Ok stop laughing. Seriously. Cut it out. I know that I haven't been a SAHM (Stay at home mom) for very long but I'd like to think that I'm learning new stuff everyday. Plus, when I was growing up, my mom was a SAMH. So these "tips" are largely inspired by her awesomeness as well.
Sometimes SAHMs get a bad image. Like we stay in our pajamas all day and watch soap operas. People like to insinuate that being a SAHM isn't really a job or that it isn't that hard. Whatever.... This post isn't to argue about all that. Maybe some other time. But being a SAHM is hard in many ways and it is VERY tempting to stay in your pajamas all day and catch up on Netflix. The following tips are 6 ways that help me live each moment with a purpose. I was going to say "survive" but that's not the word, it's funny but not what I mean. Survival is just barely making it by and while some days feel like survival mode, just plain survival isn't the goal. My swim coach in college (Frank Busch) was all about "purpose". Everything you do should be done with PURPOSE. Don't just do the motions or be satisfied with "surviving". Do all things with a purpose.
Ok here they are...
1. Get out of your pajamas. Get out of your sweats. I'm even going to say get out of your yoga pants. *gasp* The mind is a really powerful thing and if you are still in your pjs or comfy clothes, your mind is going to go to that sleepy/lazy place. There is a time and a place for yoga/sweat pants. I'm not saying you have to dress up everyday (I live in fear of wasting a good outfit on a day I'm not leaving the house) but at least put jeans on. Put on earrings or a little jewelry and don't be afraid to add a little makeup. You will be shocked at what this will do to your mentality for the day. Same rules apply if you're a stay at home dad... Get dressed, comb your hair, and put on some deodorant.
2. Make a to-do list. This one is HUGE. Make a list of things you need to do for the week, then make a list of the things to do for the day. Even if all you do is cross off "make to-do list" then you my friend are winning. Lists are really powerful tools. The sense of accomplishment that comes with crossing stuff off that list is indescribable. Ok ok...that might be a bit dramatic but you get the idea. My mom is the queen of to-do lists. I have only learned from the best.
3. Get a nice big planner or calendar. Or both. My mom has a huge desk calendar that she fills out at the beginning of each month. She knows what's coming weeks in advance and avoids the problem of double booking the family. I have my favorite Lilly Pulitzer planner. It is the biggest you can get. It has plenty of writing room for each day and it has a nice spread of each month. Plus, it's pretty and girly and I love that kind of stuff. Sure there are weeks that I forget to write in it but that's ok! I do my best Sunday evenings or Monday mornings to write down our events for the week and my lists for that day. It is a huge help.
4. Find a routine. *more laughing* No seriously, find a routine. Obviously random things are always happening and with kids it is almost impossible to stick to a schedule. All I'm saying, is have a rough idea of what you'd like the day to go like. Often you'll find that there are patterns in your days that just naturally form. For example, our routine is largely based on when Peter goes down for his nap.
5. Make some time for prayer. After Peter's nap we spend an hour reading books and doing some family prayer time. Peter isn't quite old enough to sit and listen to a long book but I'll just read out loud while he and James play. Then we'll (and I mean "me" haha) say a rosary and Peter will carry around his rosary beads and pretend to be saying it too. It's adorable. That hour is just so important. It helps center us and remind us about what's really important. Our prayer time is in the afternoon but really you can do it whenever. Growing up we would gather together and do our Morning Offering before starting the school day and say the rosary in the car on the way to swim practice. It all comes down to finding what works for you and your family!
6. Try out new recipes. I'm a decent cook. I make stuff my family enjoys and I think that's pretty good. However, I'm not super adventurous and we have a meal rotation that we stick to pretty closely. But every once in a while I'll try something new just to mix it up. Not only is making something new fun, but if we like it enough, it goes into the rotation! I like to get new stuff to try from Pinterest (duh) and the Pioneer Woman (I want to be her bff). The days at home can be long so looking forward to making something new/delicious for dinner always helps!
7. Set goals for yourself. At the end of the day it looks like a tornado has whirled in my house multiple times. When the boys are finally asleep, all I want to do is pour a glass of wine and relax, and most of the time, that's what happens. But recently I've decided to make sure that the living room and kitchen are cleaned before I relax for the night. Some nights only one of those goals is achieved and some night neither. Honestly though, I have found that I sleep better when the kitchen and living room are some what in order. It doesn't take that long and in the end it makes me feel better. I don't even bother cleaning up the toys during the day, I mean WHAT WOULD BE THE POINT?! Someday the boys will be old enough to pick up there own toys before bed (which is what my mom had us do growing up) but until then I will tip-toe around the house picking up every lego and teether toy before I go to bed.
Of course...all of this means nothing unless you are taking time to play and cuddle with your littles. Live with purpose. Live in the moment.