I have only been doing this SAHD gig for about 3 years. Compared to some of you, 3 years is nothing. I know I am not a rookie anymore, and I am not an old pro, but have learned a lot in the last 3 years. I have learned it is always good to exchange and discus strategies. I have also learned that nobody has to do this alone. There are tons of other parents at home with their kids, and we all have something to offer. So, I figured I would share a few things that keep me from assuming a new identity and joining the circus.
Always Wear Workout Clothes
Every morning when I get up, I put on workout clothes. I have always enjoyed physical activity, so I have to stay prepared. You never know when your kids might get distracted long enough to do a jumping jack or push up or clean the garage. I usually start each day by sticking the boys in a stroller and taking them for a 2 1/2 mile walk. This is my primary form of exercise and how I maintain my manly figure. I love physical activity with the kids, but I also appreciate those moments when I can get away for 20 minutes to run by myself or lift weights in the garage. I don’t want to spend money on a gym or ask people to watch my kids while I work on my squats. It’s fun to find creative ways to get exercise and keep the whole family active. You don’t have to pack into the vanity charged gyms to stay in shape. There are a million ways to workout that are free. All you need to do is look in your back yard. Either way, even if you never get to work out, you still get to look cool and comfortable in your workout clothes.
Stay On Schedule
This is especially important if you have little ones that take naps. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to get something done while you have a kid crying and grabbing at your feet. Having a schedule can be a huge life saver. I know exactly when the kids will get up, want to play outside, eat their meals, take a nap, poop, eat some more, and so on. A schedule is actually hard work to establish, but once you have it down, life becomes a piece of cake. Because of our schedule, I have time to do chores, take a nap, write, call my mom, take a nap, play video games, kiss my wife, work out, or even take a nap.
Get Off Schedule From Time To Time
It doesn’t take long to get bored with doing the exact same thing over and over again. It can drive you nuts having to look at the same walls, drive the same routes, and go through the motions day in and day out. You might even be doing your kids a disservice by not teaching them how to be spontaneous. Sometimes I think it’s good to change location. I like taking the kids to walk around the mall. We can have lunch and there is a bouncy house park there, too. It costs about 8 bucks and the kids can run free and get some energy out. Here in the Austin area, there are tons of places to take your kids to play. Sometimes we go to Ikea just to get lost walking around. Going to the grocery store can even break up the monotony. The only downside is when you miss that opportunity to get the little ones down for a long nap. There is nothing worse than when they fall asleep for the last 5 minutes of the ride home. At that point you have a 50/50 chance of getting them to go back to sleep. Sometimes it’s best to stay where you are until they wake up. Don’t touch them or move them. Otherwise, you run the risk of dealing with a tired, crying 2 year old that cannot be helped.
Make Your Home Awesome
On my back porch, I have a custom cabinet with a TV and a mini fridge. My TV is hooked up to a wireless cable box, a blue ray player and a Roku. The mini fridge is always stocked with beer and cokes. I also have a huge bucket full of toys inside this cabinet. At any given moment, my buddies can come over to hang out and watch whatever, have a tasty beverage, and watch the kids play. I have taken great pains to make sure that my house is not just fun for the kids, but awesome for the adults too. There are more times that you need to stay home and take care of your family than times you can get away for some adult fun (or at least there should be). So I say make your house a cool place to hang out. I have another good buddy that lives on 5 acres and has a horse. His place is great for grilling outside while watching football. The kids get to run crazy playing with sticks and rocks, like God intended. These kinds of set ups make it easy to spend time with your friends and not neglect your kids. Being able to hang out with my friends is a huge help. It’s probably my favorite hobby.
By no means am I saying sit around and get drunk while the kids are playing. But, there will be those nights when you finally get the kids to bed and all you want is an adult beverage to help you wind down. It doesn’t have to be beer or even alcohol. Sometimes I skip the beer and go straight for the ice cream. Sometimes I have a beer with my ice cream. Other times, when I feel more sophisticated, I have a glass of red wine with a bowl of olives. If anything, just have something to look forward to. If you don’t have a way to hit the reset button every night, you’re going to have a hard time getting up every morning. I think it’s good to have a guilty pleasure that helps you forget how crazy your kids have made you.
No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behavior, and I’m not talking about the kids. Their behavior is always normal.