Are you looking for more strategies to be a happy stay-at-home mom? Though it is a privilege to stay at home with young kids, staying fulfilled and joyous with the demands of raising little ones can also be a challenge. As a mom of four, I know it can be both physically and emotionally draining at times. In fact, recently I read an anonymous post from a mom in my community reaching out with this very question – how can I feel fulfilled and happy staying at home? There was an overwhelming response within one hour of her post with multiple moms chiming in feeling the same way. I have compiled a list of the top tips I have for stay-at-home parents. I hope they encourage you!
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Wake up before your kids
One of the most important things I can suggest is to try to wake up before your kids. Believe me, I know it is hard, especially when you have early risers. But, having a little bit of alone time at the beginning of your day is so helpful. Enjoy the quiet, drink a morning cup of coffee, say some prayers, and prepare yourself for your day before the kids wake up demanding Cheerios and PJ Mask cartoons.
Make the bed
Make your bed. This is pretty basic, I know, but make it a part of your daily routine. First, you will feel accomplished. Secondly, you will appreciate a tidy room when you walk back into it during the rest of the day. Sometimes the small things can be making the biggest difference in your outlook.
Get ready for your day
I know you have may have very little time to get ready when you are parenting littles. However, create a morning routine and take the time to brush your hair, brush your teeth, get dressed, and do a five-minute makeup face (if you wear it.) It does not have to take much time to make yourself feel a bit more human, and you will be ready to run errands, get outside, and get on with your to-do list.
Make a plan for the day and create daily and weekly routines
When you are a working mom, you may long for the days of having no plans. However, if you start staying home full time, you will quickly realize you need a daily routine. This doesn’t have to be extensive or a super mom agenda. In general, our daily schedule includes:
- get up and get dressed
- teeth cleaned and hair brushed
- breakfast time
- playtime, favorite shows
- errands, library, or park
- read books
- naptime/play alone time
- outside time
- prep dinner
- dinner with family
- books and bed
Take a look at community events like library storytimes, nature center walks, playgroups, etc. Our weekly routine includes storytime on Monday, craft morning at the local bookstore on Tuesday, zoo or children’s museum on Wednesday, parks on Thursday, and a MOPS group every other Friday. Getting out into the community allows some opportunity to meet some mom friends and a break from the house.
Creating a solid routine also allows your brain to go into auto-pilot mode. This way, you aren’t constantly having to plan what’s next or plan on the fly. I have found that the best thing for me is to take a little time on Sunday afternoon to make a stay at home mom schedule for the week.
Build in self-care during mommy breaks
Take some mommy breaks for your mental health! A huge part of being a happy stay at home is to remember doing what feels like self care for you. Making time for yourself can be the biggest challenge, but consider taking some time for yourself during naptime or as a part of your evening routine at the end of the day.
Motherhood includes a long day with long hours, and you need breaks to keep a positive outlook. If you can’t remember what you enjoyed doing before having kids, ask your longtime friends or family members! Do you love to read, play games, craft, or write? Try to rediscover some of your passions before your kids and build that into your stay at home mom schedule. Be sure to make enough time for yourself and your own needs!
Join a moms group
Just like your children need friends, you need mommy friends! Being a stay at home mom can be quite isolating and lonely without other friends who understand the highs and lows. Join a local moms’ Facebook group or reach out to local churches or community groups that offer groups for stay at home parents.
I found MOPS to be a great source of encouragement for me when I had three young children at home. They provided great sitters who took care of my kids during the meeting, we enjoyed good food together, and we listened to some great speakers who encouraged us. These outings were a key part of my own journey as a young mom.
Reach out to friends
Grab those friends you meet at the library, at MOPS, or at the zoo and plan some play dates! They aren’t just for young kids. I found meeting other moms at the park or even just sitting with a cup of coffee while we watched kids play a huge help. Keeping your connections with others, especially when you leave the working world, is a key component of maternal well-being.
Get some fresh air
As a new mom with my first baby, I remember reading that you should always sleep when your baby was sleeping. The only problem was I was a horrible napper (I still am!) No matter how hard I tried, I would just lay there and stare at the ceiling. I finally pitched the book suggestions and listened to my body. I needed fresh air!
