The 7 things necessary to my survival as a SAHM

I spent two years working outside the home after my son was born. When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I transitioned to staying at home with the kids. 10991396_10102912196401984_2353288088102459475_n

That is when I learned exactly what I needed to survive. These are not wants. These are not luxuries. These are the needs that, when fulfilled, keep me a sane woman.

While many items on this list may apply to any parent, I can definitively say that they ring truer than ever now that I’m a SAHM.

1. I need to decompress.

It used to be that I had a lovely 40-minute commute from work to day care. Now, it is rare that I am ever in a car by myself. When that commute disappeared, so did my daily wind-down. After a day of changing diapers and chasing after children who somehow got a hold of the permanent marker AGAIN, I need 10 minutes at the end of the day to sit alone in peace … and maybe play Candy Crush.

2. I need to eat a meal alone.

Just one meal a week. One. It can be lunch on Saturday or dinner on a Tuesday during which my husband tends to all the kids’ needs. I just need one meal every week during which I can take the time to taste my food instead of inhaling it while making PB&Js and trying to keep the baby from giving hers to the dog.

3. I need to have adult conversation.

I have found myself making up back stories for characters in Disney movies. I even made a list that ranked the Disney leading male characters based on who is most likely to be gay. (Aladdin, in case you were curious. A vest, capris and a knack for singing show tunes? Totally gay – and rocking it, BTW.)

If this doesn’t point to how much I desperately need to talk to adults about adult subjects and use adult words, I don’t know what would.

4. I need quality one-on-one time with each of the kids.

It is unbelievably easy to just go into autopilot during the week. We have a solid routine from which I dare not stray because it works. Yet it leaves me little time to just focus on one child and his or her needs. I need to be able to do a puzzle uninterrupted with my son. I need to teach my daughter her colors and letters. I worry that my relationship with my children will be affected if I ignore their need for “mommy and me” time.

5. I need to exercise. Alone.

Those at-home workouts are great, but they are constantly interrupted by two little creatures who think it’s fun to jump on my back as I do push-ups. Running after the kids, picking them up and holding both of them while going up the stairs is certainly a workout, but it won’t help me de-stress. I need to be in the gym, on my own, sweating out the previous day’s worries.

6. Speaking of alone, I want to be alone in the house.

Nearly impossible, I know, but just once a month, being alone in my own house is magical. I can get some work done, do some cleaning, or – my personal favorite – park my ass on the couch and binge-watch Netflix while eating the food I don’t want to share with the kids.

7. I need to know my partner cares.

Cares about what I’m doing during the day. Cares about my needs. Cares about my current state of mind. Just checking in during the day with a “How’s it going?” means so much. That little sentiment is helpful even if the day is a disaster and I want to melt into the floor and remain there as a puddle that he will have to mop up when he gets home.

These are my needs. Some days, I wish I would have had the foresight to somehow work them into a contract before we had kids. But most days, I can recognize how lucky I am to have a partner who knows just how important it is to help me turn these needs into reality.

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Kate Meier

Kate Meier

I'm Kate. My hair is always in a ponytail and I know most shows on PBS Kids by heart. My house nor my two kids are ever really clean. Writing is my catharsis and currently my meal ticket. I found my first gray hair recently and attribute it to sleepless nights and the constant fear of screwing up my 4-year-old and 21-month-old children.