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Challenge: Stretched Too Thin

'Embrace the imperfect balance': My 8 'at-home mom' sanity savers

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I don't like labels. I don't like the work-at-home, stay-at-home, or working mother titles. We all work in our own way, and we are all doing the best we can.

Therefore, if you don't leave the house for a normal 9-5, I’m dubbing you a fellow “at-home mom;” simply put.

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Being an at-home mom comes with plenty of stereotypes, many of which are true. Getting dressed is a daily challenge, and cleaning; OMG… the mountain of laundry never seems to stop. And "me" time!? What is that? It's a foreign term.

Anyway, I've come up with 8 sanity savers for the at-home mom. Please note: I do NOT claim to do all the below. It's a constant work in progress; just things I’m working on for the new year.

1. Give yourself a small allowance

I most recently had my first massage in years. I only get pedicures for occasions, and my kids rock new clothes while I wear jeans from college. This isn’t because I’m punishing myself- I just do it unconsciously. So lately, I’ve been granting myself a few bucks for ME, as all I seem to buy is diapers, wipes, toys, etc. I’m not suggesting you indulge in a monthly shopping spree- we can all agree times are tough and money’s tight- but I do suggest allotting yourself some “me” money on a monthly basis.

2. Find an outlet

Trust me, I know it’s hard to find free time, and when we do, it’s often spent folding laundry or taking a 5-minute cat nap; however, maintaining a sense of self is VERY important. If you like writing, start a blog. Even if you don’t gain a following, who cares; a weekly entry would fulfill your creative passion. If you like cooking, create a recipe book of meals you want to taste-test. If you like photography, take fun pictures of your kids. Do something (anything!) that reminds you you’re more than a mother- something you find independently fulfilling.

3. Date at home

Before children, I told my husband we’d do date night on a weekly basis. Now…HA! That idea went up in smoke, mostly at my fault. Babysitters are pricey, leaving young kids can be stressful, and finding the time and energy to romance can be scarce. However, I constantly try to remind myself I’m still a wife. An idea… try dating at home, in pajamas, alongside popcorn, vino and a deck of cards. Little snippets of QT go a long way.

4. Get ready once a week

I know- how lame do I sound. Just yesterday I was picking up my son from school and a fellow mom asked me what I had done for the day, as she was shocked to see me in make-up. I used to get dolled up on a daily basis for my former corporate job. I’d wear stilettos, trendy dresses, and have my hair blown and a face flawless. Fast forward to now...I take a 5 second morning shower, throw my hair in a pony, put on leggings, a tank top, and consider myself ready for the day. Yes, my new daily attire is yoga gear-and I don’t do yoga. By the end of the day, my clothes are full of yuck anyway. I’m sure you can agree it’s just unrealistic and unnecessary to get overly ready on a daily basis, but I really think it’s important to “put your face on” at least once a week. Remind yourself you are still a beautiful woman who cares about herself.

5. Give yourself a break

Being an at-home mom is a beautiful blessing, a wonderful privilege, and a total joy. You never miss a first, and you really have the opportunity to befriend your children; get to know them, play with them, snuggle them, and savor them. With that being said, some days are tough. Some days your toddler won’t nap, the house can’t get clean, you’re utterly exhausted, you feel like crap, and you want to scream. And so, the new 2019 me is granting myself permission to have sucky days, and when that happens, to flip on the TV to occupy the kids; give them ice cream if they’re refusing to eat; and let the laundry pile high until I’m emotionally ready to tackle it.

6. Join a mommy & me

Getting adult time can be hard considering many moms work 9-5s and don’t necessarily want to do lunch with you and your fidgety son or daughter. However, there are plenty of options that will get you out of the house for something fun and stimulating with your child AND people your own age. Seek out a mommy and me class- there are tons. Yes, you’ll be singing baby songs and dancing around the room, but you’ll do so in good company. Plus, it will help you make friends with other moms in the same boat.

7. Get outside

Sometimes I’ll look at the clock, it will be 5pm, and I’ll realize I haven’t even taken a breath of fresh air. Getting outside is sooooo important- it’s revitalizing, refreshing, and a free and fun thing to do with your child. Go on walks. Go to the park. Picnic outside. Make it a daily commitment to take in some sunshine, even on a cloudy day.

8. Lose the guilt

I recently read a blog that stated at-home mothers are a luxury to your spouse. The truth is, you are doing the most important job in the world, whether or not it’s bringing home much bacon. Just because you don’t leave the house at 9am, report to your cubicle, and return home at 5pm, doesn’t mean your job isn’t significant. You are mothering your children and caring for your home, and many of us are doing it while working from home, running a business, etc. Don’t feel guilty. Enjoy this time. Embrace the imperfect balance. Years from now you won’t look back wishing things had been different. Oh, and drink the wine, mama… you deserve it.

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