5 Ways To Enrich Your Life as a Stay-At-Home Parent
When those tough stretches of being at home with your kids hit – don’t fret! Mighty Mommy shares 5 ways you can enrich your daily practices of motherhood instead of running away.
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I became a mom in my late twenties, well into my busy career as both a writer and the office manager of a specialty dental practice. After years of infertility I was blessed with motherhood through an amazing adoption. With less than two weeks to prepare for our first baby, I didn’t have much time to think about whether or not I’d become a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) or continue working. After careful consideration, and with my husband’s support, I decided not to leave my job, but instead redesigned my work schedule so I could continue working. We hired a wonderful nanny and within three years of our adoption I become the mom of three kids under the age of two!
It was then that I decided it was best for our family if I left my job and became a full-time SAHM. Although I was doing some part-time freelance writing, I was able to do most of that from home, and didn’t go back to the “work force” until my youngest of eight began grammar school, roughly six years ago.
The debate over mothers choosing to work and foster a career or to stay home and raise a family is ongoing and, quite honestly, getting old. In this day and age, women are faced with multiple reasons (other than the obvious financial considerations) for choosing whether or not to work outside of the home. What’s right for my family may not be the right choice for my neighbor, and having been in both positions while caring for my eight kids I know firsthand that there are pros and cons to both situations. What mattered most was making either situation the best it could be for my family.
For most of the time I’ve been raising my kids, I was a SAHM. Caring for eight kids for so many years was definitely the toughest job I’ll (probably) ever love. There were plenty of days when I would’ve gladly taken a job cleaning gutters or washing dishes into the wee hours of the night (oh wait, I did that already) just to get out of the house and not have to listen to one more kid whine or complain that he was bored. When those tough stretches of being at home with your kids hit—don’t fret! Mighty Mommy shares five ways you can enrich your daily practices of motherhood instead of running away.
5 Ways to Enrich Your Life as a Stay-At-Home Mom
- Have an Attitude Check
- Become a Mommy Hacker
- Be Mindful of Speaking Positively to Your Family
- Discover Gifts that Make You Special
- Learn How to Live in the Moment
Here they are in further detail.
1. Have an Attitude Check
In 2005, my eighth child was born and so was my new attitude. Gloria Gaynor’s hit song "I Will Survive" was my theme song that played over and over in my head after having spent a decade pregnant while caring for a small army of toddlers. With an eighth baby in tow, this was the year that I knew it was time to shift gears into a more positive direction—not just for my sanity’s sake, but so that my family would thrive and not suffer because I didn’t have my attitude in check.
I took a close look at the most difficult and monotonous chores that I faced day in and day out, and the two that topped the charts were laundry (sigh!) and meal preparations. We’ll save my laundry saga for another day, but I’m only too happy to share how I changed my entire relationship with hamburger helper and began having a love fest with all things meal related in my busy, chaotic life. I realized that cooking for my family every day was a privilege in the literal sense of the word: an advantage or source of pleasure granted to a person. That said, even a ho-hum chore like chopping, sautéing, stuffing, baking, and serving a meal can turn into a love affair.
The best decision I made (besides realizing I could choose to love the time I spent in the kitchen rather than grumbling my way through it each day) was to plan my meals ahead and to never, ever, unless I was totally, completely, ridiculously desperate, take my darling children grocery shopping with me. Period!
Now this was no easy feat because I rarely had any childcare other than the grandparents, but because I planned ahead and knew what I would be preparing each week for meals, I usually managed to find a way to scoot out to the store without a single child in tow. This ironically became sacred “me” time, and because I didn’t have any wee ones whining for every box of cereal or frozen treat they laid their hungry little eyes on, I would return home with two carriages of food each week and actually saved money! This was all the incentive their father needed to accommodate my solo shopping spree each week—a win-win for all.
I’m thankful I changed my attitude years ago and embraced cooking dinner each night rather than dreading it. And now that my nest is beginning to empty, I can look back at mealtimes when we were all together as a family and savor those memories.
2. Become a Mommy Hacker
If someone can show me a way to get a usually daunting job done faster, better, and easier—I feel like I’ve won the lottery. Parenting is tricky enough, but when you throw in daily chores that are monotonous and time draining it’s no wonder grown women who stay home with their kids and don’t interact with other adults for hours (or days) on end want to lock themselves in their bedrooms and have a good cry.
Enter time-saving hacks—a mom’s best friend! In my episode about parenting trends for 2018, time-saving hacks are at the top of the list as a smart and clever way for parents to save time, energy, and money, and in general just make life easier.
One of my favorite hacks is one I gleaned from an episode I saw on a Food Network show—cook once and double up. It took some practice, but I got into a wonderful routine of preparing all my meals for the week every Sunday afternoon. And as long as I was at it, I doubled a couple of recipes that I would put away in the freezer. Sure it was extra work, but the trade-off for having at least four meals ready to go was well worth my stint as Betty Crocker once a week, and I’ve been cooking like this for over ten years now.