30 answers

Monotony of Being a SAHM

I just want to start out by saying I'm very blessed. I have a wonderful, loving husband who has a great job which allows me to stay home with our two children. I have two beautiful children ages 1 and 4 that I love DEARLY with all my heart. I don't take our situation for granted.
That being said, I need some advice. I've been a SAHM for almost 5 years now and the monotony is killin' me!! We have moved once during the 5 years and over that time I have been a part of many different kinds of moms groups, done different events, hosted playdates, ect. My oldest is in preschool twice a week now, making my tue/thurs free with just my little one, but it seems those days are now restricted to getting Wal-Mart shopping done while I can with one kid, or cleaning house, working around the mid day nap, then by the afternoon just having to start dinner and start the whole routine over again. Every time I turn around the house is dirty again, we're out of groceries (I’ve been trying to coupon lately, adding to the "boringness" for the kids). We go to parks, ride bikes, go to the zoo, blah blah, but have been doing the SAME things for so long I'm sick of it! I don't know how to stay positive - to stay in the grateful frame of mind year after year.
My husband recently applied to a job in Oregon and we are praying and waiting patiently that this is where God wants to move us. All of my husband’s family is up in that area; this would truly be a blessing for us to move there. So I have thought about returning to work, but between the cost of daycare, preschool, and what I can make in my industry in this economy it would not be logical. It’s almost cheaper for me to continue to be a SAHM. Part of what I’m struggling with is not having ANY family nearby, especially coming out of the holidays like we did, and January is such a lonesome month.
How do other SAHM moms do this year after year? How do you find the spring in your step when every morning is the SAME?? When every evening is the SAME?? When the funds run down so much you can’t even afford a date night in a year with your hubby that you so desperately need just to get a change in the monotony? Even the moms nights out, the bunco games, scrapbooking, ect. has grown tiring, old, it’s the same mindless chatter day after day and I just can’t get excited about much anymore. Where can I go from here? I’m crying as I write this because the last thing in the world I want to come off sounding like is ungrateful. I’m so thankful for everything, and I mean EVERYTHING in my life, but I feel there needs to be change and I’m not sure how that happens – how to change the monotony of being a stay at home mother. How do I keep the frame of mind of thankfulness and remember daily that I’m doing the biggest job on Earth – raising children?

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I agree with the posters on doing something for yourself. I may be a working mom but I also struggle with the monotomy of the schedule.

Get 4 people out the door by 6 am. Work. Come home, play with kids. Make dinner, get kids into bed, try to have energy to get laundry done. And then go to bed and wake up and do it all over again. Ughh!

I love to cook so once a quarter I take a cooking class at a local grocery store. I know no one, but I really enjoy it and the me time. My husband also tries to get home early from work one day a week so I can go to a yoga class. Also just for me.

Hang in there. I hope you find something that you enjoy that is just yours. Having something that is just mine really helps me and gives me things to look forward too when it all gets to me.

4 moms found this helpful

Oh mama don't cry!! Everything gets VERY tough! Some days I cry when I have to go to work because my 4 year old just wants to cuddle a little longer. Even going to work is monotony...you need to find something for YOU that makes YOU happy - and things will turn around.

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Help someone else. I know that volunteering outside the home might be impossible with kids your age, so try looking for online volunteer opportunities. Try this site and click on the "Search for Virtual Opportunities":

http://www.volunteermatch.org/search/advanced.jsp

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Might I recommend watching the movie: Groundhog Day? LOL
Yes--it CAN be like that. Just keep an eye on the bigger picture and the fact that this doesn't last forever.
Soon your little on will be in some sort of pre-K, etc. and your time will loosen up a bit and that will continue as they grow.
For now, find some things you love to do and CARVE OUT the time to do them!

