Setting goals as a SAHM
The life of a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) is a fortunate stage of life. We are able to stay home and take care of our littles and see them 24/7. However, as all kinds of parents know, becoming a parent tends to change your identity in a very big way. As a SAHM, once you get into a rhythm of caring for the little people you’re home with, things can become a bit tedious—maybe even feel a bit like Groundhog Day over and over again. This is where goal setting can be a wonderful thing to help you fight for your own identity in the midst of parenthood in general, but especially being a SAHM.
Goals can help to add some rhyme, reason and organization to your days. Jen Armstrong, mother of two, says, “I like to set goals, and this year I did a vision board of sorts at the start of 2018. I reflected on each of my roles (mom, wife, homemaker, teacher, etc.) and wrote out my goals. I posted this in a place I can take a peek at every day.”
One set of goals could be directed at being the best mother you can be while you’re in this season. Examples could be to make time to actually play with your children for a set amount of time each day. You could strive to do a learning activity or craft each day together. Another goal might be to feed your children healthy foods and make homemade meals as frequently as possible. Perhaps, if you’re like me, you’ve looked into the Orange Rhino Challenge at TheOrangeRhino.com, where you set a goal to not yell at your kids as much. I have been known to keep a tally on my bathroom mirror for how many days I haven’t yelled at my kids. Once my husband even challenged me, and I earned a fun cash reward!
Other helpful goals for SAHMs are directed more at self-care, which honestly is great for all parents to consider. Goals may include to get eight hours of sleep every night instead of burning the candle on both ends, as many of us do. You could have a hydration goal, trying to drink 64 ounces of water each day or simply replacing one drink with water during the day. That heads into nutrition, so perhaps you set a goal to eat less sugar and more produce or track your calories using an app such as MyFitnessPal.
Along with hydration and nutrition, perhaps you will set some fitness goals for yourself. Maybe you finally will join a gym, commit to walking each night with your family or a neighbor friend or bravely sign up for a race you’ve never done before. I had a group of friends do a 30-day push-up challenge with me where we kept each other accountable via text each day. Meredith Barreth, Overland Park mother of three, says, “For many years I didn't have goals. It was like survival mode, but then I had an awakening. I started setting goals and meaning it. I started asking myself what I wanted my life to truly look like and identify areas I needed to grow in. Putting action behind that and surrounding myself with others that are being intentional too has made all the difference.”
Other goals may be more relationally focused. Perhaps you’ll set a goal to go on a date with your spouse twice a month, and maybe that means setting a monthly budget to ensure it happens. Perhaps you will make a goal to get together with friends more frequently or simply stay in touch more on the phone. Another goal could be getting back into attending church or joining a small group to connect with others in your stage of life.
Sometimes, we need a new challenge. Another goal could be trying a new hobby or taking a new class for fun at the local community college. You could join or start a book club or set a personal reading challenge for yourself to read 30 books this year. Maybe you finally organize all of your digital photos and create books for your family. You might attempt one new recipe each week or create and stick to a cleaning schedule. Cleaning schedules help me when I’m feeling overwhelmed by housework, prompting me to do just a couple of tasks each day rather than everything all at once. Another idea could be to simply get up in the morning before your kids and get dressed and ready for the day to feel more like yourself and possibly be more productive.
As Jessica Howard, Normal, IL, mother of eight, says, “Setting goals gives us a chance to be proud of ourselves, like a silent pat on the back, and it feels good to know you accomplished something, no matter how small the goal. A mama with a newborn might have the simple goal of getting a five-minute shower. A mama of many (talking about myself here) might have a goal to stay fit and make time for herself by going to the gym. A mama with kids getting ready to leave the nest for kindergarten might have a goal of going back to school herself. I like having both daily goals and long-term goals.”
Lori Tate, Bloomington, IL, mother of three, agrees with Howard and adds, “I also set my goals to be easily attainable when I have babies and I’m in the no-sleep, constantly-nursing-a-baby stage. I find I need small successes then. Once they get a little older, my goals evolve.”
We all know we have days when we rejoice the kids are still alive and everyone has made it to bedtime. Missy Landis, Olathe mother of two, says, “I try and set goals as a way of being proactive and planning ahead. It also gives me something to work towards to have a sense of accomplishment, as there are days when just having gotten in the shower and completing a load of laundry make me feel good.”
At the end of the day, goal setting helps with identity and having more to talk about to other adults than what your baby does all day. Meeting goals makes me feel more interesting, and I want my kids to know who their mom is and what she enjoys other than just caring for them.
Stephanie Loux is the mother of Layla, 8, Mason, 6, and Slade, 3, and enjoys challenging herself to new goals each year. You can read more at LettersFromTheLouxes.com