10 Ways to Achieve Balance as a Semi-Crunchy SAHM

10 Ways to Achieve Balance as a Semi-Crunchy SAHM

By Annie Smith 

Are you a stay-at-home mom? Do you feel like you are always “on the job”? (Because, well…you are!) Additionally, do you breastfeed and bed share? If so, you are my peeps! 
Being a mother is one of the most amazing gifts on the planet. It’s beautiful and special and raw…but it’s also hard! If you want to achieve some balance and sanity in your life… keep reading.

It’s become increasingly important to me to try and achieve balance as much as I can. Yes, this season of life is short…but it can FEEL long. We need to run our households, nurture and teach and enjoy our children, cultivate our relationships with our spouses, and get our hustle on…in addition to taking care of ourselves! You really can’t pour from an empty cup! 

Which leads me to my “holy grail”…

Ten Ways to Achieve Balance as a Semi-Crunchy SAHM

The Non-Schedule aka “Figure Out Your Groove with the Littles”

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Obviously, much of this will depend on the number of children you have, their ages, and your daily activities. In all honesty, this is THE first step to achieve balance in your home. Figure out what works with your littles (as far as sleep times go) and slowly fill in the gaps from there. Many people suggest putting baby on a schedule; if that works for you and your babe, go for it! (Schedules are too restrictive for me. “Just go with the flow” gives me anxiety. A loose routine is more my jam!)

For example, our current situation:

Wake up anywhere between 7:30-9:00 a.m. Lately, both 1 year old and 2 year old have been up at 8:30 on the nose {here is where you can hone your mama senses}.

I know that from the moment my children wake up, I have about a 4-6 hour window (shorter for 1 yo). During this time, we eat breakfast and nurse, then choose from the following menu:

  • Play inside
  • Play outside
  • Walk the dog
  • Go to the park 
  • Read
  • Paint
  • Water table
  • Watch TV while mommy cleans/does laundry/cooks
  • Nurse again (and again…)

If I wanted to run errands or take them on an outing, we would skip the menu and leave immediately after breakfast. This is also typically when I schedule appointments.Nap happens about 6 hours later (make sure to feed lunch beforehand) for anywhere between 1-3 hours. Lately, they’ve been knocking out around 2 p.m.

If we are at home, I usually nurse/bounce/rock them both to sleep. I will then either nap too (winning!) or do tasks that can be done from my phone/computer.

If we are out and about during the “nap window”, naps may occur in the car while driving or in the stroller while walking. 

We don’t have a set nap schedule but I know my children. I read their sleep cues and try to follow them accordingly. 

If you are struggling with a schedule, my advice would be to chuck it! Watch your littles for a few days to get a sense of their natural sleep rhythms and go from there. Experiment with nap and bedtime. Eventually, you’ll find your groove. You got this, Mama!

After nap, they have about a 5-6 hour window. During this time, we can choose from the above menu but also need to allow time for dinner, bath, and bedtime prep. Bedtime is usually 8:30/9:00 (12ish hours after wake up time.)

The beauty of this plan? Once you feel like you’ve gotten the hang of it, your littles will up and change it on you making you feel like you’ll never achieve any balance! At one point in time they were on an 11 a.m to 11 p.m. schedule. That was a rough one but we made it through!

Stay Organized

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Trust me when I say this is also key. You will save HOURS of time if you follow these tips to achieve balance in your home!

  • Put things back after you use them/keep things in the same place (keys, remote control, garage door opener, purse, coats, shoes, etc.)
  • Refill things as soon as they run out (diaper station, wipes, etc.)
  • Always have diaper bag packed and ready to go (always have an extra change of clothes for each child too)
  • Make sure you always have at least a quarter tank of gas and some cash in your wallet
  • Write down appointments, play dates, reminders, etc., on family calendar/phone calendar. Make sure your spouse/significant other also has access to these dates. Communicate!
  • Set up automatic bill pay (or a monthly reminder if you prefer not to)

Multitask

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“Well, DUH!” you might say. But, seriously, how?? 

What exactly is multitasking? If you break the word down, multi = many and task = job, so…doing many jobs. One might argue that you can (or should) only do one thing at a time…? Oye. My brain hurts. All I know is, my brain is always multitasking, even if my body isn’t exactly. 

Case in point: I like to have at least 2 or 3 things going at once. I will throw in a load of laundry and run the dishwasher while breakfast is happening. 