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I don't think it's purely the SAHM thing vs the ages of your kids. I remember feeling like that when my kids were younger and I've always worked outside the home. I'd go to the park with my kids it seemed like every evening for years... Same park. Ugh. I was fairly miserable. But then all of a sudden my kids were older and doing different things and I knew more people in our neighborhood and we haven't been to that park in ages. You've gotten lots of good suggestions for things to do. I just wanted to say that it's not just you - I think many moms go through this. My sister said she always had to have some project going on or she'd have gone insane. It is way easier when you have money to spend. I get that. So maybe brain storm on ways to make money that would also offer a change of pace. And if that doesn't work, then free stuff. I know that's obvious but maybe just hearing this happens to lots of women will help. I've always been away from family too since kids and it was so lonely. Now that my kids are older, 6&7, I don't miss my mother nearly as much. Hang in there. These can be tough years. Just know it'll get better. Try at least reading some good books. LIbrary is free. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand is amazing and shows the resiliance of the human spirit. (first part is a big boring but then gets fantastic).

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I've enjoyed project through the years... I turned the basement into a grow room once, made my own lights with things I could find in the hardware store, and it lasted about a year before I realized we were not getting enough vegetables to pay for the electricity. I sure had fun.

Another year and a half I did the fish and seahorses thing. Once again, it was expensive.

Other years I have gardened outside extensively. That was fun.

I've gone through book reading phases, raising various small animals, have my daycare etc...

But I'm getting the most fulfillment and learning the most from studying the word and watching various preachers online. I never thought I could say that. Studying the word used to be a chore. Now I live for it.

We all go through spells where something has to change. Just remember that it's not all about your kids. Your kids are a big part of your life and it seems like it's all about them when they are young. Eventually, you need to spend some time looking out for you.

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Have you considered doing something just for you? Taking a class? Volunteering? Something unrelated to mommyhood?

I'm on the other end of the spectrum. I have to return to work eventually, and am kind of basking in the monotony.

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It sounds to me like you should consider some part time work. What would you like to do? What hobbies do you enjoy? Do you enjoy working with people? Maybe a few times a week of working in a bookstore or something you find interesting may help you. Something I do to get rid of monotony is take a class every now and then. It could be a class at our local university, at the art center, or a fitness class. I went out on a limb this fall and did a weekend long women's fitness retreat. I had never done anything like that before and beforehand I was nervous. It was so much fun though. Or maybe you should pick a goal for yourself and start working towards it. A degree? A race? A certificate towards something?

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Think of it like a pitcher ful of water and a glass. You fill the cup and then someone drinks it. You fill the cup and then someone drinks it. You fill the cup and then someone drinks it. Eventually, you tip the pitcher to fill the cup and nothing comes out because you have given all you had until there's nothing left. And it wasn't even enjoyable. It was monotonous and frustrating. The key is to keep taking time to fill up the pitcher. And not always with the same thing. Sometimes it's water, sometimes tea, sometimes juice, sometimes cocktails (but none for the kiddies =0).

The same applies to life. You are the pitcher and your family is the cup. If you keep filling the cup without replenishing the pitcher eventually there is nothing left to give and you are tired, bored and maybe even a little resentful.

So think about ways you can fill yourself up. Like posters said, it could be volunteering, or schooling, or belly dancing, or a Y membership. The key is to get in touch with yourself. The one that still exsists deep down in side yourself that isn't merely an extension of the people you love, but belongs solely to you. And if you gave that away, then very kindly and gently take it back, dear.

Sit down with a pen and paper and make a list of everything you have ever wanted to do, experience, know. Make of list of the things you regret missing and the times in your life when you experienced the most joy. Then seperate it into what's possible to do now and what's possible to do in a few years and then longer. Now tackle it. Pick something on that list and do it.

Give to you. Fill yourself back up. It's not selfish, in fact it's the kindest thing you can do for those you love. It gives you renewed energy, joy and perspective, and those monotonous chores of life won't seem so bad because they won't be the only thing you have.

Good luck to you!

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You could try studying. When I was a SAHM I completed my MBA by distance education through a great university. I did it when the children were sleeping, or when I could grab a few moments here and there. It keeps your mind active, challenged and gives you a goal to work for. It will also be useful for retraining to gain better employment skills (and higher pay) for when you do decide to return to work.

A week after I finished my masters I was offered the best job I'd ever had, purely because of my study.

