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How Stay-at-Home Moms can Survive and Thrive (Part 1)

How Stay-at-Home Moms can Survive and Thrive (Part 1)

Are you a stay-at-home mom who’s just starting out and not sure where to start? Yes, you chose this path. But have you prepared yourself for the actual struggles and challenges? Don’t worry though, because you’re not alone in this. The rest of us are surviving through these ways that I’d be sharing here, and so you can, too.

How Stay-at-Home Moms can Survive and Thrive (Part 1)

Being a stay-at-home mom is hard. I swear.

Some even say it’s not for everyone. And I’d be lying if I say I didn’t ask myself if it was really meant for me. 

I grew up surrounded mostly with mothers who worked, so when I dived into this territory of stay-at-home motherhood, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

But as most have had, I’ve eventually learned the struggles and challenges of being a stay-at-home mom, and I’m just glad I’ve survived.

The thing with our struggles and challenges is that they are so difficult to explain to other people. They wouldn’t probably understand how tough it truly is until they’ve become one themselves.

And yet, we carry on. We remain strong despite everything. But of course, we’ve been expected to.

Stay-at-home moms are expected to survive

Has anyone ever asked you how are you feeling so far? 

They know you’re fine because you’re still alive and kicking. Your kids are happy, and they assume you’re happy, too. But are you?

Of course, you’re happy. Isn’t this what you’ve dreamed of? Like me. This is what I’ve dreamed of. So I should be happy.

But really, are you happy? Aren’t you struggling emotionally? Aren’t you suffering mentally?

If you do, let’s talk more…

The Struggles and Challenges of Stay-at-Home Moms

You’re probably familiar with some of these ones (or maybe not yet…):

  • The guilt of not making our own money and not being able to contribute financially to the family. 
  • The sudden shortage of time, because most of it goes to bathing, feeding, and entertaining our kids. Anything left is where we try to finish the laundry and so on.
  • The result? Lack of personal time. Even time to take a long, hot shower. Or do our nails.
  • And because we lack personal time, the feeling of isolation and the constant craving for a meaningful adult conversation, which is also probably a result of spending day after day with no one but our kids (and our husband who’s mostly busy with work anyway).
  • Losing our identity in the process, because now we’re mostly babysitters, cooks, cleaners, housekeepers, drivers, etc. 
  • The exhaustion — oh yes, this! – when we’re thinking and doing things non-stop, with our kids’ nap time as the only time we can actually rest (if we even sleep instead of rushing to finish any pending chores).
  • The lingering sadness when all of these struggles pile up in our brain, and then there’s no one to talk to, resulting in depression. 

Some people would probably tell us that it would get easier as our kids grow. But I don’t think it will. I’ve heard stories from moms of teens who face far more complex issues. 

No, they no longer lose sleep like moms of infants and toddlers do, but they lose their minds guessing what their older kids are up to.

How do we survive these struggles and challenges?

To survive is to continue living despite the hardships, which we all are doing perfectly fine anyway. Or are we?

If you’re new to this territory, here are some solutions I can offer:

  • If you feel guilty about not making your own money, remember this: you may not be contributing financially but the value that you bring to your family by raising your kids hands-on is priceless. On another hand, talk to your husband. Come up with an arrangement where you get your own allowance so you can buy yourself what you want without feeling guilty, like what we do. Among us, millennial moms, staying at home instead of working (with or without kids) isn’t common anymore. So if it’s your ego that’s hurt, work part-time from home or sell something online. There are different things you can try, like these 12 side hustles. Or these tips on how to get some extra cash rolling in. I did blogging, though I’m not earning from it yet. For now, I’m just on the process of learning the industry.
  • Look for ways to better manage your time at home so you don’t feel like there’s a lot be done with so little time to do everything. Establish a schedule that you think will work you and your kids. I’ve created my own, and it worked wonders for me. If you plan to work from home, here are some tips to stay on top.
  • Once you’ve finally managed your time better, you can now have a bit of time for your self. Take advantage of this! It’s not your reward — it’s required, so you don’t fill from an empty cup. Self-care is as important as taking care of our kids, and there are various ways to do this! Try these 6 self-care ideas, or these tips on how to stay active.
  • Look for other stay-at-home moms to make friends with. Talk to them. Share your issues. Even if it’s only on Facebook, having someone to talk to who fully understand what you’re going through is a huge relief. When you’ve developed a hobby, join a tribe and engage with them. 
  • If you’ve lost your identity, try building it again one step at a time. Find time to rediscover your passion and start making plans about it. List down your goals and take action steps each day to bring you closer to your goal. Again, I did it with blogging. I am passionate about writing! So it became my outlet. It took me almost a year of just planning, but now I’m glad I’ve finally put these plans to life.
  • If you’re struggling with anxiety and depression, you can try these things that worked for me: pray and lift up your worries to Him. Talk to someone, ideally a fellow stay-at-home mom. Listen to your favorite music every morning to start your day right. Find a distraction — a hobby or anything — to keep your mind away from those depressing thoughts. And if nothing seems to work, consider talking to a therapist. If you’re a new mom and is suffering from post-partum depression, try these coping methods. Try these ways as well on how to stay sane as a stay-at-home mom

