Maintaining self-care and self-vibrancy as a SAHM - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 50 Old 11-04-2007, 08:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I would love, love, love to hear what you do for self-care and self-vibrancy as a SAHM. What things keep you healthy, feeling good, in shape, looking nice, feeling vibrant, etc?

Did you always do this? What made you start? Did you have good examples or bad examples from your mother and grandmother, etc? Is your DH/DP supportive of this?

I am asking because after speaking with two women I really like in my family (one elder, one my contemporary) about this topic, I really want to commit to self-care and believe in it's importance to being a happy and healthy person and, thus, a better mother.

Thoughts??
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#2 of 50 Old 11-04-2007, 10:07 AM
 
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The biggest thing I do is to nap every day. Doesn't sound very interesting but it helps me feeling rested and happy. A good two hour nap makes life seem easier to take, lol!
I've always napped and come from a family of nappers so this has been an ongoing thing in my life. My dh isn't a napper and doesn't really "get" my need to nap but he's learned it's better for all of us if I get my nap in every day.

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#3 of 50 Old 11-04-2007, 10:10 AM
 
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Well I am very lucky in the fact that my 2 1/2 yr old ds still takes a three hour nap so I can get the jobs I need to get done taken care of as well as have some time for myself. I usually exercise for an hour on the treadmill if I didn't walk with my ds in the am or I do a yoga/pilates workout if I already walked. Sometimes I get lazy and don't do it but I always feel better when I have. I would love to shop for myself but I just don't. I'm a jeans and tee shirt girl anyway, although I am at a loss on the rare occasion I go out. I try to keep up with some hobbies as well, usually at night. I have been this way since I became pregnant for the first time. I have also found that if I have really great day with my ds the better I feel. So I like to spend time outside, do an art project, plan activities, etc.I have a Y membership which benefits us both.
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#4 of 50 Old 11-04-2007, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The biggest thing I do is to nap every day. Doesn't sound very interesting but it helps me feeling rested and happy. A good two hour nap makes life seem easier to take, lol!
I've always napped and come from a family of nappers so this has been an ongoing thing in my life. My dh isn't a napper and doesn't really "get" my need to nap but he's learned it's better for all of us if I get my nap in every day.
Thanks for posting this! I think a nap totally makes the day easier. I'm just getting over my self-discipline of chiding myself for taking a nap during the day. I used to always try to "power-through" the day and my baby's naps were a time when I could do chores and tasks impossible to do with a baby.

The few times I've allowed myself to nap or just rest, or napped by default from pure exhaustion, I felt so much better the rest of the day!

I was reading a Kennedy era memoir and it said that Jackie Kennedy took an afternoon nap to refresh herself for evening social and political commitments. So, there you go!
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#5 of 50 Old 11-04-2007, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well I am very lucky in the fact that my 2 1/2 yr old ds still takes a three hour nap so I can get the jobs I need to get done taken care of as well as have some time for myself.
Oh, goodness! You are so lucky! A 3 hour nap sounds heavenly. My babe is now napping again for short periods of time (once per day) after NO NAPPING for a couple of months.

The no nap days are so tough!

Enjoy those 3 hour nap times. I hope they continue to last and allow you to take time for yourself.

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#6 of 50 Old 11-04-2007, 12:01 PM
 
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I was really good about taking care of myself with my DD, I had lots of family around and she would often go with an aunt or a cousin for little outings...this allowed me to take a class at the university, go to art openings etc etc
Now I live in a small rural town with no support system to speak of except my wonderful wonderful husband and daughter. So the thing is I have not done much to stay healthy or vibrant and it has taken a huge toll on me
I maintain with things other moms have mentioned- naps are huge if I get them, sometimes just 20 or 30 minutes can change my world and I always feel better when I do cool things with my DS. Volunteering in town and school are great if I can take him with me....I am craving excercise and haven't figured it in yet, yikes!
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#7 of 50 Old 11-04-2007, 12:38 PM
 
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Reading. I come from a long line of obsessive readers, so I make trips to the library a part of my necessities list just as much as grocery shopping, going to th post office, etc.

