Career women who make the decision to stay at home with their children during the early formative years often feel like something is missing. Yes, that extra salary is certainly missed but it’s something missing from their lives when they are no longer spending eight hours a day on the job. Although they wouldn’t give up a minute with their little ones, it just somehow doesn’t feel the same not being out there in the professional world contributing to the finances of the family or doing something for the communities in which they live. Does this sound like you? If so, here is some advice from moms who have found themselves in the same position you are in now.
1. Remember They Won’t Be Little Forever
Perhaps the one most appreciated tip from other stay-at-home mothers is to remember they won’t be little forever! There will come a day when they are off at school or out with their friends, leaving you yearning for those days long gone by. Take time out of every day to spend quality time with the little people. Not only will this nourish your soul, but it will create that bond nothing can tear apart.
2. Advance Your Career
One thing that comes to mind is all the nurses who have said they were glad to have had this time at home with their children. With such a shortage of doctors in the world, even before the pandemic took more of our dedicated physicians, they had always wanted to advance their Bachelor of Science in Nursing to a Doctor of Nursing Practice but there just never seemed to be enough time. Well, now you have that time on your hands so why not enroll in one of the online BSN to DNP programs from a leading university like Marymount? There is no reason why you need to take time away from the home in the very beginning because your clinicals come much later in the program. If you hold a BSN and are ready to advance your degree, you could use this time at home to study at your own pace.
3. Volunteer in the Community
No matter what field your career is in, there is always something you can do within your community to enrich the lives of other moms. Sometimes it’s volunteering to watch children while a mom is on a job interview and other times you might be able to donate hours at the local food bank. Some mothers worked as bookkeepers or accountants, so they are able to help at tax time. Others volunteer to teach courses for those moms seeking a GED and other times they volunteer hours at women’s shelters. There is always some skill, or skills, you have that could enrich your community. Nothing feels better at the end of the day than knowing you were there to help other mothers in need.
4. Take Up Crafting
Have you ever wished you could knit, crochet, or sew like other mothers do? They seem to get so much enjoyment out of making things for their children and that’s something you’ve never been able to do. It is also something you don’t need to leave the home to do. There are so many useful how-to videos on YouTube that will teach you beginning techniques. No matter what craft you are interested in or what level of proficiency you are at, there will be dozens and dozens of how-to videos to teach you steps all the way from beginners to expert skills.
5. Renovate One or More Rooms in the Home
There must be one or more rooms in your home which you’ve been meaning to renovate or remodel but never seemed to have the time. Why not make use of this time when you are at home to design and redecorate rooms that have been neglected for so long? In fact, as your kids get older, they will want to get out of the nursery and into a big boy or big girl room. This is something you can have fun doing together, letting them have their input as to what kind of décor they would like. Little girls might want their room decorated with Disney princesses while little boys might want the décor to be a Transformer’s theme. Many moms have said that it’s easier to get kids to keep their rooms tidy when they had a hand in planning and decorating it. This might be something you’d like to try!
6. Dabble in a Bit of Landscaping
What about that play yard you’ve always meant to build out back or the flower garden you have always wanted in the front and side yards? These few years at home would give you plenty of time to plan and plant those gardens. You might even want to grow a few fruits and vegetables which the kids will enjoy tasting. How many children do you know who absolutely refuse to eat anything green? If you feel one of your toddlers will rebel against veggies at some point, this might be the ideal way to introduce them to the delightful tastes of different foods once they get over their fear of green!
7. Plan Kids’ Play Dateswith Friends
There will be times that you need to get out for a day of shopping sans the kids and likewise you have friends who need a few hours out and about. Why not plan play dates with your kids’ friends? One week they can come to your house where you will host a kids’ play date and the next week your kids can go to their friends’ homes. Not only does it relieve mom to get out for a day of shopping or other adult activities, but it helps them to develop socialization skills. Whether it’s a party or a camp out in the back yard, your kids will have a huge amount of fun while moms get a bit of a much-needed break. Don’t forget just how important it is to help your kids learn to get along with other children and although you have an amazing amount of quality time with your children, they need to learn to get along with peers as well.
