I'm launching Mama's Got Mail!
Have you ever had to go away for the weekend? (Or dreamed of doing so?) I mean, your husband and kids stay home and you are off to relax, work, visit, or help someone all on your own. That, my dear SAHMs, is what I'm fixin' to do this weekend.You may have noticed that I launched my very first actual, physical, tangible product - Mama's Got Mail. Well, i
t just so happened to be that there is a local "Shark-Tank-like" entrepreneurial competition going on here in Chattanooga. It's called The 48 Hour Launch: Female Founders edition
. I applied and got in. And yes, it is an entire weekend of building up an online business idea. (I'm building up Mama's Got Mail.) I have people on my team for the weekend to help me market the idea, partner with awesome local vendors, and develop a solid business strategy. This is so dorky (but true), but I think that The 48-Hour Launch is like the best play date I could ever imagine. I am so excited!
But, it means I have to be away for the weekend (for the first time ever!).On the home front, I'm making my lists and checking them twice. I'm not only preparing to go, but I'm also preparing for my husband and kids to stay. It's called double-duty; and no, it's not fair. But it has to be done if I ever want to go away for a weekend again.So, let's say YOU are in the rare situation where you are going to go away for the weekend. How do you prepare so that your husband will happily agree to watch the kids by himself all weekend long?Allow me to show you.
I made a menu for the weekend and wrote it on the chalk board in the kitchen so everyone could see it.
1. Plan the menu. This may sound like total bologna. "Why do I have to plan the meals if I won't even be there to eat them!?" I'll tell you why: Because if you do, your kids will eat better, your husband will be less stressed, and everyone will be able to carry on without you being the air traffic controller.
So, plan food that everyone likes and that your husband can easily make.
You see I have beef stew on Friday night. I'm making that in the afternoon so that it's all ready when my husband and I have the "changing of the guard" at dinner time. And Saturday night is roasted lamb. That's easy because you put it in the oven during nap time and then there is no dinner-prep-stress when the kids are a hot mess at 5:00. You're welcome.
Bonus points if you do some of the prep work for him on Thursday or Friday morning. Cut the vegetables and label them in a Ziplok bag. Prepare the lamb in the baking dish and put it in the refrigerator with a Post-it note with baking directions. Set out any recipes needed.
2. Buy the groceries. Yes, buy the food so that your husband can make everything and not have to leave the house with kids that miss their mommy to buy groceries. That's a problem waiting to happen! Have the food in the house, ready to go.
3. Do the laundry. Not saying every sock and undershirt has to be washed, but do enough laundry on Wednesday and Thursday so that there are enough clean towels, underwear, socks and pants for everyone over the weekend.
4. Write up a suggested itinerary that your husband can use as a basis for planning his weekend. Men like to be communicated with clearly - but not in a nagging way. A list is the perfect solution for you to be able to show what you normally do with the kids and around the hosue without being Mrs. Bossy Pants. (No one likes her.)
You can upload my Daily To Do List that I'm giving to my husband this weekend below. He can use it as a working document, but not be held to it. Since it's the weekend (so no homeschooling), I'm sure he'll fit in some playground time, a hike, or a trip to the Children's Museum to keep the kids busy.
5. Let the kids know you'll be gone so that they can prepare.
It's important to let your kids know what to expect, especially if it's the first time you will be away for the weekend. (As it is for me.) Let them know how much fun they will have. What they will eat. And how good that Daddy will take care of them. Give them a week or so to get used to the idea. And always give it a positive light - but let them know that you'll miss them!6. Thank your husband. Being kind and sweet to your husband is just part of having a happy marriage. When he is doing more than usual, it's just plain good manners to thank him. (Men are so simple. I love it!) This genuine gesture of gratitude also encourages him to have fun and enjoy his time with the kids over the weekend.
He'll also feel good that he is doing something that is so helpful to you.7. Pack ahead of time so you are not rushing around and stressed when you leave. The last thing you want is to put an air of distress into the family when you leave. Do the math: Mommy is a hot mess when she leaves = kids + husband a hot mess because Mommy is leaving! We don't want that. So get your stuff packed and ready to go Thursday night and you'll be able to be calm and relaxed when you spend extra time playing with the kids before you leave.The key thing to remember here is to make it easy for your husband to be willing to watch the kids for an entire weekend again. Your goal is to make him happy on this one. If he's happy, he can keep the kids happy, and next time you want to head out, he will say, "Oh sure! We had such fun last time! Go ahead, you little Darling. I've got this."
