I read a lot of different lifestyle blogs, following along with the lives of some gorgeous 20-something year olds who are out and about doing and seeing wonderful things, wearing stylish clothes and all knowing how to do their makeup properly.
I, on the other hand, am beyond this stage of my life, with four kids, barely enough time to brush my hair, and I walked through the doors into forty-dom earlier this year. Blergh.
While enjoying following along with these lovely and talented young ladies, and their stories of their interesting adventures, I often wonder what it is I can really bring to my blog and to you to keep you captivated, and perhaps head back this way for a regular fix.
This is when I thought a little post on sharing some advice about beating the monotony of being a mum at home, and trying to keep your identity while chasing after kids, might be useful. Not just to those other mummy's out there, but also for those who intend to one day fill their world with children. (and don't think it will never be you because trust me...it sneaks up on you!)
By no means am I trying to put anyone off kids, I certainly love my own and don't have any regrets, but I do know how trying it can be sometimes, and that feeling trapped, angry, resentful or just down right bored are a completely normal range of emotions. There is also the guilt that comes with feeling this way, which makes it even worse. Throw in some hormones for added good measure and you can end up a downright mess. Being a stay at home mum is hard.
Anyway, here I have put together a little list of what I have discovered are useful tips for surviving the Mummy gig:
Put a padlock on your pantry, then hang the key up high...(no, I'm serious) where you need to drag a chair over to get to it. Perhaps put a few other obstacles in your way too. Anything to stop the unnecessary grazing or boredom eating. It is such a trap and can stack on the weight. I only need to just look at food and I put it on. Maybe even go as far as doing your grocery shopping online so you can stick to your shopping list and not be tempted to throw those extra Tim Tams and chocolate in your trolley.
Personally I need to swim at least every second or third day, otherwise my back plays up, although when my husband is away shearing this is often not possible. If you have the time, and the funds, joining a gym, going to an exercise class, or even a dance class, is a great idea because it gets you out (a break from the kids), gives you time to yourself and helps keep you fit. Obviously.
I do struggle with having someone to watch my kids some of the time, so I have a few yoga and Pilates DVD's, and weirdly, a tap dancing DVD filmed by a woman that looks a little like an older and wrinklier version of Ginger Rogers.
This is important, particularly if your husband works long hours (like mine...which unfortunately includes weekends). Keeping in touch with friends is not only vital for your sanity but also helps keep you in touch with the world beyond your kids. Talking about things, other than just what little Junior did or didn't do, will also make you feel more human. It does also help to have a friend who doesn't have kids at all. They will help keep you grounded, and if you're lucky, will take you out every so often, prop you up at a bar, and pour drinks in to you.
You know how those in the know are always going on about the effect of technology on children and how limiting their online time is something you should be extra Sergeant Major Grumpy about? Well so should the same rules apply to yourself. If you find yourself incessantly stalking others on Facebook or Crushing Candy all day long, or have a major relationship with your smart phone, things could be getting a little out of hand. Internet usage is great, social media is fantastic, but too much of a good things is just...well..too much. I also find that the kids start climbing the walls when the computer goes on ...take them out to the park instead and benefit from the fresh air.
I do struggle to be the perfect 1950s version of a stay at home mum. I definitely don't feel satisfied with just the kinder run, changing nappies and cleaning up tinned spaghetti off the floor. Of course being a mum is way more than that, and it is an extremely rewarding job, but like everything, it has its moments. For some life as a S.A.H.M is perfect, everything they could ever want, which is great. I admire anyone who has this much dedication and patience (something I have very little of). For others, (me included) we need another outlet and this could include working part time, or even full time, working from home, having a hobby or favourite craft to indulge in, or even doing something like volunteering.
I have my job as a writer and photographer for a magazine, and there is also this blog. All of this I love. It gives me a purpose, other than caring for kids and cleaning the house, but more importantly it makes me happy and keeps me motivated. If you feel you are lacking a little motivation, and getting a little narky, think about how YOU can make the difference in your own life.
I know this has been a longer post but I guess it is a really big topic. As a follow up I will have a look at what sort of work is perfect for the stay at home mum. In the meantime, it's a gorgeous day today, Spring is on the way, so I'm switching off the computer to go and enjoy the outdoors!