I’m 3.5 months into my new gig as an at-home mom (I purposely remove the word “stay” from “stay at home mom”) and I have learned a lot about myself and my kids in that amount of time. While it still feels like a vacation compared to the rat-race of my working-mom-life, I can easily see how and why many stay-at-home moms become lonely, exasperated, and frustrated. I have already had my fair share of days where I felt at least one, if not all, of those emotions. Being home with my children is one of the best gifts I have ever received. But just like any valued treasure, their is maintenance and care that comes with it. One of the things I quickly figured out is how important it is for my girls and I to get out of the house every single day. Here are 5 benefits I’ve found.
Change of Scenery
This is kind of a no-brainer but cabin-fever is a real thing. Your kids are more likely to feel it and turn into mini versions of Jack Nicholson in The Shining before you do, just without the ax (hopefully). Getting them out of the house will give everyone involved a much needed change of scenery and help prevent tensions from rising. I’m at my worst as a mom when we’ve been home too long; the girls get at each other’s throats and I lose my crap. It’s not good. Also, there’s a huge bonus if the place you venture to has lots of good people-watching opportunities.
You may not think so, but your kids learn something everywhere you go – even if it’s only to the Mothership. Our little ones absorb their surroundings, take them in, and find a way to apply their new experiences to their lives and what they already know. Getting them out of the house exposes them to new situations and environments. Plus, learning is exhausting and exhausted kids take good naps and/or sleep well at night (bonus!).
I mean, if there’s no one home then there’s no one to make a mess, am I right? My favorite days are the ones where we leave after breakfast and don’t come back until lunch (or after if I’m feeling
lazy generous and we eat out). There’s no mess for me to have to clean up which means I can put them down for their naps and relax (and by “relax” I mean tackle my never-ending to-do list).
Sense of Purpose
I don’t know about you but I absolutely feel like I have more of a sense of purpose when I get dressed and leave the house – even if getting dressed is a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, mom-bun, and no make-up. Sitting around all day (and by “sitting around” I mean trying to keep children alive while maintaining some semblance of sanity) can really have an impact on how you feel about yourself. I have found that if I give myself a task away from home every day – even if that task is “get a pink drink and go to the playground” – I feel like I’ve accomplished something.
Sure, there’s lots of fun to be had at home, but my girls have the most fun when we go somewhere they enjoy. I enjoy watching them have fun. Nothing melts my heart more than when my 2.5 year old looks up at me and says “It’s fun today!” while we’re out. Recently, I was (what I felt like was) dragging her in and out of stores doing some shopping after taking some blog photos; I thought for sure she was going to be miserable but she held my hand and told me in her toddler words that she was having a great time. Your kids might surprise you and if they hate where you took them, leave. It’s that simple.
>> Related: How We Enjoy Summer Without Leaving Home
So, we obviously aren’t rolling in the dough over here so it’s not like we can go on lavish outings every day so my favorite, cost-effective places for taking my girls are:
- Playground. Free! There’s lots of good ones around us so we alternate which one we visit. The downside is that it’s super hot during the summer so we always go in the morning on park days. We try to go a couple times per week.
- Library. Free! They enjoy looking for books, playing with the toys on the wall, coloring, and using the kids computers. Our library is great and while we haven’t made it to any events yet, there’s always something going on there. We go every 2 weeks.
- Splash Pads (in the summer). Free! Well, some of them cost money but a lot of them don’t! Splash pads are a great way for kid to run off their energy while staying cool and tiring themselves out.
- Mall. Free/Cheap! The mall can be free if you stick to the indoor playground and window shopping/people watching. My mall has a train that rides around the ground floor and some Chuck. E. Cheese’s-type quarter rides, too. So we only spend a few bucks. When I’m feeling like the best mom ever, we have lunch at Chick-fil-a in the food court. Plus, there’s AC in the summer and heat in the winter! Just don’t forget your hand sanitizer for when they’re done playing.
- Chuck E Cheese’s. Cheap! I’ve found that getting there at the beginning of the week right when it opens is the best because it’s still clean and there’s no one there. I spend only $5-$10 in tokens when we go and the kids love it. We go every two weeks, alternating between the library. Same as above, don’t forget the hand sanitizer.
- Target. Duh. Enough said.
How often do you get out of the house? Where are your favorite places to go? Tell me below!