“Hints for Stay-at-Home Moms,” Ensign, Oct. 1999, 71
I was struggling with my three young children in a noisy, cluttered house. My two boys were supposed to be cleaning their room, but it was getting messier by the minute. Meanwhile, my two-year-old undid the childproof latches on our bathroom cupboards and smeared cleaning liquid on the floor, dumped toilet tissue in the sink, and poured slimy green bubble bath all over the tub.
Staying home with children, while usually rewarding and joyful, also includes some tough days. Every mother at times feels overworked and overwhelmed. If you are having “one of those days,” try some of the following tips:
Acknowledge that you are having a difficult day. Don’t feel guilty because things are overwhelming. Motherhood is demanding, and children are unpredictable, so be patient with yourself.
Get out of the house. Go someplace different. A change of pace will help you and your children.
Remind yourself that the work you are doing within your home is important. “Home should be an anchor, a port in a storm, a refuge, a happy place in which to dwell, a place where we are loved and where we can love. Home should be where life’s greatest lessons are taught and learned” (Marvin J. Ashton, “A Yearning for Home,” Ensign, Nov. 1992, 21). Despite humdrum housekeeping tasks, there is nothing trivial about the effort we put forth to create a loving home atmosphere.
Evaluate your standards of neatness. Maintaining sterile floors or alphabetized spices can add unneeded stress. If you suspect you are trying to keep house to an unrealistically high standard, reevaluate your priorities. Ask other young mothers how much is enough for them, and be careful not to compare your home with those of parents whose children are older or who have left home.
Get a support system in place. Many at-home mothers find isolation the hardest aspect of being a full-time mom. One way to combat feelings of isolation is to make friends with other women. Attend homemaking meetings and Relief Society or ward or branch activities so that you can become better acquainted with other members. Arrange to spend time with other mothers on a regular basis, such as an outing to a park where children can play while you talk. Join a play group, exercise club, or hobby circle. Take a class.
Build your relationship with your husband. You and he can find strength as you support each other. Plan some evenings out together, and arrange times for him to spend alone with the children, allowing some time for yourself.
Each day include plans to do something you enjoy. Find time—even 15 minutes—to meet some of your needs. Learning to nurture yourself as well as your children is important.
Keep your perspective and sense of humor. Remember that children are a gift from Heavenly Father, and they grow up fast. Sometimes it may be hard to keep that in mind with dozens of diapers to change, shoelaces to tie, glasses of water to fetch, and peanut butter sandwiches to make. Remember the good times, and maybe the trying times won’t seem so demanding.—Lisa Ray Turner, Littleton, Colorado