*Editors note Nadia Gabriel has just won Best Wisdom Post 2019 in the South African Parenting Blog Awards which were announced on Saturday 27th July.
I have been a stay at home mum for five years now. That is almost as long as I was in the business world before having kids. It’s really crazy how fast the years go by. In that time I have learnt a few tips and tricks to help maintain a certain level of sanity. When you are surrounded by tiny people who struggle to verbalize their needs but are really frikken needy, trust me, you can lose your shit very quickly!
Here’s my top 10 tips to being a successful stay at home mum:
1. Wake up early
This is a tough one, especially in Winter, but it’s worth it! Waking up early gives you a chance to get in the right mindset for the day before the kids wake up and the morning rush hits. Even if all you can squeeze in is brushing your teeth, it will make a difference to your mood for the rest of the day. Waking up and having to hit the ground running is fine once in a while but it can definitely place a lot of physical and mental strain on the body and mind if you have to do this every single day.
2. Have a shower in the morning
This isn’t always easy BUT a morning shower carries a lot more weight than a bedtime shower I feel. The hot water, the clean skin, the washed hair, it’s a really simple way to give yourself a boost. A quick 5-10 minute shower in the morning will leave you feeling fresh and ready for the day and help shake off the last of those cobwebs.
3. Change out of your pjs
I’ll be honest and say that if I didn’t have to take my daughter to school I would live in my pjs. It’s not a great habit and I don’t know why I keep doing it because on the mornings when I change into ‘real clothes’ I feel great. Even if you don’t have time for that amazing morning shower, change your clothes and shoes and feel like a normal person.
4. Put some make up on
I’m not talking about foundation and eye-shadow. A quick brush of your hair, a swipe of the mascara wand and some lip gloss will do. All this does is make you not freak out when you accidentally open the selfie camera on your phone. Plus it helps to feel a bit pretty when you’re on your hands and knees cleaning up the remnants of lunch.
5. Meal plan
This was a recent life revelation for me. I always knew meal planning was a good idea because of saving time and money blah blah blah but I never did it. Now I wish I had. Saving money is obviously fantastic but the time saved is what I love. Now I specifically meal plan quick and easy meals so I am saving time cooking but more importantly it take the thinking out of wondering what to make for supper.
6. Activity plan
This one occurred to me now as I’m typing up this list. I actually wish I had thought of it sooner. We just went through a month long school holiday and even though we went out a lot and had a week long vacation somewhere in there, I still had a very bored 5 year old on my hands. Next holiday I am going to create an activity list. One focused activity for her to do a day. This could be painting, a puzzle, play dough, sand art, anything that will keep her busy and able to entertain herself for at least an hour. It will be something to look forward to each day and prevent us from getting annoyed with each other.
7. Switch on the tv
Do it. They will be fine. I have always said that the tv is my best babysitter. My kids are in one spot and entertained while I make supper or need a time out to watch InstaStories. Find a few cartoons that will teach them something while keeping them busy. Our favourites are Bubble Guppies, Sofia the First, Elena of Avalor and Daniel Tiger. Good old Daniel explains emotions way better than I ever can!
8. Ask for help
Everyone needs help. I used to feel bad to ask my husband to help out when he got home from work but you know what, I was also working for all those hours and that time didn’t include an hour long lunch break and chatting to like minded colleagues. Don’t undermine what you do. It is hard work. If you need help with supper or bathing the kids or just some time out, ask for it. It’s very likely that your partner will be happy to help and just needed the idea.
9. Use your phone for fun stuff
I spend a lot of time on my phone. It is an unfortunate necessity of my job and not really something I can avoid no matter how hard I try. I do try. What I have started doing now is almost sharing my phone with my kids. I don’t actually let them use it because kids are kids and they break stuff but I do fun things with them on the phone. Our favourites are the camera filters on Instagram and Facebook, the Slo-Mo cam on the iPhone and just taking videos of them ‘performing’ so that we can watch it afterwards. They love it and it reduces the resentment towards Mummy being on the phone all the time.
10. For every time you say No, say Yes.
To remove any ambiguity, I’m talking about sex. At the end of the day you are tired. Tired of talking, tired of cleaning, tired of cooking and tired of being grabbed/poked/clung to/cried on/puked on/slept on. Usually the last thing you want to do is get intimate and that’s ok! Its ok. But do me a favour and try this, say yes. Say ok. Even if you don’t feel like it just try. You are more than just a mum, you are also a woman and a wife. You have needs even if those needs get shoved so far back that they often get forgotten. It’s a great way to maintain communication and closeness with your partner and you will almost certainly not regret the lost sleep.
The Non-Adventures of a Stay at Home Mum is a relatable and inspiring food blog that provides simple meal ideas for busy parents so that they can cook healthy meals for their families whilst having fun being creative in the kitchen
You can find Nadia over on N-SAHM