11 Tips Most Stay-At-Home Moms Wish They Knew Earlier

Stay-at-home Mom Tips

I have never imagined that one day I will end up spending most of my time at home, every single day. But when my son Nathan came into our lives, my husband and I decided that we will raise this boy by ourselves.

These top 3 tips helped me stay sane and love my job. Setting goals for the day so that I know what I’m going to accomplish and feel fulfilled. Enjoying my hobby to remind me that I have my own life too. Starting a business so that my world is not confined to the house, and I can contribute to the family economy.

There are other things that I wished I knew earlier, and I’m going to share them all here so read on! My husband wrote an article for men on how to support their stay-at-home wife, share it with your husband here 🙂

Setting goals for the day

Every morning, I will prioritize up to three things that I want to get done, write it down and check them off as I complete them. Sometimes I even put the time of the day where I would do the task.

Although it may seem pointless to do this, it is very important. There are so many things to do every day, and I realize that most of the time, I’m trying to attend to the most urgent thing at the moment, but by the end of the day, what I really need to get done wasn’t done.

By clearly identifying the three most important things I need to complete for the day, I will normally get it done before the day finishes. I also realize that I’m firefighting less because things are more in order as I deal with what is important, not what is urgent. Once you’re used to daily planning, you can move on to weekly and monthly plans; it will significantly improve your life!

Finally, it’s having a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, having that makes all the difference! When I didn’t have a priority list, I felt that no matter how much I did, it felt like I didn’t accomplish much because there’s still so much more to do! That feeling made me feel very miserable, but when I strike off the priority list for the day, I feel that I’ve accomplished a lot.

You can download the complete English 2020 planner below. Credits go to this wonderful lady who made this planner and taught me how to use it. It’s a Chinese language channel, but the planner is in English.

Find your personal time

My son needs me around the clock and clings to me like a magnet, so when he takes a nap, I finally get to do other housework that I normally can’t do, like mopping the floor, prepare dinner, bathe my dog or do the laundry. The problem is, I work day in and day out and have close to no personal time.

It wore me down over time, and I realized that I must have my personal time to keep my sanity. The best time to have it is when my baby takes a nap! So whenever my son takes his nap, here’s what I will do.

  1. Start writing my journal
  2. Take my drawing book out and start drawing
  3. Browse through my phone
  4. Watch TV
  5. Relax and just stare at the ceiling

This is my personal time, I can do whatever I want with it, yes, even just stare at the ceiling. Don’t feel that you’re wasting time here, we moms are still human beings, and we need personal time, or we will burn out.

Make your top 3 priority list and plan for the day realistically, and include your break time in the schedule, that way, you know how the whole day will go and will be more satisfied with all your hard work.

Enjoy your hobby

What is your hobby? If you don’t have one, I suggest you pick up a hobby, if you have one, then find time to enjoy your hobby. Having a hobby distracts us from the house, so much of our time is spent at home, we seem to have no life outside of doing house chores. If this continues, we may lose our sense of identity.

Remember the days before we were married or became a mom? We used to like so many things, do so many things, we were free to enjoy life. While being a stay-at-home mom means that we give up a lot of that freedom, but it doesn’t mean we have to give it all up, we don’t have to give up our hobby.

I love drawing, so from time to time I’ll take out my book and start drawing. I looked around for classes to improve my drawing skills, and once a month my mom or husband will take care of my boy while I go for a 4-5 hour class.

As I see myself improve in drawing, my confidence continues to build. I have something I’m skilled in that is outside of the house, my life no longer revolves around the house! What did you like to do before? Start doing it again, and I’m sure it will help you like how it helped me. Here’s a list of hobby ideas if you’re looking to pick one up.

Start a business

Hear me out and don’t skip this part. Starting a business was not my thing at all; I never thought of doing it until my husband gave me some ideas. I learned that I could start very small, and because I had nothing to lose if the business didn’t bring in money, the pressure is off my back, and I can now contribute monetarily to my family.

Here’s an idea. Start looking around the house and see what you don’t need? Instead of throwing or giving it away, why not try selling it online? Craigslist is a good place to sell it off. I have made a couple of hundred bucks like this, and there are still many things in the house to sell. When we buy upgrades or replacements, I will sell the old stuff, and this saved us a lot of money.

