There are a few very important things to remember... (in no particular order)
The time you once had for yourself is no longer there. You chose to be married and to have kids, they come first, always. That is not a bad thing. It is a true blessing to be a wife and a mom. We just have to find things to do around our homes to have a few moments to renew our patience, and relax a bit. I personally like to hide in my room and fold laundry while watching a t.v. show, or take a bath, or read quietly on my bed. I also like to clean in a room that is not occupied by others. All of those activities gives me a little productivity mixed with some space to think. ( I also like the occasional weekend where the kids stay at grandma and grandpa's house ;0)
It is important remember that our children are not a burden, but a joy. Sometimes I feel short tempered with my kids. Often when I look at the reason I feel that way, it has to do with some perceived denial of something I feel entitled to at the time. For example, freedom from redonkulous games of 1000 questions, or the ability to use the bathroom, not only alone, but, without someone hollering at me through the wall about someone else infringing on their right to privacy or some other such nonsense. We moms have to remember that our time is no longer our own, and just as our children will likely not go off to college in diapers, we will also not have their continual questions and the ability to be their hero forever. We are lucky to be entrusted with the care and nurturing of tiny people, who will one day be grown up and on their own. We have a limited amount of time to love on them and dote on them and teach them. We teach them to have a servants heart by demonstrating our own ability to lay down our desires to accommodate their needs. I have to remind myself often, I don't think dying to self comes naturally to most of us, but with time and continual practice we can get better at it. My husband has an honest gift in this department. He has the ability to see the kids as entertaining, comical, and a source of joy. He actually comes by it naturally and I find myself envious of that trait, because it doesn't come so naturally to me. :0)
You can have fun while staying home with your kids. I find myself feeling shorter tempered, more easily agitated, and finding less joy in the little things, when I am on the run. I have found it to be better to plan outings in one or two days during the week, if possible. I try not to have to leave the house for appointments as much as possible. Sometimes having foster kids can add to the struggle to stay at home, I have asked therapists and CASA workers, caseworkers, and skills trainers, come to the house, whenever possible. I try to schedule doctor and dental check-ups for more than one kid in the same day. I would like to say I am consistently good at this, but it is not always possible. I also try not to commit to outside activities that are not necessary. When you are trying to train new children on how to behave, it really makes things hard on them (and you) if you are always dragging them around outside of the home. Once the skills are attained at home, then I will make more outings to practice the same skills in a variety of social settings. I just find that being home is an easy step to having a less chaotic life. Kids like board games, coloring, play-doh, tag, hide and seek, bike riding, snuggling up on the couch for a good story, or other home based activities; as much as a trip to the park, or other outing.
Your husband deserves your time and attention, even if you are tired. If you have the privileged of being a stay at home mom, you need to show you appreciation to your husband for his hard work, which allows you to do just that. Even if you help with some kind of side job or other means of income, your husband still deserves to feel appreciated. The number one complaint from husbands seems to be that their wife, who once thought he hung the moon, is now devoting ALL of her time and energy on the children and he feels neglected. This ladies, is a sad state of affairs, one we all have likely participated in. I have found that much like the flowers or compliments we love to receive from our hubby, he appreciates small acts of kindness to him. A nice warm bath, with attention paid to him, or an "at home spa day" complete with foot saok, calf massage, and back/shoulder rub with yummy smelling oils are great too! They really enjoy it when you take the time to show interest in something they are really in to, even if it's football or NASCAR, or fishing (if you are lucky, he will bait your hook and remove slimy fish for you too!) My point is, it doesn't take a lot. My husband is really happy to get special attention, just for him. I feel good too! It is amazing how wonderful it feels to give a gift of time or service to my husband and see his face light up. After nearly 14 years, he still needs to know that he is the hanger of the moon and stars....
Children want to feel special too. All of them..... It doesn't matter if you have 2 children or 15 or somewhere in between, they ALL desire some one on one attention with Mom (and Dad). If you homeschool, a lot of time is given in the day to their education and interests. They will enjoy time with you, especially if you make sure they know you are enjoying time with them. Each of my kids has a special talent around the house, and I make sure they know that I see their talent and appreciate it. One of my kids likes to cook, and is quite good at it. One of my kids is fantastic at reading to little ones and keeping their interest. One of my kids is really happy to do housework along side of me. One is really great at helping remind the 2 year old to use the potty. One is great at stacking random things and knocking them over! Woot ! Woot!
(Well, he is only 2 :0) All of those talents lighten my load in one way or another. I try to make sure the kids know I notice, and that I am truly grateful.
See, not so hard, right? We will all inevitably mess up on one or more of these skills. That is OK. We just have to try again, practice again, sacrifice our natural comforts and tendencies, in order to create a loving and nurturing home enviornment for the people we love the most. They deserve it, so do you :0)
How do you make your family feel special? What do you do to take a moment out for yourself?