Being a stay-at-home mum is exhausting. It brings so much reward, satisfaction and purpose too, but you can easily find yourself emotionally and physically drained at the end of the day, which can linger into the next day... and the next day.

That feeling of exhaustion, being touched-out from all the physical affection you've given your kids and the ever-growing mental load of being the primary parent can leave you feeling burnt-out, overwhelmed and constantly wondering 'will this ever get easier?'

Or maybe, you feel like everything is a chore and want to know 'when will I actually start liking this?'

I've been there. If you've read my story, you'll already know that I really struggled with adjusting to motherhood.

In the early weeks, I started to resent feeds and felt like my baby and my body wasn't 'doing the right thing' because 'it should be easier than this'.

Newsflash - breastfeeding is HARD. If it comes easy to you and your baby, then you're one of few - not the other way around.

Then, the sleep deprivation really kicked in. I started hallucinating throughout the night, rising in my sleep and mumbling all kinds of things to my husband. My speech became slurred and I couldn't even string a proper sentence together.

My baby wouldn't nap for longer than 20-30 minutes in her cot during the day, and I started to become frustrated that I had hardly any time to myself because I was constantly resettling her, just to end up contact napping anyway.

I became angry and had very unrealistic expectations of my baby's sleep for her age, always striving for what sleep consultants say your baby should be doing and not actually listening to what my baby wanted to do.

Those first few months were filled with me constantly doubting my baby and I still feel so guilty for ever having those thoughts, but I did the best I could with the information I had. That being said, I've learnt so much since becoming a mum, and I'll do it very differently next time because I know better.

That time feels so long ago, because I now look, feel and embody such a different person, mother and wife. In those first whirlwind months, I would often have big breakdowns in the shower sobbing to my husband about how hard everything was and how something had to change, but I never knew what. With time, I started tweaking my habits and several parts of my day, making a conscious effort to change my mindset and how I viewed motherhood too. This ultimately transformed me from being a struggling mum to a stay-at-home mum that wasn't just functioning, but thriving.

Can you resonate with this? If so, here's my tips.

stop comparing yourself to others (unfollow people who don't serve you!)

If you're like me, this might look like unfollowing the mum-fluencers online that you always watch but make you feel terrible on the inside.

There's one influencer who I've followed on-and-off for years depending on what season I'm in. Just a few days ago, I unfollowed them again, because consuming their recent content had no longer become supportive of my journey. Ultimately, there's people that can positively serve you and help align you with the person you want to be, but there's also others that make you doubt your worth or make you feel like you should be doing XYZ or otherwise you're not a good mum.

Be self-aware and identify those people and the content that makes you feel less than and distance yourself from that energy.

Just like we go through different seasons, so do the influencers we follow. If they're honest with what they share, you'll likely see the type of content they post change and evolve over time depending on what's happening or important in their life right now. Just because postpartum weight loss is important to someone, doesn't mean that it has to be important to you, nor does it mean that you should be striving to lose the weight your body held to nourish your baby - you know?

stop comparing your baby to other babies, too

This is one of the biggest lessons I learned in my daughter's first year of life.

From around 5 months, I became so stressed and worried that she hadn't started rolling yet. By 8 months, she rolled over maybe a handful of times. I was expecting 'quadruple rolls' and thought I'd leave a room to find her having rolled herself to the other side of the rug, but no. Eloise didn't want to do that - she treated it more of a 'let's check this box and move onto the next' kind-of milestone.

But, at the time, I was losing my mind - worried that she wasn't rolling over consistently and convinced myself that 'something must be wrong!'

Yes, I was wrong. I needed to relax and trust my child, because she was on her own learning journey.

Then, she would vocalise, but not babble in the widely-talked-about 'ma-ma-ma-ma' way, so again, I thought 'something must be wrong!'. But, she wanted to practice communicating with volume and different sounds instead, before she started babbling 'ma-ma-ma-maaaaaaaaaaa' all day around the 9 month mark.

I eventually began to relax once she started to commando-crawl her way around the house, because I had enough experience and proof to realise that babies achieve milestones in their own time and forcing or pressuring them to do something they're not ready for can actually delay it.

Disclaimer: I understand that sometimes there's underlying things that need to be addressed to help babies achieve milestones. I'm not saying that all babies will do everything in their own time without intervention, because sometimes intervention is actually needed.

Comparing your baby and their timeline to that of other babies often sees you comparing yourself and your mothering to other mums too, and it can become very internally destructive. 'What am I doing wrong?', 'I'm doing everything they say I should, why isn't my baby doing X yet?'

When I finally let go of these expectations, and let my baby take the lead, you know what happened? I became more relaxed, happy, accepting and actually enjoyed watching my baby learn and celebrated in her achievements instead of thinking 'okay, now let's work on THIS next'.

be realistic (and lower your expectations)

I think us mums naturally set high standards for ourselves. We think we can take care of the baby, keep the home tidy, make sure our families always have a wholesome, nourishing meal every night while ensuring we have the time and energy to socialise with others and do something that fills our own cup too - without struggle.

Remember my first point about unfollowing people online? For me, I don't like following people who make it seem like their entire life is so put-together and easy, because realistically, that's not the case for the large majority of us. I prefer to follow mums that share the honest truths of motherhood and the constant demands of raising children and being a homemaker, highlighting how hard it is but also how they're balancing it all.

So what I'm trying to say is, just be realistic with your day, and please don't hold yourself to ridiculously high standards that you already know aren't achievable. Maybe even start by grabbing a nice cup of tea or coffee and write down a list of everything you'd ultimately love to get done in a day. You're probably gonna find the list is quite long and you're going to look at it and think - this is going to stretch me thin. Because yeah, we usually want to get that much done but we end up exhausted with no time for ourselves at the end of the day. We want to make everyone happy, but at what cost?

