I'm creeping up on that stage of life where I have bigger kiddos. I still have littles too, but the fact that I have bigger kids has changed my day-to-day life. I also work now, so things are busier than ever, but there was a time when things weren't so busy. There was a time when I only had one or two babies, and the days were long. It was hard to be a stay-at-home mom, and it took effort to not feel bored or restless. So looking back on that, I've got some tips that helped me through it. It was a great stage of life, and these things really helped me keep my sense of self while still putting my kids first.
1. Start a new hobby or find something you want to learn more about. When I had my first baby, I was so lost. I was figuring out how to be a mom, but I also found myself with a lot of time alone. I was a stay-at-home mom, and I really got bored when the baby was napping and Soren wasn't home. It didn't feel good to just watch a show, so I found myself looking for something else to fill my time.
Around that time is when ONE little BELT came to be. We had the idea for the business, and I had the time and energy to put into it. I got so excited as I found new things to learn and new skills to acquire. I started learning about selling on Etsy, improving my photography, writing product descriptions, and so much more. I was so excited to put kids down for their naps or to get them in bed because I was motivated to keep working on my side project. It filled me up because I was growing something inside of me. And that feeling became something that helped me thrive.
I could have also started exercising or taken up crafting. Exercising wasn't a great option for me because I'd already had that as a hobby at one point. I had already run a marathon in college and a half marathon too. In some ways I felt like I had topped out there, and there wasn't anything exciting or new to me about it. I'd recommend finding something that is totally new and motivating to you.
2. Find or start a playgroup. This was another really helpful discovery when my kids were little. We had a playgroup that some women at church put together, and we'd meet every Wednesday at a park or someone's house. I joined when we moved to Missouri, and after a year or so I got put in charge of it. It was a little bit stressful at first, but it was a good way to force me to plan something and get out each week. Plus I made friends with the moms, and my kids made friends with their kids. Win-win!
3. Incorporate two or three things into your weekly routine, like library time, a Chick-fil-A lunch, or a craft. Routines always help me when I'm feeling a little lost or bored. With littles at home, it felt like I needed to plan something every day so that we didn't get bored. Having a weekly routine made that easier. I looked up the story time at our local library, we'd pick one day a week to go get lunch somewhere with a play place, or we'd have our playgroup or a music class to attend.
4. Find a church community. I'm not sure how other people meet friends in new places, but church is always where I get my base group of people I know in my community. As my kids have gotten bigger and have become more involved in activities, I've met more people. But when my kids were smaller, having a church group of younger moms was a huge blessing to me.
5. Get ready every day. This one can be hard, but it makes a huge difference in my day. On the days when I don't shower until 10:00 a.m. or when I stay in my pajamas and never get ready, the day goes worse. I can hustle so much better if I have changed into real clothes and put a little makeup on. It wakes me up and makes me feel like a human.
I'd love to hear your ideas about enjoying being a stay-at-home mom and keeping a sense of yourself while also spending so much time serving others. Feel free to comment below or reach out on social media!