Our struggles and challenges are not exactly the same with other stay-at-home moms

To summarize everything, stay-at-home moms have almost the same struggles and challenges that people don’t usually see from the surface. But then there are ways to survive through it all. 

Not all struggles and challenges though are created the same. Some stay-at-home moms don’t suffer depression. Some don’t have issues if they don’t make their own money. Some are just fine without a passion to pursue. And that’s life! 

One of the worst things we can do is to compare ourselves to others and feel like we’re failing just because others are doing better. So don’t! We all have our own strengths and that’s where we should focus instead.

So before I end this first part of my post, I’d like to leave some actionable steps for you.

  1. Identify which of these struggles and challenges bother you the most, and then write them in a journal (or on your phone). 
  2. Start reading from available articles and come up with a plan on how you will overcome these struggles. As they say, written goals are more likely to succeed. Make a daily commitment to work on your plan. And include your plan in your prayers.

Now let me thank you for going this far. 

For Part 2, read my next post on “How to Thrive and Become a Successful Stay-at-Home Mom“.

Do you have other struggles and challenges that you want to share? Let’s talk about it! Let me know in the comments. 

If you need an online support system, sign up here and get access to over 20+ stay-at-home mom Facebook groups that you can join. I compiled it just for you. 

Share this with the rest of the world and let them know our struggles are real.

STAY-AT-HOME MOMS MANAGE TIME - FEATURED

5 Ways to Better Manage Your Time at Home (So You Have Time for Yourself, Too)

Stay-at-Home Moms - Manage Time

Do you often find yourself overwhelmed with so many things to do at home with so little time? Do you feel as if your life has been evolving just between raising kids and housekeeping? I’ve been there, but I’ve eventually found a way to better manage my time so I can have something left for myself, too. Please read on and see if these five ways will work for you. 

Among the many challenges of being a stay-at-home mom is managing time at home. Don’t you think? During the first few months of my journey as a stay-at-home mom myself, I struggled at balancing my time between the household chores and my kids. Of course, the kids were always the priority. Next were the household chores. Sadly, I forgot I also had to think about myself. 

In the next months that came, I tried and tested different means to better manage my time. It was mostly trial and error. Oh, those were the days. Until around November of 2018, I finally found the formula that best works for me. This formula not only allowed me to balance my time between the household chores and the kids — it even gave me time to do my passion. 

Let me share them with you, and who knows, they might also work for you. 

1. Wake up earlier than the kids

A lot has been said about the great benefits of waking up early. Some of them include less stress, enhanced productivity, better concentration – to name a few. 

I know, most people (including me) hate the idea of waking up early. Who wouldn’t want to just lie down, snuggle in their blanket, and sleep again when the sun hasn’t risen yet? But I guess when you’re desperate, you just want to give a try to everything that you can. And so I did a “Wake Up Early Challenge” for myself, which, though I found difficult to do at first, ended up successfully. I may not be waking up at as early as 5am like what most proponents of waking up early do, but 7am is enough for me to do more than I could have. 