(passionate kisses follow)That's my short (but not necessarily easy) list of how to prepare to high-tail it outta the house for the weekend without the man and babies. Do you have other to-do's to add? I'd love to hear them in the comments below.Are you lovin' this post? Well, get on the Newsletter to hear more from me. Oh, and if you're interested in getting surprise gifts each month from me, hop over to MamasGotMail.com and sign up! You know I'm going to send you something fun, useful, and thoughtful.
I've also had some press about Mama's Got Mail here
, and here
if you want to know more.Oh, oh, oh! If you'd like to follow my progress on The 48 Hour Launch this weekend, you can follow Mama's Got Mail on Twitter.
by Shannon Rinckey
For the first time ever on SAHMconsulting.com, I'm having a guest blogger write to you! Kate Horney is a fitness blogger and teacher over at BeyondFitPhysiques.com
She approached me to talk to you about easing the yuckiness of pregnancy and I was so impressed with her that I wanted her to share her expertise with you.
I hope you enjoy Kate's thoughts on health and wellness during pregnancy. Enter Kate
I’m a stay at home mom, a business owner, a fitness expert and a wife. I’ve been learning the struggles and challenges of being pregnant and having a young son.
Some days are sleepless and tiring, but it is so totally worth it! My pregnancy was an adventure, as is being a first time mom!
Looking back, I had a good pregnancy. Not an easy pregnancy, but a good one. Even my worst pregnancy “symptoms” didn’t live up to the horror stories told by many. I want to share with you what helped me make the most of my pregnancy.
Kate Horney of BeyondFitPhysiques.com
I attribute much of my enjoyable pregnancy to being able to stay active. I know that for some pregnant women, exercise isn’t an option… But for the mommas who DO have the ability to keep moving, it’s a gift.
Whether or not you CHOOSE to make the most of the gift (a.k.a. hit the gym OR hit the couch with some Ben & Jerry’s) is a different story… But if you’re pregnant (and you’re able) there are many benefits to exercising while you wait for your little bundle of joy.7 Ways Exercise Makes the Bad Stuff Better:
Sometimes it’s just unavoidable. I was incredibly nauseous for the majority of my 1st trimester, but I’ll be the first to tell you… there’s no better way to take your mind off your nausea than with a killer workout. If you’ve tried ginger and you’re
good on your B vitamins, but you’re still feeling queasy from all those ranging hormones, sometimes all you can do is just distract yourself. Exercise is a great- and healthy- distraction… Pregnant Burpees
, anyone? (Unhealthy pregnancy distractions? Eating everything in sight, watching marathons of obscure daytime TV reruns, etc., etc.)
2. Back Pain-
Studies show that two-thirds of pregnant women experience back pain. And can we blame our poor backs? It’s not easy carrying around a watermelon all day long, but strengthening your lower back muscles, as well as yoga and pelvic
tilts can offer relief. Exercise during the second half of pregnancy, as your baby is growing like a weed (or a sweet little flower) is especially helpful.
3. Low Energy-
Exercise increases your energy, so on days when even lifting your remote control seems like a tall order, get up and get moving! Even a just a 20 minute walk can give you the energy you need to get through the day.
4. Weight Gain-
While gaining a healthy amount of weight is absolutely vital to the development of your baby, gaining too much is unnecessary and can actually harm both you AND your little one. Research shows that, on average, pregnant mommas that
exercise put on 7lbs less than pregnant women who don’t work out. And what makes it even better: that’s 7lbs you don’t have to work off later! :)
I can attest first hand to the fact that, due to high levels of progesterone and a growing uterus, the intestinal tract of a pregnant momma often gets backed up. Regular exercise, along with plenty of water and fiber keeps your digestive system moving.
6. Gestational Diabetes-
High blood sugar during pregnancy not only raises the odds of preterm delivery or having an overweight baby (OUCH!) but it also puts you at extremely high risk for developing type II diabetes in the decade after delivering. If you do develop gestational diabetes, as even many fit women do because of genetics and age, exercise may help prevent or delay your need for insulin or other medications. In fact, studies show that with regular exercise, you lower your gestational diabetes risk by as much as 27 percent.
