As a Stay at Home Mother of two young kids, I have realised very soon after my second child was born that I needed to do a few things differently around the house. What used to be a "luxury" of just having one child, is no longer a luxury. When I only had Micah, I could have time to myself a few hours during the day whenever he naps. Now with two, I have to make sure their sleeping schedules sync so I still get that down time. If not, I spend the whole day just being consumed by my kids. It is consuming.. time consuming, energy consuming and mentally consuming.
After a while, I think I have developed (quite naturally) a few tips to help me get through my days and still stay sane. Some of these are common sense, others are tips from other people, and some are what I found works best for me. Every mother is different, is no point judging me as I will never judge anyone else. You just have to do what works best for you :)
- Organise play dates with other mums at least 2-3 times a week. This not only tires out the kids but also avoids them going crazy, hyper and restless being at home with the same toys and the same company every single day. It is also good for mothers to meet up and have some adult conversation, and enjoy each others' company.
- Go out and do something every single day. For your sanity and theirs. Get out for some fresh air. Even if it is just a quick trip to the shops, a walk at the park or the local playground. For more adventurous days, a trip to the zoo, animal farm, beach, or swimming pool, amusement park, etc. Kids will have a ball and so will you!
- Establish a good routine. Breakfast, play, morning tea, play, lunch, nap, afternoon tea, play, dinner, bath time, story time and bed time at a reasonable hour so parents can have some down time to themselves in the evenings.
- Use TV when necessary. Don't feel guilty about using TV. Especially when you are tired and just need to rest on the couch for 30 minutes.
- Do not leave mess to accumulate. Put away something every single day when you see something that don't belong somewhere. It is easier to put away 5-10 items per day than to leave them all to accumulate and you find an absolute bombsite to tidy up at the end of the week...
- Vacuum 2-3 times per week.
- Do the dishes every single night, without fail. No matter how tired you are after you put the kids to bed, at least do the dishes. You will thank yourself tomorrow!
- Start prepping for dinner during kids' afternoon naps. That will tremendously cut down your cooking time closer to dinner time, when kids are awake and likely to distract you.
- Hire a fortnightly cleaner if you feel you are not coping. Justify the cost. Cannot afford to? What can you sacrifice in order to afford the fortnightly cost of hiring a cleaner. You will be surprised... it may only require the sacrifice of purchasing new toys or new clothes or sacrificing takeaway and planning your meals better to avoid food wastage and overspending at the supermarket. Or sell a few items around the house each week online, make a few dollars here and there and that's your budget for a cleaner!
Nobody is perfect and sometimes, or most of the time, my house ends up looking like a bombsite anyway... and sometimes we end up eating instant pasta and only instant pasta for dinner. Or toast. Sometimes none of the washing got done and we have close to none clean clothes that fit to wear. Sometimes the kids end up watching TV for hours and hours during the day.
Forgive yourself, rest, rejuvenate, do something for yourself, get back into that positive mindset, reset and start again.