Eating well and as I like. Like, I recently bought the $2.99/lb tomatoes, about which my husband was doing much grumbling, because I was really craving tomatoes and knew they'd make me happy. (I told him to consider it one of the cheapest gifts he's ever bought me. )

Walking. Well, it's kind of obligatory since I don't have a car and the bus system here is incredibly slow, but really it's probably the biggest thing that keeps me feeling healthy. I'm huge into hiking, so even though we're pretty urban now the activity -- even without the scenery -- makes me feel great.

Growing things. Even just a few pots on the sill, something about growing seeds into something green and healthy and alive perks me up a lot. Especially aromatic things ... herbs or scented geraniums or such.

I'm looking forward to when my son is old enough that it will be more practical to do some volunteering as well.
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#8 of 50 Old 11-04-2007, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was really good about taking care of myself with my DD, I had lots of family around and she would often go with an aunt or a cousin for little outings...this allowed me to take a class at the university, go to art openings etc etc

Now I live in a small rural town with no support system to speak of except my wonderful wonderful husband and daughter.
s to you! I know it can be very hard when you don't have a support system nearby. It's still possible, but it can be quite challenging, especially if you have more than one child. I feel for moms in that situation.

I'm glad your husband is a good support system. That helps! I am working myself on creating a support system of close friends and some family. Family has never been that reliable or positive for me, but I'm taking the blessings I have and focusing on them. Still, it's hard not to get down.

Good luck to you! I think it is so important to encourage other moms and acknowledge their struggle. It can be very hard going motherhood alone without the support system. Humans are pack animals and we need to rely on each other!
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#9 of 50 Old 11-04-2007, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Reading. I come from a long line of obsessive readers, so I make trips to the library a part of my necessities list just as much as grocery shopping, going to th post office, etc.

Eating well and as I like. Like, I recently bought the $2.99/lb tomatoes, about which my husband was doing much grumbling, because I was really craving tomatoes and knew they'd make me happy. (I told him to consider it one of the cheapest gifts he's ever bought me. )

Walking. Well, it's kind of obligatory since I don't have a car and the bus system here is incredibly slow, but really it's probably the biggest thing that keeps me feeling healthy. I'm huge into hiking, so even though we're pretty urban now the activity -- even without the scenery -- makes me feel great.

Growing things. Even just a few pots on the sill, something about growing seeds into something green and healthy and alive perks me up a lot. Especially aromatic things ... herbs or scented geraniums or such.

I'm looking forward to when my son is old enough that it will be more practical to do some volunteering as well.
Great list! Thanks!
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#10 of 50 Old 11-04-2007, 05:27 PM
 
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I am 12 weeks and change into this mother thing, and still haven't figured out how to take a shower more than once a week or wash my face daily.

Leigh, mama to Rostislav homeborn Aug 9 2007, and Oksana homeborn Feb 24 2011.
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#11 of 50 Old 11-04-2007, 06:03 PM
 
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The biggest help to me is having a spouse who actively shares in parenting/domestic duties. I couldn't stay sane without his support. (for the OP who wants to shower, can you and your SO work out a morning routine that provides time for that?)

Other than that...

Maintaining my health: for me this includes eating healthy foods in small meals throughout the day. Last year I reassessed my eating habits (was eating good foods, but too much of them) and lost weight. Losing that extra weight made a huge difference in my energy level and the way I feel about myself, and those things feed into each other and keep me on top of staying healthy.

This fall I hired a sitter for DS2 two mornings per week while my older son is at preschool. The kids are having a good time and I'm free to take yoga once a week and have one "free" morning once a week - I use it to run non-kid-friendly errands, volunteer at the preschool, or relax.

Dating my hubby. We have time set aside to spend with each other each evening and have finally formed a relationship with a sitter we love so that we can go out on a real date now and then.

Cute screenprint tees. No joke. I feel young and hip but I'm still comfortable.

Getting out of the house - I feel better about myself as a mom and everybody has more fun (it's easier to parent when you're having fun) if we have something to do nearly every day. Not over-scheduled, just active.