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You don't sound ungrateful to me, you sound bored!!! Don't be so hard on yourself Mom! I could not be a full time SAHM and admire women who can. On the other hand, I work full time with a 3 and 4 year old and financially have no other choice at this time. It is not fun and not easy to raise a family this way. My thought? Even if you don't HAVE to work, what about fiinding a small part time job or volunteer in a meaningful job area like battered women's shelter, humane society, your church, at the local schools, etc.? Even if it just offsets the cost of child care, it would be worth it. You would be contributing and boredom would be gone. Plus, if you just worked 2 days a week, believe me, every other thing in your life would stop being boring. It would bring a sense of urgency to cooking, shopping, cleaning, playing with kids. You'd have a blast and get that zest for life going again!

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I've been home with my kids actually since I first got pregnant with my oldest, and he'll be 7 in March. My husband had a job transfer to D.C. and my son was born there... no family nearby. That was hard. I didn't know anyone, lived in an apartment, and was essentially alone all day... so I found a volunteer position at the Smithsonian Zoo that I did a few times a week until my son was born. It made all the difference for me. When we came home I was out of touch with many of my friends, since none of them had babies, and I'd been gone for a year. It took time to make some new connections, and rekindle the old ones.

Now that I've been in this for a while, I know that I get kind of low this time of year. So I start finding things to put on my calendar. I send out the emails to my girlfriends and set up some girls nights. I set up extra playdates for my kids. I make time at the library to pick up a book for myself. When I have things to look forward to, it helps me. I make a list of projects and make time to get some of them done.

Also - now, I've joined the Advisory Council at my second son's preschool. And, we splurged a year ago and joined the YMCA and it is so worth the money for me. Just to have someplace to go in January where the kids can run (in the gym) and I can have 2 hours to my self when my husband is traveling all week is a godsend.

Another thing I start in January is my garden plan. My kids help. We plant a large vegi garden every spring and this year I'm planning a new flower garden.

I think you need to go to the library, go to the "hobby" section and grab books that catch your eye. Find some things that interest you. My MIL talks about how when her kids were young, she started buying furniture at garage sales and refinishing them. She loves it still, 35 years later!

And, another thing to think about as far as your day to day stuff goes, is you can mix it up some. Take the kids to places YOU like. My kids don't mind the art museum (we have a great free one in Minneapolis). I LOVE it so we go. They learn a little and Mom get's a recharge. I love our Landscape Arboretum, and actually my kids do to, so we go. We have a membership so it's easy to go for short periods.

Also, I really loved this blog post, so I'm sharing it with you.

http://momastery.com/blog/2012/01/04/2011-lesson-2-dont-c...

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Hello, I have been a SAHM for about 18 months now and I can understand your frustration! I guarantee I don't get out on my own enough for the Mom's nights out, etc. that you mentioned. You lack nearby family, I lack nearby friends. We have friends, but everyone seems to be in different parts of their life - some just married, married no kids, etc. I have been out to "mom and me" things but haven't connected with moms there enough to see them outside of the activity.

Unfortunately, I don't have a good answer for you. Have you thought of taking on a part time job? Would that be possible for you? It would get you some adult interaction and time to focus on something else other than your kids/home life?

I completely agree that January can be kind of depressing after Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. We live in WI and the winters can get VERY long!

I will be paying attention to what others post for ideas! :-) I hope the best for you in finding peace in this matter. I can understand your feelings. Good luck!!

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Yeah, I don't know. I was laid off from my job a week ago and already I'm bored. The house is clean, the laundry is done, I've planned the meals for the next week, I even made a grocery list on Excel and sorted it by aisle. Going to the grocery store is going to be the highlight of my whole day. I'm super excited for when the kids come home from school because then my 4th grader and I will work some more on her California Missions project (building a replica of the San Luis Obispo mission out of foam core board). After 15 years of working 60 hours a week PLUS running a household, just running a household seems like a vacation (albeit a boring one).

Maybe tomorrow I'll rent a steam cleaner and clean the carpets.

What do people do all day who have kids in school? I'm curious to read the responses to your question. I wish I had some advice for you. Hang in there, your older one will be in school soon! That will be a change. Maybe you could get some workbooks and do a little preschool with them? Teach your older one to read? I don't know...

