Looking to avoid burnout as a stay-at-home-mom? Choose you!
The following is adapted from the original blog, posted here on my blogspot page.
The first week and a half of 2021 were rough. I found myself cycling between anger, irritation and exhaustion throughout each day. And this without even factoring in what was taking place beyond the walls of my home. I was questioning my decision to leave my job in order focus on my family, and resenting that I couldn’t make it work (despite my Ode to Transitions and belief that this was the best choice). I wanted to change my attitude but couldn’t figure out how. And we were only 7 days into the year and already dreading each day. Something had to change, or there was no way I was going to make it.
This isn’t my first go at being a full-time stay-at-home-mom (SAHM). After my first baby, I stayed home for two years – rejoining the workforce as a mother of two. Back then, I had a much different relationship with work and productivity, as well as where I placed my value and self-worth. I’d like to think I have a much healthier viewpoint on each of those things, but stepping away from the working woman persona again was still hard.
I knew this time around that I would need “something” to serve as my creative/mental focus. Something I could direct energy towards, apart from my family and house chores. I knew I needed that, but by the end of 2020, I hadn’t yet identified what the “something” was. So, by the 2nd week of the year, I was already experiencing the result of neglecting my own needs. Neglect by failing to identify them.
A friend of mine who’s also a SAHM mentioned that she often plans themed days with her kids to help keep things interesting. That was the idea I needed to turn things around. I started by giving each day of the week a theme and planning one activity for the kids that followed that theme. For example, I made Tuesday “Letters & Numbers” day, and after breakfast, they got to trace their names using stickers on a piece of cardboard.
That was it. The was the whole of the theme and activity.
After the first week, I started paying attention to the different time blocks in my day. I noticed that when I wasn’t going back and forth between managing and recovering from chaos, I actually had reasonable chunks of time to focus on things I wanted to do!
So, now I’m checking in with my thoughts and emotions, my body and desires, to determine what I want to do with my time. Because it is still my time. My kids aren’t my bosses, and I’m not a slave to their whims. We are a family. A community where each member has a place and a role. Part of my role is to teach these little ones what it means to be a part of a community. I do that with my words, and maybe through activities. But primarily, I teach them through my example. I’ll show what it means to love and care for yourself as well as to love and care for others. I’ll demonstrate how to respect the people, tools and the resources that surround us. Or, I’ll teach the opposite of those things, because I can only teach what I am actively living. Living by taking the time to recognize, honor and nurture myself.
I am the Mother of my home.
It is at my call that my family is gathered, that the table is set, and that the community is fed and nurtured.
I am the Queen of this community.