Oct 182011

I need help. I am just failing to manage with house, ministry and I am a first time mum to a 16 month old. I had a career before and didnt know it would be this hard to be a stay at home mum. Anyway its also one of the biggest blessings God has given me a beautiful son. I am happily married. However the toll of a messy house has caused some headaches and frustrations in the house and family. I just have never really been able to maintain a tidy home. Its just weird and sometimes think there is something wrong with me. I am great at planning and not so good on the follow through. Is it laziness? Lack of passion? I have no idea. But its becoming boiling point in my house and I am scared that my 4 baskets of laundrey to do is going to explode. How do I crack this? I have been married for 4 years and the house as well as the finances management I was meant to be doing has just not gotten off the ground. I know you are probably really busy but if you have a spare few minutes I would really appreciate you responding.

I’m so sorry you’re feeling this way. I too have been where you are, as have most of the Moms who read this blog, at some point or another. It’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed by the demands of stay-at-home motherhood. Honestly, every Mom I’ve ever talked to says that staying home makes their previous jobs seem like a walk in the park. As I always say, anyone who claims that taking care of little kids all day isn’t work has obviously never done it.

I think all the comments on this post  – The Stay-at-Home Slump – are a testament to this.

This blog is intended to be a place of cameraderie, support, encouragement, (and hopefully humor) for Moms, so if you’re having a hard time, feel free to come here and vent, because we understand. Also, I can direct you to some posts I’ve written that may help:

Daily Schedule. This is the most popular post on this blog, and the one that draws the most first-time readers (but you know, I like to think they stick around just because they like me :). This is a good first step toward taking control of your life. You might want to put your kids on a schedule too, if you haven’t already. Personally, I’m a big believer in early bedtimes so that you can have time for yourself, or to spend with your husband.

You might also like:
Managing Your Time

The Home Management Guide. If you take the time to create one, I guarantee it will save your sanity on even the worst days (and if it doesn’t there’s always vodka. Or chocolate). See Inside the Guide for more information.

Sometimes a change in attitude can make all the difference. This post might help you see your work at home in a new light.

In my opinion, good organizational skills are essential for success in any career, including stay-at-home motherhood. These tips might help.

If you ever just really need a good laugh for stress relief, I would recommend A Letter to My Children. It was written during a time of major frustration, and it really struck a chord with many readers.

Also, the Go Fish Guys? I think they really get what it’s like (if only ALL guys did. Can I get an amen?)

I was wondering we recently had some things happen with our daycare that we had our daughter in and no longer are going to be sending her there. My wife has never been a stay at home mom and in the week that she has been home with our daughter the two of them are going insane. Do you have any ideas for things that she could do with her to keep both of them busy so they’re not bored. My daughter is 3.5 and loves to play with kids. We recently started going to a new church and she hasn’t made many friends yet especially with kids around my daughter’s age that she could hang out with during the day. Any input would be greatly appreciated, she’s getting to the point where she’s contemplating putting her back into a daycare and going back to work also like you used to in an office and has no clue how to structure the day or what to do.

First of all, I commend you for taking steps to help your wife because it’s essential for mothers at home to have a good support system. In terms of structuring the day, the posts linked in the above answer might help. I would also suggest that you look into a half-day preschool program (public or private) for your 3-year-old. My 4-year-old daughter attends a private preschool program from 8:30 – 11:00 A.M. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and it’s something that she looks forward to very much. She’s also a very social child who enjoys being in a group setting with other children. There is also preschool curriculum available for home instruction, but this wouldn’t accomplish your goal of providing peer interaction. However, there are other opportunities for social interaction available. Here are some examples of things I do, or have done in the past, with my preschool-age children:

-Library story hour – most libraries have this once a week.
-Bible Study Fellowship – depending on enrollment, many regional daytime women’s groups have programs for children ages 2 and up.
-Children’s museum membership – if you have a nearby children’s museum, a yearly membership is a good investment, and much cheaper than paying per visit (I asked for this as a Christmas gift for my kids one year). Also, our local museum has a “Family Free Night” on the last Friday of every month. Other memberships to consider, if you have access to them, include zoos, aquariums, toy libraries and family fitness centers.
-Visits to local parks and swimming pools
-Visits to the free mall play area (however, I wouldn’t recommend allowing your child to play in a McDonald’s Playland, or any other play structure within a restaurant, because GROSS! You’ll understand what I mean if you watch this video). Make sure to wash your child’s hands thoroughly afterward.
– Craft projects. Family Fun magazine always has lots of great ideas for fun projects to do with children, and there are countless library books on the subject.
-Nature walks and scavenger hunts
-Cooking and baking
-Drawing and coloring
-Making and playing with homemade finger paintplay dough or silly putty
-Imaginative play with dolls, blocks, play food, Legos, and other sets of toys
-Free or low-cost movies. There are several theatres and libraries in our area that offer free or extremely cheap movies for children and parents, particularly during the summer. They often have special deals on concessions as well.
-Educational computer games. Cakes and I particularly like the games on this site.

Remember too that a 3-year-old child should still be taking a regular nap in the afternoon, and she will be much more manageable if she gets adequate rest. For more on children’s sleep requirements, see this article.

How will you plan your career and your life with kids if you start working again?

This is something that I’ve been thinking a lot about in recent weeks. I have a journalism degree, and I’ve always wanted to write professionally. My husband has been encouraging me to write for publication once DJ is in school (because trying to do it now, with two little kids underfoot? Yeah, right), and I’ve been resistant to the idea because what if people think that I’m just “playing around” with writing, instead of contributing to the household?

The reality is that if we can support our family and pay our bills, our financial situation is no one’s concern but ours. Who cares what anybody else thinks?

We’re self-employed, so even if I choose not to write, our lives probably won’t change much once DJ’s in school, unless my husband decides to change careers. He’ll continue to work at home, and in addition to the bookkeeping and taxes (which I do already), I’ll probably take on more administrative duties in the business. But what I really, really want – what I’ve always really wanted – is to see my name on the cover of a book.

Now if I can just get over my fear of rejection, I’ll be all set.


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