Walking the dog while taking the kiddos to the park and dropping off the mail counts as three tasks. Baking a cake while folding laundry and talking to a friend/family member on the phone counts as three. You follow me?

Timing is key when you want to achieve balance around dinner time. Want to cook those frozen chicken breasts for lunch? Defrost them the night before. Want to have the pot roast ready for dinner? Throw it in the crock pot first thing in the morning. Laundry and dishes piling up? Try running a load every day or every other day, depending on the needs of your family. Do chores as you go, a little at a time.

Because I breastfeed two toddlers, a LOT of time is spent on the couch, in bed, and in the van (when we’re out and about). If the littles knock out during a milk session and I am “nap trapped” (99% of  their naps), I will do things that can be done from my phone:

  • Pay bills
  • Blog-related tasks
  • Catch up on texts and emails
  • Read 
  • Watch TV/movies (love you, closed captioning!)
  • Look for recipes on Pinterest
  • Cuddle my babies
  • Sleep

Find Your Tribe and Ask for Help

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Ladies! We are all human. Sometimes, all of this just feels like it’s too much. When that happens, reach out and ASK FOR HELP. Absolutely no shame in that game! Don’t have a ton of support? Been there, done that. Support comes in many forms, though. It doesn’t just have to be grandma and grandpa.

I wish finding a tribe were as easy as dialing 1-800-be-in-my-mom-tribe. But it’s not. In my humble opinion, finding a tribe needs to be organic and may even take several years. Or not! It can be as simple as reaching out to someone who is already in your life who doesn’t know how much you need him/her. Places where possible tribe members may be that will help you achieve balance:

  • Facebook parenting groups – These are a treasure trove of resources! (Though, with anything internet related, please do your due diligence and exercise caution.) I am a part of several different groups related to parenting: car seat safety, baby-wearing, breastfeeding, moms over 40, co-sleeping parents, gentle parents, baby-led weaning, crunchy moms, and interracial families. I’m also a part of some local neighborhood groups. I’ve met some parents in person (playdates) as well as received support online in the form of advice, camaraderie, and friendship.
  • Local library – Check your local library for children’s activities. Our library has a weekly story time for littles. I met one of my tribe members there!
  • Place of worship – Whatever your faith, check out your place of worship for programs.
  • Park district – We are so fortunate to have such an amazing park district! My nuggets have been to a few classes and through them, we’ve met a few nice friends.
  • The local playground – You’ve probably started seeing some of the same kids and parents by now, yes? Try striking up a conversation with one of them. You never know where it could lead.
  • In your former life – Did you work before becoming a SAHM? Go to school? Volunteer? Dig a little deeper and reach out to people who used to (or perhaps still are) in your life. One of my dearest tribe members is a fellow teacher I met over ten years ago! 
  • Family – Do you have extended family who live nearby? Even family who live far away can be a source of support via phone calls and texts.
  • Neighbors – We are so blessed to have amazing neighbors (as well as some who aren’t, lol). Neighbors can be an incredible source of support, especially because of their close proximity! My neighbors and I have saved each other on multiple occasions from being locked out of our homes (key swap!), watched each other’s kids, and borrowed each other’s cars, as well as lending the requisite cup of sugar. My neighbor even administered my IVF shots to me a few times!
  • Anywhere – Where do you go? Grocery store? Pool? Zoo? Sometimes, we make friends without even trying (and that’s how tribe members come into our lives too).

Have a “thing” for yourself

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This one is critical. As a mom, you will most likely put the needs and happiness of your family ahead of your own. The responsibility of running a household can be overwhelming and exhausting. You might even struggle with guilt over taking time for yourself. DON’T. 

You can’t pour from an empty cup! That being said, figure out a “thing” that is yours and yours alone. Something that fills your heart with joy while allowing you to achieve balance without guilt.

Of course your priorities have changed. Your household finances, support system, time constraints, and energy level must be taken into consideration. I get it. Once you’ve waded through all of that, figure out your “thing” and start doing it! Mine is blogging, done during nap time and the wee hours of the morn.

