Back in January, I gave myself a challenge of getting outdoors every day and trying to find budget-friendly ways to do it. As an (introverted) stay-at-home mom, it’s easy to stay indoors and be in my own head too much. This challenge would require me to be creative in figuring out ways to get us fresh air, socialization, and just have things on the agenda rather than dump all our toys out and trash the house.
I am also concerned with the obstacles facing stay-at-home moms (SAHMs), in particular, not only due to my status as a SAHM, but my status as someone who suffers from anxiety, depression (which I didn’t realize I had suffered from until recently), introversion, and chronic health issues. I did a little digging on the subject of stay-at-home moms, and wasn’t surprised to find a 2012 Gallup study that showed stay-at-home parents were more depressed, angry, and sad than working parents. I was raised by a stay-at-home mom. She always encouraged me to work outside of the home. Right now, I am staying home because it’s the right thing for our family. I’m not sure where I will be next year when K goes off to pre-school. I have a grad degree that society (and my student loans) tell me I should be using. Interestingly, I have found that I am currently using skills I learned in grad school, but in different ways! But, we will cross that bridge when we get to it.
My SAHM Challenge has been pretty successful so far. This excites me and I want to share! Here are some resources that have made my days as a stay-at-home mom to a toddler a little easier and brighter.
Local parks have been a great, FREE resource. We have explored at least half a dozen of them in the past few months. We love parks with:
- Safe and clean play structures that are suitable for younger children (ages 2+)
- Well-maintained grounds with trees and places to find shade
- Sandboxes (don’t forget your sand toys!)
- Dedicated parking lots or decent street parking
Since we are new to our neighborhood, I am watchful of who is hanging out at these parks, because parks in the city can sometimes be dangerous places. Moms and caregivers should always keep an eye out and take proper precautions.
I joined a few local mommy groups after we moved to our new neighborhood. I found these groups through Meetup.com and researching my local MOMS Club. MOMS Club is a great resource for all moms (working or staying at home), but they cater to stay-at-home moms who are looking to find support and meet up during the week.
I love Pinterest, but sometimes I feel a little trapped under all the endless lists of amazing activities I should be doing with my child. It’s overwhelming. As my blog friend, Mary, from A Neon Princess, stated, “We [SAHMs] are expected to be early education experts.”
Here are a some fun, informative resources that have helped me learn a thing or two but haven’t left me feeling frazzled.
Priscilla is a pediatric occupational therapist and mom to 21 month old Chanel. She shares tips and educational activities that will get your child engaged and assist in their development. I found her through my Instagram’s popular feed!
I’ve been watching WhatsUpMoms for awhile now. Their YouTube channel has grown exponentially in the past year or so. I love watching their videos for short tutorials, comic relief, and recently, I’ve been loving their series entitled MOM HACKS.
We have been in some form of mommy-and-me class since K was seven weeks old. I have paid as much as $25 per class (and hope to never pay that much again, if I can help it). We have taken gym class, music class, and various infant and toddler classes. A few thoughts on this:
- Look for classes with generous make-up policies. Given illness, travel, and unpredictable baby schedules, you probably won’t be able to show up for every class. Try and find programs that take this into account and provide make-up classes.
- Look for classes held as drop-in sessions. Again, this is great for unpredictable schedules. You can drop-in and pay per class rather than as a bundle. You can show up whenever you have time! The drawback to this is maintaining continuity. You see different faces each time, and it can be harder to get to know other moms and babies.
- Research local recreation centers and programs offered through local cities or counties. I have found a wealth of resources through our local cities! BENEFIT: The classes are normally cheaper. If you aren’t a resident, you may have to pay a few more dollars as a non-resident, but it is still more affordable than private classes.
- Do your research ahead of time and call/email to inquire! Some classes are very popular and fill up quickly. Others have seasonal schedules. If, for example, you miss the Spring sign-up, you might have to wait months until the class starts up again in the Fall. However, sometimes if you miss a deadline, they may still have open spaces or they can pro-rate you if you’re late to join. Always call and/or email and ask.