I want to share a simple secret about how to be a happy stay at home mom. Unlike many girls, I never expected to be a mom. I fully expected to go to a foreign mission field, or become an author, or at the very least – to open a cute little florist shop!
But here I am; 40 years old, having been a STAHM for nearly 20 years, and loving it.
I have been thinking about why I enjoy being a mom. I mean, obviously I have the best kids and husband, haha!
But seriously, I am naturally full of goals and ideas and I love accomplishing things.
So why am I content to stay home every day, vacuuming, cooking, wiping noses and folding laundry??
How to be a happy stay at home mom
Here’s the secret:
Make sure you allow white space in your life.
Yep. I said that! Stop filling your life to the gills with every activity under the sun. Make sure you leave plenty of days every month where you are just at home, with no time schedule.
I think culture has taught us that we need to enroll our kids in swim, dance, music, sports, 4H, co-op, and on and on.
We feel like we are doing more for our kids, and giving them all the wonderful things that WE once desired. But what if we are just making a new problem?
You may not be creating a better life for your kids; you may be creating poor eating and sleeping habits that will haunt them for the rest of their life.
You may be teaching them that boredom and slow living are ‘bad’ and that experiences and activity will fill some need in their life.
It’s just not true. Our best lives are when we have a balance of activity and rest. Days with nothing on the schedule, and days where we are full.
Reasons to stop giving them everything
1. You will never be able to give them every experience you (or they) want to experience. We have finite energy and resources. At some point we will have to say no.
2. Children will grow up and have their entire lives to try new things and take fun trips, and no, you don’t have to be with them for each fun experience, although of course that would be great!
3. You are missing out on another kind of memory for your children: the memory of quiet evenings at home and a mom who sings in the kitchen.
The last point may sound like 50’s idealistic parenting. I can assure you it is very attainable and just as cozy in 2021 as it was in 1950.
Kids like to have their mom at home. They like having her puttering in the kitchen. At least, mine do — and I bet yours do too!
But the only way I can do that, is to leave white space in my life.
What do I mean by ‘white space’? Well, I mean leave extra time in your day, and better yet; leave whole days with no plans.
>>If you work outside the home, I am not talking to you right now. I am speaking specifically to those who stay home with the kids. <<<
Don’t pack every day full. Don’t enroll your kids in everything. They will be ok, I promise you. Oh, they may feel like they missed out on some things, but when they are grown and mature, they will understand the limitations in your parenting.
Tips for making memories without stress
- Teach them to cook and eat at home by doing it nearly every day.
- Go on more slow nature walks and fewer group hikes.
- Take a leisurely bike ride together instead of signing up for a race.
- Go to the zoo as a family instead of a field trip.
- Watch a movie at home with popcorn and sweet tea and skip the library movie night.
- Go to church, by all means!! But skip about half of the activities while your children are small, and be careful at all times how much you commit.
- If you want to have a home-based business; great! But keep motherhood Number One at all times. If your business comes first, your kids will know.
I have this blog, and it is supposed to be a side income. (haven’t made much yet, ha!) but I have a strict agreement with myself: my family comes first.
That means, it doesn’t matter if I haven’t posted in 2 months — if I have a sick child or a needy teen or a husband who needs my help – they come first. No question. They are far more important to me than any money – and I mean that.
You can read more about How I became a Happy Christian here.
When you allow white space in your life, you won’t be irritable and cranky as often, because you get enough sleep.
You will save money on food because you are home to throw together some simple meal.
You will enjoy more quality time with your husband, because you aren’t just ships passing in the night, nor are you constantly using him as a babysitter so you can escape from your frantic pace of life.
When you allow some extra time in your day and your life, you will be less stressed and more likely to be a happy stay-at-home mom.