Do you have to follow a certain set of rules to be a good homemaker? No! There are no rules about how to be a good stay at home mom! Here’s how to be a successful stay at home mom no matter what.
My transition from single to married was fast. Even faster than that was my transition from married person to mom.
I got pregnant with my daughter, who was my first baby, six months after getting married. My husband and I lived with my parents for the first year of our marriage. We moved into our first home, a tiny two-bedroom house, just a few months before my daughter was born.
I went from taking care of one room and one person (other than myself) to taking care of an entire household and very needy baby within a very short amount of time. I needed to learn how to be a successful stay at home mom, stat.
Needless to say, the adjustment was rough.
And I’d like to say that now, four years later, I’m a terribly successful stay-at-home-mom. (I’m still a SAHM.) But the truth is that I’m still learning, and some days I’m even still struggling.
I’d never planned to be a stay at home mom long-term, but I did plan on staying home with my daughter for her first year of life. Since then, four years, a move, and another pregnancy have passed. *Sigh*
I am now an experienced stay-at-home-parent, and while I’ve found a bit of a groove, I’ll be the first to admit that things aren’t perfect.
But I’m still a SAHM, and my kids are thriving because of it. (Yeah, I’ll take some credit.) Since I have a little street cred and a relatable story, now I’m going to teach the newbie out there how to be a successful stay at home mom.
And there’s more to it than laundry and diaper changes. 😉
But first, let me tell you about some of the big things that I struggled with when I became a homemaker and SAHM. My hope is that other young moms or women transitioning to “homemaker” status can read this and feel comforted by my own struggles. Because as you’ve probably been told, you aren’t the first and won’t be the last. Many of us have had to learn how to be a successful stay at home mom – and many of us have failed miserably.
I Struggled, You’ll Struggle, We All Struggle
Let me start by saying that MY mom was NOT a homemaker. There was often a grandma that set some sort of example of a homemaker living with us, but not always. That being said, I did not have a strong role model when it came to keeping of the home.
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We never had an extremely messy or disgusting house, but it wasn’t chronically tidy, either. On Saturdays, the whole family, dad included, took a few hours to clean the house as a unit.
So the problem was that all week we let the house go to shit while we lived. We didn’t really clean as we went, except when necessary. That worked for a long time, but when I started to manage my own house and was HOME WITH CHILDREN ALL DAY, it really, really DIDN’T WORK.
As you may know, one HOUR of free-ranging children (even just one!) can wreak havoc on even the tidiest of homes.
Plus there was the fact that we were eating at home. So. Many. Dishes.
At first, I didn’t clean as I went. When I became a mom, I was just trying to survive being a new mom. As you can imagine, that went terribly. I was a tired new mom with a tiny, cluttered, unkempt home. I couldn’t stay on top of my housekeeping because no one taught me how to be a successful stay at home mom. I’d never seen it done!
I’m not going to lie. It was tough.
It led to a strained marriage. My husband came home from the bread-winning to a messy house. (And he has a very physical job!)
It led to an overwhelmed mom. I fell into a depression with all of the pressure to, “do my part.”
It led to shame. I didn’t want to have people over for fear that they’d see my mess of a home!
It led to feelings of worthlessness. I wasn’t fulfilled by seemingly meaningless housework.
But it also brought me a new mission, which is to teach my kids practical skills for everyday life.
Still, it was a rough couple of years learning how to do something that felt a little unnatural for me. Self-discipline had never been my strong point.
So if you’ve ever asked yourself, “How the Hell are there so many dishes to wash? And why is there so much laundry to do?”, know you’re not alone. I stand with you. 🙂
Four years later, I’m able to look around at the end of the day and feel like I’ve accomplished something and that it’s all okay. Meaning that I don’t feel like I’m pulling teeth just to keep a happy home. I might dare to say I know how to be a successful stay at home mom just because of that!
So, let’s jump into what you came here looking for, shall we?
How to Be A Successful Stay at Home Mom
1. Do Something For Yourself
Yes, I put this one at the top of the list. Nothing is worse than a burnt-out mom because everybody is counting on you!
Do something for yourself every day – even if it’s just something that takes five minutes. This can be reading a book, going for coffee with a friend, putting make up on for once, taking a hot bath, etc! You’ve got to feel your best to be the best mom you can. For me, the two things I do for myself almost every day are to exercise and work on my business. Both of these things make me feel like I have my own thing and keep me moving forward.
If you often feel overworked, overly emotional, unhealthy, etc., it probably means you aren’t taking care of yourself enough. So it’s okay if you do something for yourself regularly – in fact, it’s recommended.
2. Get Out Of The House
Being in the house all day, every day, can lead to cabin fever – and quick. It might seem easier to just stay home when your kids are young, but there are negative effects if it’s done long-term. You don’t just need a little Vitamin D in your life – you need socialization!
I used to go to the gym every day with my kids JUST to see other adults, even if we just exchanged smiles or a simple, “Hello.” I dropped my kids off in the kid’s room and enjoyed up to two hours to myself!
You can’t always ditch your kids when you get out of the house, but I think that you’ll find that just getting out is good for you. It might be a little work, but a change of pace can seriously change everyone’s mood for the better!
