So what do you do all day?
A smug young grocery clerk asked a mom as she juggled her groceries and rambunctious kids into a check-out line. She was understandably pretty perturbed by the question. Still, as I read the article, something in me resonated with the ignorant curiosity of the clerk. After the diapers and feedings and daily care of my baby, what am I supposed to do with my day? I thought.
For the first few years, I assumed that in order to be a “good” mom, I needed to choose activities that catered solely to my son’s development and interests. If I indulged in a shopping trip for me or tried to read a book while he watched a show, I felt a lot of undue mom guilt. But when I only tried to plan activities that revolved around my son’s happiness without regard for my own, I often felt frustrated, unhappy, and bored with my life. To compound the issue, I felt like all the stay at home mom activities I knew of mostly consisted of things I did not naturally enjoy: doing crafts, or sitting on the floor and watching my child chew blocks. Deep down, I knew that I didn’t need to change who I was to be a good mom and yet I felt like I had no good ideas about how I might make the stay at home lifestyle work for me.
So I embarked on a trial and error journey of exploring different activities to discover those that were both life-giving to me, and manageable, even fun, for my children. Below I’ve listed the activities that made the cut.
5 Life-Giving Activities for Moms & Kids
My children thrive outdoors so this has been an excellent outlet for all of us. I purchased some dump trucks and excavator toys for my son and a little mini gardening shovel and bucket for my daughter and they are content to work right along next to me.
We also volunteer once a week at a community garden where they have even bigger mounds of dirt to play in. The owner happily takes them alongside her too, and she enjoys letting them pick and eat of her bounty.
This can be as easy as rolling out a yoga mat and exercising on the floor. Kids eyes light up with delight when we join them on the floor and they love “exercising” right alongside us.
Walks are an excellent source of peace for both me and my children. Sometimes, it can function like a reset button on our nerves and emotions so it’s great in an emergency too.
Most gyms offer childcare and this is a great way to release some energy and get a break from one another too. Sometimes kids need a break from us, just as much as we need one from them.
Be a tourist in your hometown
When we lived in California, I made it my goal to visit all the parks in our town. Now that we live near Seattle, we take frequent trips to the city to do something new. I use a tour book to identify what we haven’t seen yet to keep it interesting and fresh.
Decorate and organize your home
Since we are staring at the “same four walls” every day, it helps to change it up a bit. I’ve never known what it is to have money to burn on decorating my home, but I have managed to keep my home looking fresh by simply rearranging furniture or reorganizing a cabinet. My husband teases me for how often this happens and how he can never find where the bowls are because I’ve moved them, again. But I argue that it keeps me sane and helps me feel like there is something new about the space. As I empty drawers there are usually new treasures to occupy my kids while I go about my business.
Check out The Nesting Place for some inspiration and a reminder that, “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.”
I”ll bring the baby backpack, but my kids have often surprised me with how far they can walk themselves. Bring plenty of snacks or even pack a lunch and this makes for a nice outing for all.
When I engage in life-giving activities like these, I enjoy my kids more and appreciate my stay at home mom life.
Well, that’s a wrap for this series: Embracing Who You Are as a Stay at Home Mom. In the last several weeks we have covered the following topics:
- Using the art of writing to help you embrace your new life as a mom
- Encouragement to listen to the wisdom of your own voice
- How to overcome mom guilt
- What a grace-giving mom group looks like
- Life-giving activities for you and your children
What has helped you? Is there anything else that you are struggling with as a stay at home mom? Leave a comment and let me know.