Princess and The Rock

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Wednesday, 7 May 2014

SAHM Survival Tips: How to Maintain Sanity

I've been a stay-at-home mum (SAHM) since Princess was born so that means I've been mothering my children from home (for the most part at least) for more than five years. Ever since I conceived Princess, I knew that I wanted to be home for her, so making the decision to stay home wasn't difficult at all. In fact it felt like I was meant to do this (being a SAHM) for the first two years. I had Princess stuck to me the whole time as she was fully-breastfed and she only preferred the real deal, i.e. real nipples only, no rubber teats allowed. This was OK to me because it was easy and convenient to bring her around in the baby sling or carrier; there wasn't excess baggage (milk bottles, milk powder, hot water flask etc.) to carry as I only needed my breasts. My mantra was "Got breasts, can travel!" So travel I did, I went everywhere with her and both of us were happy having each other as companions. The ball game changed when The Rock came along; man was it whole new world to me!

Suddenly there was no more spare time for anything, in fact, having a sit-down lunch was a luxury to me. I hadn't expect the change from having one child to two to be so great. Housework was never done on time, husband took a back seat (like, WAY back) and me time was non-existent. Life went on that way until I felt I really needed to change some things because I was snapping at my family too much (so much so that I had to take the Orange Rhino Challenge). Upon reflection and discussion with my husband, I realised I was sorely lacking on quality time spent with him and myself, and that was a big no-no because my love language is spending quality time. (Read about how I use love language to manage temper tantrums here.)

So the SAHM Survival Tip I'm sharing is twofold:
  1. Create me-time

  2. Me-time is important in helping me stay grounded. I believe many SAHMs, like me, have never-ending to-do lists and the things really rarely get done on time (at least for me). Something seems to always crop us while I'm trying to get something done; a fight to resolve while I'm folding three days worth of laundry, a thirty-minute bedtime routine ending up as an hour and a half one or a toddler who suddenly became extra clingy on my gym day. My husband made me realise that I need to just do it! Set a date and time to do things by myself or go out with some friends or do anything at all but stay at home with the children. It doesn't matter if the floor hasn't been mopped because that can always be completed the next day. It was tough for me to leave the children behind at first because they were so reluctant to be home without me and there was a lot of tears and clinginess but they got used to it eventually and I'm getting my (almost) weekly scheduled me-time, kudos to my husband who courageously offers to take on Princess and The Rock alone one evening a week.

    Having this little pocket of time to myself allowed me to pursue my interest, read a book that I like or drink a cup of coffee unhurriedly. Most importantly I get to be in touch with the other non-mummy parts of me that I've been neglecting.

  3. Continue to have couple time.

  4. It is easy to neglect the marriage once children come into the picture. A baby or young child can't meet many of his own needs but a grown-up husband can easily do so himself, right? Yes and no. My husband can do most things by himself; he doesn't need me to wash his clothes and fix his meals. But I still do them out of love and appreciation for him. More than these things, I realised my husband and I need time and space to connect more deeply and it is just difficult to do so with our children demanding our attention every five minutes. So we roped in my mum to help look after Princess and The Rock on our date nights (once a week). They stay over at my mum's house and we get to go for an uninterrupted dinner or coffee and talk about things that concern us and not just children matters. This plan turned out pretty well because the children get to do some "special things" (like watching TV for a longer period and eat snacks that they don't get to eat at home) at Po Po's (Chinese for "grandma") house and my husband and I get to spend some quality time together and fill up each other's love tank.

I don't think the above-mentioned tips are new or unique but they can be quite a challenge to implement sometimes so I hope you'll get to try them if you aren't already doing these things, because they helped maintained my sanity! :P

This post is part of a blog train hosted by Gingerbreadmum where 31 stay-at-home mums share their survival tips.

Next on the blog train is Cen-Lin Ting, who is a SAHM to two boys, aged five and one years old. On her blog, Miracule, she shares about motherhood & homemaking, activities with her children and growing her own vegetables! Being the weekdays driver, maid, cook, mom, educator and farmer, she will be sharing some tips on how she cope.

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