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Today’s Guest Blogger really needs no introduction. She’s posted here a few times in the past and I’ve photographed her beautiful family on more than one occasion. She is my bloggy and real-life dear friend Mandi from My Bloggy Life. Mandi is a beautiful woman inside and out who’s writing always makes me smile or makes me think. She’s a wonderful writer and has been a dear, dear friend to me over the months. You simply HAVE to check her out. A few weeks ago she wrote a series on how to survive the slump we can find ourselves in as a stay-at-home mom. She did a really in-depth series, but she was kind enough to combine her series in to a shorter two part compilation for my blog. Make sure to read her whole series!
Let’s face it. Being a stay at home is hard work. To say life for me these last few months have been hectic would be an understatement. Now that my daughter is two and we have truly settled into a routine, I find myself busy from sunrise to sunset. Most days I can’t even remember to eat breakfast!
It took a while after my daughter was born to figure out my routine. I often found myself in my pajamas until five minutes before my husband came home. There is nothing wrong with that when your baby is a newborn or a tiny infant but six, seven or even ten months old? You can’t justify it after a certain point. With a job comes a boss, deadlines, firm expectations, a schedule, performance reviews and the realization you can get fired if you aren’t good enough . We don’t have any of these restrictions as stay-at-home moms. It’s a freedom I enjoy immensely but there is a down side. You have to be your own boss. You have to be self-disciplined enough to stay on top of everything. When things don’t get done you have no one to blame. Honestly, until you get settled into a routine, it can be hard to even want to put on real clothes, clean the house and have dinner on the table at a decent time.
So how do you stay motivated to get everything done? I’m so glad you asked! The following tips are a more condensed version of a series on my own blog recently. You can find all of these tips written more in depth by clicking this link.
1. Get dressed every morning. If you stay in your pajamas all day you will only be ready to sleep. That’s what pajamas are for! Most people who work from home will tell you getting dressed for "work" helps them to focus more. It’s the same for stay-at-home moms. You don’t have to dress "nice" like you would for the office. Jeans and a t-shirt will help you be more prepared for your day. In fact you can get dressed in a mere 15 minutes!
– Lay out your clothes the night before. Remember, nothing fancy… as long as you aren’t wearing pajamas.
– Get ready while it’s still morning. Do not wait until the afternoon.
– Make time for personal hygiene… brush your teeth, wash your face, put on deodorant. (3 min.)
– Brush or fix your hair. (3 min.)
– Put on your make-up. (5 min.)
– Put on your clothes. (1-4 min.)
2. Get enough sleep. This tip is mainly for you moms with babies sleeping through the night. However, if your baby hasn’t reached the holy grail just yet you aren’t completely off the hook! Make time to nap during the day for yourself. Do not feel guilty about this. You will get much more done when you are well rested.
If your baby is sleeping through the night then go to bed at a decent time. It doesn’t take long for us to forget about the times we would have given our left arm for eight straight hours of sleep. If you aren’t getting enough sleep you will be too tired during the day to get anything done. You cannot be motivated when you are exhausted. Here are a few tips:
– Start your bed time routine one hour before you want to be asleep. (Wash face, brush teeth, etc.)
– Get into bed thirty minutes before you want to be asleep. Read or talk to your husband but do not get on the computer or turn on the television. Spend no more than 30 minutes reading or talking and then go to sleep.
– Try to get at least seven hours of sleep but don’t feel lazy if you need more. (I need nine hours to feel human).
3. Keep a flexible schedule. Schedules help you to be realistic about everything you can accomplish in one day. Sometimes we have too much planned in our heads and then get discouraged when all of it doesn’t get done. If you write down a to-do list or create a basic schedule you will be able to prioritize your day better. The key word however is "flexible". Whenever you add kids to the mix everything will always be somewhat unpredictable. Don’t get bent out of shape if things don’t go the way you planned. Start your schedule by recording the events you know for sure will happen, i.e., meal times, nap times, appointments. Then pencil in the rest like specific household chores, errands or grocery shopping. Keep your schedule in a place you will notice it often otherwise it will be easily forgotten.
4. Prioritize. I became a stay-at-home mom to be with my daughter and I’m sure being home with your children was the main reason for you as well. So obviously our children are top priority. This should go without being said. But what about everything else? Should you wash the towels before the whites? Do you clean the bathroom or the bedroom. How should your day be prioritized? The best advice I can give you for this is to have a conversation with your husband. The first six months as a stay-at-home mom I drove myself crazy trying to do everything. I thought I was expected to have the house clean, cook gourmet (or almost gourmet) meals every night, keep all of the laundry done and never have a dirty dish in the sink. I finally broke down in tears and blamed my husband for putting too high of a standard on me. He kindly let me know that he never expected me to do all of these things. I was expecting too much from myself. All he wanted was clean underwear, a clean towel in the morning, our living room to be picked up and sweet tea in the fridge. So now I do these things first and then work on everything else. Find out from your husband what he wants you to do at home. His answer might surprise you!
Join me Wednesday for Part Two!