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While I have only been a SAHM for almost 7 months - I totally know how you feel! I'm not sure what to tell you because it sounds like you try to spend quality time with your hubby and get out some to moms nights, etc. I know the other day I decided to let my hubby put our son to bed so I could go out to dinner with my best friend (typically I would go out after he's down.) - for some reason this was freeing - maybe give that a try. Honestly, you are already doing everything right to try to mix it up, maybe it is time to consider part time work. I don't know what you did before staying home, but maybe you can reconnect with your field or even a retail job part time will help you mix it up with people who aren't mommy-friends (for all of the typical kid-related chatter) and aren't your hubby.

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I totally feel you! I have a 1 and 3.5 yr old. Totally normal it's hard to have a balance and you have given up a major part of your true self, like other mums said finding hobbies/part time work/school/mom friends helps a lot. I take meditation class once a week which is awesome me time and totally recharges me, I walk with another mum 2-3 times a week and have coffee. I have a fantastic moms group and we meet every Wednesday and it's a great place to connect and find we all feel the same at times. Just have to find things that stimulate you so you don't feel so stagnant. It's a hard one especially when you feel like you should be grateful you get to stay hone and you do but also can't help feeling like something is missing. Just remember all the poor moms who have to work all day then still have the monotony of coming home and doing chores all night and the guilt of missing out that helps sometimes. Hope you find some good mommy support or outside interests and remember you are so not alone with those feelings!

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Yep, being a SAHM can get booooriiiing!! Sounds like you need some YOU time!

I am in a choir every Tuesday evening, and tonight, I'm going on a dinner and movie date with my bestie :-)

Find something in your area you can do just for you! Sometimes being absolutely alone is the best thing in the world...

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i feel yr pain. i stayed home for 3 years when my son was born, after always having a good job that i actually enjoyed. and of course i was grateful to have that option, and i kept myself busy with library story times and play dates, etc. but as u said, it is the biggest and hardest job on earth, and it never ends. monotony is part of the deal. my only escape was reading. reading while breastfeeding, reading during his nap times and play dates.
i went back to work by moving to china, where daycare doesn't take up yr whole paycheck. and my job is my escape now.
it's hard to work full-time and take care of a toddler though, and i often wonder if it wouldn't be better to just stay home with him. after working all day i just want to chill, but no, there is no chill time for a mom. but every day i try to remind myself that it will all come to an end soon enough, as he will turn into a teenager who won't even want to talk to me. so let's enjoy every minute of these early years, when our babies are still our babies. :-)

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Totally normal!
And for what it's worth I think life gets monotonous for ALL of us. My husband has worked in the same office for almost 25 years and I'm amazed (and thankful) that he can keep going back day after day, year after year, more and more of the same stuff, just a different day.
When my kids were babies/toddlers I went back to school. I took classes one or two nights a week. It took me close to seven years to earn my BA (I took a few semesters off during the times I had a frequently nursing newborn) but it was so worth it to earn a real college degree. And I LOVED most of my classes, I had books to read and papers to write and evenings spent discussing great books of literature and other fascinating subjects with interesting professors and a wide variety of students, both young and old.
I have also kept myself busy volunteering (which you will be able to do more of when your kids start school, if that's something you would like.) And I've worked a few part time jobs here and there as well.
As far as date nights go they don't have to cost much, if anything! Swap babysitting with another family so you don't have to pay for that. Go on a hike, a bike ride, have a picnic and watch the sun set, have a romantic dinner & movie at home, stuff like that :)

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How about volunteering? That would get you out and make you feel good about what you're doing. I'm sure there are some things you can do with the little one tagging along. I've never had the pleasure of being a stay at home mom, but when I do have time off, I'm at a loss and always look forward to going back to the structure of my 9 - 5.

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Your world will open up once they are in elementary school. Then you will be so busy that you'll yearn for the toddler years. The big break for me was when the youngest went to preschool. That's when I started to get my life back. All I can say is it's goes by quickly. My daughters are 9 and 13 and I'd love to have the baby days back - for a little while at least. The baby years are exhausting.

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I think whether we are sahms or working moms (out side the home) we need to find something and some time for us to recharge our batteries. Don't feel guilty for being human... Can you plan a date night in... kids at a play date at a friends? Exchange the favor and it's free... Also, work to find something you can do for you - maybe one evening a week? hang in there

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Maybe what you are looking for is to be important, and doing the same thing every day may be making you feel distant and unimportant.

