Congrats! You’ve made what was probably one of the hardest, most courageous decisions you’ve made in quite some time. Putting aside what I’m sure was one bad ass job that you probably adored so you could do something your heart and soul are telling you need to do. Welcome to the wonderful, challenging, most rewarding and maddening job of your life. Welcome to the world of a stay-at-home-mom! Now let’s keep you, and the baby of course, alive and somewhat sane 🙂
Get on a schedule…but be lenient
Think about it this way – your entire life, you’ve been on a schedule. From school to your career, your life has been meetings, lunches, happy hours – the calendar is booked and life is scheduled. Whether you love it or are psyched to be away from these demands, after about a month it’s going to be a shock to your system to be without it. You’ll look back on Friday and say to yourself, “what the heck did I get done this week?” Here’s my recommendation: start slowly and add as you go. If you’re a free spirit, awesome, plan your weeks as you go with the intention of some key goals for the week. If you’re more Type A like me, plan a weekly template that you stick to and add to over time. And most importantly, be lenient! If you haven’t learned this yet, plans change. Baby starts teething, gets feverish or you just downright don’t feel like getting out of pjs that day. I get it. Schedule, but go easy on yourself.
Do things for you
This can often times be hard as a new mom. At the beginning I felt guilty indulging in something just for myself. Perhaps because part of the decision to stay at home was my own desire to be with my little girl versus dropping her off every day with someone else and that meant giving up a paycheck – which believe me I know is a blessing to be able to do – but it didn’t come without its hardships. It felt selfish. It felt like maybe my little girl wasn’t enough to fulfill me. But I realized something in watching my husband every day. I saw the high he got after a great meeting or the “adda boy” he would hear from his boss after a big sale. His job was a part of his identity. It wasn’t until then that I realized I’d given up a piece of me. And so I found ways to fulfill my passions and personal interests to nurture that part of myself again. This is CRUCIAL. Don’t let yourself off the hook here. Nap times, drop your kid off for a play date or have the hubby take them one night a week so you can do the things that make you feel personally fulfilled and whole. Even if it’s just reading a book on a topic you’re interested in – that’s personal development and it counts!
Find new friends and make time for the old
Believe me – you’re going to need your people…all of them. It’s no joke that it takes a village and part of that is friends helping take care of YOU! So make time for your friends you had before you became a mom. Whether they’re previous co-workers, childhood friends, neighbors, are moms themselves or not. One of my favorite things was to dress my little girl up and go to lunches with old friends and hear all about their work life – the drama, the successes, the stresses. Hearing about life outside of diapers and formula will be good for your soul. And you’ll need to balance this with new mom friends. Moms who are going through the same things you are or even better, are a few months or years ahead of you and have all the wisdom. Find a Baby Bootcamp or a Meetup group and wander through the awkward mom dating scene with confidence 🙂
Communicate with your partner
Hopefully you’ve had some major conversations with your partner before making this life changing decision. But those conversations are just the tip of the iceberg my friend. There will be a lot more to come so be prepared. Here’s some examples so you’re prepared:
- I need help – your partner isn’t always going to be able to read your mind mamma. Don’t think you can do all of this by yourself, ask for the help and be specific. “I need some time” and “Can you take her on a walk when you get home so I can have 30 mins to take a bath?” are not the same.
- Tell me I’m doing a good job – you no longer have promotions, awards or “adda girls” from your manager. You will need affirmation from your support group and even more – you deserve affirmation from them.
- Let me help you – it goes both ways. While they’ve been at work 8 hours today, Susie Q’s routine changed and they don’t know…so be patient and show them, help them, COMMUNICATE!
Above all things…when times get tough just hug that little nugget close, breathe them in and remember that it’s all temporary.