Looking back about 6 years ago, I remember being a stay at home mom with my three older kids. With four kids now and being a working mom (who will also be BACK in school for another two years for my Bachelor’s Degree, in less than a week), I sometimes miss being a stay at home mom. It seems that now, as a working mom, I have decided to do all of the things I love even more because I’m inspired by them. Being on both sides of the line, a stay at home mom and a working mom, I have more positives than negatives about both. Seeing all of my friends, stay at home and working moms, I sympathize and I’m encouraged by both. I would like to share with you how I kept/keep my sanity as both a stay at home and a working mom.
When my older three kids were 3 years old, 1 year and 9 months, and 4 months old, I thought I’d never get a break in life, ever! Finally getting my 4 month old to sleep through the night the month before, getting ready to potty train an almost 2 year old and just finished potty training my three year old (during the day, the night time potty time was a nightmare!), I felt frustrated, exhausted, and alone at times. Being at home with the kids all day while my husband worked, trying to keep a clean house, play with the kids and have their one on one time, make sure the kids had their meals, cook dinner, and still try to do the things I wanted to do like read a book, write a song, practice singing, exercise, watch TV or a good movie, go shopping, spend quality time with my husband, friends, etc. seemed like a never ending feat! I felt like no one could understand my days and nights, until I became a working mom.
Now, being a working mom with four kids, it’s an even bigger challenge. When my youngest was born over a year ago, I had to take a leave of absence from work. I had never been a mom who wanted to leave her children with someone else to care for them until they started school. I’m sure a lot of moms out there would love to have the freedom to stay home with their kids. I’m sure there are also those who do enjoy their careers and cannot imagine being stay at home moms too. While being a stay at home mom is a lot of hard work, being a working mom is also. When you are working, you are wondering if your kids are okay while they are away from you, you are constantly thinking of what needs to be done after work and once you get home, and then there seems to never be enough time in your day to get all of those tasks done. For me, working then picking up the baby from my in-laws, the long drive home, cooking dinner, making sure the kids have their showers (thank God I only have to give ONE a bath now!), homework, a clean house, spending time with the kids and my husband, and then time for homework, keeping up my blog, keeping things up at work, writing more songs, practicing singing, and then exercise, all of these things can keep me up late and end up leaving me exhausted the next day. By the end of the work week, I look like a zombie, but thank God I don’t smell like one! Okay, even you moms have to admit that sometimes after all of this running around you might smell like a, well, zombie! LOL!
What did I do in both situations to be keep my sanity? Well, the first thing I do is when I first wake up, I drop to my knees and thank God every day for all of his many blessings on my life and I thank Him for giving me another chance to do it right. I ask Him to be my strength when I am weak. I also constantly praise him during my day and thank Him even when it gets rough. I read my bible app before anyone in the house is awake and put on the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20). Once I do this, I immediately feel strength and the peace to get me through. Another thing I do is constantly remind myself that there are some things that are more important. What HAS to be done and what can wait? So, whatever can wait, I usually keep those long lasting projects due on the weekend or when my husband helps with the kids (which is a lot and I’m especially thankful for him too). I understand not all moms have a husband or significant other to be there to help so the stress may be double. My advice to you is to see what things are important, or see what friends you can rely on to help you with some things. You may be surprised just how many other moms would be willing to help another mom that is stressed out or needs support. I, myself, even try to be one of those friends when I can.
Looking back from then until now, there is definitely a change in me as a person along with the different responsibilities it takes to raise growing children. They need you to nurture them as they grow and teach them right from wrong and hope you will do it right. Remembering how to make time for yourself, or even forcing yourself to at times will help you keep your sanity. Even in the heat of any tough moment, simply walk away from it and come back to it. Take 2 minutes to yourself, or even an hour, but remember, the only person that will be as hard on you about not getting everything done, is usually yourself. Moms (and dads) I encourage you to evaluate your life and change what you can, rearrange some things to see if they work, and if not, try something else altogether. Always remember too, what may work for someone else, may not work for you. Take others advice, but modify it so it works for you and you will be more at peace. It will work and you won’t be looking back on a stressful life, but one where you can laugh at the mistakes you’ve made along the way while doing everything better the next time around!