Transitioning from a life of an adult who’s responsible only for himself to being a stay at home parent is like landing on another planet where the rules that we knew don’t work and where the environment is completely new for us. Or it looks like our old home but the things and areas seem to have new functions, and new problems. I’ve gone through that and, to be honest, what I’ve said last night to my Husband: After almost four years of having kids, I still haven’t used to the new, changed, everyday life – life with kids. The change is hard for many women, so I’ve decided to collect some tips that come to my mind and that I’ve tested which can soothe your problem of: how to stress less as a stay at home mom of toddlers (and moms of kids of other ages probably can find something for them here too). I’ve written the ideas for you, my fellow stay at home moms (who if not another SAHM is able to understand a SAHM?) and for myself, to come back to this article every time I feel overwhelmed and stressed with my kids.
How to stress less as a stay at home mom of toddlers?
1 | set rules / build habits
Space for creativity, initiative, unplanned activities, new ideas and a bit of chaos is important. Leave such free time in your schedule every day. Unplanned activities can make our life more pleasant, give us opportunities for new experiences and adventures. It stimulates our creatives minds.
But surely not when every part of your day remains unplanned and unstructured! This could only cause stress! This is why people are planning their meals for one week in advance: to not think about it, to not worry what could I prepare today? and do I have the time and all ingredients?.
Having no rules for the daily schedule and only reacting to current needs is like having no place dedicated for clothes and putting every item every time in different place in a different room: one sock in the kitchen, a t-shirt on a window sill and dirty socks between books.
React to unexpected things. But try to plan and act according to the plan.
How to stress less as a stay at home mom? The answer is: try to set your family rules in the things that happen to you every day.
Eat breakfast only when everyone is dressed for the day, not in pajamas.
Go to sleep only after toys are in their places.
Go for a walk or play with kids only when you’ve cleaned after the meal.
Put clothes in the laundry or to the wardrobe right after putting them off.
May inspire you: Use Minimalism to Optimize Your Daily Schedule
2 | don’t waste time and energy on tidying up toys
After months of being a mom – which means quite late – I’ve noticed that when I want that toys that my Boy don’t play with in the moment are on their places and not everywhere at home, and when I decide to tidy them up after the end of playing, I end up tidying up almost all day long!
How to stress less as a stay at home mom? Sometimes it involves just lowering your standards for the time when kids are so little and energetic, and curious.
I like my home to be neat and look clean and tidy. In spite of this, even when it was hard for me, I decided to tidy up toys only once – before going to bed. Hours of my time were freed immediately! Maybe our home doesn’t look now like from a magazine but my mind is more peaceful and I have the time, energy and attention to do other things, even things only for myself. And this improves the mood like nothing else!
And if you really want to deal with the too much toys problem, check my 5 rules for decluttering toys by a minimalist mom.
3 | create a toddler-proof home
Many people ask how to be minimalists with kids. But I really don’t know how to be non-minimalist, have kids and stay sane!
For me, more stuff equals more items which I have to protect from my toddlers’ hands.
I’m the mom who hides things from children instead of staying on the guard and keeping telling don’t touch it, don’t take it, it’s not for kids. Such a situation doesn’t seem to be fun, really.
So how to stress less as a stay at home mom? Become minimalist! 🙂 Or just hide all things that could be broken or misused by your baby, toddler or older kid. Maybe it’s a good idea to do a decluttering, then you can put not-for-kids items on higher shelves and leave lower cupboards even empty. Or install cabinet and drawer locks. Plug caps into empty electric outlets.
Let the kids play freely at home and go have a bath 😉
4 | go out
I know you often don’t feel like going for a walk. I also tend to use every possible excuse. It’s hard to go out, especially when you need to put clothes on two energetic, yelling toddlers. In winter. But do it. In most cases, you won’t regret.
How to stress less as a stay at home mom? Get some fresh air, some movement, and other views which give you another perspective on your daily challenges and which often simply melt the overwhelm and tension.
And when the weather is really bad, check my ideas what to do with kids at home when it’s raining.
5 | eat well
Choose at least one meal that it’s your sacred meal. Prepare it well, in a proper amount to be full after having the meal. Eat slowly, mindfully and with joy so that your mind notices that you’ve eaten.
Breakfast was for years my sacred meal.
Of course, as a stay at home mom, you’re busy and preparing a complicated meal is the last thing you dream of (unless cooking is your hobby and relax). Remember that you can keep your eating habits simple.
6 | do something you like
If it’s really hard and you’re completely stressed, seeing no solution for the situation at home, just think of ways to make your time more enjoyable. Watch your favorite movie (with kids). And if you have to do something like preparing supper, listen to a music that sets your mood to positive while doing what you have to do.
7 | get help or guidance
What other minimalists say:
book: Clutterfree with Kids by Joshua Becker
book: The Minimalist Mom by Rachel Jonat
Less stress. Less mess. More love is the book’s mantra. The Minimalist Mom breaks down the areas where you can minimize into three sections: home, gear, and clothing, and time, and asks us to examine what we really need, while giving us examples of how to un-clutter each of the categories.
With baby #2 we found that we were simply collecting more junk and running out of room. After reading this book, my wife and I were inspired to start purging. The past 3 weekends we have thrown out, recycled, sold and donated 3 closets full of stuff and have never felt better! Read this book. Apply what you’ve learned. Feel the stress melt away. You won’t miss the clutter.
book: Clutter-Free With Kids For New Parents by Michael Smith
Clutter-Free With Kids For New Parents will guide you on the path to freedom, freedom of space, and an organized clutter-free and stress-free home.
Book also touches on how managing clutter improves the happiness of the family because of the reduction in stress.