What it takes to be a stay at home mom

Some working moms envy those mothers who’ve made the decision to stay at home with their children. Others feel it’s better for the family if they keep their career path on track.

Know this: Neither way is easy.

But if you’re thinking about becoming a stay at home mom, there are three things you absolutely need.

A special kind of patience

Sure you need patience to deal with irritating co-workers, a boss and customers. And you certainly call on your patience when you’re with your kids outside of work.

But there’s something about the kind of patience you need when you’re with children 24 hours a day.

It’s probably easier to keep your temper around your boss than with a willful 2 year old who’s doing the same thing you’ve chastised her for 5 times already that day. And you certainly feel worse when you yell at a little one than when you make a cutting remark to an annoying cubicle mate.

The stakes are just higher. You’re creating new little people here.

As a stay at home mom, you have to find reserves of patience that you probably never knew you possessed before. But take comfort in the fact that patience comes easier when you have a few other things sorted out, like the next two items.

A solid support network

Happy stay at home moms work at building a network of other moms they can talk to and share their daily adventures with.

Going it alone is tough. Having other moms to bounce ideas off, plan play dates, vent frustrations, and just laugh with is critical if you’re with the under-five set all day long. You’ll also learn from them about other things important to the sanity of a stay at home mom, like ways to stay organized and developing a routine in the home.

It might take a while to find other moms you can identify with easily. But when you do, they are golden.

Me time

Everyone needs me-time. But it seems particularly hard to come by for stay at home moms. After all, not having to go to a job seems like such a privilege these days that it can be difficult to ask for “time off” from your home duties.

Many stay at home moms only get a break from constant activity and demands after the kids have all been put to bed at night. (When you work outside the home, you can at least take a lunch break and go to the bathroom when you need to.)

It’s important for stay at home moms to recognize they need to keep up the things that give them energy and a sense of well-being. Make sure to ask your husband or another caregiver to keep a regular date with the kids so you can do something you really enjoy just for yourself.

What about you? What’s been your biggest lesson on adapting to stay at home mom life?

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