Time for Spouse/Significant Other

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Relationships are tested to the max when children enter the mix. It’s important to take care of each other too! If you are anything like us, you:

  1. Bed share, so time alone, in bed, is pretty much nil with each other
  2. You don’t have lots of support, so “free babysitting” is almost out of the question
  3. You aren’t at a point where you’re even comfortable with leaving your littles with a sitter

Sound familiar? Still, you can carve out some time to reconnect, appreciate, and enjoy each other. How you do that as well as how often depends on the two of you. Date nights (with or without the kids), media free dinners at the table, sexy time, and evening walks are a few of our favorites. You just have to get a little creative sometimes to achieve balance within your relationship.

Ways to connect/spend time with each other:

  • Car date nights. Sounds ridiculous, but we’ve done them a few times! If you happen to be in the car together and your little ones happen to fall asleep…TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE! We have been known to head to our nearest favorite restaurant, order take out, drive back home, and eat our dinner in the car while our babies slept!
  • Movie night after the kiddos fall asleep. Some nights, after the kiddos both knock out, we settle in and watch a movie in bed. Snacks totally allowed.
  • Family walks. One of our favorite things to do is load up the kiddies into the wagon and take the dog for a walk around the park. We get to chat about our day, get some exercise, and spend a little time in nature.
  • Date night WITH the kiddos. A meal out with the kiddies is always an adventure but hey! You’ve got to do it every now and again, right? 
  • Do something kind for each other. My hubs starts work at 6 a.m. so he never sleeps in. I am a SAHM to a 1 year old and a 2 year old so…I never sleep in either, LOL. During the weekends, we often take turns letting each other sleep in.
  • Leave each other a love note/send a love text. Sometimes, just a quick “Hey, Beautiful. I hope you have a great day!” can really start off your day on a bright note. No pun intended.

We both know that this phase of life won’t last forever. In the meantime, we are content with juggling our schedules and being a little creative in how we connect and spend time together to achieve balance within our home.

Time for Kiddos

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Since you are multitasking every second of the day, it can feel like you haven’t spent time with your kids…even though you are WITH your kids. How’s that for irony? Take a few minutes to JUST BE with your littles. 

Ways to spend time together:

  • Snuggle and watch a movie
  • Read
  • Have a tickle fest
  • Play using the toys you have inside the house
  • Go outside and play, either with outdoor toys or things you find like sticks, rocks, pinecones
  • Take a walk and talk about/look at surroundings (one of our favorite games is “I see ______!”)
  • Draw with sidewalk chalk
  • Play at the playground
  • Play at a splash pad
  • Cook together
  • Draw or paint 
  • Have a dance party

I think a key component is really being PRESENT. Put the phone away, turn off the TV (unless watching TV is the activity you are doing together), and focus on your babies. Trust me, I am guilty as the next person of trying to multitask too much sometimes! But it really makes a difference.

In all honesty, I’m willing to bet your kiddos don’t care what you do together…they are just happy to have your love and attention which ultimately becomes easier and easier to achieve balance with one another.

Time for Friends

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Friendships have most likely evolved since you became a mom. That’s ok! Life is always changing and we’ve got to roll with it. Make time for the people who bring out the best in you, energize you, and get YOU. Go for drinks, dinner, a workout together…whatever floats your boat.

Some of my friendships are cross country, so we are strictly text and phone based. We often share and bounce ideas off of one another on how we achieve balance with the kids and spouse.

Get Outside

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Do you live in a cold or hot climate? Do you have a vehicle? Are there kid-friendly places nearby? How many kiddos do you have and how old are they? All things to take into consideration when you want to achieve balance with your free-time. Make sure to get outside at least a few times a week! Outside doesn’t necessarily mean out to a store or public place, it could just be your backyard. Get that Vitamin D, girl!

Give Yourself Grace

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There will be beautiful days and there will be days you bawl your eyes out. Therein lies the beauty of motherhood. It is not perfect and neither are you! There is no manual for motherhood, just as there are no experts. Only mothers who try and learn as they go to achieve balance in their home the best way they know how. You will make mistakes just as you will have moments of victory. Learn from both.

Give yourself grace, wipe those tears, and keep it moving! Learn from the mistakes of others (as well as your own) and do better next time.

You don’t have to be perfect. Just be YOU. 


If I’ve learned anything as a mother, it’s this: life is fragile and beautiful and delicate. It’s always changing and moving. In order to keep up, we’ve got to change and move with life. When I achieve balance, it helps keep me sane and happy, which, in turn, makes for a happier household. It’s not a perfect system but for now, it works for me. Hopefully, it’ll help you too!

Annie Smith Achieve Balance

Living your best mama life

Annie Smith

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