Let's set the scene: Your husband walks out the door, and you stand there smiling with your infant in one arm, and your toddler standing next to you. Your first thought? Now what do I do ALL DAY LONG? Naptime is hours away, your husband isn't home for a real long time - you need a plan!
Your day consists of diaper changes or potty training, making meals and snacks and more snacks, handling tantrums, figuring out nap schedules, nursing, pumping, making bottles, cleaning, laundry (why does it never end?), figuring out groceries, trying to plan educational activities (Blippi works, right?!). Your to-do list is long. Your mental load is heavy.
Whether you are new to the area, new to being a mom, or just new to being a stay-at-home mom, we hope this list helps you navigate your day a bit better!
1. Give out your phone number or ask for one!! It's probably been awhile (if ever!) since you have done that exchange the phone numbers game. Having mom friends is KEY! I can't imagine any mom thinking "I just have too many mom friends and I couldn't possibly handle one more." Chat it up with that mom at Walter Elisha park, or Harris Teeter, or at the mothership (Target!). Chances are, she's thinking of awkwardly asking for your number too.
2. Find an exercise routine! We've all heard that saying - you can't pour from an empty cup and it's so true! Take care of yourself and your health, and you can better take care of your kiddos! There are so many options out there, so find the best one for you! If you have Stroller-aged kiddos, give Stroller Strides a try! It's a great workout for mama, and it's fun for your kids too! Not to mention the awesome community that comes along with it and that it gives you something to do a few mornings a week to get out of the house and be social!
3. Sign up for age appropriate activities for your kids! We have so many amazing options in Fort Mill and the surrounding areas and more are opening all the time! Make plans for those swim lessons at Safe Splash Swim School! Sign up for art classes at Kid Create Studios. Miller Street Dance Academy has great classes starting at age 2.5! We also love Hula Frog for finding out all the latest and greatest events happening in the area for families! Having a schedule is so helpful for yourself and your kids, so having things that you do week after week will help so much with that!
4. Make a plan! We all know it takes approximately 47 hours to get out of the house when you have kids. Plan your day the night (or even the week) before and you will be much more successful. Pack the snacks or lunches, fill up the sippy cups, load up the diaper bag (don't forget a change of clothes for all the kids) and lay out the outfits -have it all done the night before! That way when it's time to leave in the morning, you aren't scrambling to find ALL THE THINGS!
5. Find one small thing to do each day that makes you happy. Maybe it's giving your kids 20 minutes of TV time in the morning while you drink your coffee. Maybe it's getting your favorite smoothie or juice at Juice Bar. Perhaps it even means waking up a bit earlier than your kids so you can take an uninterrupted shower! Pick up lunch at Z Bakery - and don't hesitate to grab that cupcake to enjoy while the kids are napping! Maybe it's meal prepping on Sunday so that you can have a real lunch everyday instead of eating your kid's leftover mac and cheese or PBJ crusts. It's so easy to put our kid's needs ahead of our own - but one small thing to look forward to each day for yourself can be HUGE!
6. Get yourself a village! They say it takes a village to raise a child - and whoever "they" is definitely has that right! Motherhood should never be done alone and most of the time, a husband or partner isn't enough. You need other moms who know what you are going through, who understand what "tired" actually feels like, who know how hard it is to be touched and pulled and needed ALLL day long. Your village helps you feel less alone and that is everything! FIT4MOM offers an awesome Village, or you can find a local MOPS group, or check out Moms Club of Fort Mill! If you haven't joined the largest village in Fort Mill, it's a must to do it immediately. The Fort Mill Moms Facebook Page is a wealth of information! Don't forget to use the search feature to help narrow down to the information you need!
7. Find the free and cheap things! Sign up for library story time! It can be competitive to get in, so find out the registration times and set an alarm. Visit the local parks. Harris Street Park is a favorite - lots of shade, easy parking and never crowded. FIT4MOM has a playgroup every Wednesday at 10:45am at the BMX Track. Adventure Air Sports offers discounted jumping for toddlers every weekday morning.
8. Follow the Mommy Bloggers! Sometimes it's hard to leave the house (ok, all the time!). With juggling nap schedules and meals, sometimes you just want to be at home. If your kids are like mine, they get bored real fast of their toys, so its important to find cheap and easy activities to do. Enter the Mommy Bloggers! They do all the creative thinking for you, and give ideas for setting up easy activities from things you already have around the house. Head on over to Instagram and follow BusyToddler and DayswithGrey right now! Make sure to follow along with Fort Mill Mom Life too for all things local for moms! They have some great resources and fun moms night out events too!
9. Lean on others and know when to ask for help. Maybe you are lucky enough to have family close by - but if not, this goes right back to finding your village! Once you have that village, don't hesitate to use them! Do a kid trade day - One mama watches all the kiddos while the other gets a pedicure, and then switch! Alternate weekly playdates at each other's houses and trade off who supplies the snacks. Do a bi-weekly dinner swap - one mama makes enough for both families this Sunday, the next week the other mama makes dinner! You can all eat together, or just drop off a casserole!
10. Give yourself grace! Anyone who has ever said that staying home with kids is easy has never stayed home with kids. Its more than a full time job. Its exhausting, and rewarding, and messy and frustrating, and amazing. We try to not take it for granted, but man do we crave the alone time and adult interaction. Never ever be down on yourself for thinking it's hard, for crying in the pantry, for wanting to have a tantrum that is even bigger than your toddler's tantrums. The days are long - so long, too long. But there will be a day when we look back and wish we could do the craziness all over again.
Now get out there and make a plan for tomorrow! Ask for help, find your village - and wear the badge of SAHM with pride - spit up covered and coffee stained shirt and all!