7. Body Image-
Let’s face it, when you’re pregnant, there will be body changes you just can’t control. Despite the “pregnancy glow,” on some days, you’re just going to feel big. You may be swollen, tired, etc. etc. But keeping up with a regular exercise routine can help. Exercise will help you feel better about yourself, look forward to the challenge of giving birth, and- in my
experience- will actually enable you to celebrate the changes that your body experiences during pregnancy.
Pregnancy isn’t easy (it’s hard work growing a person!) and no matter how healthy or active, all pregnant mommas are bound to experience some discomfort. But if you’re looking for a way to make the bad stuff better, exercise can help!About our guest blogger: Kate Horney is a fitness coach and blogger at BeyondFitPhysiques.com Visit her site to learn more about getting your body back into pre-baby shape. You can also find Kate on Facebook or follow her on twitter @Beyond_Fit
SAHMconsulting Disclaimer: I wasn't paid or perk-ed for this guest post! (Just keeping it real, ya'll!)
“I wanted to find a way to support moms with gifts that would delight them. My goal is to send a little surprise each month to inspire moms, remind them to take time for themselves - and make moms feel a part of a larger community.” - me
Could you use a little encouragement as a Mom?
Are there days that you wish something fun
would come in the mail just for you?
SAHMconsulting announces a NEW monthly gift subscription service called Mama’s Got Mail!Mama’s Got Mail
is a monthly gift subscription service that enables moms to receive fun, thoughtful, surprise physical items each month to encourage and support them as moms.
Items in the box are a surprise each month, and also include a personal check-in worksheet, as well as a newsletter explaining the story behind the box’s contents.
Mama’s Got Mail offers a one-time box ($49), a six-month subscription, ($44/month) or a one-year subscription ($39/month). Boxes are sent the first week of each month.
Sign up at MamasGotMail.com
to receive a surprise gift each month to inspire you, remind you to take time for yourself, or just give you a good laugh.
For more information regarding Mama’s Got Mail, please visit MamasGotMail.com
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain
Mark Twain. He knew a thing or two about finding your mission.
Recently, I was speaking at a local Mom's group, and one of the moms told me that she was having a hard time figuring out what her mission was at home. I was intruiged.
She said that every day is pretty much the same, and she felt a like she had nothing she was "working towards." She asked me to write a blog post about it. Done.
Since being home is so important to this mom (and probably everyone reading and writing this), she wanted to have a mission to match that level of committment.
Can you relate?
Where to start? I've got a simple 3-step approach.
This might get a little Back to the Future. Hang on.
(I suggest just taking out a piece of paper and writing your thoughts down.)
start from the End
This is what some smarty-pants call Reverse Engineering. We are all smarty pants here, so that's why we're doing it.
When your years at home raising your kids come to an end, ask yourself:
- How would I like my children to function in the world?
- How would I like to be on the other side of the hands-on years of motherhood? (Frazzled, chill, very involved, more hands-off, I have no idea, etc.)
- What kind of shape will my marriage be in? (Strong, more in love than ever, more independent of each other, etc.)
- What will make me feel like I've done my best for the family?
- How will you know that you've accomplished your goals as a SAHM?
- What sorts of personal activities, hobbies, and interests will I have?
Knowing where you want to go is the best way to figure out what to do now. That's why I suggest starting from the end.
Now let's back up the truck.
start from the Beginning
Think back to your reasons for wanting to be a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM) in the first place. Those reasons are so important because they are your heart. Take a moment and write those reasons down. (Ask your husband if you have mommy-brain and forgot!
What made you decide to be home:
- Did you want to be the one to raise your children?
- Does your husband work a lot, and someone had to be the one manning the fort?
- Was your baby just too cute to be left in anyone's care?
- Are you from a long line of stay at home moms, and this is just business as usual?
- Do you just love kids and this is how you roll?
Your initial reasons for joining this rodeo are good and sweet and loving and come from a place of nurturing your own (even if the horses are a bit feisty). Never discredit them.
CONNECT where you are Now
Considering the ages and number of kids you have, you have different tasks to deal with presently. If you have a baby, your job is to make her feel loved and secure, and that you are there to respond to her needs. If you have a toddler, your job is to teach him boundaries and to learn to start to control his impulses. You see what I mean ...
