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Stay-At-Home Moms and Stress Relief

Stay-At-Home Moms: Find the Stress Relief You Need!

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Updated June 30, 2014

Stay-at-home moms may seem to have an easy job, but in reality, it's a wonderful job that includes quite a big of stress. Many people (including the moms themselves in their pre-stay-at-home-mom days) may think of the life of a stay-at-home mom as an endless string of relaxing tea-parties, fun games of dominoes, or (literally) a walk in the park. At-home motherhood may include those things, but often is also a 'scream through the park' (if toys get taken or sand gets into little eyes), a 'whine through the park' (if the Ice Cream Truck shows up and mom doesn't want to buy), or a 'collapse in the park' (from the exhaustion of trying to keep up with small children all day)! Stay-at-home moms--most of them--often find themselves going from the time they (or their little ones) wake up in the morning until the time they collapse into bed at night. When kids are asleep, it's time to clean up after all of the fun or give Daddy some attention. It's a much-loved job, but it usually only looks relaxing from the outside!

Readers, Respond! Share your stressors as a stay-at-home mom, and read the experiences of others!

The following tips can help stay-at-home moms maintain some sanity and stress relief in their active lives: (See this article if you're looking for tips for working moms

Plan Ahead and Be Organized

Being organized is a vital skill for stay-at-home moms, just as it is for working moms. If you're able to anticipate the tantrum triggers, the leaving-the-house needs, and other potential stress traps, you'll find fewer crises. If you plan ahead and streamline your routines, there's less fussing, forgetting things, and stressing as you move through your busy day.

Set Boundaries

Before you had kids, the jobs you worked had specific start-times and end-times; now you're on-call throughout the day and night! And, because you're 'not working', you're likely expected to volunteer more, plan more activities, and keep the house spotless, too! If stay-at-home moms don't set boundaries, they can easily take on more work than two or three people can comfortably handle, and subject themselves to burnout in the process. (See this article for more on setting priorities.)

Stay Connected

One of the main reasons women choose to be stay-at-home moms is to be able to bond with their children throughout the day and enjoy the special moments of their growing-up years. Additionally, housework must be done, dinners must be made, and children need social activities. Unfortunately, sometimes moms end up trying to more than meet these standards by cooking gourmet meals, keeping the house spotless, and getting into 'competitive mommy' circles that are less about support and more stressful than they should be! Remember what's really important: the quality time with your children! If you find that you're working too hard to keep everything picture-perfect, let the house go a little, find some quick and easy recipes, and just have fun with your kids. They grow up so quickly! (See this article for some stress reliever ideas.)

Take Care of Yourself

As you already know, if you aren't at your best physically and emotionally, you won't be your best for your kids. To maintain the kind of stamina required to keep up with kids all day, it's important for stay-at-home moms to care for themselves the way they care for their children: by getting plenty of sleep, healthy food, and at least some "down time." It's also important to enjoy positive feedback (in the form of hugs) to avoid burnout. (See these self care strategies for ideas.

Enlist Help

Stay-at-home moms are often expected to do everything related to home care and child care, and that often leads them with little time for self care. Make your job easier by enlisting help from the kids and your partner. Kids can Swiffer a floor, take out dishes, and help cook meals. Even young children can help with certain household tasks, like matching socks while you fold laundry. You can trade babysitting with friends. There are often ways to hire affordable help for extra things like cleaning or cooking, to make a mom's lifestyle less hectic. And the option of delegating tasks to kids is often overlooked. For stay-at-home moms, enlisting help is a smart way to make life less stressed, not having to 'do it all', and raising self-confident kids.

Focus on Stress Management

When harried and stressed, stay-at-home moms often find themselves less able to connect with their children or partner, which may lead to acting-out by the kids, a more conflicted marriage, and other things that increase stress for the moms and their families. Therefore, taking a proactive stance on stress management is quite important. Having several quick stress relievers on hand, such as breathing exercises and reframing techniques (different ways of looking at a stressful situation), as well as long-term stress management strategies in place, like a regular exercise or meditation regimen, hobby, or supportive social circle, can relieve significant stress for stay-at-home moms and their families.

In addition to these stress management practices for stay-at-home moms, it's important (and often overlooked) to keep children's stress in mind. Even young children can benefit from stress relief practices like deep breathing, quiet time with mom, and massage. Because mothers and young children are so attuned to each other, reducing stress in one helps both mother and child.

Readers, Respond! What are your best coping strategies, shortcuts, and other tips? Share with, and learn from, other readers!

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