If you are a stay-at-home mom, either by preference or because of the pandemic, you probably feel ready to lose your mind on occasion. You love your little angels, but spending 24/7 with them can make a brief stint in a padded room sound like a beachside holiday.
You need a way to tame the tension. How can you take care of our mental health naturally while staying at home with your kids? The following eight tips can help you find more zen.
1. Talk to Your Child’s Teacher
Do many of your family arguments arise when your child tells you they forgot a critical assignment at the last minute — again? Maybe you have fear about the quality of the educational experience your little one receives online.
The best way to put your mind at ease and keep apprised of upcoming deadlines is to talk to your child’s teacher. If your school offers a virtual or in-person back-to-school night, make sure you attend. Otherwise, schedule a 30-minute conference during the first month of the semester. You can request a copy of the syllabus and ask any questions you have.
2. Make a Weekly Family Schedule
If you always find yourself rushing around while waiting for little ones to catch up, you need to get your family on a schedule. While planning your week does take a few minutes, it saves you oodles of time overall. Plus, it keeps you from ripping out your hair in frustration.
Start with the first week of school. Map out the supplies you need for each day, as well as planning meals and outfits. When you don’t have to make these judgments each day, you reduce decision-fatigue and improve your concentration and mood.
3. Implement After-Dinner Walks
Did you know that taking a walk after meals may help lower your blood sugar and aid digestion? With juvenile and adult-onset Type 2 diabetes cases on the rise, making this activity a family affair can prevent childhood obesity and lower your family’s risk.
Getting outdoors for a stroll also benefits your mental health by pulling you away from work responsibilities and dire TV news broadcasts. Make yours a mindful experience by focusing on the feeling of your feet striking pavement and listening to the various nature sounds you hear.
4. Start Quiet Playtime Early
Quiet playtime is a lifesaver for stay-at-home parents. Everyone needs a break from the ceaseless choir of, “Mom? Dad!”
The trick involves making your child’s bedroom a welcome retreat, instead of a place reserved for punishment. When your children are toddlers, have them color, read or participate in other quiet activities independently. If you start when they are young, most children have no problem spending 30 minutes engrossed in a fantasy play world.
5. Lean on Your Support Network
Do your in-laws beg you for more time with your little ones? Unless something in their lifestyle gives you pause, why not let your kids weekend with them on occasion?
Likewise, don’t overlook friends who have children of similar ages. Playdates are a fabulous way to get needed adult conversation while supervising the littles. If you have a gang, you can alternate having one watch the kiddos while the rest enjoy girls’ night.
6. Hire (and Screen) a Quality Sitter
Everyone needs a break occasionally. However, you won’t relax much if you spend your alone time wondering whether your kids are okay.
Learn how to screen your babysitter so that you feel comfortable leaving them in charge. First aid and CPR certification tell you that your childcare professional knows what to do in an emergency. Prior experience in similar situations builds common sense and confidence.
7. Carve Out Adult Socialization Time
Do you sincerely enjoy singing “Baby Shark” all day? As much as you love your children, time with adults is vital to your mental health.
Talk to your partner and keep and honor date night. While kid-friendly backyard barbecues make for summer fun, don’t overlook the value of a poker evening complete with wine and stogies.
8. Consider Support Groups or Professional Help
Finally, if you begin to experience symptoms of depression or anxiety, reach out for help. Your tiredness and loss of energy can stem from a temporary increase in responsibilities, but when paired with a loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities, they spell trouble.
If you can’t afford therapy, you can now find virtual help for a more affordable cost. If that still proves out of reach, seek out online support groups for parents in similar situations. You can also find meetings for those suffering from anything from substance abuse to grief management.
You love your little ones, but spending too much time with them can drive you slightly batty. Protect your mental health naturally while staying home with your kids by following the above tips.