I'd also take note of specific details of your family life that you are handling now, such as:
My husband is deployed in the military.
We're going to move in 5 weeks.
Emily Henderson is coming over to redesign my living room.
You need all of this information for your mission.
Starting where you want to go, then remembering where you started, you are now able to plug in your current mission. Let me demonstrate with an imaginary SAHM named Jennifer.
Mission in Action
So let's say that Jennifer is a first-time SAHM with a 1-year old named Max and feels like she is just floating along - not really having a sense of purpose at home. If she and I sat down together to craft a mission for her, we'd begin with imagining what she envisioned her life and family being like in 20 years.
I'd draw a big line on a piece of paper, and write down her dreams and goals for her, her marriage, her kids, and her home life when her super busy time raising the kids is over. (I'm old school and visual - so we'd be rocking a timeline.)
It might look something like this:
Next, we'd go back to the days when Jennifer was pregnant and when she brought the baby home and what was going through her mind when the decision to be a Stay at Home was finalized.
We'd jot the following down together.
Pretty typical reasons for wanting to be home, wouldn't you say?
So, knowing the end and the beginning, it becomes clear to Jennifer what she can do now to CONNECT why she originally wanted to be home with what she hopes to accomplish when the kids are all grown up.
This connection is her current mission. Let's see what she comes up with.
What I love about this little exercise is that it's so easy and so specific to Jennifer's (and your) goals and family life. There is no wrong answer, and it can be done again and again over the years.Do you see how her end game and her starting point make it pretty clear what she can do now?
(I hope so!)
Well, I want to hear from you! Do you feel like you need a mission at home? Are you willing to sit down and do this (FREE) exercise and see what you come up with? I'd love to learn what your mission is. Share with us all in the comments below!
If you're digging this blog post, and want to hear more from me, sign up for the newsletter here
. I LOVE my newsletter moms, and I like to let them know what's new first. (Such as a HUGE announcement I'm revealing on Monday, March 11, 2013 ... to them first!)
PS- If you're apart of a Mom's Group in the Chattanooga area, and need someone to speak to your group and make you snort laugh and maybe learn a thing or two about being a happy Mom, contact me
! It's FREE, and it's a good time!
When a SAHM is Home Alone too much, she might feel like this.
I was asked by a local SAHM to write about how to help yourself thrive when your husband is away from home a lot - such as working long hours as an Emergency Room doctor, travelling for work for weeks at a time, or even on a military tour.
Being a SAHM can be tough enough, but when your husband is travelling or serving our country, it becomes even more important that you have strategies in place that support you as a SAHM and keep family life humming along.
So if you're holding down the fort (mostly) solo, I've got some strategies for you to keep your head and your positive attitude.
1. Make a plan. Preparation is your friend, my friend. When your husband heads out for a week-long business trip, let's say, ALWAYS over plan your week. I mean, I plan your meals, activities with the kids, chores ... everything you can think of, and yes, that includes the kitchen sink. You'll see (below) that I don't suggest that you schedule by time, especially when you have little ones. Instead, try to go by a Daily Rhythm - one thing just comes after another.
Note to Self: Don't put pressure on yourself to follow your plan to the letter. It's a guide, and if you can't squeeze in a walk around the block because the baby just had a major blow-out, adjust your plans. Be gracious to yourself.
Here is an sample week-long plan for a SAHM whose husband Joe was away for a week in August. She homeschools her three children, so you'll notice that she needed to schedule that into her week as well as the normal SAHM activities we all have.
This may seem like overkill to you Type B-ers, but could you see yourself taking 30 minutes to sit down and schedule out your week? Would it be worth it to you to not have to figure out what to do with your days? I hope so.
2. Schedule time for yourself. This may sound a little selfish, but when your husband is away, have a BLAST in the evenings. When the kids are all in bed, watch Downton Abbey, paint the walls, collage, or eat BBQ chips. (All things that make your husband gag.)
With evenings to yourself, you can do whatever you want at home and not have to worry about what your husband wants to do. Add your time for yourself to your week-long plan. That way, you make sure you have the time and energy for it, and you don't have to think about it once the kids are asleep.
