Becoming a mother is a lifestyle shift like no other. Whether you are a career woman temporarily taking off your professional hat, or a devoted mama bear who is committed to staying at home with your littles, raising children is a consuming job. Here I share some survival strategies to help you thrive as a homebody.
1. Create a routine & daily rituals
If there’s one thing babies and kids love, it’s routine. And even if you a spontaneous mama who takes each day as it comes, creating certain rituals (like grabbing a morning coffee and strolling to a nearby park) is a great way to pace your day. When babies are still napping once or twice a day it’s easy to revolve your daily schedule around those windows. As they drop naps and your day opens up, it’s still important to create a rhythm to your daily and weekly routines so that you can create space for activities and downtime. That said, there is a fine line between consistency and monotony, so make sure you don’t get too attached to routine or you might find yourself in a Groundhog day loop.
2. Find your mama tribe
Whether you join a mothers group or befriend some neighbourhood mamas in the park, it’s so important to find or create a tribe during your motherhood journey. Mamahood can be surprisingly lonely, especially if you are used to working in a busy office or hectic work environment. Swapping office banter with colleagues for an empty house with a tiny infant, can be confronting and isolating, so finding other women who you can lean on for support, connection and sleep-deprived story swapping sessions is vital. Feeling a sense of solidarity, celebrating your mum wins, and commiserating in your fails can replenish your weary spirits when you’re navigating the hardest (most important!) job in the world. Sometimes it takes a while to find ‘your people’…kinda like dating…so don’t lose heart if you don’t instantly connect with other mums. Eventually, you’ll gravitate towards the mamas who match your vibe.
3. Find some activities that serve both you and your baby
In the early days of motherhood, your entire world revolves around your baby, but as they start to grow, it’s important that you balance their needs with your own. The ideal solution? Finding activities that serve both of you at the same time. This can be as simple as throwing bub in the stroller and going for a walk. You get exercise while they get fresh air and sensory stimulation through nature. Similarly, playdates are a great way for you to have a social outlet while bub interacts with other babies. While it’s not always easy to find a happy medium, making time for your ‘happy place’ will have a positive ripple effect on both you and your child.
4. Create pockets of alone time
Whether you call it self-care, self-love or self-preservation, creating pockets of time that fill your cup are essential as a SAHM. Caring for a mini human is an all consuming job, but we all know mama can’t pour from an empty cup. So…schedule in alone time. Give your baby to your husband, partner, the grandparents or a friend so you can wash your hair, do a yoga class, write in your journal or up on some zzz’s. Having a minute to yourself to process your experiences and emotions is a vital part of healthy adulating, so make it a non-negotiable priority.
5. Remember you are a woman first, mama second
While the axis of your world spins on a new orbit once you have kids, it’s important to remember who you are outside of your identity as a mother. Pursuing your dreams and ambitions is an important part of feeding your soul – whether that means studying an online course while bub naps, or planning an adventurous holiday. And while you make a lot of new mama friends at the local playground, there is a big difference between old friends and mum friends. So make sure you don’t lost touch with your old besties, even if they’re not yet mothers and can’t quite relate to your new world. The reality is, kids grow up and one day when they leave the nest, you’ll be left with YOU. So keep feeding the parts of you that fortify your sense of self.