Monday, March 25, 2013

10 Tips for Keeping an Active Mind as a Stay-at-Home Mom

Being a stay-at-home mom means that you never get to go the bathroom by yourself again, and that the laundry will never be 100% complete for more than about 12 seconds. It also means that you have all the opportunity in the world to create and enrich your life and the lives of those babies with their wiggly fingers underneath that bathroom door, just the way you like. Your home is your canvas! While my time is never completely mine any more, I have found that staying at home with my kids gives me both freedom and encouragment to develop my mind, talents and interests in wonderful ways. I thought I would share them with you all today. Here are 10 tips for keeping an active mind as a Stay-at-home Mom: 
  • When you wake up each day, before you get out of bed, give yourself 3 specific goals you want to accomplish. Write them down on a post-it or just repeat them in your mind a few times. Have one goal be housework-related, one quality-time-with-the-kids-related, and one all about fulfilling-something-you-want-to-do-related. Get those done before your head hits the pillow that night.
  • Listen to free college lectures, pod casts, speeches or your favorite talk radio hosts while you wash dishes or fold laundry. I love American History and learning about the Constitution, so I have been listening to these free lectures from Hillsdale college. And re-listening to General Conference talks or to CES firesides has been a wonderful way to bring the Spirit in to my home and to let the words of the speakers sink deeper into my heart and mind. And while I don't have Sirius XM, I do still love to listen to Dr. Laura's Call of the Day on occasion. On occasion, I also listen to news or conference talks in German to help keep my German up - I recommend that to anyone who speaks a foreign language! Oh, and TED talks? Those are awesome and stimulating, too! Listening while you work helps the drudgery of repetitive work become so much more enjoyable.
  • Make late-night feedings something to look forward to with a great book. If you have to be up late to feed your baby, you might as well be learning about or reading something interesting, right?! I love the Nook with glowlight Squire got me for Christmas. Its light is designed to be able to read in the dark without waking you up too much. It doesn't bother Squire while I read either. Plus I can read one-handed. But, a Nook or kindle is not necessary to read of course. You can read old fashioned books with book lights just as well. And this need not be an expensive habit - the public library is your friend! Your friends with good books are also a great resource, too. ;)
  • Let the needs of your family give your mind fuel for creative projects/activities. For example, I made this weekly calendar only because of the Lincoln's incessant asking to go to church. I learned to crochet rag rugs to brighten up Lincoln's bare room. I am currently making a quilt for Atley so she has visually appealing bedding in her room. I absolutely love music, and Lincoln does too. Almost everyday we sit at the piano and sing songs together. Not only am I improving my sight-reading skills and training my voice, but I am spending quality time with my son as I do it. Things that benefit your family can benefit you just as much in your creating/doing them! Get excited about what you can learn and the talents you can develop in serving your family's needs.
  • Establish family reading time routines. A couple times a week, Lincoln pulls out a book, usually one of the books we checked out from the library that week, I pull one out, too and we both read (or in Lincoln's case, look through the pictures of the book) at the same time in the same room. I love doing this with Lincoln, and I think it will pay big dividends in the end. I am establishing with him that reading is important to our family as well as helping to facilitate independence and a love of books in him. Not to mention - getting at least a few minutes to read a bit myself.
  • Join a book club, exercise group, or start a play group where the mamas are learning something actively together while the kids play. I go to a book club once a month, go to a dance group once a week, and am starting an emergency preparedness playgroup as well. Belonging to groups like these helps you build closer friendships as well as keeps your mind and body active - and give your kids a chance to play and interact with other kids.
  • Nap time is your time! Create something, write something, read something in the down time of the day. I've found it's best if I know what I want to work on during nap time before it hits so I can make the most of that limited time. Even if your kids don't nap, establish quiet time in their rooms for at least an hour each day so that you still have a chance to recharge a bit.
  • Expand your food repertoire! Try out a new recipe each week. This helps keep your mind and palate stimulated and open to new possibilities.
  • Get your spouse involved. Something Squire and I love to do is read out loud to each other after the kids are down for the night. One of us with be working on a chore or project while the other reads out loud. This is great, productive bonding time for us as a couple and it keeps my mind happy.
  • Cut back on your TV time to make time for more active learning. Be choosy about what you do watch. We don't have a TV in our house, but we do watch a show or movie from time to time on our laptop. We like to check out good educational DVD's from the library to watch with Lincoln every 1-2 weeks. We also love watching good documentaries, International films, or movies based on a book we read out loud together as a couple.
  • Go to the library once a week with your child(ren). Let your children choose a book or two, but make sure that you choose a children's book that will also interest you. Not that Children's books are necessarily the height of all intellectual thought, but at the same time, there is a great deal that can be pondered and learned from a simple children's book. So, pick a good one and enjoy reading it with your child 30 times over the course of the next week. ;)
Above all, be flexible. Don't be disappointed when your time doing something is cut short. In my experience as a mom so far - it almost always is. Just take advantage of the time you do have. You'll be surprised how much you can accomplish and how delighted your mind will be when you do. :)

What do you do to keep an active mind as a stay-at-home mom?

1 comment:

  1. Great tips. Thanks for sharing. It can be easy to let day-after-day go by without learning anything new, and that's a shame.

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