Are you wondering how to be a happy stay at home mom?
Staying home with your kids certainly has its pros and cons. It’s very easy to lose ourselves in motherhood especially when it feels like that is literally the only thing we do all day every day.
This can lead to feeling burnt out or unhappy or just struggling with how to feel fulfilled as a stay at home mom. This can be particularly difficult if you are not home by choice.
Even if you love being a stay at home mom, it isn’t always easy. We all have our bad days.
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How To Be A Happy Stay At Home Mom:
Here are the top 10 tips for how to enjoy being a stay at home mom, even when it’s tough.
1 | Care For Yourself
So often moms end up focusing on caring for others and neglect themselves. In fact it’s all too easy to do. Kids can take all of your energy and even simply meeting your own basic needs can feel difficult.
Look I get it. Some days I’m just happy that I managed to brush my teeth, but I also realize that is setting the bar way too low.
Though it can feel like a luxury, a shower is just standard hygiene and you absolutely deserve that.
So one of the most important things you can do to be a happy stay at home moms is to make sure you take care of your own needs too.
Shower, get dressed, eat real meals, and get enough sleep.
Are these easy things to do? For some, these seem simple and obvious, but for others these things are real struggles.
If you’re not doing this already, it can feel strange at first, selfish even. It’s not.
DO NOT feel guilt or apologize for meeting your own basic human needs.
2 | Find A Hobby
Once you are taking care of your needs, take it a step further and find a hobby that you enjoy.
Something you do for fun or to relax may feel extravagant at first, but it’s really helpful for you to have an outlet outside of motherhood.
For stay at home moms especially, having a hobby can be an important connection to an identity outside of motherhood. This can help if you’re struggling finding purpose as a stay at home mom.
If you’re looking for ideas for new hobbies to try out, here is a list of hobbies that are perfect for stay at home moms.
3 | Maintain Friendships
It’s not always easy to maintain friendships as a mom. However, motherhood can be very isolating which makes friends especially important.
The friendships that once seemed effortless often become much more difficult to keep up with as a mom. Your friends without kids may not understand your mom life or have different expectations of your friendship. Other mom friends may also be struggling to keep in touch.
Plus making new friends as an adult can be challenging, and if you’re an introvert like me, it can seem next to impossible.
Your time and energy is limited so when it comes to friendship, choose quality or quantity. One great friend you can count on is worth way more than mediocre friendships. A great friendship is invaluable and well worth the effort you put into it.
That said, don’t feel the need to keep giving time and energy to “friendships” that are not fulfilling or even worse, toxic.
4 | Stick To A Routine
Having a solid schedule and routine can make your life so much easier.
I find our routines so important to my family that I even wrote an entire post about how to create a stay at home mom schedule.
As a stay at home mom, you may feel life the structure of a schedule isn’t necessary, but routines have several benefits.
First of all, a schedule helps you care for yourself and your kids on autopilot. Instead of fumbling through the day trying to fit in time for a nap and fielding constant requests for snacks, you know when these activities will happen. Ideally, everyone gets their meals and naps on time including you.
Second, kids tend to thrive with routines. You removed two of the top causes of meltdowns: being hungry or overtired. They know what to expect throughout the day which can ease transitions and decrease tantrums.
Third, the structured day can help you feel more organized and in control. This empowerment can help you accomplish the things you want like finding time for hobbies or friends.
5 | Stop Comparing Your Life To Others
Teddy Roosevelt famously said “comparison is the thief of joy” and that was way before social media made this so much worse.
We’ve probably all done this at some point. We see that other mom that has it all together. She’s well dressed, made up, and, of course, gorgeous. She never loses her temper and her kids are extremely well behaved angels. Her house is immaculate and her marriage is perfect. Obviously, she’s happy.
You logically know that this can’t all be true, but her Instagram really sells it.
By comparison we look at our own lives and see only the flaws.
