Let's be honest. Sometimes being a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) gets frustrating, lonely, and boring. And this is coming from someone whose number one life dream was to be a wife and mom. (I mean, I pretended my doll was a real baby through age 14, okay?) But no matter how much I love this gig, there are three things I have to do in order to enjoy it/not lose my mind.
1. Start our day with God.
M and I spend a long time in bed every morning. We're not the type to get up, clack our heels together, and whistle while we get to work. (Especially not baby M for some reason. Ha!) Instead, we groan because waking up is hard. We have milky cuddles while we rub our eyes to wake them up. I almost always laugh because M looks so cute with his bed hair, pillow lines, and groggy face.
And then once we've gentle transitioned into awake-mode, I bust out the Bibles. We read M's first and then mine, which I also read outloud for both our sakes. Then I pray. Morning prayers are bursting with thankfulness because being appreciative for what great blessings we have is the best way to get in that happy place. I also ask the Holy Spirit to guide us and help us make our home a place of unity, gentleness, peace and joy. After that, we usually move into the living room where we dance (looks mostly like walking back and forth because, dang, it's still early) and sing to worship music.
On the days we skip this because we're in a hurry to get out the door, there's a noticeable difference in myself and the way I interact with my family. No patience. Snippiness. I get frazzled, offended, grumpy, and distracted. If there's anything that will be proof to my son that God is alive and real, it'll be the difference he sees in Mommy when I spend time in my Father's presence.
2. Prioritize Sleep
Thankfully, M has been a pretty "easy" baby when it comes to sleep. It can be hard to get him to bed sometimes, but once he's down, he sleeps for about 11 hours, waking every couple hours to breastfeed (which is good and normal!). So admittedly, it's not that hard for me to get 8 or 9 hours of sleep every night. On the weekends, if my husband and I want to stay up a little later, I can count on guy time the next day to take a nap. (Napping with M doesn't usually work out because he KNOWS and I MUST be awake for him sleeping. Which is actually fine because I take that time to work on things I enjoy or catch up on TV shows.)
But no matter what, I make sure I never go without the sleep I need because if I do, my energy tanks, which makes it hard for me to enjoy time with M. Instead of reading books in silly voices and sharing giggles, I sit there and space out. Seriously, huge difference. Well rested, we both have more fun and better connection.
3. Get out of the apartment.
I'm a major homebody. Sometimes I don't want to be around people because of my social anxiety, and other times, I need to be away from people to recharge simply because I'm an introvert. So my rule for deciding whether or not I should make myself go out is easy. If going out sounds fun, but I'm scared? I have to go. Fear is no excuse. But if going out sounds exhausting? We stay in because it's good to listen to our minds and bodies when they need to rest.
I do try to get us out and about with other people at least a couple times a week because it shakes things up. There are times I need the dragging day to get moving, times I just cannot play with blocks or read a book one more time. In our adventures out with "Hike it Baby" and library baby time, we've made wonderful mom and baby friends who we've turned to for advice and companionship, which is so important. As they say, no man is an island. This also stimulates M and gives him (and me!) a chance to learn how to socialize, especially since I can already tell he's an introvert like his parents. Our favorite days are the days family stops by, which is why we love living close to most of our family!
Without these three things, I really don't know how I would make it through some days because the truth is, momming is hard sometimes. It's also incredible. But motherhood is most incredible when we we're filled, rested, and supported.