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12 March, 2015

My Advice to Stay at Home Moms (and even new moms!)

It's hard to believe that in just two weeks it will be a full year since I said goodbye to my career and transitioned to full-time mom mode.  This decision had been weighing on my heart for some time, but I did not have the guts to say "yes" to the desires the Lord had been placing on my heart our of fear of the unknown.

During my discernment phase I wanted to "know" more about being a stay-at-home-mom, so I asked several SAHM friends what they like about their "job" and what they don't like; what they do day-to-day with the children; what they do for their own sanity; etc.  The discussions were enlightening and gave me several talking points with my husband and my spiritual director on how I would prepare for some of the hurdles and roadblocks in making this transition.

In no way shape or form do I think I have all the answers, but after my conversations with other moms and from this year's experience, I'd love to pass on a little advice to anyone thinking of making the leap.

1. Make and take the time to pray every day.  

Two of the holiest women I talked to prescribed just this.  One gets up 30 minutes before her kids for prayer and coffee (they go together like pb&j). The other uses time while her little is napping and big is at school.

Also, find a prayer life that is YOURS.  Do something you enjoy and you have time for: quality not quantity.

Right now I read/journal a few afternoons a week, I subscribe to a novena email list, and pray Night Prayer with Eric. There are a few other family things peppered in, but this is the heart of the matter.

2. Take a shower. Everyday. Yes, I said it, everyday.

I freaking hate taking showers. I mean, I love the R&R, who doesn't, I just hate the getting ready routine that follows.  When I first had Evie I was going to use my time off to do the "crunchy mom thing" and not shower daily.  Well, I just felt gross. It wasn't me.  Showering wakes me up and makes me feel ready for anything. To remove the dread from "the dreaded morning routine" and to feel my best, I streamlined my routine: quick shower FIRST THING (even if it means hungry/screaming kids), simple make-up, a really good easy to style hair cut, and doing a capsule wardrobe. (aka weeding down my clothes so I only have in-season, mix&match clothes that fit me well hanging in the closet)

3. Get thee a Daily Uniform, Woman.

When I first read Hallie's blog post on the topic I snorted. I thought, "How boring. Clothing is a means of self expression".  Now, I have embraced this simplicity and run with it.  My uniform consists of skinny jeans/cords for the winter, add shorts and capris for the summer. Tops are cotton and fit well. Everything is mix-and-match and can be layered with a cardigan. I have 2-3 dresses for each season.  I have embraced the simple and found freedom in it.  I have way more important things to worry about than the perfect outfit.

4. Find a routine or schedule to your week.

Some people thrive on a minute-to-minute detailed schedule, while others can fly by the seat of their pants, and then there's the rest of us somewhere in the middle.  Find what works for you, but remember, children thrive on routine and being well rested.  This is key to a happy household.

On Sundays I plan our week:

  • Must-haves: church, school, gymnastics, playgroup, and my workouts. 
  • Occasional appointments: Holy Days, chiropractor, pediatrician, car maintenance, etc
  • Errands: grocery, Target, consignment store, etc. 
  • Fun stuff: parties, date night, etc
  • After all that is done, I plan our meals for the week based on how busy the day is.  
I make sure that Maggie gets a nap at home at least once a day, and that we're always home by 7:30 on weeknights for an 8pm bedtime.

My weekly planning time takes about an hour. The weeks that I don't do it we end up stressed or eating out a lot.  

5. Allow Yourself Some FUN!

Seriously, I cannot stress this enough. Find something to take your mind off the kids and to get out of the house.  It doesn't have to be fancy or cost a lot of money, but do something to BE YOU!  Meet girlfriends for a glass of wine, take a class, go to Bible study, sew a quilt, whatever!   I have found photography is a great hobby for me because there is no mess and I can work on a few pictures at a time.  Eric and I each get some time doing things at church.  And together we do a dinner/bible study group.

In doing parish ministry for years there was a saying "you can't give what you don't have" wherein you have to have a solid prayer life if you want to lead others into a relationship with the Lord.  I believe the same goes as a wife/mother.  You have to start with your relationship with God, take care of yourself and your relationship with your husband (HE is your sacramental relationship -- the kids aren't -- shocker, I know!), and then and only then can I give my all to my girls. Trouble brews when these get out of order.

Above all - Remember what you're doing and why.  Thank God for the opportunity to spend this precious time with your (HIS!) children.

What is your advice to a new Stay-At-Home-Mom?  What do you wish someone had told you?  Do you like staying home or do you do it because it's actually cheaper?


  1. From a woman who has a propensity for daily uniforms ;), I have never heard of a capsule wardrobe! I'm definitely going to have to incorporate this idea into my current clothing conundrum. Thanks!

  2. You are way more organized than I am, but I definitely am for most of these. Except the shower bit, but I still have a morning routine I follow that could take it's place. Sounds like you are thriving in your SAH motherhood.


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