Adult interaction - usually I can combine this with getting out and about. It's easy to say "let's get together" and not do it. I try to actually make and keep regular plans with friends. Usually this takes the form of playdates or hanging out on the playground after preschool pickup (I pack a lunch for us to eat there).

may my heart always be open to little birds who are the secrets of living whatever they sing is better than to know  - e.e. cummings
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#12 of 50 Old 11-04-2007, 06:42 PM
 
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DP is a pretty active parent. He is here on most weekends and takes most of the duties over on the weekends so I can relax. Things like your basic household chores and cooking...etc.
He also is great about getting DD to nap for him too. I take the time to get out alone at least twice a week for about 30minutes to an hr. DD will cry for a bit but DP says that she gets over it.
I also make sure I get a shower alone at least once a day. I acomplish this by showering during sleep time. Either before DD wakes in the am, or if I have the energy-at night after bed.
I try to do a face mask at least once every two weeks. This makes me feel energized and more confident about my appearence.
one thing that does stress me out is breastfeeding. I hate to admit it but toddler feeding is taking a toll on me(she has become a strong nurser). So in order to get my energy back we have night weaned for the most part. Bfing has always taken a lot of engery for me. Instead of getting that relazed feeling, I would get tired and be ready to take a nap after 20-30 minutes of DD feeding. I still get tired, but I have learned to adjust. So I know that in order to take care of myself, it is essential that I take a break from her once a day.
the only thing I have issues with that I am currently seeking professional help for is maintaining my weight because of my numerous health issues. Once I get that under control, I think I will be a much more confident mommy.
I believe that making sure you take care of the little things for yourself will make you feel better.

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#13 of 50 Old 11-04-2007, 09:58 PM
 
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(for the OP who wants to shower, can you and your SO work out a morning routine that provides time for that?)
Sleep is a much higher priority. We go to bed at the same time as the baby (roughly 9 pm). Baby and I in the bedroom, DH on the couch. I am on duty all night, since DH needs to have a clear mind for work. The baby sleeps most of it, but he tosses and turns in his sleep. He seems rested, but I am not. After 8 hours, DH takes the baby for an hour or so, so that I can have a break between shifts for a nap. Then I am alone with the baby all day. DH is gone for 12 hours. 2 hours of commuting, 8 hours of working, 2 hours of commuting. (At least his start and end times are flexible, as long as it is 8 hours.) I really need that time in the morning for sleeping while DH keeps him occupied. The baby needs a lot of attention in between his 5-minute naps. If he isn't entertained in a very active and stimulating way, he will cry.

Between 7pm and 9pm, if the baby falls asleep and we can BOTH be free from holding him for a little bit, we go in a hurry to whatever room the baby is not sleeping in and DTD. This comes with a great perk. Afterwards, I get to take a long hot bath, and DH will keep the baby occupied if he wakes up, no matter whose turn it is. If the baby stays sleeping, DH sits in the bathroom with me and we ACTUALLY GET TO TALK to each other for a little while. I really miss talking to him every day.

Leigh, mama to Rostislav homeborn Aug 9 2007, and Oksana homeborn Feb 24 2011.
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#14 of 50 Old 11-04-2007, 11:23 PM
 
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I think this is largely dependant on your baby... mine is a good sleeper and generally happy, so I am usually able to do what I need to.

My big thing is my morning shower. I don't function without it. (I know that some people feel good after a day spent in their PJ's but I"m not one of them.) So I shower everyday. And have everyday since he was born. Some days he naps, some days he sits in the bouncy chair and a couple of times I"ve taken him into the shower with me.

I also read, and DF and I rent movies, and talk. But I'm lucky here, as DS will sit in his bouncy or in my lap and nurse, or even sleep. I also enjoy talking on the phone to a SAHM friend, we've gone to activities at the library, we go shopping.... Just normal stuff.

My mom was a SAHM for several years when I was young, and was always chatting to neighbours so I guess I had a good example. My grandmothers both worked. I've always wanted to be a SAHM (and housewife) so this is a dream for me.