I see the stark contrast of her immaculate family and my messy one.
Don’t go down this road. These comparisons will not bring your happiness. Most likely you will feel jealousy, self pity or resentment and you don’t need that in your life.
Also, keep in mind that you only ever get a tiny glimpse of someone else’s life. Everyone struggles in their own ways and you only know your own. Social media amplifies this effect where you only see what someone chooses to show you.
Don’t compare your real life to the curated highlights of someone else.
Even if someone else’s life were as perfect as you imagined, it is irrelevant. Happiness isn’t finite, theirs takes nothing from you. BUT the comparisons can keep you from appreciating the positives in your own life.
6 | Get Out Of The House
Just because you’re a stay at home mom doesn’t mean that you have to literally stay in the house all day. Getting out and about is good for all of us.
Whether an errand, local event, or play date, just get out.
I realize at this current moment this is particularly challenging, but before 2020 we tried to get out of the house at least once each day. It’s still possible, but takes some creativity.
Even just getting some fresh air outside though is helpful. Go for a walk or just play in the yard. Being in nature and getting some exercise can help you feel better.
7 | Encourage Independent Play
A child that will play on their own even for just a few minutes is a sanity saver.
Just because we are home, we don’t have to be a constant source of entertainment. This doesn’t mean they don’t still need age appropriate supervision, just that you don’t have to be engaged the entire day. They can occupy themself for a little while so you can make a phone call, take a mental break, clean or cook or do whatever other thing you need without having to wait until they are sleeping.
Some kids seem to take to independent play easier than others who may need some extra encouragement.
Make a safe space free of hazards and stocked with toys suitable for their age and let them do their thing. Also, making independent play time part of your routine can help it become a habit.
Being able to take a moment for yourself to just sit, take a breath, or think over a problem can be surprisingly refreshing.
8 | Get Away (From Your Kids)
Of course, you love your kids, but you also need a break. Parenting 24/7 is hard.
At this point, with three kids, doing literally anything alone feels almost like a vacation. Going to the grocery store or even just the bathroom by myself seems like a luxury.
But some time apart is good. It gives you a chance to miss them.
So take some time for yourself. Have adult conversations. Get a night out with your friends or a weekend away with your partner.
Hire a babysitter. Join a gym with childcare. Get creative and find some way to get even just a little bit of time where you don’t have to actively parent.
9 | Stay On The Same Page With Your Partner
It will be much more difficult to be happy as a stay at home mom if you and your partner aren’t on the same page about roles and finances.
Money issues can be a huge source of conflict in marriages and dropping an income can certainly strain a budget. Ideally, you and your partner are in agreement on spending and saving, but this should be an ongoing conversation to make sure it stays that way.
Another common issue is disagreements over the responsibilities of the stay at home parent. I see this question so often that I wrote an entire post about realistic expectations for stay at home moms and tips for navigating this disagreement (you can read it here).
It’s important that both partners are happy with their roles and responsibilities. Relationship dynamics can change too, so many sure you continually evaluate and communicate with your partner.
10 | Ask For Help
Too often, we don’t ask for the help that we need.
Asking for help is tough. We worry that we’ll be judged or shamed or that we’re not good enough. Even when help is offered, accepting it is also tough.
But there’s no prize for going it alone.
If anyone offers to watch your child, take them up on it.
If you need your partner to step up around the house, say so.
Tell your family and friends that you need help.
If you don’t have people who can help around, consider hiring someone based on your needs. For instance, a postpartum doula could help you with newborn care or maybe simply finding a local teen who could work a few hours a week as a mother’s helper would be enough. Or perhaps hiring someone to clean your house would be most helpful.
If your unhappiness is overwhelming, causing physical symptoms, or keeping you from finding enjoyment in other areas of your life, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor.
Let yourself ask for help and accept it.
I hope these tips help you find a bit more happiness in your life. Did I miss anything? What else helps you feel happy as a stay at home mom?