Transitioning into the role of a mother is huge for anyone and everyone. Becoming a Stay at Home Mom, though, requires a new level of adjustment. People, in the most general sense of the word, think that you are home all day having fun or lazing around watching t.v. or just not having to go to work. Therefore, you're expected to not only be the cook and the cleaning lady, but also daycare for your child. The reality is much, much different. Here are my prime coping strategies:
Don't expect to get anything done:
All mothers know that it is difficult to get stuff done around the house while taking care of a child; this is only exacerbated if you are home every day. Think of the twelve hours that your child is awake as daycare. You are the teacher. Just like you wouldn't expect your child's teacher to cook a three course meal while watching, stimulating and educating your child, you can't expect the same thing of yourself. If you get an extra long nap and do get something done around the house, think of it as a bonus- yay! Otherwise know that you are doing your best at your most important job- raising your child.
When you were working, you probably had a schedule with meetings, lunches and other planned times of the day. In between you did your routine job. I plan for one special activity per day, one neighborhood walk, and the rest is "routine".
Routine includes: playing with toys, reading books, listening to music/dancing, baby pool time, or just letting Baby Boy hang out on his own for a little while.
Weekly Activities look something like this:
Tuesday- Mommy Group
Wednesday- Grocery Store
Thursady- Play date
Friday- Baby Yoga
Doing your thing:
There are days, when you just need to do your own thing at some point during that 12 hour day. For this I have a few strategies:
1) Keep a few toys in different areas of the house- I keep a few (special ones) in my bedroom so that I can give them to Baby Boy if I'm getting dressed. There are also a few in his own bedroom that are hidden in the bottom drawer of the dresser. He knows that he can get them out on his own, but when we leave the room I always put them back so that he can re-discover them next time.
2) Singing in the shower- I've found that it's not a problem to shower with Baby Boy playing on the bathroom floor. I give him a couple "new" items to play with, such as empty shampoo bottles, and if he starts to whine there's always singing or just talking to him.
3) Meals in the kitchen- I try not to do this too often, because I prefer to sit with Baby Boy at the dining table, but if I really need to cook or be in the kitchen, I will put Baby Boy in his high chair in the kitchen and give him his meal there.
4) Laundry as a game- It's easy to name the different pieces as I fold, or relinquish a few sheets to turn into tents or wind makers, the only catch is that you need to have a place to put your folded laundry that is out of reach of the little tornado.
Remember how lucky you are!
In general, we choose to stay at home with our little ones; I know that I certainly do. Being at home to witness every milestone, seeing the daily and even hourly development in understanding, observing the kiddo learn a new skill, that's what it's all about. It's a privilege to stay at home, so when I'm having a rough day I remind myself how lucky I am!