8. Arts and Crafts with the Kids
Not only are arts and crafts a fun activity for kids but they can be used as a learning experience too. Shapes, colors, and numbers are easily taught with construction paper, kid-safe scissors, and a bit of Elmer’s glue. In the fall, you can collect colorful leaves as they drop from the trees and along with that a science lesson on why leaves fall. Then you can have an art or craft activity at the beginning of every season to teach them about the different times of the year in a fun way. This is much the same as they would be doing in a pre-K class but the difference here is they are spending quality time with mom which they wouldn’t be getting otherwise. You can still find looms in the local craft stores where kids can learn the art of looming as they weave their first project by making potholders for mom or grandma. Some of the crafts you can do with the kids are long-forgotten skills that will help to enrich your child’s future while providing hours of entertainment today.
9. Keep Up with World Affairs
How many times have you been caught off-guard at work when one of your co-workers comes in to announce an emergency situation, such as a residential building that has just collapsed in South Florida with people inside thought to be dead? Every day something is going on somewhere and somehow you never seem to have the time to keep up with world affairs when you are working a full-time job -whether you want to know which celeb is engaged to the hottest Victoria’s Secret model or which politician is being accused of something or other. Now that you have a bit more time on your hands, you can finally keep up with things. However, once you’ve had a few days to read the news you begin to wonder if this is really such a good thing after all.
10. Explore the Beauty of Nature on Weekly Outings
Finally, why not take one day a week to go on outings to explore the wonder of nature with your little people? Sometimes you might want to have a picnic in the park and other times you might want to go swimming at the beach or spend the day at a petting zoo. Some cities like Coconut Creek in South Florida have cool attractions like Butterfly World where kids can go in and learn about all the different species of butterflies that are native to North America and some indoors that are brought in from other areas of the world. Not only is a family field trip like this educational, but those amazingly colorful butterflies also never cease to delight the children.Whether you have a petting zoo, a butterfly world or simply a winter park with sledding and tobogganing, there is always something to do outdoors that will bring amazing learning experiences while offering activities to keep the kids happy for hours on end.
11. Time for Introspection
Another thing stay-at-home moms suggest is that you also take the time for a bit of introspection. Life has always been busy enough so that you are always working to make something happen. Whether it’s paying the bills or saving money for Johnny’s college education, many moms don’t take the time to discover what would really be fulfilling for them. Maybe they always wanted to be a nurse or maybe they wanted to be a schoolteacher. They never took the time to discover what it is that they’d truly like to do or be and this is the time to do just that. It just might be that there is nothing else out there that interests you any more than your current vocation, but this is also good to know. Why go through life saying, “What if,” when you were already doing what you were meant to do? Now that you’ve got time on your hands, use it wisely to see who you really are and what you’d really like to do.
12. A Day at the Library
There probably isn’t a city in the entire nation that doesn’t have a public library and a story time for little people. This is also an activity you can plan with your kids and while they are sitting around the circle with the librarian, listening to this week’s story, mom can check out a book or two. Don’t forget to check out the latest novel for you, mom, while gathering a story to be read at bedtime every day of the next week until you return. There is so much knowledge in the world of books and this is something you will never regret introducing your children to.
A Bit of Advice for Moms Who Don’t Have the Luxury to Stay at Home
Many stay-at-home moms feel like they are doing a disservice to moms who don’t have the financial wherewithal to stay at home with their children in their younger years. Here, they advise moms who can’t stay at home to find a day or two each and every week to schedule time with their children. There is nothing to feel guilty about if you can’t stay at home. In fact, many mothers can’t afford not to work even if it’s only for a year or two. You can still have all the fun and experiences stay at home moms have but you will need to schedule it around your hours on the clock. That’s the only difference. Are you a stay-at-home mom or one who wishes she could be? These tips and words of advice are for you. Enjoy your kids now because they won’t be little forever!