Friday, 23 May 2014

Stay At Home Mom Survival Tips!

It's been almost three years that I've been a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM). Imagine all that I could have done in that three it furthering my education, working, or even traveling the world like what most of my peers are doing/have done. I'll admit it that at times I do wonder about all the possibilities, but the the truth is I really wouldn't feel right leaving Kaitlin in the care of someone else be it the grandparents, helper or childcare option.

Most people have the misconception that being a SAHM is all fun and that we lead the tai tai life. People assume we get to watch the kids grow up and just spend our day playing with them. Yes, we do that..but we also do alot more like cooking for them, showering them, picking up after them, researching and doing fun activities with them and the one that's the hardest..disciplining them. Yes, just like how you have a full-time job, we have one as well. In fact, most times we work 24/7. It's not easy, and even till today I find myself struggling at times. Thankfully though, I've realised and learnt certain things during my SAHM journey that I would like to share with you:

Planning is so very important for a SAHM. Trust me, whether it's sitting down at the table and planning your to-do list or planning it in your head, just do it.

This includes planning activities for your kids, meal planning, planning for outings and the list goes on.

I find that it helps me feel less stress and more prepared for the day/week. I know what I've to do, what I've to prepare and what to expect and in turn a less stressed mom means a happier mom.

What I find helpful is to write up a to-do list at the start of the week. Whether or not I follow through with all the things (trust me, I have yet to cross everything off so chill if you can't finish doing everything), at least I know what I've to do. I feel pretty accomplished when I manage to check off a few things and that sort of also gives me encouragement that I will be able to get through the entire week.

When I'm on the go or putting Kaitlin to sleep, I'll spend time planning as well. I'll just plan on my phone and I find that I've more time to do other stuff this way.

Similar to planning, prepping helps a whole lot instead of leaving things to the last minute. Trust me, you don't want to be in situation when you are rushing to get everything ready while having a toddler clamouring for your attention

If you know where you and your bub will be heading to the next day, pack the night before after he/she has gone to bed. If not, wake up a little earlier to pack.

If you are going to be cooking that day, prepare the your ingredients while your child is asleep, and if you've more time you can even start cooking, that way the meal will be ready when your child wakes up and you can give time your full attention.

I personally feel that homecooked meals are the best for our kids. Not only is it cost-efficient, it is also healthier. It may seem like alot of hard work, but trust me it's not.

Firstly, cooking in batches will help you to save time, and you have a ready supply of food kept in the freezer should there be a day when you simply aren't able to cook and manage the kids. I usually cook big portions of soup, stock and sauce and then store them.

A good way to save space is to first store them in ice cube trays in the freezer, and then remove and transfer them into ziplock bags. Don't forget to label the bags so you know when you should finish them by.

Steam or bake. These two are my favourite methods of cooking for Kaitlin as they are healthy, and most importantly you don't have to constantly check on the food or be busy stir frying at the stove while looking after the kids.

There are lots of recipe ideas on the net and even baby cookbooks you can borrow from the library. Give it a try, and you'll realise it's not all the hard.

I try to involve Kaitlin as much as I can when I'm trying to get things done. This helps me to keep her occupied, she learns new things along the way and I get to keep a close eye on her.

This includes cooking, simple chores, and preparing materials for our activities. Of course, do exercise caution. For cooking, I let her do simple tasks like cracking a hardboiled egg and cutting a banana with a butter knife.

Kaitlin loves to help me with hanging out the laundry. I only let her carry the clothes from one room to the other and I do the actual hanging myself. As for preparing materials, I let her grab her own art materials other than those that are sharp like scissors or items that are hard to reach.

Involve the kids as much as you can even when clearing up. Throwing the rubbish away, wiping the table after and keeping their toys away. This might not make the cleaning up process easier for you at the start (they make more of a mess) but it teaches the kids about independence and responsibility and in the long run when they get the hang of it, they'll actually be helping you out.

I find that bringing Kaitlin out makes not just her, but also myself a happier person! I like to bring Kaitlin to explore new places and expose her to environments and situations that she isn't usually used to at home. It gives her a chance to socialise with other kids and I especially like how I get to teach her new concepts and vocabulary while we are out. It's a fun way of teaching her and I find that she learns better this way.

Head to an indoor playground, or if you are feeling adventurous head outdoors and expose the kids to nature at the park or beach. The Zoo, museums and supermarkets are great options as well.

Not only do we get to have fun with the kids (a bonus if the hubs can join us!), we moms get to take small breaks while the kids are exploring and playing on their own.

Rest and Relaxation
This is the most important of all and you should't deprive yourself from any rest and relaxation. If you can afford to, nap with your child when they are napping. Sleep as early as you can as well. Rest is important cos we really need all the energy when the kids are up. Also, a more rested mom means a less grumpy one. As moms, we have an endless list of things to do but the fact is we can never ever finish all of it in a day. If you can, that's great. If you can't, don't beat yourself up about it. Prioritise what's important and do what you need to first, then get some rest and continue again.

If you are able to, get the husband or anyone else your are comfortable with leaving your children with to to help you out while you take a nap or do something that helps you unwind. It could be going for a spa session, out for coffee with friends, taking a long shower (10 minutes instead of 3 minutes makes a world of difference!) or even just using Facebook for a few minutes. It can be stressful with so much to do in a day and having to deal with tantrums, so these moments really help us to take a breather so that we don't end up hollering at the kids more than we should.

That's all the tips I've got to share! I hope it helps you in one way or other. If not, don't fret cos this post is part of a daily blogging series in May started by Gingerbreadmum, where 30 other Stay At Home Moms share their tips on how they cope.

Next up on the blog train is Adeline:

Apart from being a SAHM, Adeline from also took the opportunity to pursue her passion in jewelry making while juggling her time looking after her children for the past 13 years. Although her children are now in their teens, she recalls and share the times she coped when her children were much younger.

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