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Despite the belief that many people may have that being a stay-at-home mom is easy, it’s quite difficult and extremely overwhelming sometimes. Unless you are one, you have no idea. But for those of you who can relate, I have some strategies to share.

Having children is one of the most amazing experiences in the world, but when I tell you that I get stressed out sometimes, please believe me. I get beyond stressed out, I get overwhelmed. And sometimes it gets extremely lonely. There are times when I feel so sure of myself and other days in which I am hanging on by a thread. However, there are some things I have learned along the way that have been extremely helpful. Here are 5 tips for coping with being a stay-at-home mom.

1. Plan ahead.

Repeat after me: fail to plan, plan to fail. It may sound cliché, but it’s the truth. Don’t wake up and try to plan your day, do it the day before. That way, you can plan around that and arrange everything with little stress. And this also just really makes everything way easier.

2. Take advantage of free local events.

Kids get bored. Especially if you have toddlers or kids under pre-school age at home that need to learn new things and develop their little minds, it’s a good idea to try new things. Take them to museums, craft fairs, library events, plays, and any other little thing happening in your community. Additionally, it allows you to interact with others, while also keeping your littles occupied.

3. Nurture independence in your kids.

Encourage your children to be independent and self-sufficient as much as possible. This will make it to where you aren’t constantly having to hover over your kids.

4. Make peace with a little bit of chaos.

Go ahead and get it through your mind right now that nothing is ever going to be perfect. Your house won’t always be in perfect order, you will forget things, and there will be both good and bad days. Embrace the chaos a little.

5. Do NOT put your needs on the back-burner, take care immediately.

Just because you are a mom does not mean that you need to be selfless. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so if you get burned out, your kids are going to pay for it. So, if your mind is screaming that you need a moment for yourself, please find a way to take it.