If your husband is on a military tour, let's say, then this suggestion has to be modified a bit. Still schedule time on your calendar (not in your head) to do something fun or relaxing either at home one evening each week - OR - ask a family member to come over and stay with the kids while you go out - OR - swap baby-sitting with another mom you trust.
3. Have a Night Before Routine that Works for YOU.
A Night Before Routine sets you up for success tomorrow. (This is how you can get a shower in every day!) If your eyes are crossing at the idea of having to do any housework in the evening, read THIS
(baby steps for the Night Before Routine). But if you want to know more, you can download (for FREE) my entire presentation on this topic below.
|File Size: ||70 kb|
|File Type: || docx|4. Physically Take Care of Yourself
. Stuffing your face with Blue Bell ice cream, no matter how delicious it is, will not actually help you thrive when your husband is away. It will actually make his leave of absence harder on you. Staying up until 2AM reading about Justin Bieber is not going to change your life when you need to be up with a toddler at 6AM. (Sorry, Justin.)
I'm not saying go on a strict diet (I know I never have), but DO be reasonable about your health and DON'T binge on caffeine, alcohol, junk food, staying up late, or anything that'll make it difficult for you to physically perform your job as a SAHM.5. Consult with Me!
Not trying to get sales-ey on you, but I recently launched consulting services for SAHMs! It all started when a SAHM approached me and asked me where she could schedule a consultation with me ... and I said, "Oh! Let me whip that right up!" So, now I"m consulting SAHMs!
If you would like to have a phone consultation with me to help you create personalized strategies for thriving when your husband is away a lot (or any other SAHM-related snag you've run into), you can schedule a talk with me HERE
. The cool thing is that you don't have to hire a baby-sitter or pay for parking. It's all over the phone, from home, and is based on what you
want help with.I really love working with SAHMs, and helping them be happier at home.
husband have to be away from home quite often for work? Can you relate to wanting to create a home life that is still happy and fun, even if you have to do a lot of it on your own? If so, which one of these tips will you do TODAY to make your life easier? Tell me in the comments below.
If you're digging this material (I know I included more than usual today ... but if you ask me to help you with a specific issue, BAM!, I'm going to be there for you) sign up for my newsletter
so you don't miss a single post.
And if you'd like to hear even more from me (like, in your ear on the phone!), schedule a consultation with me, girl!
Here's me at the Archeology exhibit at the Children's Museum, just digging up the truth about being a Stay at Home Mom.
I'm the kind of person that likes to have lots of feedback. Sometimes it comes out as being too much of a people-pleaser, but other times it helps me improve on what's working, and stop doing what is just making life harder than necessary.
When my daughter was four, I had one of these "feedback sessions" with her. I asked, "What makes a good Stay at Home Mom
?" Here is what she told me two years ago:
1. They stay home.
2. They play with their kids. (She mentioned this one four times, btw.)
3. Make toys out of LEGOs, such as airplanes.
4. Take naps with their kids.
5. Take kids to the park.
6. Read to kids. Kids like reading time. Now my daughter is almost 6, and I decided to ask her the same questions again – to see if she had a different perspective now that she’s a “big girl.”
1. Act nice and good. Kids like when moms are sweet and happy, not grumpy or stressed.
2. Feed the kids a lot. Especially when you set out treats for kids.
3. Make sure the kids are super healthy.
4. Set up games for the kids.
5. Spend time with the kids playing games and reading books.
6. Kids don’t care about moms cleaning all of the time, but they do like the house to be neat.
Quite a good list, I think.When I asked if it matters to kids that their moms are happy at home, all of my kids said “Yes!”
Why? Because kids really like it when their moms are happy. Then they get more hugs and kisses and smiles and feel happier. The whole household seems a better place to be when the Cruise Director (a.k.a., Mom) is relaxed and pleasant.
My little interview with my daughter was very helpful to me, and honestly, it made me feel bad for those rough days when I’ve gotten so caught up in housework or other tasks that I’ve forgotten to be kind and relaxed with my kids. I regret every time I’ve ever done that. Do you feel the same way about your rough days?
If you were to ask your kids what Stay at Home Moms should know about doing a good job at home, what would they say? Ask them today! You may be surprised at their sweet little answers. Tell us their sweet little answers in the comments below!
We all love reading what kids say.
And if you’d like to hear more from me, please sign up for the newsletter
. It’s free, and you’ll get to know more about me and how I make this SAHM gig work.