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#15 of 50 Old 11-05-2007, 12:48 AM
 
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I get out nearly every day with the baby and dog and walk for an hour. It's my way to get some exercise in, get the dog out and relax. My ds is generally very quiet during these walks, so I can "space off" a bit. I also make sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night (luckily, I have a good sleeper). I'm very blessed in that I have a dh that will take my ds if I really need a break. We kind of have a schedule so that I have a set time to do something for myself. Cooking a nice, healthy meal also makes me feel great, so 4 nights a week I take some time to just be in the kitchen by myself while my dh and ds play.

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#16 of 50 Old 11-05-2007, 12:45 PM
 
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My situation is a bit different as my kids are older, 5, 6 & 9. The older 2 are in school full time & the younger one is all day every other day.

since she wa born though, the biggest thing would be making ME a priority. I started going to a weight loss group when she was 3months old. I go once a week for my adult time.

It's amazing how buying NEW & Updated clothes makes a person feel better, even if it is a cheap $7 shirt from walmart it does. Shopping is addictive.lol I didn't do it for so long & then when I started my business i was able to some some necessities & I forgot how much fun it can be.

Getting a haircut, even if it's every couple of months helps.

The possibility of us moving back to my hometown next summer has kickstarted more of it for me. In my hometown(of a whopping 1200 people) there is a certain expectation of my family. There is a certain way we must talk, act, dress, look, eat, etc. It's not that we have to be dressed up to the go the emmys or anything, it doesn't have to be expensive just not sloppy.
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#17 of 50 Old 11-05-2007, 02:21 PM
 
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I go to a Pilates class once a week. DP is so supportive of this that he took our son, at 2 months old, to a business meeting with the company leadership! Luckily DS just looked around wide-eyed for 90 minutes

Quote:
I am 12 weeks and change into this mother thing, and still haven't figured out how to take a shower more than once a week or wash my face daily.
Don't worry, you'll get it! My little guy just turned 3 months, and until recently showering was my only indulgence. Lots of days I felt like all I did was nurse, change diapers, rock the baby, and catch the occasional nap. Sometimes you just have to make yourself the priority for 5 minutes and that's all it takes. I was so much crabbier if I didn't get a shower that I made it my goal to take one before noon each day

Hang in there!
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#18 of 50 Old 11-05-2007, 08:51 PM
 
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I MUST have things going on outside of the home. When I was a full time SAHM I still worked 1-2 weekends a month playing concerts, but that was not enough for me. Sure I enjoyed playing music but it was still work and it felt like just that and not anything else. Now that I'm in school my self esteem is much higher, I feel more fulfilled, I am happier and I treat my children better. I think that even taking one or two classes as opposed to my full-time schedule would still be better than having no intellectual/creative outlet at all. I HIGHLY encourage SAHM's to have some kind of life outside of their houses. Take an art class or a college class, maybe even a martial arts class- something that you do just for you that stimulates the mind.

On the aesthetic level, I keep my hair nicely highlighted, I haven't chopped it all off just because I'm a mother. I take pride in my long hair and it is not something I feel I need to sacrifice. I make time for it. I don't always do full makeup but I will at least put on foundation, powder, and blush so I don't look washed out and tired.
I take a shower just about every day, usually in the morning before everyone gets up. Personal hygiene is another thing I just have to make time for, and if someone has to sit and wait and cry for 5 minutes while I finish brushing my teeth and drying my hair, well tough cookies, it aint gonna kill 'em.

My DH is extremely supportive of my interests and that I am in school once again. I was a miserable person before I started having an existence outside of being a parent, and I was a miserable mom and wife too. I will continue with my classes after this new baby is born, but only part time and only for evening classes when DH can be home with the baby and everyone else.
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#19 of 50 Old 11-05-2007, 10:00 PM
 
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I got into a slump (when I was pg. the whole fat, swollen,pimpled thing lol) where I felt like I was just a house keeper, mother and poop cleaner! I was lucky to get a shower 2x a week (YUCK) and I sometimes went 2-3 days without brushing my hair, and just pulling it back. I would wear my clothes all day, then sleep in my same shirt then get up the next day and wear the exact same clothes.

