like you need to do everything yourself. However, it’s important to decide when to do housework and seek help from family or professionals when necessary. Remember taking care of the kids alone is a full time job, and household chores are easier with a plan and breakdown. Also, decide with your partner what state of the house you are comfortable with, how much do you want the kids to pick up in between activities. I found myself putting more self pressure on myself than needed and having the self talk in my head put myself down for no reason.
11. As a stay-at-home mom you need help: Hire someone if possible
Hiring a babysitter, cleaning service, or other help can give you a much-needed break and reduce stress. Also, a high school helper or older kid can be cheaper and can entertain the kids while you are getting things done around the house or working from home.
12. Write a done list at the end of the day and show it to your partner
Writing down what you accomplished during the day, no matter how small, can help you feel more accomplished and motivated. Sharing this with your partner can also create a sense of accountability and connection. Let’s get rid of the TO DO list at the end of the day, now it is time for a DONE LIST. It’s usually longer than you give yourself credit for and may not have all your TO DO from the beginning of the day as things might have got added you hadn’t intended. Give yourself credit and celebrate what you have done.
13. Focus on building a positive relationship with your partner
It’s important to prioritize your relationship with your partner and make time for connection and intimacy. Besides dates nights when you can, taking time to talk to each other and checking in with each other. Many times there’s a story in our head that we think is also in our partner’s head, when it’s actually not what they are thinking at all. Intentionally setting time to discuss your feelings will help.
14. Practice connecting with friends and other moms
Connecting with other moms and friends can help you feel supported, reduce feelings of isolation, and provide opportunities for socializing and relaxation. Finding moms groups during the days with kids, having friends over without worrying what your house looks like, and making time to go out in the evenings. These habits get harder to keep the more we say no to them. How do we start with connection? It’s a small habit change of asking another mom a question, giving them a compliment, and seeing where the conversation goes. The key is to start taking new actions.
15. Avoid comparing yourself to other moms
Comparing yourself to other moms can be detrimental to your mental health and self-esteem. Remember that everyone’s journey is different, and what works for someone else may not work for you. Focus on your own strengths and achievements, and be kind to yourself. So make the comparisons of who you were to who you are becoming, not others. But rather than being envious when you see what others are doing, be curious and start asking questions to how they achieved that and learn from them or see how hard it was and make your own plan to get there or realize it’s not something you would want.
16. Encourage your kids to play independently
Encourage your children to play independently as it helps them develop their creativity, imagination, and problem-solving skills. Set up a play area with age-appropriate toys, games, and crafts that they can engage in. This will give you some much-needed time to focus on your own tasks or take a short break. Put a timer on for them especially if they are getting close to losing a nap. I used a timer that had three lights. So if the light was green, my son had to stay in his bed (usually 20 to 30 minutes) and days he needed a nap he’d fall asleep, then it would switch to yellow (30 to 45 mins), he could play quietly in his room, when it went red at the end he could come out of his room. It took time and patience to get him used to it but it was worth the time in the end.
17. Use prompts like music to help create a routine
Using prompts like music can be helpful in creating a routine for yourself and your family. Use upbeat music to help motivate you in the morning, calming music to help you wind down at night, or instrumental music to help you focus on tasks. This can help create structure and routine in your day, which can be beneficial for both you and your children. I still use songs all the time set to a timer on Alexis especially for my kids getting on the bus, a song will play to give them time to finish up before having to get outside. They have the entire song and a buffer but it helps me from having to keep track of time and has my girls take more responsibility for getting outside.
18. Create a daily routine
Creating a daily routine can help you feel more organized, reduce stress, and create a sense of predictability for both you and your children. Your routine can include anything from meal planning to nap times to specific times for household chores. Start with one area of your day that feels the most frustrating. The mornings where always the hardest for me. So I started looking at what needed to be done in the morning and planning backwards to how long that would take. My kids just don’t seem to do well with check off lists, so I created a morning list for them to look over. When we started, my youngest couldn’t read it yet so every morning she would ask someone to read it to her to make sure she had everything done. And now, the list is there as a back up but the kids work through their morning leaving time for me to shower and get myself ready and only fill in when they ask for help.
19. Develop habits by experimenting
Remember that creating habits is a process of experimentation. Try different routines, systems, and strategies to find what works best for you and your family. Keep what works and discard what doesn’t, and be open to trying new things. With time and effort, you can establish healthy habits that will help you thrive as a stay-at-home mom. Creating a new habit is easiest if you stack it with something you already do. For instance, how to cut down cell phone use at night as soon as you get in your bed, silence your phone or turn it off. I used to dread making a smoothie every morning, but I’m not much of a breakfast person and found it a good way to get what I needed without having to miss breakfast. I forced myself to do it for a while. Now it is a habit and I don’t even think about it. And I feel better in the morning for having had it. Pick one to work on at a time.
Being a stay-at-home mom has many pros, but taking care of your family’s needs can be overwhelming and exhausting, but it’s important to remember to take care of yourself too. It’s not selfish to do so or anything that should incur guilt. But that can be easier said that done. This is why we start with baby steps. 10 minutes a day implementing one idea from this long list. It’s only a long list to give your gut a chance to react to one of them that is the one and only one you go with. Have more than one create a list. Start with the first one for a least a week before adding or trying a second one. You are looking for more ease in your day with how you respond rather than react to what happens around you. You are looking for ways to enjoy more of you day than feel like you have to do things. This is how we put curiosity into play. Small baby steps only. CAUTION: DO NOT TRY TO DO MORE. Why because the first day might feel great but by day three you will be in overwhelm and stop everything all together. It is so tempting to try to do it all at once, but that is not how we actually make lasting habit changes.
By implementing ONE of these 20 strategies for 10 minutes a day, you can create a happier and more fulfilling life for yourself and your family.
Remember to prioritize self-care, get enough sleep, take breaks, and ask for help when you need it. Encourage your children to play independently, use prompts like music to help create a routine, and develop healthy habits by experimenting and finding what works for you.
It’s also important to give yourself grace and avoid comparing yourself to other moms. Say “no” to what doesn’t serve you and focus on activities that make you happy and fulfilled.
Incorporating these strategies into your daily life may not be easy, but with time and effort, you can establish healthy habits that will help you thrive as a stay-at-home mom. So take some time to reflect on which strategies resonate with you and start implementing them into your daily routine. You deserve to be happy and fulfilled, and your family will benefit from it too.