Ever since moms began entering the workforce, there have been comparisons made between mothers who are at home with their children and mothers who work outside of the home. The media has added fuel to what they call the “mommy wars,” which has only added to the rift between these two groups and has added to the guilt that many moms feel regardless of their employment choices.
In a recent study, it was indicated that working mothers are happier than stay-at-home mothers. I am not certain if the study accounted for those mothers who feel they have no choice in the matter. I have been a single mother who felt she had to work outside the home to support my child. I resented working because I had no choice in the matter. However, I also know some moms who are at home with their children due to job loss or the high cost of suitable childcare. Many of them feel some resentment towards their situations as well.
Even if you have chosen to be a stay-at-home mom, you are sure to have days when your house is a mess, your children are acting completely crazy, or you long for adult conversation. Here are some tips on how to handle those rough days and how to maintain your happiness as a stay-at-home mom
Prioritize – odds are good that you chose to stay home so you could be with your children, don’t lose sight of that fact. Many mothers feel pressure to keep their houses in perfect condition, cook fabulous meals every night, and to have perfectly behaved children. Let go of “perfect,” and all of the stress that goes along with it. You cannot do it all (without sacrificing your sanity), so determine your priorities and focus on what matters most to you and your family.
Play – play with your kids! Kids love it, it is a great way to get some exercise, and new research has demonstrated that kids (and grow- ups too) really need play for optimal development. So grab a ball and head outside! Another great way to play, and stimulate brain development, is through imaginative play. When you engage your children in imaginative play there is tremendous potential for connection with that child.
Connect with Other Moms – Join mom groups or head to story time at the library to connect with other stay-at-home moms in your area. These women are in a unique position to understand the triumphs and challenges of your day-to-day life that others may not. They can also be a great source of information, advice, and reassurance. Plus heading to the park or the play place with another mom gives both you and your children someone to spend time with and she can help watch some of the kids if one has a bathroom emergency or if you would like the chance to go pee by yourself for a change!
Recharge Your Batteries – read, go for a walk, listen to music, exercise, take a bubble bath; do whatever you need to do to recharge your own batteries. You will not be able to take care of your children very well if you neglect to take care of yourself. Plus, taking care of yourself sets a great example for your children.
Keep Sense of Humor – being a stay-at-home parent can be exhausting, loud, messy, and insanely frustrating at times. It can also be hysterical, wonderful, joyous, and amazing, at those very same times. Keep things in perspective. Laugh more and worry less. Yes, it is that simple. Happiness, in many regards, is a choice! Remember to enjoy the journey of raising your children.