Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Being a stay at home mom was a very difficult transition for me. It was going from an environment being surrounded by my peers and getting tangible feedback everyday to staying at home with a baby who doesn't talk and getting little to no feedback everyday. There was a definite paradigm shift from the feeling that as a stay at home mother I needed to prove in some way that what I was doing was valuable, to feeling 100% within me that what I do everyday is the most important job in the world. 

We who choose to stay home and take care of our children can't seem to catch a break from tons of the negative questions. "What do you DO all day?" "God that must be so easy, I wish I could stay at home" "Well when are you going to get a REAL job?" All of these questions are interesting to me to say the least, but really to hear them repeatedly it rob's the SAHM of the value that we should feel in our day to day real job of raising our future.

But even once that shift occurs in your brain where you begin to really feel that what you do in and out is valuable, I've found out the hard way that it's very easy to get the blues. Depressed. Whatever you want to call it, it's not pretty but I've found it is avoidable.

First to start I'd like to offer to anyone feeling this way that is a SAHM mother that it's actually normal. Very normal. Because in a very general explanation, it's many times a very selfless job. 98% of your day you are not thinking about yourself and that's a hard transition to swallow. If you still aren't sure if it's normal, Google will have plenty of discussions and even scientific articles to assure you that your not going off the deep end. 

After having on and off weeks as I like to call them, I decided to start experimenting with different things to see what kept the blues away. Now after about 15 months of experimenting I feel confident in saying that these are tried and true. They always work and if you commit to doing these things daily you will begin to feel a huge shift in how you feel.

1. Wake up earlier then your kid(s). That precious me time is a necessity to your sanity and many times we don't get it at night.

2. Go on a morning walk. Getting even 30 minutes of sunshine per day is scientifically proven to  lift your mood.

3. Cut down on the coffee. We are all tired, but the effect mass amounts of coffee has on how you feel when your not caffeinated feels like shit. Drink tea or lemon water. Even better, go to sleep earlier.

4. Be fully present. I like to carve out 20 minutes a few times a day to focus simply on playing with Penelope. She knows when I'm fully present, and when we're done playing she happily runs off and plays by herself. This leaves out the guilt of thinking you haven't spent enough time with them but also gives you time without your toddler clinging or crying while your getting other things done.

5. Take a shower, get dressed, and put on a little makeup. It doesn't matter if you aren't going anywhere. Doing these small daily things for yourself will make you feel so much better. Promise.

6. Get out of the house. I find being home all day everyday depressing and a waste of life to honest. There's an entire world to explore: go visit friends, go to the park, go run errands, go to the library, go have lunch. Bonus? Time flies when your having fun.

7. Sleep. This I learned late. But let me tell you the positive effects of a good night sleep are unmatched. I have to go to bed earlier and I feel like a Grandma but that's ok. Sometimes I get a little crazy and stay up til 11. This article is a great testament to the effect of sleep on your mood. 

8. Meal plan. It just makes life so much easier. My husband and I will cook tons of food on Sunday. This makes M-F so simple, lunch is practically already ready and I can rest easy knowing that we are all eating super healthy everyday.

That's it folks. Simple little changes. I know that people don't like to talk about being depressed but it's a real subject. Let me know of any other things you do to feel great.

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