First things first, being able to take on the role of a stay at home mom is not an easy or simple decision to take. Apart from the obvious and worrying loss of income if you were previously part of the workplace, you should be under no illusions – it is very hard work and you are “on call” 24 hours a day.
A new baby needs almost constant care; if you are not feeding it seems you are changing, if you are not changing it seems you are bathing. When that is done there is nursing baby to sleep, or maybe playtime before that. Of course when you eventually get the baby off to sleep you can have a couple of hours to yourself. Think again, there is lots and lots more to be done. Laundry, groceries, bills to be paid, cleaning the house, family dinner to be prepared and cooked, to name but a few.
So how do we relieve the stress of the stay at home mom? First of all you must get yourself organized. Write down everything that needs to be done on a day to day basis and don't leave anything out. Even the smallest of tasks take time and every minute counts. When that is done prioritize everything, meaning re-write your list in order of importance. The top item on your list is the first to get done when the little one has a morning snooze. Next on the list gets done during the afternoon nap. And so it continues until you get to the bottom of the list. Now don't be alarmed when you don't get to the end of it, if something is not done then look upon it as not being a priority, and there is always another day. No-one expects a new mom to always be on top of everything so you shouldn't expect it of yourself. But do try to eat!
Another thing that can help enormously is to have the nursery very well set up. Having a place for everything and everything in its place will really help. Have a good nursery chair or rocker to enable you to be comfortable when working with your baby. For example one with handy pockets for “baby things” or magazines will make life much easier for you. A good baby changing station is a must.
You will find that good time management will become your new best friend and once you get used to your new routine life will be much less stressful. Also be prepared to make compromises; for example when baby decides to not have an afternoon nap so the laundry doesn't get done as expected, don't stress yourself about it. There's nothing to be done about these times and anyway, the laundry can get done later.
Time management is the most useful skill in being a stay at home mom. Sometimes this requires dinner to be prepared and in the oven during the baby’s afternoon nap at 1:00 pm and then reheated when the family is ready to eat. It may become the norm for laundry to be in the washer at 4:00 am after baby’s early morning feeding when it’s just too late for mom to go back to sleep. Compromises are made every day but the most important thing is to eliminate as much stress over the everyday tasks as possible.
Now all you have to do is find some time for yourself. No matter how little, it is important to relax at some stage of the day. So occasionally don't cook dinner, get a home delivery instead. Don't do the laundry today, have a nap instead. The point is, to relieve the stress you must have some “me” time, and the rest of the family must be made to understand this. Don't forget that very soon your brand new baby will be sleeping more and crying less, it will get better.