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With two years’ service under my belt in my current position, it’s been a revelation that I’m actually in possession of the highly sought after thing called ‘Job satisfaction’.

I say job, but what I am talking about is being a stay at home parent. So actually, the total opposite of having a job. Well, on paper anyway.

Anyway, I digress.

So given this was a life decision initially made for me as opposed to ‘by me’, and certainly not part of ‘the plan’, it was somewhat of a step into the unknown. A leap of faith. People weren’t sure I could do it. I wasn’t sure I could do it. And, I hear over and over again from friends, family and ex-colleagues ‘I’m not sure I could do it’.

But guess what, I’m totally in the swing of things. I have it sussed, and here’s how you can too.

1. Live in the moment. Be here now – just like Liam and Noel once said. It’s pretty refreshing to stop worrying about what’s going to come next and just think about how great things are today. Get down on your hands and knees and soak up those tiny playmates before they are stinky teenagers wanting nowt to do with you.

2. Stick on the spandex. I’m on about exercise Mama, and yes – I’m talking to you. Don’t panic, it’s going to be a revelation that it actually equals precious you time, listening to your fave tunes and getting out of those four walls ALONE. More appealing already eh? The endorphins will do wonders for your mood and energy levels, and once you get a sweat on (or maybe get it washed off) you’ll be pretty damn proud of yourself.

3. Be every version of you. Yes, you are Mum, but remember once you were a hot girlfriend, an adoring wife, an awesome sister, a dependable daughter, a fun loving friend, the coolest ever Auntie, and more. That’s still you by the way, so reconnect with all of it and don’t let that chick go.

4. Do stuff! Someone once told me the best way to survive maternity leave is to leave the house every day – even if it’s to post a letter. I’d extend that beyond that year and then some. No one wants to die of boredom, or be a prisoner in your own home with only Mr Bloom for company. Check out the cheap / free stuff going on in your area and scribble out a timetable to stick on the fridge amongst the #crapcraft. Sure, have the odd day at home, but get those tots out as often as you can to breathe some fresh air (and drink tea / let it all out with other Mums).

5. Do nothing. Balance out doing loads of stuff with a whole lot of nothing. No Mum / kid wants to get to bedtime in an exhausted mess after navigating two play groups and a picnic lunch between two school runs. Say no occasionally and balance a morning out with a lazy afternoon or vice versa. Allow yourself some time to chill indoors with those thousands of toys you have accumulated. The kids need it, and you need it.

6. Surround yourself with like-minded folk. There are other people out there just like you, and you won’t have to venture far to find them (See #4). It’s hard at first but if you can sniff out the Mum with the same love of craft / coffee / Colin Farrell as you, your days will be brighter. It might mean kissing a few frogs, but your new BFF is out there just waiting to meet you.

7. Get a project on the go. Plan a charity coffee morning, start thinking about the next big event on the horizon, or even get involved with what your next home project might be. How are you going to make it happen? Who are you going to involve? It’s a totally rewarding thing to see something come together off of your own efforts, so get thinking and use this time to make a difference. You could join a local steering committee or be a parent rep for your local children’s centre. Start a campaign; What’s missing in your community? Maybe there’s a gap that you can help fill.

8. Mix things up. A little spontaneity goes a long way. Maybe ditch one of your regular weekday toddler hangouts and arrange a meet up with an old colleague. Sod the jam sandwiches and cheese sticks and request a table for two (one highchair) in Nandos. You don’t have to blow the budget, but make today memorable if it feels like lately the weeks are blending into one.

9. Be amazed. It’s easy to get caught up in the washing, cooking, cleaning…but remember why you’re here. Watch, photograph and write about milestones and magical memories. Smile, laugh, play and above all try to have fun.

Just pairing up a few black socks… #sahm #laughingatmyownjokes #pbloggers #mbloggers #laundry #socks #widn

A photo posted by MUM|MUDDLING|THROUGH (@mummuddlingthrough) on

10. Remember the bad days at work. It’s all too easy to look back with ‘rose tinted glasses’. Ah, the pub lunches, the coffee breaks, the banter…but do you remember the commute? The panic of being late again? The endless admin? That guy who majorly got your back up. Every. Single. Day. Do you remember the screech of the alarm clock at 5.30 and the Sunday night sinking feeling? Celebrate my friend, for we are our own bosses, and this year we deserve a big fat bonus (It’s called a takeaway on Friday night).


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