It’s Monkey’s birthday this week, which also means I have been a SAHM for 2 years. Technically not really as I was obviously on maternity leave to start with and I didn’t 100% decide not to return to work until my time was nearly up. But I have been at home with Monkey for 2 years so I am classing all of that time as SAHM time.
And you know what, I think I’ve come a long way from where I’ve started. I by no means have the whole domestic goddess SAHM thing down, but I think I’ve adjusted pretty well to life away from work. To life revolving around nappies, food, soft play, toys and tidying. With a bit of cooking and baking fun thrown in. (If you would like to read more about how I made my decision to be a SAHM, you can do so here. I have nothing against working mums at all, this is just about my decision.)
Here’s what I have learnt is necessary to survive over the last couple of years.
1 – GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. Sorry to shout but seriously for me the most important thing is to get out of the house. Even if just a walk around the local area. Even if just a walk around a supermarket if it is wet out! A change of scene can work wonders and unless I have some amazing activity planned (and even then to be honest) I try and get out of the house every day. Even if only for a little while. Honestly, it keeps me sane. Most of the time this involves play dates or seeing grandparents or going to a baby group.
2 – Routine. This may just be a me thing as I am a planner by nature, but without the structure of going to work every day and doing things at certain times, it’s easy to feel a little lost. Obviously there are different opinions about routines for kids, I’m not going to get into that too much but routines work for Monkey and they work for me. We are both happier when we are on routine. I’m not talking strict, down to the minute rules, but a vague plan of rough times, and certain things on certain days. Again I know some people would find this too constricting, but for me, it really, really helps.
3 – It’s not easy and that’s ok. I spent a lot of time early on worrying about trying to be supermum, which I’m not, and actually I don’t think anyone really is. I sometimes feel that being a SAHM isn’t just about looking after your little one, as you suddenly feel that because you’re at home all the time, that you should also take the responsibility for having a spotless house. Unfortunately, at least when little one is a baby or a toddler, it is fricking hard work, if not impossible to keep the house spotless while entertaining/feeding them, and staying sane. It’s ok if your house often looks like a bomb site, but it’s also ok to try and keep it tidy. Or do a bit of both depending on how knackered you are!
4 – Mummy friends are so important. I’m lucky that a few friends from work had children a little before me, and we have gotten really close over the last couple of years. It is fab to unburden yourself with people who know what you are talking about. They don’t have to be SAHMs too, mine are all working mums, but they are still mums! They remind me I am not alone and when I am struggling with something it is so great to hear their experiences and share ideas! They may not always be able to help, but at least they can lend an ear. If you don’t have many mummy friends, it is worth trying to befriend some at baby/ toddler group of some kind. I’ve written before about finding confidence as a Mum/SAHM but it is important sometimes to break out of your comfort zone and get that support from other mums.
Blogging and the world of social media is also fab for this and I have loved connecting with so many other lovely, wonderful and supportive mums out there – and I wish I had joined this awesome community earlier!!
5 – Get some me time. It’s easy to feel guilty about taking some time for yourself, but when you are a SAHM and your whole life basically revolves around the house and your child, it is so important to take some time for yourself. I’m not saying it is less important for working mummies, and I can only talk about my experience, as a SAHM. I go for ages with no me time as weekends are filled with family time, or catching up on housework while Monkey has some daddy time, but it’s inevitable that after a while I become a grumpy mummy! And it’s because I need some time to myself. It doesn’t need to be a lot of time – just a wander round the shops sans-child, with just my own thoughts, or some good music for company is really restorative. As is sitting quietly watching a film. I suppose it’s just having the ability, even for a little while, to do what YOU want. Not what needs doing, not what anyone else wants to do, or what you think someone else will enjoy. What you want that you know you will enjoy, without worrying whether anyone else is enjoying it too!
On the whole, once I figured out the above survival methods, I have loved being a SAHM. It can be hard sometimes, and it can be boring sometimes. Not particularly the time spent having fun with Monkey, but the endless cleaning and tidying, and the quiet times. It doesn’t have the same mental stimulation that working did, if I’m honest. But, then that’s why I blog! And spend time trying to come up with fun activities for Monkey.
I have loved that I’ve been the one with him all time time. I’ve been the one who helped him learn to walk, and who heard his first words. I know all of his quirky habits and how much he loves numbers. I know him inside out and love the connection we have. He has a lovely relationship with his daddy of course, and he’s a toddler so he can be frustrating at times but on the whole I do find spending my time with him very very rewarding and I love being his mummy.
Now that he’s getting older I have thought once or twice about returning to work. With a new baby on the way it’s a bit of a moot point really and I’m not sure what I would do if we weren’t planning on another child, but I may have thought about something part time by now. Though returning to work would be a bit of a change again after this much time at home! As it is though I am happy at home and looking forward to at least a few more years as a SAHM.
To finish off the post I thought I’d pop in a few shots of Monkey and I together over the past 2 years…
All are so very true! I’ve been at home almost three years now. I used to feel really guilty asking for me time, but it is absolutely essential! I love my kids, but sometimes mama needs to get away!
