So you're about to be a stay-at-home mom. Maybe you're pregnant now, or maybe you are just planning ahead. Here are the 6 things I wish I did before I was a stay-at-home mom to help me prepare!
1. Learned a hobby before I needed one.
I had all these plans for how to fill my time when the baby came. Turned out, while a good time to pursue hobbies, it was a bad time to try and learn them. I tried gardening, but didn't realize how much time it would require away from the house (our garden is about 50 yards away) or how hard it would be to do with an infant in tow, especially in the heat. I also tried to pick up sewing after the baby arrived. But I found that first learning how to sew required several uninterrupted hours, and found that being pulled away every hour or so to care for a needy baby made learning new concepts difficult. I wish I had learned the basics of these hobbies before the baby arrived. It would have been much easier to plan for, since I would have known what to expect. If you're looking to start a new hobby, see if one of these essential skills pique your interest.
2. Had a daily routine established.
My routine when I worked before baby consisted of waking up at the last possible minute, throwing on whatever clothes were on top of the clean but unfolded pile, and eating a banana in the car. Needless to say, I had no concept of a routine, and no concept of what needed to go in a routine. Developing one while taking care of a newborn on her ever-changing schedule is not ideal. Having an evening and morning routine with a rule of life to make sure I accomplished everything I needed to would have helped me so much more than just trying to survive the day.
3. Had weekly chore-routines established.
Similar to #2, I had no clue what I needed to accomplish in a week to keep a clean house. I cleaned things once I saw they were dirty, but this usually meant they were really dirty, everything in the house was really dirty, and I was completely overwhelmed. If you don't know where to start with putting a plan in place to get and keep your house in order, I have just discovered a wonderful YouTube channel to help with that! And if you haven't already, check out my post on how to get organized as a first-time mom!
4. Meal planned.
I was not an expert on how to cook, plan a menu, or shop for groceries thriftily by the time my baby entered the world, and it was harder than I thought to learn. Turns out, it's more of a habit acquired over time than something I could just read and read about while baby was nursing in those early days. Extra time practicing that before trying to juggle that and a fussy newborn would have been very useful.
5. Fostered mom friendships outside of work.
I'm an introvert, and my previous job was in a department full of extroverts. I had to talk to people most of the day, so by the time I got home in the evenings, the last thing I wanted was to socialize. I needed lots of alone time to recharge. The result was that most of my socializing was with coworkers. Only a few of them were moms, and none of them were Catholic. This meant that once my baby was born, I had to start rebuilding new friendships again or rekindling old ones. As I learned the hard way, postpartum is the time you need those solid friendships the most. You're emotional, tired, and you honestly need lots of help. I was so thankful the good friends I did have stepped up—even though I had neglected them out of sheer pregnancy exhaustion in the months prior!
6. Stayed home before the baby was born.
All of these points would have been far more easily accomplished had I not had to work while pregnant. This was not an option for us financially, and I know it might not be for you. But I would seriously recommend taking a good look at your finances for ways you can reduce spending, and seeing if you can make it work for your family. In fact, I talk about in my post for women preparing for marriage how staying at their families' home before marriage can be a huge help, and the two are definitely related. I know it's unpopular, but women were not made for working away from home the way men were. Running a household is a full time job—it's time we start treating it like one.
What advice do you have? We asked Twitter stay-at-home moms what advice they would give to someone just starting out, and here are a few of the responses. Check them out!
For more of the great responses, check out the original tweet on Twitter. If you haven't already, check out my post on how to prepare yourself for marriage, my cloth diaper guide, my review of homemade baby food products, and my tips for a frazzled momma's spiritual life!