Wake Up Earlt

The results? I became better at planning my day; I finally had an uninterrupted time to write; I was less stressed; I became less grumpy; I’ve read more books now than what I could since I’ve had kids. The most significant result for me of waking up early, I’d say, is finally being able to start this blog. 

2. Have a timetable

Having an organized schedule may not work for everyone, but for some (including myself again), it’s definitely a life saver. Even before I’ve had the habit of waking up early, I’d rely on a timetable to help me manage my day. But even then, I found it difficult to follow that I’d end up becoming even more disorganized. Waking up early gave me additional hours to spend during the day, and having a timetable couldn’t be any better. 

Timetable

As for most moms, I still can’t follow it hundred percent, but now I know it by heart and my body’s already synced in to do whatever I’m supposed to do at a certain time of the day. If you already have a timetable, great! If you don’t have yet and is struggling to make one, I’ll gladly send you over a copy of mine. Just type in your email below. 

Daily Schedule Template Download Form

3. Write a daily to-do list

With becoming an early riser comes being a better planner, so they say. And again, it’s true for me. In the morning, when the kids are still asleep and the house is still quiet, I can plan the things I’d focus on completing for the day. I’d normally include some nagging tasks that I’ve been delaying to do, say completing the blogging course I’ve started last year. If there are other tasks I need to tackle but I know it won’t fit in the day, I just write it down and plan it for another day. 

To Do List

Having a to-do list would help us get on track and concentrate on a few things at a time. It would also give our brain its much-needed rest from nonstop thinking about all the things we need to do for the day. For some, like me, it brings great relief when everything in the list gets ticked off. We’d know we’ve been truly productive. 

4. Schedule a dedicated playtime with the kids

Having a lot more time with the kids is probably the best advantage of being a stay-at-home mom. But for me, it doesn’t mean we need to dedicate a full morning or afternoon playing with them. A few hours here and there is probably enough. As they say, our kids also need individual play times for them to develop their creativity and imagination. 

In our case, I dedicate an hour in the afternoon, and then the full evening after dinner until before bedtime. That doesn’t mean of course that they get ignored for the rest of the day. In fact, even during the hours I dedicate for something else, they’d come to me and ask me to play with them. I’d willingly submit, because, really, can you say no to them? 

Stay-at-Home Mom Play with Kids

During those times that I don’t play with them, I either let them watch TV (within their time limit, but I’m guilty of letting them exceed it sometimes), or I let them play with their toys within my sight while I do other things on my list. Just as long as they don’t start jumping on the sofa or climbing on the chairs or pulling the drawer cabinets open, we’d all be fine. 

Having a dedicated playtime with them allows me to at least not feel guilty when I’m just lying on the bed and taking a rest or reading a book while they play on their own. As long as the room is childproofed, there’s nothing to worry about. 

5. Allot a specific time for household chores

While there’s a dedicated playtime with the kids, I believe we should also dedicate only a specific time for household chores. Because, really, we can’t be doing them all day long, can we? Having a dedicated time for household chores would allow us to try and finish as much as we can. Well, at least for me, it works. The time pressure makes me move in a hurry. 

In the timetable I made for myself, I allotted an entire two hours for household chores. If I don’t finish everything, I make it up in the afternoon or in the evening. This way, it doesn’t eat up my time and energy. We need to save a few extra of those for the kids and for ourselves. 

Stay-at-Home Mom Doing Laundry

Why only two hours? As we all know, pretty much of what happens in our day are unexpected: sudden meltdowns, sibling fights, potty accidents, etc. And half of those include cleaning up an entire house with toys lying everywhere. It depends how much time you think you need, but two hours is just enough for me. 

These five ways are what worked for me, and I hope some of them would work for you, too. These ways also allowed me to have time to write and to read — two things which I am passionate about. There’ll always be loopholes, I know, and there are times when I don’t follow them, but as long as we keep on finding ways, we will for sure find ways. 

Do you have other suggestions on how to better manage our time at home? Share them in the comments below and let’s learn from one another! 

For a copy of my daily schedule template, type in your email below and I’ll send you a copy soon.

Daily Schedule Template Download Form

Share this with other stay-at-home moms who you know could be struggling with managing time, too.