I think the biggest challenge is that it is 24 hours 7 days a week with no allocated breaks. It is very easy to become overwhelmed with it all which isn’t good for you or your family.
Below I have outlined some common challenges on what it is to be a stay at home mum and some tips that may help you overcome them.
By changing or adjusting the way we deal with these challenges will make the difference in how you manage your day and as we all know, a happy mum leads to happier children.
Challenge 1 – Thinking that you’re not doing it right
Unfortunately babies don’t come with user manuals (or a pause button) so therefore it is very common to have doubts and insecurities which is understandable because you’ve never done it before.
Solution – Trust your instincts and/or ask others for advice
Do what feels right to you and what helps you to get through your day. It’s your child and you know what’s best for them. Talk to your mum friends about it, most likely they’re going through it too or have been through it before. They may have some practical tips that have worked for them or at best be good listeners, sometimes simply talking about it releases a lot of stress and pressure. Also, there are many parenting websites that you can search for online which cover a range of issues like baby sleeping issues, breastfeeding, toilet training, toddler behaviour, juggling day to day tasks etc.
Challenge 2 – A juggling act
Juggling daily chores (washing, cleaning, cooking, tidying up, groceries etc) with looking after your children (morning routines, breakfast, dressing, entertaining, refereeing fights between siblings, getting them ready for day care/kinder/school, lunch, changing nappies, bathing etc) can be overwhelming and difficult to achieve at times.
Solution – Ask for help
If you can budget it hire a cleaner, this would save you a lot of time and stress. Otherwise, if your kids are old enough get them to pitch in, little things like getting them to put their plates in the dishwasher or sink as well as making it part of their evening routine to put away their toys before going to bed will help in the long run. Get your husband or partner to pitch in with the daily running of the house, it’s their house and their kids too. Have a weekly or monthly meal planner, if the thought of coming up with one yourself is too mammoth a task, there are some great samples of them online, which you can google. Prepare meals and freeze them or buy a slow cooker. When you start to feel overwhelmed, stop and take a deep breath, the world won’t end just because your house is a mess.
Challenge 3 – Feeling isolated
No many how many children you have, when you’re the only adult in the house for most of the day it can be quite a lonely experience.
Solution – Get out…
It may feel like the last thing you want to do especially as this requires a lot of planning ahead when you have small children (packing nappies, snacks, spare clothes, bottles etc) but it is worth the effort. Go to a park, or if it’s a rainy day, head to a shopping centre or indoor play centre. Most likely there’ll be other mums there with their kids, strike up a conversation, start by asking how old their child is. If you don’t feel like talking then just smile, it’s amazing how a friendly smile can brighten someone’s day, you never know, they may have been having a bad day till you came along. Also, surround yourself with other like minded mums that you meet at mother’s group or from kinder, gymbaroo or the park. Share your trials and tribulations with each other, have play dates with them or a chat over the phone, very quickly you’ll feel less isolated. Arranging a play date at someone’s house, a cafe or a park is the best way to get out of the house because even if you’re having a bad morning where you don’t know how you’ll possibly manage to get out the front door, you somehow find a way because you know that you have your play date waiting. Once you get there you’ll be relieved to talk about your nightmare morning to someone who understands, your children will be entertained and before you know it, it’s nearly lunchtime and time to go to put your kids down for their nap and just like that your day is nearly over. You’ll be grateful that you forced yourself out of the house that morning.
Challenge 4 – Financial, loss of one income
This challenge goes without saying, most likely this is something that was discussed as a couple before you started a family and of course the decision to drop one income would not have been made if it wasn’t financially viable. But still it does greatly affect your finances as with the arrival of a newborn comes added costs.
Solution – Enjoy the simple things in life
Learn to love the simple things (it’s amazing how the arrival of a child teaches you this, like when they receive a gift they prefer to play with the wrapping) and better to spend on the necessities rather than the luxuries. It doesn’t hurt to treat yourself occasionally though, you deserve it.
Challenge 5 – What other people think
This includes dealing with other peoples’ stereotypes or opinions that stay at home mums sit around at home and do nothing but watch TV. or spend the day going out for coffee.
Solution – Ignore them!
Save your energy for your kids.
At the end of the day, raising children can be and is a rewarding experience. You get to witness important milestones like walking and talking, get endless cuddles and there will be days when your kids are well behaved and co-operative. Thinking about all the positives is a great way to remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can and a great job at that.
Till next time…