HOW TO BE THE BEST STAY AT HOME PARENT
I am not a mom, but I once said to my mom, "You were the best stay at home mom. I had so much fun" and my new mother cousin said, "How do I get my kid to say that to me in 20 years?" So here's what my mom did.
- •Get a degree in education.My mom went to Emporia State University, which used to be nicknamed "The Teacher's College" because like 99% of their students were education majors or something.
- •Be a lifeguard at a pool during the summers in high school and college.My mom is a bonkers great swimmer. I never took swim lessons because my mom knew how to teach me herself. She also taught a lot of her nephews how to swim when they were very little.
- •Be a nanny in college [and beyond]My mom was a nanny in college. She took a break. She taught for a couple years. She had a kid. She nannied again. She had another kid. She nannied again. Before I was in preschool, my mom was nannying a couple different families and I always got to hang out with the kids and it was so cool.
- •Marry someone who will come home from work and devote his or her time to hanging out with the kids so you don't get burnt out.I figured my dad needs a shout out here in this mom-centric list.
- •Ok, now you're prepped to be a mom. Here's what you do once the kids are old enough to remember what you did for them:
- •Two words: craft. box.The perfect craft box should be one of those giant Tupperware boxes. It should include construction paper, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, glitter, glue, glitter glue, scissors, hole punches, markers, colored pencils, crayons, pastels, water colors, water color paper, finger paint supplies, and stencils at the bare minimum.
- •Bake with your kids.Cakes, cookies, bread, whatever. It doesn't have to be colorful kid stuff, either. I loved making carrot cake and banana bread and plain biscuits with my mom. Cooking is also fun, too, but it doesn't always take as much time as baking does.
- •Go on tours of the city where you live.This was the coolest thing my mom did. When she was at a loss for what to do, she would load my brother and I in the car and show us her favorite parts of Kansas City. I got to learn a lot about the city and she wasn't afraid to show us beautiful things in the more sketchy parts of town, so I wasn't afraid of those parts of town when I got older.
- •Explore parks that you have to drive to.Everyone gets bored with the parks by their house. Go to all the cool ones with other fun equipment to play on.
- •Don't hover.I built a vivid imagination because I played by myself a lot. I didn't want to play Barbies with my mom, and I'm sure she didn't want to play Barbies with me. I spent a lot of time in my room making up dances to my favorite songs while my mom watched TV or read the paper. Don't be afraid to tell your kids to go away.
- •Let your kids watch TV.I don't get why some people don't. Tv is great. I had virtually no restrictions on how much tv I watched and I turned out great.
- •Listen to music you like in the car and watch movies you like on rainy days.Because of my mom, I love and appreciate Billy Joel and The Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel, among others. I also used to rent "Now and Then" from the library all the time on rainy days because my mom introduced me to it. She introduced me to a ton of great films I never otherwise would have seen.
- •But also watch tv your kids likeMost cartoons are still pretty funny for adults! Disney has gone way downhill, so stick to Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network. Or show them cartoons you used to watch on Netflix!
- •Seek out lunch deals.A radio station in KC called 101 the Fox used to do $1.01 lunches at different restaurants as a promotional deal. Sometimes in the summer, my mom would pick me up from swim team practice and take me to these lunches. Cheap and fun!
- •Visit old people, spontaneously.Sometimes we would just drop by my grandparent's house (conveniently near lunch or dinner time, to see if they would take us out to eat. My mom definitely taught me some useful life skills here.) or my mom's grandma's house. Old people love that stuff.
- •When you take your kids to the grocery store, only cave into what they pull off the shelves 1/10 of the time.It made the occasional times where I did get to get that candy bar or box of cosmic brownies so freaking exciting.
- •Hug often.This is obviously not exclusive to stay at home moms, but there is nothing like a mom hug. When I broke my toes at work (I was a counselor at a day camp) last summer, my boss, a mom herself, gave me a great mom hug and said "I'll give you a hug since your mom can't be here" and it was such a nice thought, but I didn't heal all the way until I got a mom hug from my actual mom a couple months later.
- •I'm sure there are other important things that mom did, but these are all the ones I can think of. ❤️