It lasted until just a few days ago. I still feel fat (left over "baby fat"), and hormonal and for some reason my hair is now falling out in clumps due to my after birth hormones.

But I now shower daily and do my hair and even put on my makeup now. Hubby keeps telling me how sexy I am .......trash to trasure over night
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#20 of 50 Old 11-06-2007, 01:41 AM
 
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i was just going to start a thread like this! so glad to see someone has done it and thanks mamas for your suggestions!

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#21 of 50 Old 11-06-2007, 12:35 PM
 
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For me, the big one is making sure I get time once or twice a week for ME. As in DH is in charge of the kids, I take off my mommy hat for a couple hours (or an evening, depending on the activity) and do something solely for myself. It can be anything from locking myself in the basement for a couple hours to do some sewing w/out having to referree any fights or answer any "Mommy, we're bored!" calls to putting on my walking shoes, my ipod and heading out for a walk to heading out w/some of my girl friends for nachos and a soda at the pub or coffee and ice cream at the coffee shop.

And I guess this kind of goes in hand w/what I just mentioned but I make sure to make time do to something I love everyday. For me, that's reading. I've been a bookworm since I was a little girl. Once I had kids, I kind of fell out of reading for myself (ie, a good smutty chick-lit type of read or a novel that makes me think . . . NOT pregnancy/baby/parenting books). This past year, I've made a point of reading a bit every night before bed and I have occassional days on the weekends where I do NOTHING but read.

Another thing I make a point of is showering and doing my hair everyday. Even if it's not until 1pm or later, I do it. And I don't lounge around in PJs, I feel like a blob when I do that. Even if it's just yoga pants and a cute tee, I find I feel so much better and energetic when I actually get dressed for the day.

Mama to my 3 wild things.

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#22 of 50 Old 11-07-2007, 02:35 AM
 
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I listen to my music at night...I love music...they can take me places

I shower.

Coffee.

I try to dress up a little bit when I take the kids out.

that's all I've done...sounds pity though doesn't it...sigh
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#23 of 50 Old 11-07-2007, 02:51 AM
 
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Something my sister taught me ...

I take a bath every night .
If my husband is not home I wait until the kids are asleep.
I lock myself in the bathroom for at least an hour and do all my beauty relaxing treatments. It's me time..

I make my husband watch the kids once a week and I go out by myself, (even if it's for an hour) maybe to a coffee shop or an art gallery, anywhere where I can read a book , people watch or just enjoy my surroundings..

I try to drink at least 50oz of water a day ..
I do my best to eat organic , I wear sunscreen ..

I do pilaties or yoga at least 3 times a week , usually the kids join me ..

I limit my television watching.

I meditate or pray almost every night..
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#24 of 50 Old 11-07-2007, 04:32 AM
 
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Being a SAHM is really stressful especially if the children are naughty. Now, I finally understand why my mom would yell "can't I just take a bath in peace" LOL

To pamper myself, I always find time to nap even for an hour or watch TV while the baby is resting. That helps me to relax everyday. On weekends, I go shopping and let DH watch him or we go out together and enjoy the bonding time. :
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#25 of 50 Old 11-07-2007, 10:20 AM
 
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For me, getting out is a big deal, even if it's just to the mall (winter is coming) to window shop and let the Mooch walk about in the morning when it's less busy.

I try to actually hang out with moms I like with kids a similar age. It's amazing how much company can really refresh you. I don't go over the top with treats, usually just tea and cookies or lunch of sandwiches. The kids play, we chat.

To rest and relax, reading really helps. It's good down time if I don't feel like napping. I like computer time, but it doesn't refresh me as much as curling up with a good book. I have one heck of a doozy right now so it's great!

DH is really great in taking over with the Mooch when he gets home, that gives me some time to veg, take a bath, play facebook scrabble, whatever. We rarely watch TV anymore, unless it's hockey or news, so I don't use that very often.

And reconnecting with other women or people not as a mom, but as a person is a biggie! So I try to get out at least once a month to a lunch or dinner or coffee. Anything!

