So the next question I thought about was, “How do I survive day after day?” Honestly, in the beginning this was really really hard. Now, it’s just regular hard. And some days it really is just getting up and putting one foot in front of the other, like any hard thing in life. But I don’t count down the hours as much as I used to. And sometimes I even enjoy myself.
I am a list person who likes to physically do tasks. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something. Being a mom is not really like that. Sometimes I can get some tasks done, but more often I feel like I am going in circles doing the same things over and over with nothing really getting done and nothing to show for all my “work” at the end of the day.
I had to go through a major mental shift when I became a stay-at-home mom, and that didn’t happen overnight. It’s still happening, in fact. I had to learn what would work for me and my kids in this new role. I can guarantee you that our everyday family life will look different than yours because I am not you.
But I also know that some of what has helped me is universal, and may be able to help you too. So here is a list of 5 things you can do to help with the transition to motherhood or becoming a stay-at-home mom:
Get out of the house.
Seriously. That is what I try to do at least once a day, every day that I can. If you can get out for a few hours, great, but even just a walk around the block can work wonders for your child(ren) and yourself. If you need ideas for where to go. I have a list for you too: the library, parks, a mall, the zoo, a pet store, kids museums, indoor play places, a play date, shopping, farms, or nature centers, and I’m sure I’m forgetting things.
Connect with fellow believers and other moms.
I’ve managed to do this with Community Bible Study, as they have a new mom’s group I was a part of for 3 years. I cannot express how beneficial it is to have time away from your kids, where they go to a class and learn God’s word too, and you get to be part of what feels like a mom support group, as well as learning together from God’s word. It is a life-line! If CBS is not near you, you can also try Bible Study Fellowship, Mops, or see if your church has any studies for moms. I also was able to be a part of a study on Entrusted with a Child’s Heart, and that so so helpful as well.
You are going to need support and there is no better place than other moms who totally get it. They are in the same place as you. They know the struggle and are less quick to judge because they’ve been there, or they are there. There is lots of grace for each other among the fellowship of motherhood, even if we don’t always allow ourselves the same grace.
Learn to lighten up and let go of control.
I will admit that this is also a work in progress, but I have come a long way. I’ve learned to just not make many plans and to go with the flow. There are days when things are set, but there are just as many that I don’t plan out until the morning of. I’ve found that this helps my mental state. This way I’m not constantly planning things that get ruined. It’s all a part of that mental shift. It’s ok to just wing it.
It’s also ok to just play. No, it’s not getting anything “done.” But it is important work. Just being with your kids, getting down on the floor and playing with them, dressing up, play-acting, reading, being silly. This is part of your new job and it takes intentionality as well. I know you can’t do it all day like they want, but make sure you take some time everyday to solely focus on your kids and playing with them.
Also, remember that messes can be cleaned up. This is another thing that is big mental shift for me and I have to remind myself of. Sometimes I just don’t want to deal with the mess. But I will say, that some of my fondest memories with the kids, and some of theirs involve messes. They weren’t intentional messes, just the byproduct of creative play, and I wouldn’t trade them. But I also won’t do those things everyday.
Take opportunities to be away from your kids and don’t feel guilty.
It’s ok. Your kids will be just fine. I don’t mean that you leave them for weeks on end, or even that you are away from them everyday. But if the opportunity arises, take it. If your husband offers to watch them, take him up on it. If grandma and grandpa are up for watching the kids for a few hours, let them. Along with that, make sure to have time with your husband away from the kids as well. Your marriage is important and needs to be nourished as well.
Remember the ultimate goal.
Bottom line is that your family is your first priority as a ministry, wether you work or not. It’s a big responsibility and you can’t do your job effectively without being filled with God’s Spirit and His Word yourself. If your house is spotless, your kids eat gourmet meals, and never scream or yell, yet they grow up not knowing the Gospel, you have failed at what should be your number 1 goal. Keep Christ first in your heart and in your family and let that be your guide. Take every opportunity to share the gospel with your kids. Pray as a family. Keep God’s word ever before you. Memorize it together. Sing it. Read it. Breathe it. I can’t say our family is there yet, but we are ever striving.
Inevitably, there are still going to be days when you want to throw in the towel. Those days I may just make it through by the skin of my teeth. But I know tomorrow will be a new day, for all of us, and I’m thankful His mercies are new every morning.
Next week as I wrap up this series I want to share how our family can afford for me to be home. It has little to do with income as you will see next week. Stay tuned…