I also have a passion for children, that’s why I went to college to study early childhood education. Now that I work at home, I started to make edible play doughs for children to play, create an environment where children can come and play and train their sensorial skills and bonding time for parents and their children. Will this make me money later? I don’t know yet, but if I don’t start something today, then it’s certain that I won’t earn any money.

My advice is to start small so that it doesn’t look so intimidating. You will grow and be able to take more challenges as your business gradually grows bigger.

Hire a helper

Hiring a part-time helper can be a tremendous help at home. It makes even more sense to get one if you’re building a business at home. I hire a helper that comes once a week for 3-4 hours to wash the toilets, iron the clothes, sweep and mop the floor, and other small chores here and there. It doesn’t cost me a lot, but it saves me a lot of time.

It makes even more sense when you start to earn an income from your side businesses. I spend about 20 dollars per hour for the helper to be here; it’s cheaper than hiring from maid services. Because she takes care of the time-consuming chores, I can spend the freed-up time making my products to sell.

If a helper cost me 20 dollars per hour, and my business can generate more than 20 dollars per hour if I work on it, then it makes sense to put my time at the business. When your business picks up, you may want to find more ways for a helper to help you.

The reason I became a stay-at-home mom is that I want to raise my child by myself, using my methods, and that’s where I will continue to invest my time, but house chores are not the reason I chose this path, so as my business grows bigger, I will spend more money to hire helpers so I can invest my time in my business and my family.

Catch-up with other stay-at-home moms

I didn’t have peers for the large part of my early mom days, my mother was the only other person who can understand the challenges I face, yet even then, she was from another time and much has changed, there are some things that she just won’t know.

Soon, I joined a cell group from another church. The group had four other couples with young children around the age of my son, and two other moms are stay-at-home moms like me! They understand my feelings completely because they are in the same situation, and they can help me with my questions, and I feel useful because I can help them too.

Another benefit of this group is that now my son has his peers to socialize! It is so important for our children to learn how to socialize before school. If they can socialize early, they can gain these benefits.

  1. They can adapt to new environments easier, especially school.
  2. They can learn faster because they are not afraid of new environments, like school.
  3. They can make friends easier in school.
  4. Their language skill improves faster because they can communicate with others easier.
  5. They won’t be so afraid of strangers, really helps when you’re bringing him to a new place like school, or a friend’s house.

Listen to how other moms do it

I have learned a lot from other moms, and I do it by following their YouTube channel, Instagram, or join a Facebook group. Buying audiobooks to listen is also a great idea!

I follow this mom on YouTube, her lessons on Montessori has been so helpful to me; she taught me how to apply it at home. As a result of her sharing, I can raise my son better.

These are some of the Instagrams I follow. (Shameless share, this is mine, and check out the comics section!)

  1. Messy Play Instagram – I follow this to get ideas on how to create sensorial materials.
  2. Baby Food Instagram – I follow this to get ideas on baby food.

We stay-at-home moms already have the challenge of not having enough time, so how can we spare the time for this? I find that the best way to learn is to listen to YouTube while I work on the following things:

  1. When I’m putting your child to sleep. It takes me hours at times so it’s the perfect time to learn.
  2. When I’m washing the dishes, I’m just standing there anyway so a good time to learn.
  3. When I’m doing the laundry, whether it’s hanging the clothes, collecting them or ironing them.
  4. When I’m using the toilet, especially when it’s going to be a long session.

You can download YouTube Vanced on your phone, it allows you to play YouTube while having the phone screen turned off. It takes some technical know-how to install it, see if you can Google how to do it, or comment below, and I’ll try to help. YouTube Vanced is important when I put my boy to sleep since the screen becomes a distraction if I leave it on. Only plug the earphones in 1 ear so you can still hear your child when he calls.

Have fewer toys in the house

I spent a lot of time keeping my son’s toys after he sleeps, then I have to wash all his toys a few times a week for hygienic reasons. The more toys he has, the more I have to keep and wash, I started to find ways to deal with this, and I bumped into an article that reminded me of what I learned in college.