Then, think about what actually needs to get done in the day. Basic needs for your baby or child (nappy changes, sleep, clean clothes, milk, food, water, stimulation and learning) are obviously non-negotiables, but so is ensuring you get sleep, you're well fed and hydrated. Don't forget about yourself!

You might also find the house functions best when you do one load of washing a day, instead of saving up the dirty laundry for a few days and doing two big loads a week. So, in addition to tending to your basic needs and your family's basic needs, you might strive to do one load of washing a day.

Then, see where you can fit in something that makes you happy. In the early days for me, this looked like having a lovely tea as soon as my baby went down for her afternoon nap. Now, this looks like me making a tea and sitting down to do some work on my blog while she's napping, because that's what makes me happy.

So keep going and create a rough list of things you want, and can realistically achieve, each day (or at least most of the time). Being a stay-at-home mum is a very hard job where our efforts aren't appreciated nearly as much as they should be, so cut yourself some slack. If you don't do a load of washing today, will everything still be okay? Do your kids still have clean clothes? Yes, they might not be able to wear their favourite t-shirt because it's covered in mud, but is it the end of the world? Likely, no.

Be kind to yourself and accept that every day is different and some days you won't get everything done that you've set yourself out to do, and that's perfectly okay and normal because it's usually impossible.

make the mundane more enjoyable (but it might make it harder)

Do you have things you're responsible for but just don't enjoy doing? Or is there something you used to love but now it's something you despise? Cleaning, laundry, cooking, meal planning?

The key to making the mundane tasks of motherhood (and homemaking, for that matter), more enjoyable? Pair it with something you already enjoy.

This is where podcasts, TV shows, YouTube videos and music come in super handy. Prepping dinner? Put on a podcast or sip on your favourite drink. Folding the clothes? Make a coffee and chill out to your favourite show.

Or if you have older kids, this might look like getting them involved too.

The caveat with getting your kids involved is that it might take longer for you to do get the task done (like folding laundry or cooking). But if your kids are older and you don't have the blessing of daytime naps, doing so can help keep them busy and if you change your mindset, you can actually enjoy doing it together while it also serving as a learning opportunity for their growing brains.

enjoy your space

If you hate the space you're in, you're probably not going to enjoy what you do in it, or at the very least, not be as productive. Same goes for if you're trying to work at a very messy, dusty and clutter-filled desk - you're probably not going to be as productive as you would be if your desk was clean, tidy and you had a scented candle burning next to that beautiful iced coffee you just made.

If you're looking for easy ways to enhance your space so you can enjoy it even more, Canva is a great place to start. I personally love using Canva to create prints for frames in our home, to make our space feel more cosy and inviting. You can create a free account which gives you access to so many beautiful graphics, fonts and images that you can use to design prints, calendars, etc to make your home feel good for you.

Canva is a great tool for creating lovely prints for baby nurseries, toddler rooms and playrooms too! I know for me, if my daughter's room feels nice and looks nice, holding her to sleep is more enjoyable because I love the space I'm in.

romanticise your life

Make the small moments in life feel more enjoyable and romantic, magical even!

Like I mentioned, I always make myself a cup of tea while my daughter naps in the afternoon. For a long time, I'd quickly put the kettle on, place her down to sleep and rush to make my tea in the quickest way possible - a fast brew with boiling water splashing as I pour it into my cup before I hoist that hot teabag into the sink (read: into the bin).

I found myself rushing something that I actually enjoy - and decided to romanticise that part of my everyday.

I stopped rushing the process and grabbed the cutest little ceramic pinch bowl I could find in my house to put my used teabag in there to cool before putting it in the bin.

Something so small suddenly felt much more romantic and meaningful, and now I appreciate that tea every day.

My newsletter girlies will already know this - but I always have relaxing piano music or coffee shop music playing on my GoogleHome too. It's like a soundtrack to my life!

Other areas you could romanticise include going for a walk (grab an iced coffee to-go and enjoy it as you stroll), play time (switch up the scenery and sit on a rug in your yard or the park with a few of your baby's favourite books and toys), pour your favourite drink and enjoy it while preparing your dinner for the night, etc.

Make it feel magical and see how more enjoyable it becomes!

I could write many more tips, but I can't fit them all in here. I really hope this post leaves you inspired to make a tweak or two to help you thrive more as a stay-at-home mum! Remember, you're doing amazing and your kids are so lucky to have you.

With love,

Tiana

BONUS TIP

GET ORGANISED


Being a stay-at-home mum and homemaker is undoubtedly one of the hardest jobs out there. Getting organised and writing a to-do list each morning can be very helpful and has the potential to completely transform your day and leave you feeling motivated and productive while lowering your stress levels too. A few months ago, Jesse surprised me with a beautiful mint green and gold planner and I now actually look forward to writing out my to-do list in the mornings. I'm a huge believer that aesthetic stationery makes a huge difference! (IYKYN)

Another thing you can organise and plan is your family's meals for the week ahead. Meal planning in advance helps to remove the mental load of what to make for dinner during the week, plus can help you pocket some extra savings if you're usually tempted to purchase take-away as the week goes on.

If meal planning and grocery shopping is starting to feel a little too stressful, or you're just after some beautiful, minimalist planners to keep you motivated, I'm sharing the three planners I use every single week to help make meal planning smooth, easy and enjoyable - in the hopes that it helps you too! All you need to do is subscribe to my fortnightly newsletter and you'll receive three stunning, minimalist and functional A4-size planners straight in your inbox for FREE - ready to download, print and use! Or, for a sustainable and re-usable option, simply laminate them and use a whiteboard marker.

Included is a weekly meal planner, shopping list and dinner menu to put on your fridge, which is a huge game-changer when it comes to actually sticking to your meal plan!

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