Something that you may get enjoyment out of, that has no cost to you, is volunteering. Look around and see if there are any opportunities to volunteer for, and if you find ANYTHING at all that you might be interested in then try to volunteer for that. Ask a church if they need help planning the next big fundraiser, if a local women's shelter could use help with baby-sitting (more kids I know but still you are helping someone in need), food pantries, hospitals, under-privledged kids, anything that gives you a purpose during the day.

Or sometimes local colleges will allow you to sit in on classes-obviously you don't get credit. Maybe you could find a course that you would be interested in and email the professor about maybe sitting in (if you can get someone to baby-sit the little one for an hour or so a week). This would profide adult intereaction and might get you into something you would have never thought about.

Or you could start something yourself that would benefit others- ask local government to start a community garden- maybe find a way to have people pay to have a plot that way taxes could be paid on whatever land is used, you could also do it for local school to come and have field trips to to learn (free of charge would probably make local school jump for joy)- especially if it was at a park. If not a park maybe you can put your crafting to work and start a small business to sell stuff online.

You have plenty to offer! I've found that when you start looking at how you can help others, and it seems like you may be in the position to do so, it gets your mind off yourself and let's you realize how much you can contribute to others. It is also very fulfilling, but thats just my opinion.

Good luck!

One thing I did during my period as a stay at home mom was to form what we called a sit and play group among parents of children the same age. Once or twice per week, we met, and half of the moms would stay with the group of children, and the other half of the moms would be free to leave, for about two hours. We started when our children were one year old and continued until they were almost three. When you are sitting, you can observe the childrens' social interactions and development, as well as talk to the other moms about what creative things they do with their kids at home, and when you are "playing" you get a couple of free hours for yourself.

Another thing that may help you appreciate your time is to take photos and make some sort of scrapbook or memory book with photos and milestones. My kids are now 11, 16, and 21, and I still enjoy looking back on the albums and baby books I made when they were younger. This is not to say to feel guilty if this is not something you enjoy...I happen to enjoy it myself, so it is just an idea.

In terms of breaking up monotony, think of ways you can do day-to-day activities a little differently. Could lunch become a tea party, with teddy bear guests and fancy sandwiches? Maybe your older one can help with preparations in some way. How about doing art activities with the kids, with all of you getting creative? Or, you could turn on some music and dance or play along with simple instruments and props safe for babies (such as larger egg shakers or scarves). I teach Kindermusik classes and they do have family classes that you might enjoy attending, which would then also give you ideas of things to do at home between classes.

My father recently reminded me of the line, "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world." Never think what you are doing in raising children is unimportant. The time when they are babies, toddlers, and preschoolers is tiring, but it will pass. Dig deep, and you will emerge with many great memories along with a great foundation for your children.

Volunteer! Hospital, Library, Red Cross, Church, Cancer Center, Senior Center, Humane Society...the list is endless, they even have volunteer resource phone #'s in the Blue Pages of the phone book!

This is why I had to start working again. I am a happier mom when I'm working, period. Being a SAHM was not a good fit for me, I was in a funk for most of the time. My brain went to mush & the day to day park, play date, kid, kid, kid 100% of the time with limited adult interaction really wore on me. I think it's a great thing, to be a SAHM, but only if you are 100% content with the lifestyle. If I were you, I'd go back to work, personally. If not that, can't you go to school to further to education/career? It's okay not to love being a SAHM. A happy mom is a good mom.

You may hate this answer: By doing things DIFFERENTLY.

Imagine this:

What would you do if you didn't have children, but for whatever reason couldn't work?

This is a spin off of my "lottery" question. (AKA how I periodically reevaluate my life... if I won 50 kajillion dollars, after I'd given away everything I wanted to give away, bought everything I wanted to buy... WHAT IN THE WORLD would I do with myself??? One can only -from experience- do "nothing" for so long that one becomes completely and tragically bored).

A SAHM (like me, not saying all, but probably the majority of us) CANNOT do nothing but childcare and housework without going clinically insane.

I flat out couldn't afford to work (daycare cost more than I could make). Now, myself, I have an education I need to get, so a LOT of those years were / are filled with school. But I've had to take a couples years off -money issues-, and that time still needs to be filled.

