January 16, 2014

ten tips for stay-at-home-moms on the days they are doing just that

A few weeks ago my husband was out of town, my car would not start, my son had a cold, and the weather was nasty. In other words: we could not go anywhere, see anyone, or stay outside for long periods of time.

I was fully living up to my title of Stay at Home Mom.

I usually try to make sure the kids and I don't travel anywhere three days per week. We still walk over to the park, or go for a walk through the woods, or sometimes have friends over for play dates, but I feel like it is so important to keep the kids at home and spend quality time with them here. Also, it saves money (that I would be spending on gas, coffee, activities), and I feel like I can get a lot more chores done around the house when I am home all day.

I try to really savor the time at home because I know it won’t be forever that I will have my kiddos here with me. However, it isn’t always easy to keep kids entertained and get chores done. Cabin fever can set in quickly.

Here are ten things that I find make my days at home with my kids smoother and more enjoyable:

 1. Wake up early and drink something warm. If I can get up before my kids, I am a completely different person than if I wake up to the baby crying or James jumping on me. If I have caffeine in my blood system, a plan for breakfast, and a few Bible verses read, the day seems full of possibilities rather than full of stress when the kids get up.

 2. Make your bed. You won’t be as tempted to get back in.

3. Cozy up your home. In the mornings I open the curtains, turn on lamps, put on some soft music, light some candles... I try to make it an inviting place that my family will want to wake up to.

4. Cook a good breakfast and sit down with your kids to eat it. This is certainly not always easy, but I find it very important. If the dog hasn't been fed and my coffee isn't ready and the kids are running around like crazy, I usually give them some fruit or dry cheerios to snack on until I can get myself ready to sit down with them. I really enjoy the time around the table where we talk about the day ahead and have our little Bible study time.

5. Set a time for work and a time for play. If I try to get things done around the house and play with my kids at the same time, I end up frustrated because I cannot actually do both at once. I have learned to tell James "I am going to load the dishwasher, then pick up the kitchen a bit. After that, I would love to play cars with you." I try to offer ideas for him to do while he waits for me, or I tell him ways he can help me. It doesn't always work, but I think it is important for him to learn patience.

 6. Have some activities in mind. My day runs much smoother if I have a plan for things James can do. I usually pull a couple rotational toys down from his closet in the morning, and I will plan an art or cooking project for he and I to do together during Eleanor's nap time.

7. Get out! Now! I mean outdoors, of course. Don’t let weather stop you. Lather on the sunscreen and strap sunhats on the kiddos. Bundle them until they can’t put their arms down. Strap the baby in the front pack and put the toddler on his bike. Just get out. Every day.

8. Clean up after yourself. Ugh. I actually kind of hate this one, but I am a calmer less frantic person when I do it. It amazes me that my house actually seems to be kept more orderly when I am home rather than running in and out.

9. Give your kids some space. It took me awhile to learn this one, but man, am I glad I did. If my kids are entertaining themselves with their toys, using their imaginations and playing well by themselves, I don’t need to feel guilty for not interacting with them one hundred percent of the time.

 10. Make your kids laugh. Have a tickle fest. Make silly faces. Slip on a banana peel. What ever you have to do to get them to giggle and put them in a good mood. You will feel better also, laughter is contagious, especially when it's coming from a kid.

There are other things that I can think of that would be helpful, like "Get dressed out of the outfit you slept in by noon" or "Go to bed at a decent time", but it just didn't seem right to suggest anything that I am incapable of.... however, I would love to hear what helps you to get through the at-home days! Please leave suggestions in the comments below...


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