I’m no pro, but I’ve done the stay-at-home gig long enough to understand the Stay-at-Home Blues. As parents, we love our kids and cherish the opportunity we have to spend each day with them, but every once in a while we can find ourselves stuck in a depressed rut. Some wish they had more time to get out of the house and visit friends and family. Others wish to pursue hobbies or part time jobs. Maybe you’re tired of the same old routine, day in and day out. What makes it worse for many parents is the guilt of feeling this way. If this describes you, rest assured, you are not alone. Here are some simple things I do to keep my sanity at home. While there could be hundreds of other ideas, these 5 will help and they are simple enough for anyone to try.
Find your free time Stay-at-home parents are busy. I could go through a list of all we do, but it’s pointless. You already know. The one thing you may not realize though is just how much free time you have. The trick is knowing it when you see it. It could be 15 minutes right after you wake up, half an hour once the kiddos are asleep, 10 minutes of play time. Get a feel for your free time and then make the most of it. The trick is feeling like you control your free time. If you want to spend the time cleaning your kitchen, then make it a choice. If you want to take 10 minutes to read a blog then remind yourself that is your choice. Find your free time throughout the day and claim it.
Take a shower The first chance I get, I take my morning shower then put on some clothes other than my pajamas. Once I am clean and dressed for public, I feel much more productive. I do this every day, even if I never leave the house. Try it, you will feel better.
Exercise This is the area I can tell the biggest difference. When I worked full time it was easier for me to run to the gym, swim some laps then call it a day. Having a kid definitely makes working out a challenge. I hate that restless feeling you get when you have hung around the house all day. The best thing for me to do now is to fit in the short exercises where I can. For now that means push-ups and sit-ups while my baby is doing his tummy time. It’s that simple and it makes a big difference. I may not be bulking up (like I could do that anyway), but it keeps the sloth off my back.
Snowball your chores Nothing makes me want to slack more then having an insurmountable list of chores. For me the problem is believing I have to do everything in one day. Sometimes you have to, but that isn’t always the case. Best thing for me to do is snowball the chores. When I find time, I start with the smallest task first. Even if it was just taking the trash out. Get it done, mark it off and pat yourself on the back. Move on to the next item.
Get out of the house Feeling antisocial? Just want to lay on the couch and watch another episode of Downton Abbey or the Walking Dead? That’s fine and all, but don’t make a habit of it. As dumb as it sounds, the best way to shake off the blues is to get out and talk to someone who’s vocabulary includes more than ga and goo. Even if there is nobody available to meet, take a walk, go for a drive- just get out.
These are very simple suggestions, but they work. They will help you get out and stay out of the blues. Probably the biggest thing that could help is to remember what you are doing and why you are doing it. Your are raising your children, building a home. Take control of your day, be intentional with your time, spouse and children and shake those blues.