Family life

5 ways to be a happier stay-at-home mom

Overwhelming support from Today's Parent readers helped Jennifer put the struggles of being a SAHM into perspective.

By Jennifer Pinarski
5 ways to be a happier stay-at-home mom

My kids are super fun and have great imaginations.

I had no idea that so many of you would reach out share your thoughts, suggestions and, above all, virtual hugs on my last post about the unhappiness of SAHMs. On Friday I sat in front of my laptop with tears streaming down my face reading all of your comments on my post, Facebook and Twitter. Despite feeling totally along when writing that post, I know I'm not. You're all here in the trenches with me (SAHMs, WAHMs and working moms alike). And you are all seriously awesome — thank you.
Since last week I've taken some measures to put my happiness back in my own hands, and nearly all of it came from your suggestions on my post (it was all kicked off, however, with one of those ugly cry breakdowns in front of my husband).
Play with your kids
I was always focused on keeping my kids busy that I rarely took the time to sit and play with them. You know what? My kids are super fun and have great imaginations. I've built train tracks with my daughter and had tea parties with my son (yes, you read that right). 
Ignore the dishes
This was a tough one for me since I was obsessed with cleaning up after every meal. One morning I left the breakfast dishes in the sink. After we got home from swim lessons and a play at the park, they were still there and playing at the park was way more fun than cleaning up my kitchen. The one big cleanup at the end of the day was much easier than the small tidies throughout the day. 
Get professional help
I've blogged here about my chronic depression and anxiety attacks. I've made an appointment with my doctor to review alternative medications and cognitive therapy. Given the changes my body has gone through since being described this particular medication (two pregnancies, breastfeeding and turning 35), it could be time for a change.
Delegate chores
My least favourite chore is grocery shopping — I've never enjoyed it and adding a couple of kids to the mix makes it even less fun. My husband loves grocery shopping and while our shopping styles vary (he tends to buy out-of-season produce that is more expensive and more snack type foods), the trade off of delegating grocery shopping to my husband for a few overpriced pineapples is well worth it. At five and two, my kids are more than capable of washing windows, feeding the dog, making their breakfast and putting away their laundry, which they have been doing now for the past week.
Plan a getaway
Away from my kids for the weekend? Ha! I can barely get three hours without getting texts from my husband that the kids are eating Lego or falling off bunkbeds. The only time I've been away from my family overnight was when I was birthing our second child — and recovering from a VBAC was no holiday. But I've registered for Blissdom Canada, an awesome social media conference to be held in Toronto in October. And I'm going alone (and yes, I'm a little terrified).

What is the one big change you've made to take charge of your happiness?
This article was originally published on Aug 08, 2012

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