Pursuing. Your. Own. Interests.

What do YOU like to do? What have you always wanted to do, but haven't had time or money for?

WRITE THAT LIST

Some things you'll only be able to work for in the future... OTHER??? You can do them right now! It just takes a little bit of creativity and the sleep dep wearing off (which, with your youngest at 1yo, should be happening this year, most likely. Um. Hate to say this: 2 years. When your youngest is 2years old is when most mom's suddenly wake up and "feel like themselves again". It takes about that long to recover from sleep dep and being needed around the clock.

So what's on that list? Languages? Sports? Travel? Wine? Coffee? Reading? Writing? Photography? Spreadsheets? Astrophysics? Caligraphy? Underwater basket weaving? What do YOU like to do?

Now... what is financially possible? Find at least 1 thing you can do at least 1x per week, and 1 thing that you can work towards over the next year or three.

Then you take your kids with you, or you carve out some parenting time from dad or money for babysitting... and DO them.

Work towards something to look forward to EVERY DAY.

Something that is not childcare.
Something that is not housework.

THINK: What do I want my kids to describe me as? (Aside from best mom ever).

"My mom's a/an ____________."

As your kids get older, you can start adding more things. BUT FOR THE LOVE OF PETE! Start those things now :) :) :)

You have to make sure every day is not the same. You can join a work out group, or walk or run for a cause. They have training groups. You can volunteer to work at a school and teach an art lesson or read to a class, you can voluteer for a senior home etc. Sign up for something that will make you feel good inside and about life. Go back to school and take a class for something new that you have always wanted to do. Take a cooking class...there are so many options. Enjoy!

Aw honey, it's ok to feel like this once in awhile but then you just go
head & pick yourself up by your bootstraps & make some changes.
Here's what I do:
-find NEW things to do all the time. Things that don't cost any $
-reading time at the library
-parks (weather permitting)
-check out a fun book from the library to read when I have a few mins
to myself
-I watch the news every morning & it reminds me how truly blessed I am!
-I turn the comedy channel on for a few mins to give me some levity
-I search & search for things in my community to do for free: walk the mall
indoor play yards, new parks in good weather, outdoor malls to just
walk around & look (I let my child ride those little rides for a quarter),
zoos, free train rides, toy stores w/reading time, libraries w/reading times
new toy stores to just look at things (some things they let you test)
-go for a cheap lunch
-walk the thrift store to look around @ toys & knick knacks
-play games
-play mini golf inside
-make a tent & pretend you're camping
-we go to a coffee shop (like Starbucks) to hang out & get a change of
scenery once in awhile. I'll buy one regular cup of coffee & a cookie for
us to split
-I found a park w/a pond so we go feed the ducks stale bread
-I rearrange my living room furniture to keep from being bored
-I play puzzles, games & "pretend" w/my child
- I go through old photos & organize them
-I get online to Mamapedia (thank heavens)
- organize my closets
-call a friend
- take a day off from cooking (heat a frozen meal)
-call a friend
-pull out old clothes to donate
-de-clutter
-pick up a new hobby you can do from home
-pick somewhere new to go in your neighborhood
-look in your local paper for fun free events
-paint your toenails a fun color when you have time one day
Go to Wal-mart's craft section & buy some wood items to paint (a small
picture, plaque etc.
Remember: you are awesome, lucky, beautiful inside & out. We only have a finite (sp?) on this planet so enjoy every minute, every-thing! No
matter how small. For instance, I am enjoying the light coming through my window today, enjoying my mom snoozing on the couch next to me
-re-decorate your house using what you already have(spray paint etc)
-try a new coffee or tea
-spice up your daily routine in any way, I will do diff things at diff times so
that means I am never doing laundry every day at 2pm or what have you
-make a backyard oasis for cheap for you & your friends
I only have my parents & sibling nearby. Sibling is always mad at me for
something & II'm busy helping my dad w/my mom 3 days a week.
Hope this helps. Good job mama!

Maybe you can take a class? Or at least read. Education is the most fulfilling thing in my life. MIT has some online courses offered for free. I couldn't be a SAHM full time - I need the intellectual stimulation. Good luck to you.

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