Don't trust anyone under 5! Mom to 3 boys under 5. Blogging to save my sanity.
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#26 of 50 Old 11-08-2007, 09:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Joyster View Post
For me, getting out is a big deal, even if it's just to the mall (winter is coming) to window shop and let the Mooch walk about in the morning when it's less busy.

I try to actually hang out with moms I like with kids a similar age. It's amazing how much company can really refresh you. I don't go over the top with treats, usually just tea and cookies or lunch of sandwiches. The kids play, we chat.

To rest and relax, reading really helps. It's good down time if I don't feel like napping. I like computer time, but it doesn't refresh me as much as curling up with a good book. I have one heck of a doozy right now so it's great!

DH is really great in taking over with the Mooch when he gets home, that gives me some time to veg, take a bath, play facebook scrabble, whatever. We rarely watch TV anymore, unless it's hockey or news, so I don't use that very often.

And reconnecting with other women or people not as a mom, but as a person is a biggie! So I try to get out at least once a month to a lunch or dinner or coffee. Anything!

All wonderful suggestions! Excellent ideas. Thanks!
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#27 of 50 Old 11-08-2007, 09:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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In the realm of stay at home moms being vibrant and keeping up self-care, I wanted to share this story because it contrasts much of the negative SAHM opinions we often hear and talk about...

I have a male friend who is European and very "metro-sexual," cosmopolitan, well-traveled, well-versed, smart, funny, just a very balanced, fun individual to be around (and yes, he is a GREAT husband to his wife). Anyway, I saw him the other day and he asked how being a stay at home mom was going. When I told him, he asked if I ever got out of the house during the day to do things on my own, WITHOUT my child, so that I could have a break and do adult things that I enjoy. He said that was extremely important. :

When I told him I get out in the evenings or weekends by myself, when DH is home to babysit, he said, if you can take time during the day and find a place for the baby. Wow! This was coming from a man. How novel.

I relayed that story to my DH, and he said, yeah, well, he doesn't have kids yet. :

I think it's wonderful advice, though! (If your child is old enough to go somewhere without you, of course).

Some men DO get it.
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#28 of 50 Old 11-08-2007, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loriemae View Post
Being a SAHM is really stressful especially if the children are naughty. Now, I finally understand why my mom would yell "can't I just take a bath in peace" LOL
I think that phrase daily! Replace the word bath with just about any activity I need to get done!



Yes, being a SAHM to naughty or high spirited or...toddlers in general...is very hard and stressful. Plus, a lot of the time, it seems like the kids act up more around mom.
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#29 of 50 Old 11-08-2007, 01:39 PM
 
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I've loved reading all these great messages. It seems like many of you have really made taking care of yourself a priority and are happier for it. I'm just starting to try to take care of me more. I have a very active 2 year old and a 5 yo with ADHD. They are challenging for me to parent.

I've started eating healthier and trying to lose some weight. I don't get much time to myself which I would like more of. I recently signed up for a writing class but it was hit or miss if I'd be able to go depending on the demands of my dh's new job. I hated not knowing if I could go or not until the last minute. Maybe I should try an online class. I feel like the only way I'll get time for me is if I put my 2 year old in some kind of pre-school program but he seems so young for that. I don't know, I haven't figured out the me time yet.
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#30 of 50 Old 11-08-2007, 02:01 PM
 
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I recently started eating a traditional foods diet and added coconut oil, I feel soooo much better and I really enjoying preparing the foods from scratch. I also feel a bit leaner which is nice since I'm 4mo pp. Surprisingly, I actually have more time now than I did when I would just pick up food for dinner. I use a menu mailer from one of our lovely mdc mamas.

My neighbor comes over once a week to do a fun activity, usually knitting, but tonight we are making empanadas. We will still have our LO's but its nice to have this time.

I go on a lot of walks by the ocean with other mamas in our little playgroup, this makes for great exercise, conversation and its so nice to be outside enjoying life.

I take a hot bath almost everynight if I feel like it.

I started taking the bus so i dont have to hear DS cry in the car! this has made a huge impact on my well being!

Holistic Moms Network Monterey Chapter, co-leader!
Mama to oneboy 6/20/07 and due Mid-August
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