4 ways to survive being an accidental stay at home mom

June 29 | Guest post by Elizabeth
Stay at home mom card by SassypantsDesignUSA

I am an accidental stay-at-home mom. I spent five years in a very demanding career that required ridiculous hours. But when we had to move for my husband's job, we decided to actively simplify our lives, and that meant that I would stay home with my son. It also meant meant we started to do homeschool.

Homeschool helped a bit with the monotony of the daily routine: clean kitchen, make dinner, laundry, etc. It was not all roses however, as there was a learning curve to the two of us being home all day together. My husband now jokes that he was certain he would come home one day and my son and I would have divided the house in half with tape and claimed territories!

All joking aside, there are some great ways to help make the transition easier and to break the monotony of it all.

1. Get up and shower and get dressed everyday

You obviously don't have to wear work clothing, but do not fall into the sweatpants trap! It is super easy to say that it won't matter, but it will matter to your mental health.

2. Take one day a week and do whatever you want, alone

My husband is home on the weekends, so he and our son take Sunday to have a man day. I get to do whatever I please, whether it is heading to an art exhibit, catching up on a favorite TV show, or working on a project. The idea is that it is a mental health day for me, to combat all the stress of the week.

3. Get outside with your kids!

This one was big for us because it allowed my son and me to focus on other things, and break up our routine. My son was seven when I started staying home, so we were able to do more grown-up things, like taking a hike and exploring at the wildlife preserves near our home. You can certainly do the same thing with little ones, it just takes a bit more planning. Plus, the education kids receive from exploring outside can be tremendous: understanding season, nature, animal sightings, etc.

4. Learn to take pleasure in a simpler routine

My husband has always said that I do not idle well — which means I learned from my fast-paced career how to juggle multiple things at one and manage every minute of my time. It was a long transition to learn that I didn't have to do that anymore. Since we scaled back and were moving toward living more simply, I have learned to take joy in some of the tasks that other people consider chores: hanging laundry on the line (which allows me some outdoor time and I can watch the hummingbirds in our backyard), making dinner (learning to make new things and teaching my son how to do so as well so he can make his own breakfast!), and just being home (a luxury I rarely had when I was working).

We have since gotten over the hard part of the transition, although we are always learning and striving to keep everything fresh, for everyone's sake. Good luck.

How do YOU survive being a stay-at-home-mom — accidental or not!

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  1. I've been home and un/underemployed since November after being the primary breadwinner for 30 years. I SO needed the break. My kid is 17, so she's not around all that much, although I have really enjoyed being here when she gets home from school (or now work). I find I need to make plans to see people – breakfast or lunch with friends once or twice a week – and I need to put projects and tasks on my calendar so I feel that I've accomplished something.

    Emotionally, I found I need explicit reassurance from my husband that this is OK with him and he's not going to change his mind and be furious with me. He's been good about that, and about realigning household responsibilities. I don't mind doing more of the housework, since I have time, but I didn't like the feeling that everyone else got to choose what housework they would do and I did everything else. So now we have a "family clean" on Saturday mornings and I do tidying, laundry and dishes during the week. Much better.

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