The next day, I started putting the baby in the stroller and getting outside. For me, spending time outside was the right decision! On a daily basis, I met neighbors, got out of my house, and soaked up some Vitamin D. Whatever your body is telling you, take a nap, get some exercise, and eat healthy food so you can keep a positive outlook.
Limit social media and Pinterest
I am not completely against social media and Pinterest – I use both of them myself! However, I also recognize that I can easily get swept up in both and start to feel frustrated. Why doesn’t my house look like that? Why aren’t my summer vacations the same as my friend from college? How does she look so good after having a baby?
When you feel yourself feeling worse after spending too much time on your phone, it is time to take a break. Consider different types of media and engage in face-to-face relationships instead.
Pray or meditate
Want to be a happy stay at home mom? Take at least ten minutes to pray or meditate in the quiet. Breathe in through your nose and fill up your belly. Breathe out through your nose. Try this several times and focus your thoughts. Focus on relaxing your body from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. If this is the only thing that you add to your routine, this may be the most important.
Make a meal plan
Creating a simple meal plan can be the key to your life at home schedule. This does not have to be an elaborate or overly creative process, if that stresses you. A good time to make this plan is on Sunday afternoons or evenings. If you have older kids, allow them to help you with ideas.
In general, I sit down and make a plan for the week, remembering to note school performance events, athletic practices, or other events for my older children. Meal times may fluctuate as your kids age, but having a general game plan can reduce your stress.
A good way to think through your meal plan is to consider the type of cuisine. For instance, Mondays can be Mexican, Tuesdays for soup, Wednesdays for breakfast, Thursdays for leftovers, Fridays for Italian, Saturdays for grilling or eating out, and Sundays include a slow cooker.
Having a plan reduces your need for fast food, cuts down on your eating out budget, and contributes to your overall family well-being. It is also a good way to reduce trips to the grocery store. Consider making your plan on Sunday and then planning a weekly trip to the store or making a grocery pick-up order. I do not enjoy grocery trips with little people, so I tend to opt for a pickup or delivery orders unless they are at school. Once you get into the swing of things with meal planning, it can really reduce your stress at home.
Do a 10-minute clean after lunch and dinner
Ten minute cleans are another great way to stay happy as a stay at home mom. If you have little ones, do a quick sweep after they go down for nap time and then again after their bedtime. Waking up to clean counters, swept floors, and tidied toys is a game changer for your mood.
Saving all of your cleaning for the end of the day or the end of the week is just hard work. Tidy and do a wipe down with Clorox wipes to see a massive difference in your home by the end of the day.
Complete one load of laundry a day.
Another great tip is to complete one load of laundry a day. Laundry can become a full-time job if it builds up, particularly with a large family. My goal is to start a load first thing at breakfast time, switch it over mid-day and have it folded and put away by the afternoon. Older kids can help separate, fold, and put away. Again, these are the small things that can help incrementally throughout the week.
Listen to a podcast or an audio book
I find that listening to a fun podcast or audiobook can lift my mood during household chores. Look for audio libraries like Audible or your local library’s service to check out some favorite books on your list. What are you interested in? Art, music, politics, travel…chances are there are some fantastic podcasts about your hobbies. Find them and fight any boredom you may feel at home and stay engaged.
Ask for help from family members or babysitters
Remember to reach out for help! Try to schedule some time away from home, even just a run to Target! See if family members, mother’s helpers, and sitters can provide you with some little breaks that will rejuvenate you. You can also look into community resources, like Mother’s Morning Out programs once your little one reaches the toddler and preschool years for a set routine schedule.
Consider professional help, if needed
If you are a stay-at-home mom and you are experiencing what could be postpartum depression, please be sure to reach out to your doctor. Taking care of your children full-time is challenging, and there are ways to help you feel better!
I hope this post encourages you with ways to feel happy as a stay at home mom. It is not always an easy job, but it is an important and fulfilling one! Be sure to sign up for my free meal planning newsletter and keep reading for more mom life news.