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10 Ways to Be a Happy Stay-at-Home Mom


Being a stay-at-home mom is tough work. It can be isolating, demanding, and exhausting—it's certainly one of the most challenging things a parent can do. However, it can also be a wonderful gift for you and your family. First, though, you have to find a way to survive it.

Here's how—from a mom who survived—and (mostly) thrived—in the SAHM trenches.

1. Take a Shower and Get Dressed Every Day

a woman having a shower

Do not give up on yourself. Yes, those clean clothes will be caked with spit-up or mac & cheese five minutes after you put them on, but it's worth it. Show yourself respect and make time to tend to your basic needs every day.

2. Get Out of the House Daily

a young woman running

You must leave your house every day. Some mornings it will feel like a catastrophic struggle. The idea of packing up the diaper bag, preparing, and meeting the challenges of the world can cause a bit of anxiety, especially if the child you're taking out is a total fusser. But you must go out in to the world. Quick conversations with baristas at Starbucks and checkout clerks at Target can stave off isolation.

3. Find a Hobby

a sign saying 'love your self'

Do not make your child/ren your entire identity. Find a hobby to do with them or during naps. Think of sewing, crafting, blogging, photography, guitar, running a 5K, writing, or painting. Find an activity that's yours and brings you joy, something you can invest in without pressure or competition and provides you fulfilling opportunities outside of finger paints and bubbles.

4. Read Parenting Blogs, Websites, and Articles – All Kinds

a woman lying on a sofa while using her laptop

Parenting blogs and websites are honest, true, and raw. Reading the story of a mother brave enough to share her embarrassment and struggle can remind you that you're not alone. Be wary of those who “Fakebook” and put only the glory out there. A friendly voice on the Internet will remind you that it isn’t just you and it will feel like a warm hug.

5. Focus on What You CAN Do

a mom holding up her young child

It's easy to focus on everything you've given up: paychecks, lunch, wearing nice clothes, time to schedule medical appointments, a quick trip to the store to pick up some things, etc. When these thoughts enter take a deep breath and remember all you can do. You can wipe your kids’ tears, hug them whenever you want, explore the world with them, and answer all their questions when they have them.

6. Step Away from the Pinterest

birthday celebrations and food

You may start browsing with the intention of finding great, easy crafts to do with your child/ren. But you will end up sucked into a never-ending pit of eye-candy “could-do”s that will eventually make you feel as though you are not creative enough. Don’t be the mother someone else is; be the mother you are. Find the way that works for you and your kids.

7. Say No

a sign saying 'no'

Stay-at-home moms have the tendency to say “yes” to it all – the bake sale, the church bazaar, the school picnic, the homemade play dough month – whenever asked, there's a sense of obligation. It is as though some part of you says, “I am just staying at home.” Don’t fall for it! You have every right to say no to unwanted obligations because your plate is just as full.

8. Be Kind to Your Partner

a couple being intimate in bed

Do not rely on your partner to be your sense of validation or your monthly positive performance evaluation. Do not demand that your husband anticipate your needs. Vocalize in a positive way what you need help with and how you feel. Even though you're staying at home with kids all day, life is not easier for your spouse either. So don’t compete, and be compassionate with each other.

9. Call in Reinforcements

a mom playing with her two kids

It is not a sign of weakness if you need a break. When a relative or friend offers to take the kids for an afternoon, say “yes!” Then return the favor when you can. You're also totally allowed to hire someone to help you. Even four hours a week to get a pedi, take a walk, or hang with a friend can restore you. Do not think that by giving yourself a break or relying support you are, in any way, not doing your job. You job is 24/7; you can take (and need) an occasional break.

10. Know that Perfect Is Not an Option

a mom hugging her young daughter

Acknowledge and embrace this. There are millions of ways to mother a child so do not compare. Be gentle and forgiving with yourself and do the best you can. You will mess up (guaranteed), but what defines a great mother is how those mistakes are handled. Give yourself room to be imperfect. Your children will be fine if you love them the right way.

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