My daughter just had one of those birthdays that makes me stop and think. She's growing up. Fast.
She's not little anymore. (Just looking back on this
post will show you a bit of her growth over the past few years.) My relationship with her is changing. She is changing. So am I.It makes me listen to Landslide. It reminds me that life marches on no matter what we do with the time we have.
I think it's easy for us SAHMs to get caught up in everyday life. Just making it through the day, doing what needs to be done,
those sorts of things occupy our time. It's good that we take care of the people that we love and the home that we love them in, but sometimes we lose perspective so that we can accomplish the everyday. (And not go buck wild.)
If you've read my book
already, you know what I'm talking about. How life can just pass you by whether you are an active
participant or a foot-dragger. Whether you're spinning your wheels or moving forward. One way or another, tomorrow comes and you're either stuck in the same spot or you've taken stock and moved forward. "Children get older. And I'm getting older, too." As you look on your life, can you see improvement in yourself personally over the past year, or are you as stuck as a fat pig in three feet of snow?
If you are brave enough to raise your hand and say, "Yes, I'm in a rut." Well, thank you for being honest, and lets
see what I can do to help.
1. Have some fun for a change. Being an uptight woman who has every sock in every drawer in perfect order does not make anyone but Martha Stewart throw back her head in delight and snort laugh. I mean, loosen up from time to time. You know that I like to dance along with New Kids on the Block with my kids. Nothing new. Did you know I also tickle my kids, try to make them giggle, and tell knock-knock jokes?
I think there's something about being a enjoyable to be around that helps make everyday life more enjoyable. Dr. Phil would ask you, "How fun are you to live with?" (Why is a middle-aged bald-headed man so right?) I'm not bald. At least not yet. If you want, you can read more about my strategies to avoid losing your mind at home here.
2. Tap into your husband's ability to see life from a different angle. This is like night vision for you, lady! Seeing things in places you normally cannot. (You can see my other super power wish list here.) Men always see things differently, and I say it's a good thing. If he's not a total boob, and you trust him to be kind and honest with you, ask him for one suggestion that he has that you can do to get out of a rut. (From my experience, husbands love to solve problems.) Your husband knows you and sees your everyday life. Ask for one suggestion. And listen. And give it the 'ol college try. (Is that even a catch phrase? I'm not sure. I may have just made that one up.)
3. Talk to somebody. I think it's perfectly fine to talk to another SAHM who knows what it's like, an older woman that already (successfully) raised her kids, or even a life coach. Sometimes, getting out of your own head and talking things through with someone who doesn't have their own agenda for you is really helpful. I usually think out loud. How about you?
We are all getting older. So are our kids. Let's decide to move forward in our (personal) lives by taking care of ourselves, having fun, and really connecting with our loved ones. Be silly with your kids. Think of Stevie Nicks singing Landslide to you. Enjoy this short time that we have to be home with our kids. It goes by fast, just like my little girl's childhood.Is there one thing on this short, but do-able list that you can do TODAY to begin moving yourself out of the rut you've found yourself in? (I think there is, my friend - if not, tell me in the comments below what you'd advise your fellow SAHMs to do!)
Do you want to join my newsletter list and get more quick quips from me? What the heck is a quick quip? Yes. I know. It's getting wild over here, and you might just want to join this crazy train.
Me in college. I had no idea what I'd be a SAHM ten years later, but riding that bowling ball return still looks like fun.
So, here I have been blogging for some time now, consulting you on how to be a happy Stay at Home Mom
, and I have never just sat down and told you the story of why
I became a Stay at Home Mom in the first place. Well, that's a nice "howdoyado!" I'm sorry. We are closer than that. I apologize. Here's the story.I remember the exact moment I decided to be a Stay at Home Mom. I was a college freshman on a date with my boyfriend (who is now my husband). We were walking down the main street of his college town holding hands after watching a concert at a local bar. And even though we
had only been dating a few months, I said (as if it were the most natural thing in the world - not at all creepy or possessive or stalker-ish), "If this thing with us works out, and we have kids, I want to stay at home with them." He said, "I know." It was that simple. It's funny because I hadn't realized that I had given quite a bit of thought to being a mother before that statement unexpectedly came out of my mouth. (You know how sometimes you say things that you didn't mean to, but were 100% true? It was one of those situations.) But it had been on my mind since I met my soon-to-be husband. In fact, about a month after I decided to be a Stay at Home Mom, I decided to switch college majors.