Thank you and you are so right – it is completely essential!! xx
This is a lovely post Caroline and Happy Birthday to Monkey too!! I have to say your boobs really did get quite massive didn’t they, you weren’t kidding! 😉 Seriously though, this is a really great list of pointers for any new mums – not just SAHMs. I am with you on going out somewhere every day and the friends and the me time, everything really. Routines can become a bit tricky when No. 2 comes along but you get there eventually! X
Thank you! Lol I told you! I hadn’t realised but those pics really do showcase it, the one in the white/colourful top where they are massive, then a couple of pics down dressed in blue where are back to their normal smallness hehe :). Honestly it’s the routine/or lack of, that worries me about the first months with a baby again – though I guess this time they may just get dragged along to fit in with Monkey’s routine to start with! Makes me nervous to disrupt our little routined life but hopefully we’ll get there, eek! xx
Great post Caroline! Lovely to look back and see all that you and Monkey have achieved – so much! As a fellow SAHM I agree wholeheartedly with all your tips, especially the first one!! 🙂 x
Thanks Kat and glad to know I am not alone in thinking how important these tips are! xx
I thinks partly about keeping your own identity. In the workplace, no one calls you “monkey’s mummy”. You are who you are. Even with my 15 year old, I still “j’s mum”.
I’m also a stickler for routine, that keeps me sane.
Happy birthday Monkey.
That’s very true, some of the groups I go to (and have been going to for a long time) I’m pretty sure noone knows my name – only Monkey’s! And ditto for me with the other parents so it is really easy to lose your identity. Routine definitely keeps me sane too! Thanks! 🙂 xx
Such great pictures capturing the great moments you two have together! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MONKEY!
Thank you! 🙂 xx
It’s true that scheduling me time and getting out of the house makes such a difference. I think that’s true all the way through mothering. Summer vacation starts here tomorrow and I already know that I will still have to make time for myself and we need to go places or we won’t survive! 🙂 #allaboutyou
Ooh yes I can imagine it doesn’t change much as they get older!! xx
Lovely post – your love for your son really shines through your post 🙂 #MMWBH
Thank you 🙂 xx
All wise words here – getting out and about with your own friends is really important, and I find blogging is a real outlet to express how you feel. Some lovely photos here – great post 🙂 #MMWBH
Thank you, blogging is a great outlet isn’t it? xx
Ah lovely post. I echo getting out of the house, so important. I have been at home for 13 months now, I love being here for my daughter 24/7 (well apart from when it’s Daddy’s turn). x
Thank you, it’s so important isn’t it! I love being here too, but I also love it when it is Daddy’s turn! 😉 xx
Am officially on Mat Leave atm but I see myself as a SAHM really (I only work an adhoc basis usually) and you know what I find it harder to keep my house clean and tidy when I’m at home then I do when I’m at work!
Lol, I know exactly what you mean 🙂 xx
Go out (& take some amazing flower photos) is my go to activity to clear my head and my son too. Fail safe acitvity for us to regain sanity =) #PoCoLo
Definitely a fab activity to keep you sane 🙂 xx
I understand everything you said! It is hard to keep the house tidy, mostly because you are in it so much more! Also, blogging to keep the brain cells working – definitely helps! I think (hope) mine are starting to work again after a long dormant period! #pocolo
That is very true! thank goodness for blogging for keeping the brain going too 🙂 xx
Great list, becoming a SAHM for the first time can be very daunting.
Thank you, I am with you 100% xx
Congratulations on your two-year anniversay as a stay-at-home Mom. I’m not a Mom but I do not work either, and some of your tips are useful for me too. Particularly the getting outside one.
Thank you! 🙂 Yep I think getting outside is a must for anyone who is at home a lot on their own or with little ones! xx
Great tips, all of time but in particular, the first one – I totally agree with you! Lovely photos too 🙂 Thank you for linking to PoCoLo 🙂 x
Thank you, and thanks for hosting 🙂 xx
Every word of that post is so true. Annabelle and I love getting out and about before her naptimes in the morning, weather depending of course. It’s so important to get out of the same four walls everyday. Restores you almost. Great post hun, thanks so much for linking up with #MMWBH xx
Thanks debs and you’re so right, just getting outside can be so restorative! xx
I’ve been a stay at home mum for nearly ten years now and I have to agree wholeheartedly with number 1. When I was a first time mum I spent a lot of my time in the house and went slowly crazy. Getting out is very important and I definitely learned my lesson. As a result my two boys are very different, BP – the eldest is a quiet sort whereas LP is very sociable. #PoCoLo
Wow 10 years! it’s incredible what a difference it can make to your sanity isn’t it? just to leave those 4 walls! xx
I have been a SAHM for 2 and a half years now, it has been the best time but also hard at times, I love being at home with my children and dread going back to work. #pocolo
I can totally relate to that, it is hard but I also love it! xx