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I believe there is no greater role in the world than being a mom. You get to carry and nurture a human being in your belly for 9 months. You risk your own life to give birth to your baby and every aspect of your own life is forever changed through this whole process of pregnancy and rising kids, such as:
- Your physical body – Your bra size goes up a couple of sizes (this could be a blessing for the flat-chested girl like me when the time comes). You’ll gain stretch marks and scars (if you happen to need a C-section). I am one who is proud of every scar on my body: burn marks on my arms from baking and bruises on my legs from rock climbing. I call them “battle scars.” You should be proud of yours too.
- Your routines – Hello, sleepless nights and endless diaper change for the first couple years!
- Your career – You might be building your corporate career when you are single. But, now you have a cute, little human being to care and nurture, you might not have the heart to leave the precious baby in the hands of strangers and decide to stay at home.
Is there any other job that needs such a rigorous requirement as being a mom?
I don’t mean to alienate the dads. Being a dad is a one of the greatest role too. But, men are spared the pain of carrying a human being for 9 months and delivering a baby. So, I still give my thumbs up to the moms.
I am not a mom. I am not even married yet. I am not complaining about my singleness, but I think God has done everything upside down in my life. Let’s see. Taking care of babies training. Check. Running a household. Check. Being responsible with my finances. Check. Taking care of an aging parent. Check. Spouse. Still waiting…
While my friends get married in their 20s and early 30s, I am still single as a dollar bill in my mid-thirty. I enjoy my singleness. I know from early on that I want to be financially stable before I go into marriage and rising kids. So, I get busy on building my career, paying off debts from going to college, hiking to new places, playing with the babies on Sunday mornings at church and volunteering in my community.
Life circumstances caused me to lose the life that I had built for 16 years and suddenly I found myself on the other side of the world, living with my sisters’ family and my aging dad. I have become a stay-at-home single!
Yes, I do have the choice to go out on my own again. But, I come from an Asian background that puts more emphasis on family than the Western value of individualism. So, for the moment I am here.
I can’t say that the transition had been easy. I had been leading an active lifestyle where I hiked on the weekends, volunteered with various organizations and met new people on a daily basis. Now, I am at home, doing the same everyday routines, and seeing the same 8 people every day. I feel the restlessness to go out, explore and be on my own again. However, this is where I am needed right now, and I have to learn how to make lemons out of lemonade (LOL) out of this situation.
These are the things that I have learned on how to thrive (read: how to keep my sanity) as a stay-at-home single. I believe these can apply to stay-at-home moms or dads too.
1. Give time to yourself in the morning.
Before you start your daily obligations, devote at least 30 minutes to yourself. Use this time to do yoga, meditation, run, walk, or (if you’re a Christian) talk and pray to God. This will keep you grounded and connected to yourself and to whatever you believe as the higher power in your life.
2. Learn to go with the flow.
I am a planner. When I worked in Pastry, I started each day planning what needed to be done and what products needed to be ordered and gathering equipment needed before I start cooking. It’s all about mise en place (putting things in place) as we call it in the culinary field. I knew how my day was gonna go.
Now, as my life is connected to 8 other people at home, I do not have full control of my day, which annoys me from time to time. I have to learn to go with the flow or I am gonna drive myself (and everyone around me) crazy.
3. Tune in to your energy level.
Do not skip meals. You have plenty to do. Fuel your body by eating healthy and regularly. When you feel worn out, take a nap. Even if it’s only a very short nap, it will do wonder to recharge your brain and body. You will feel refresh and ready to tackle whatever comes next.
When I become irritable easily, I know I am at my lowest point. I need to take a nap, talk a walk or go to my quiet place and just focus on my breathing and listen to inspiring songs. Otherwise, I am just going to yell at anyone nearby and that’s not going to be beneficial to anyone.
4. Master the art of multitasking.
With plenty of stuffs to do and many people to take care of, your to-do list might seem to never end. Multitasking should be a second nature by now.
For me, multitasking takes in the form of combining doing mundane activities with doing stuffs that can lift up my spirit. When I am cooking or ironing clothes, I listen to inspiring songs (or TED Talks). I’d even sing along and dance it out a bit when I feel like it.
Sometimes when I am standing over the stove without moving too much for 30 minutes, I would focus on my breathing and do simple yoga poses with my legs. I kid you not! I do tree poses while cooking!
As a matter of fact, I am doing the tree yoga pose as I am writing this post. I am so used to be on my feet running around the kitchen for the whole day. As I am staying at home and in front of the computer a lot nowadays, I have to vary my routines by working while standing up and doing the yoga poses. My brother-in-law must have thought me as the weirdest girl ever. Good thing I never bother too much about what others think of me : )
The idea is to keep your mind (and soul) engaged while doing mundane activities. You are getting things done while keeping your spirit up.
5. Figure out a passion project you can work on.
Doing the same routines day after day can be mind-numbing. Cooking, cleaning, moping the floor, doing laundry, ironing – rinse and repeat day in and day out. If you’re a new mom, add endless diaper changes and sleepless nights to that list. Sometimes I am thankful that I am single because once the chores are done, I do have time to myself. When you’re a mom, the day doesn’t seem to end until everyone is fast asleep in their beds.
I have heard stories of women who are doing a great job taking care of the family, but they feel unfulfilled inside. In the hustle and bustle of the family life, they lose their own identities. They have given up their career to stay at home with the kids. Sometimes what they miss is as simple as conversations (that do not revolve around kids) with other adults.
We need to have a passion project that we can work on that satisfies our own soul. Set aside time to do things that challenge your mind and fulfill you as an individual like painting, knitting, starting a blog or building an online business. What makes you tick? What are you passionate about? Figure that out and do it. You might even find a way to earn an income to help the family’s finances.
6. Plan a vacation.
Take a vacation at least once a year. Go somewhere you have never been. I personally have been in the habit of celebrating my birthday week (thanks to the influence of my dear friend Monique). When I am feeling drowned in the “mundane-ness” of life, I think about my upcoming birthday shenanigans (Fun, but innocent shenanigans, of course!). It gives me something to look forward to.
(Image Source: Pixabay)
This is where I want to be for my next birthday shenanigans. A PINK beach. Wanna come?
What’s on your travel bucket list?
(Psst, you can even order your ticket on the side bar. I use Jetradar to plan my upcoming vacation. That’s how much I love to travel and how much I would love for you to experience new, awesome places. Let’s GO!)
It is not easy to be house-bound all the time taking care of the family. You are doing a wonderful act of service for your loved ones. However, we need to learn how to take care of ourselves too in the process. (Check out this article for more self-care tips).
It’s like what you heard on the plane when you fly somewhere. Should an emergency happens, you need to put your own oxygen mask before trying to help the person next to you.
Likewise, as a stay-at-home moms, dads or singles, by tending to our own soul first, we then have the love to spread out to our family.
What tips do you have to thrive (or to keep our sanity) as a stay-at-home mom, dad or single?
Is there any other stay-at-home single out there? Maybe I should start a new tribe. Hmm…