I’m not saying that you have to get out of the house every day, but aim to get out at least two or three times per week – even if you just go for a walk around the block.
3. Get Your Family On A Schedule
This one is easier said than done, but oh so worth it. In my opinion, kids benefit from a loose schedule so they know what to expect from day to day. (There’s nothing worse than a kid who thinks he/she can do whatever, whenever!)
You mama, are the boss.
If you need your kids to go to bed earlier, make it happen. If you need your kids to pick up after themselves more, it’s your job to set that expectation for a daily clean-up time.
I’m not saying that you have to have a rigid schedule (in fact I’d advocate flexibility anytime kids are involved), but some routine is super important to your sanity!
When things are a routine, they feel like less of a chore.
Just think of it. Kids who don’t fuss at bed time. Children who put their plates in the sink. Kids who clean up their toys before bed. Kids who get ready for school without being told. Dream on, right?
No! The more kids get into a routine, the easier they can get through the day, and the more self-discipline they have. As you move forward, you’ll find routine is important when learning how to be a successful stay at home mom.
Even babies can benefit from a set wake time, bed time, and small routines throughout the day. For example, right now we are doing wake, change, eat, play, sleep throughout the day. We repeat this cycle until bedtime, when we have another routine.
My little buddy knows what to expect and goes down for a nap and bed like a champ every time!
4. Get Yourself on a Schedule
Again, no mom can have a rigid schedule knowing there are kids to worry about. But you can have things you do regularly, in some sort of order. For example, I typically wake up about a half-hour before both kids. Then I drink some coffee while checking up on my blog. Next I get some breakfast going while I unload the dishwasher. And it goes kind of like that all day.
There are no set times for anything, but I have things I do every day in a general order.
It takes some time to find out what time of day you need to do things/what schedule works for you. For a long time I would do ALL of the dishes at night after a long day of other shenanigans, but I realized that it wasn’t a big deal if I did it when I had more energy in the morning. I just wanted to enjoy my meal with my whole family at home – not squander our few hours all together by doing dishes.
Anyway, take some time to think about what really matters and what can wait. Then try out a loose schedule – and ditch the things that don’t work.
5. Clean Something Daily
I know this sounds obvious, but it was something that I needed to do as a new homemaker. I originally thought that if I cleaned the whole house one day, it meant that I could afford to take the next day or two off. WRONG. The world keeps spinning, and the laundry and dishes keep piling up. You’ll wake up with a LOT to do if you don’t do a LITTLE every day.
If anything, do at least one load of laundry every day. If you want extra brownie points, do a load of dishes daily, too.
Or, if it helps, set the timer for 15-60 minutes daily and just focus on cleaning the basics during that time. I find that if I focus on just cleaning for a set amount of time, I am less distracted and get more done than if I clean sporadically throughout the day.
6. Clean As You Go
This was something that, like I said, I didn’t learn how to do until I was much older. I used to cook something and wait until everything was done before cleaning everything up. But now I put ingredients and dishes away as soon as I’m done using them.
As you can imagine, there are many instances in which cleaning as you go might be helpful. Actually, I’d say it’s one of the most important things you can focus on as you learn how to be a successful stay at home mom.
The “clean as you go” thing will help you tremendously if you let it spill into every area of housekeeping.
So do the dishes right after eating, at least at breakfast and lunch. Put your clothes in the laundry right after changing. Sweep immediately after spilling flour on the floor. The list goes on.
It’s easier said than done, but I’m happy to report that if you start doing it with one thing, it will eventually become habit! Then you’ll be able to do it more and more.
And when things are habit, they feel less like work. Try it out!
7. Consider A Side Gig
Housekeeping doesn’t fulfill my brain. It doesn’t appeal to intellectuals, or most people, for that matter. It’s a lot of busy work, seemingly without much reward.
If you’re longing for some sort of creative or intellectual outlet, or you simply want to contribute to your family’s income, I have the perfect side gig ideas for you.
You guessed it – blogging.
I started a blog mainly to contribute to my family’s income, but I love that I am able to work on whatever I want. I can be creative, I can run a business, and I can be flexible all at once. I later added the coaching component and it gives me specific goals and more structure!
So far I’ve made $900+/month blogging, and it’s a pretty important part of who I am now. If you want to learn how to start your own blog, or about how people make money blogging, I can help you with that.
If blogging isn’t for you, here are a few other side gig ideas:
- Open an Etsy store and sell handmade goods
- Start selling produce or baked goods at your local farmer’s market
- Work as a remote customer service representative
- Start work as a transcriptionist
So, there you have it! If you thought that this was going to be an article where I tell you exactly how to manage your home and raise your kids, I’m sorry! It doesn’t work that way! You have to earn your homemaking stripes and play around to find what works for you.
So what does it take to learn how to be a successful stay at home mom?
Try new things, do your best, and don’t be too hard on yourself.
Everything else will fall into place. I’ve given you some pointers, but you have the real tools already.
So – now I want to hear from you.
Are you a new mom struggling with homemaking or are you a veteran homemaker with some pretty cool tricks up your sleeve? What is the best tip you can give someone who wants to learn how to be a successful stay at home mom? Tell me in the comments!