Children don’t need a lot of toys, Montessori teaches that less is more. Scarcity rather than abundance sparks creativity, and in various studies, children exposed to a higher number of toys in an environment engaged with them with less depth and duration – their focus was less, and they gained less benefit. [source]

I attended an early childhood education course in college, and I was taught that having too many toys will cause the following negative effects. There’s also a news article talking about this if you want to read it. [source]

Negative EffectThe Implication
1. It makes them appreciate the toys less because one less toy doesn't make a difference.1. It will become difficult for them to appreciate the things they have.
2. They may tend to take things for granted.
3. If they break a toy or lose something, it is less likely they will feel the pain of loss.
2. Having too many choices makes them less creative.1. Toddlers with fewer toys tend to creatively make the most of out what they have. Toddlers with more options won't do this as they can keep changing.
3. It decreases their concentration as they will keep changing from one toy to the other.1. They may find it difficult to focus on one thing from start to completion.
2. They may find it hard to concentrate in class.
3. They may lose interest in things quickly.
4. It can become difficult to satisfy them as they will want more and more toys.1. When they see something new, they must have it.
2. It will be more difficult to satisfy them.

This is how I arrange my son’s toys; he is free to choose from any of the available books or toys. He has more toys than these, but I will only bring out a maximum of 8 sets of toys, I change them every two weeks. Don’t change it every day as he has just started to explore it, and he needs time to master it. When you change the toys, change it according to his interest, remove those that he has no interest in.

Try it, I saved so much time now that I have fewer toys to keep and wash, and I can use the time for more productive things, or simply rest, and my son benefits from it too!

Stop being on the phone all the time

I have a problem with this. I will tell my son to play by himself, and I’ll start to be on the phone. It is a habit I’m trying to break, with some success. This is a little different from what I talked about learning earlier.

When it’s for learning, it’s productive, and I’m suggesting you do it when you’re working on house chores or other idle stuff, not when you should be giving your child attention. When I should be spending time with my son, but I take the phone out for entertainment instead, it becomes a problem, it’s a bad habit, and I don’t want my son to be like that.

If you’re like me here, let’s break this habit together!

Spend quality time with your child

Spending quality time with our children can be quite an elusive thing for a stay-at-home mom. We are already spending most of the day with them, and it’s easy to mistake quantity with quality.

There are a few ways we can spend quality time when our child. Here is what I do.

  1. When he invites me to play with him, I will put down my phone and give him my full attention.
  2. I have a specific activity I will do with him every day. It can be messy play one day, bringing him to the playground or swimming another day.
  3. When he speaks (actually he babbles now), I will be attentive and listen to him.
  4. I allow him to help me at housework, even though it makes my job harder.
  5. 30 minutes before he sleeps, I will sing, read storybooks and play with him, anything he wants to do.

These are the time that matters to children, what do you do to spend quality time with your kids? Comment below and let us know 🙂

Don’t let your child be the center your world

It may be natural for most moms to make their child the center of their world, but I advise that you take a step back to consider, is that the best for your child? I made my child the center of my world in the beginning until I realized that it is not a good thing.

When my child was at the center of my world, my world became very small. Every decision I made is centered on my son. If I wanted to go somewhere, I would first consider if it’s a place I can bring my son, if I can’t, I won’t go. If I wanted to attend a function, and it interrupts my son’s schedule? I won’t go. Even having a date with my husband will have to go through my son’s checklist first.

My life became very constricted around my son, and I lost a lot of flexibility, lost touch with some of my friends as I kept declining to go out. I had heard some moms say that eventually, they lost their vision, their goals, and their desires when they were not yet a mom.

I want to enlarge my world so that I can teach him about life. I want to inspire him to think bigger, to have ambitions, and I can only do it if my world is big enough, and that means not being centered around him.

When we get overly attached to our children, we may begin to overreact to everything he does, making all the decisions for him in fear he makes the wrong choice, not giving him the chance to learn how to choose, to learn from his mistakes. Sooner or later he will leave us to live his own life, and if he doesn’t know how to overcome the challenges in life by himself, he is going to have a very tough time ahead.

Our children learn from us by how we live our lives, we are their example. Teach them what it’s like to be an adult, a mother, a wife. This applies to fathers too. Don’t forget about your spouse, show your child what a good marriage looks like with you as the example, besides, having a loving marriage and loving home is probably the best thing you can give him.

I hope this article has helped you, stay strong stay-at-home moms, you are awesome, and remember that you have your own life to live too 🙂

J&E

James & Esther have been married for three years, have a baby boy named Nathan. Esther has a diploma in early childhood education and has been taking care of babies and toddlers since her early teens. She was a kindergarten and school teacher for many years, but today, she is a full-time mom taking care of Nathan at home while furthering her studies in early childhood education.

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