5 Ways for Stay-At-Home Moms to Stay Sane and Minimize Stress

Sometimes, a little 'me' time is just what the doctor ordered.If you are a stay-at-home mom who sometimes feels like you're about to crash and burn, you are not alone. Being a stay-at-home mother is a stressful job and science has proven it.

A new study from the researchers at University of Akron and Penn State University found that women who go back to work after having children have more energy, mobility and less depression at the age of 40 than those who stay at home ... but you could have told them that, couldn't you?

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There is good news: you can save your sanity and long-term health by balancing your life so you can actually enjoy life and be there for the ones you love. Here are five ways to ensure you'll get your sanity back:

1. Set up routines. Routines sound boring and laborious, but in reality, routines help you have more free time to do other things that are fun and relaxing, which are just what every mom needs. Make a list of routines that have to be done daily and weekly. Focus on the ones that cause you the most stress and list ways to get these things done more efficiently than you have been.

Is getting the kids off to school one of your most stressful times of the day? List things you can do the night before to ease your morning workload. Some ideas include packing lunches as you clean up the supper dishes or laying out your outfit for the next day.

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Or, is supper your most hectic time? Set a time earlier in the day to make parts of the meal ahead of time. A salad (with dressing on the side) or dessert can be made while drinking your morning coffee. Invest in a cookbook that has uncomplicated, fast recipes. (One of my favorites is Jamie Oliver's Meals In Minutes)

2. Sell the idea of teamwork to your children. Be enthusiastic and positive when you approach them with the list of ideas on how they can help the house become more relaxed. Give them a sense of empowerment (and therefore pride) by allowing them to choose the tasks they will be responsible for completing. Let them know that their hard work will bring them rewards because you will have more free time to do fun things with them.

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Some ideas? Bring them to the ice cream shop after their Saturday morning tasks are complete. Take them out to a Friday night movie. Go for a picnic lunch at their favorite park or a swim at the local pool. Celebrate their accomplishments by going out to dinner as a family.

3. Delegate, delegate, delegate.
No, you are not slacking off on your job if you give others chores to do. In fact, for your children, you are helping them grow to be happier as adults. A 40-year Harvard University study followed 456 children over a 40 year period. Those that were assigned chores from an early age grew into adults that were more successful in their careers and marriages and lived healthier, happier lives than those who did not have chores.

Some tasks kids can do include: vacuuming, taking out the garbage, dusting their rooms, watering the plants, making their beds, wiping the windows clean, walking the dog, emptying the dishwasher, setting the table ... you get the idea.

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4. Use five minute segments to get tasks done.
Don't wait for that block of 2 free hours to magically appear so you can clean out all your kitchen cupboards, fold the week's worth of laundry, or clean the bathrooms. It won't come. Grab that five minutes that does come your way every day.

Wipe out one kitchen cupboard while you wait for the coffee to brew. Fold the laundry as soon as it comes out of the dryer. (It will only take you 2 minutes more now, yet half an hour later because now you have to iron what wrinkled while it sat scrunched in the pile waiting for you to fold it) Wash out the bathroom sinks while you are talking on the phone with your friend.

5. Schedule time to have fun.
That's right. You should schedule fun. You need fun times to re-energize. If you don't fit in time to enjoy your life, no one else will. Think of things that de-stress you, then schedule those things into your week first. Work everything else around that time.

Do you love going for lunch with a friend? Schedule a friend each Friday morning for a meeting at a nearby eatery. Do you want to learn how to swim like an Olympian? Sign up for swimming class. Love taking warm bubble baths while listening to soothing music? Make a date with yourself, your bath, and a "do not disturb" sign on your bathroom door.

It's your job as a stay-at-home mom to take care of others, but it's also your job to take care of yourself. Putting yourself first and finding ways to make your life less stressful is not about being selfish, it's about giving. Giving to yourself allows you to be a better mom because you will be happier, more fulfilled and more energized. And that's a mom any child would love to have.

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Written By Norma Germain for YourTango.com.


Join Norma Germain's fanpage to get more free advice on breakups, divorce and relationships or read her blog to get inspiration every day to live your best life now.


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