Why? Two reasons:1) I was a pre-med student and after getting my first semester grades, I was shocked to find out that I got a C in Chemistry and a B in Biology! That was unheard of for me because in high school I was one of those nerds that always got straight A's. If I was going to go to medical school, I'd already shot myself in the foot because my grades weren't competitive enough and therefore I didn't have a chance of getting into a top-notch medical school.
If Sister Katrina had already whooped my butt in Chemistry 101, how did I realistically stand a chance in med school? (Time to get real.) 2)
When I met my husband, I began to reconsider becoming a doctor. I didn't want to be in a position where I might put in all of those hours in school and work and then not be able to have much time for my (future) husband and kids. I thought that it wouldn't make sense for me to go to med school and have a lot of debt to pay off. If I had that "prestigious career" as a doctor, I would never leave it to be home. So, I switched to the more ambiguous Business Administration and Communications degrees. That gave me the non-commitment of a graduate degree in case I wanted to be home with my kids later down the road, and to give me a little "credibility" when I became a personal coach - which was my ultimate goal at the time. (I guess I had my head on straighter than I remember!)Now 14 years later, I'm home raising our four babies. (I'm living the dream. I know.)Looking back on that evening I decided to become a SAHM, would I make the same decision again? Knowing that there would be days when I would feel lost, lonely, exhausted, unproductive, and only a shadow of that girl riding a bowling ball return? Yes, I'd do it all over again. In a heartbeat. My kids were just a twinkle in my eye back then, and doing something this big, important, and almost quiet while the rest of the world spins on, is something I've always wanted.
Obviously, it was something I had in mind even when I was in college.Remembering why I decided to stay home is good to think of every now and again. It helps on those hard days. It helps regain perspective on how I got here in the first place.How did you decide to become a Stay at Home Mom? Was it planned way beforehand, or did you decide after your child was born? Do you remember the moment you knew it was right for you? Comment below and share your story with us!
And if you want to get to know me better, sign up for my newsletter
- where I share more personal stories that I don't normally share here on the blog.
You tell me!
Do you care about being happy at home, or are you stuck in getting through each day?
Please take this quick (anonymous) survey and tell me what you think!
“Regret for the things we did can do can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.”
– Sydney J. Harris
Being a SAHM is a lot like being a patriot in the Revolutionary War. We don’t do it for the pay, we don’t do it for the recognition. You can't even really call it a profession. We do it because something inside of us tells us it’s the only way it should be for us. We commit to it with our whole hearts, devote every waking hour to it, and tirelessly work to build something bigger, more beautiful, and longer-lasting than ourselves. It's called being altruistic. And it's a life-changer.
With this kind of dedication, love, and tears going into our families, I think we would all agree that if we could do it well, and do it right, the first time, we would. Regret is so insanely difficult to live with. And when it comes to something as important as raising your children, I sincerely want to help every SAHM avoid regrets. Following is a list of regrets SAHMs could likely have after their days at home are done, if they don’t pay attention along the way. 1. Regret stuffing your personality and your passion in a drawer to take care of your children.
So many of us nurturing care-taker types do this almost instinctively. “Put myself away so I can be there for everyone else,” we tell ourselves. But deep inside a hateful resentment or a pious martyr takes hold. Do we really have to lose ourselves to be attentive to those we love? I say no. I say that we can be silly, creative, compassionate, intelligent, and curious at home, and still raise children and love our husbands well. I don’t think it’s us or them. I think it’s all of us together. Avoid this regret by:
Infusing your personality into your home, how you mother, and what you do with your free time. Hang one of your paintings on the wall. Use your sense of humor to teach your kids life lessons. Read books that make you think, or at least never want to put down. Write in your journal or to a pen pal. Take a plate of food to an elderly neighbor. Find ways to use your gifts while you’re home. Hey, if you are smart enough to find this blog post, you are certainly smart enough to figure this one out. 2. Regret neglecting your husband.
As much attention as children need when they are young, it’s never a good idea to throw your marriage under the bus. Children grow up. They move out. That’s what is supposed to happen. And favoring the kids over your husband is simply short-sighted. The long-game here is for you and your husband to grow old together, to raise your children together, and live side-by-side. God bless the kids, but you and your husband are the architects of the family, and if the two of you aren’t on the same page, the whole thing will come down. Avoid this regret by:
Staying connected with him. Having regular date nights, even if it’s on the patio or in front of the fireplace or even on the couch watching a movie you rented from YouTube. Having short little meetings with your husband at night when the kids go to bed to coordinate schedules, pay bills, or figure out what to do about the toddler refusing to take naps anymore. Also, think of little ways to be sweet to your husband and let him know that you think he’s one hot man that you adore. 3. Regret spending too much time on housework instead of really being with the kids.
This one is hard to forgive yourself for, because SAHMs are home because they want to be with their kids. But how many times have we put off reading a book, or playing in the sandbox, or pretending with our kids to get dinner ready or do dishes or fold that millionth load of laundry. (I’m guilty, I’ll admit it.) Any woman with grown children will tell you, if she has any sense, that she would give anything for one afternoon with her kids when they were young. When they were under her care and needed her still. Avoid this regret by:
Reading a sweet little poem or looking at a picture or telling yourself that your children are only young for such a short time, and it’s up to you to invest time with them now. If you’re a major Type-A, I suggest you plan
this unstructured play time with your kids on your calendar. Google calendar has an alert feature that will even email you or pop up on your computer screen to remind you. Whatever it is you have to do to be relaxed and playful with your kids, do it. It’ll be worth it down the road (for the both of you). 4. Regret that you didn’t take good care of yourself.
At the end of the hands-on, daily mothering season of life, many women look at themselves in the mirror and wonder what happened. They are tired-looking, overweight, have health issues, and probably have bad posture. We rarely look at ourselves, much less actively take care of ourselves, when we’re so busy taking care of our families. I get it. But if caring for others is coming at the price of your physical health, your emotional well-being, your spiritual connection, or your mental health, then something is out of balance. And honestly, hasn’t even been a good model of care taking anyway. Avoid this regret by:
Treating yourself with kindness and respect. Including your children in exercise or meal planning. Getting up a little earlier to go for a walk or workout in the basement – even if it’s for 12 minutes daily. Try to connect with a good friend once in a while that is encouraging or makes you laugh. Imagining what you look look like, feel like, and think like 10 years if you continue on the chocolate-binging, stressed-out, lonely person you are today. That's motivation right there. 5. Regret ignoring your dreams for the sake of your family.
Let me explain this one. I want every SAHM reading this to be excited and committed to being home, yet I also want her to be clever enough to find ways to fan the flames of her dreams all along the way. Dreams aren’t meant for drawers or under rugs. They are meant to be shared and reached for, and to transform us. And that includes you.I don’t ever remember reading anywhere that there is some sort of rule that says you can’t pursue your dreams and still be a deliriously happy Stay at Home Mom. Avoid this regret by:
For me, this means writing to you when my kids are in bed at night. It also means journaling before I go to bed, and drawing house plans on Sundays when I dream about building a Craftsman style home someday. It’s teaching my kids to love reading (because I most certainly do), and because I wanted to be a teacher when I was young. For you, it might be reading every possible book you can get your hands on about Benjamin Franklin, or watching Tim Ferriss on CreativeLIVE today
because you want to learn how to hack the writing process. With technology and the point in history that we live in, it is absolutely possible to pursue your dreams while you are still home raising your kids.
Rarely do we stop and consider at the beginning what we could regret in the end. The Stay at Home Mom gig is long-term and so taking a moment to survey the long-range picture is super smart and helpful. There are so many good things about being a Stay at Home Mom, and I hope that reading this list of regrets gives you greater resolve to really own your personality and passions, be sweet to your husband, really be there with your children, take good care of yourself, and continue to pursue your dreams.
All while you are home. It's doable. Especially for you.
What do you think about regret as a Stay at Home Mom? Do you see yourself avoiding these regrets altogether? Do you see any of these regrets slowing beginning to build up in SAHMs you know? I’d love to hear your ideas for being proud of your time at home in the comments below.
If this type Stay at Home Mom pep-talk-rally is really your thing (it’s mine, too!), please sign-up for my newsletter.
I share more personal stories that I don’t include here, and hey, it’s free!