[Do you wish you felt happier as a mom? Mom life can be challenging, but it is possible to be a happy stay at home mom. Read on to learn how!]
Have you ever felt like there just isn’t enough time in the day to fit in all of the things that need to get done, plus find time for yourself and the things that you love to do, mama?
My guest today, Reagan Barnes of Momivate, shares with us some amazing stay at home mom tips and a unique and creative idea that will help you carve out time for yourself so you can thrive and be a happy stay at home mom.
You can also listen to this conversation on iTunes, Spotify, or your preferred podcast platform.
[Disclaimer: The information shared is from personal experiences and/or research. We’re not medical professionals. We share in hopes that it will help you tap into new insights and inspire you. Everything shared is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Always seek the guidance of a trusted health professional for your unique journey.]
[Please Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that Soul Care Mom may receive a small commission if you click through and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Please see disclaimers for more information.]
Hi there, soulful mama. Welcome to the Soul Care Mom Podcast.
I’m Catherine Wilde of soulcaremom.com. I’m a mom of three amazing kids, a Soul Care Mom Coach, and a yoga and meditation teacher.
I’ve helped hundreds of women, and I’m here to help you feel calm and find your unshakeable confidence as a mom. If you’re ready to stop living in survival mode and you’re ready to drop the mom guilt and overwhelm, this podcast is for you.
Think of this as a lunch date with a girlfriend. Grab a cup of tea and get cozy. It’s time to get honest and vulnerable and shift the traditional mindset around motherhood. Be sure to subscribe to be the first to know when new episodes are released. Get ready to grow and feel empowered as a mom. I’m here for you, mama. Let’s get started.
Hi, Reagan. Thank you so much for joining me today.
It is my pleasure. I really been looking forward to this. Thank you for the opportunity.
How To Be A Happy Stay At Home Mom
You have such a unique idea to share with us. So I’m really excited to talk with you about that. And you are also a mom of eight, which is incredible in itself.
So yeah, let’s dive into your journey of being a stay at home mom. It’s definitely not an easy job. We wear so many hats and we’re chefs, we’re chauffeurs, we’re math tutors, we’re sometimes plumbers. And we have very little time to ourselves. So you have this really beautiful strategy for carving out space for yourself. Can you tell us a little bit about what it is and how it came about?
Yes. So as you mentioned, I have been doing all of that juggling and putting out fires for a long time. My oldest child just turned 21, and it was not very long into the mothering process that I figured out, Oh, my goodness, it feels like I’m drowning.
It feels like I can’t hardly take time to breathe, let alone when the term self care came out, I just remember thinking, okay, but if I’m busy self caring, then who’s going to care for my children? And I have this great need to be the one caring for them. I was I think based on growing up as the daughter of a single mom.
And so she always implemented the fact that she could not be our main care provider. And that attitude that she relayed to us, I think it grew a love in our hearts for her, even though we didn’t get to spend as much time with her. We knew that she missed us.
But it also grew this conviction in my heart that I would be there for my kids as much as possible. Obviously, there’s all these things outside of our control. And like in my mom’s case, her husband left, so she didn’t have that option. But I did not know what I was signing up for. I had never seen a mother in action, so to speak, because my mom couldn’t be that role model in that sense for me.
And I don’t know where my ideas of what motherhood would look like. I don’t know where they came from, but they were not accurate. I will tell you that. It became very apparent very soon into that. I’m not sure where all the different dynamics came from that made me decide I was going to stick to it, even though it was hard. But I did. And I just figured out, okay, if this is what my commitment is, then I’ve got to think, I’ve got to change my thoughts.
And it’s been such a beautiful way to learn and grow and develop. I feel like motherhood needs to evolve, so to speak. So much of society is changing so quickly with technology and things like that. But somehow motherhood got left behind. I would say maybe as long as 50 years ago, motherhood got like, thrown out with… What do they say? With the baby went with the bath water or something.
And when I developed that strong commitment to the role of motherhood, I was also developing the commitment to not just pretending there weren’t challenges, but looking those challenges in the face and saying, we can figure things out. We can use those same innovative thinking paths, and we can try to solve these problems instead of just say, well, that’s what you signed up for. Too bad for you.
So yeah, that’s where my thinking is. And I’ve always been a cheerleader for moms. I really do think that they’re sacrificing a lot to be intensive hands on moms and that they need support.
I do think that their children overall are benefiting from them being moms. For those kids to have that biological need met of having their mom accessible to them, I think is ingrained in our DNA. I do think that that’s a beautiful thing, and it’s part of that maternal instinct. But at the same time, that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. It doesn’t mean that it comes naturally.
I personally don’t feel like I have natural talent as a mother. Now that I have eight kids, I’m like, Hey, I’m getting the hang of this. It’s taking that long. That’s my background story and my goal at the same time is to really just help moms feel like, you know what? It’s awesome that you’re committed to this, but let’s make it a little more fun. Let’s make it a little easier on you. Let’s support each other as moms. And so that leads to the mom pod concept.
I picked the word pod for a few reasons, and that’ll come, I think, out as we discuss what a mom pod is. When I was running the ideas of what to call it, I asked some friends, they were like, but that sounds like a podcast. Are you doing a podcast? And I was like, well, no, that’s interesting feedback, though. So you have to be able to get past that. It’s not a podcast. So like peas in a pod.
You’ve got the casing of the pee shells, and then you’ve got the peas inside and they are in there together. So what a mom pod is, is moms working consciously together to give each other time and space while making sure their kids are still well cared for.
And it’s different than a play date. Play dates, I feel like, are child centric. We do it because we think the kids need a little social time. So yeah, the mom pod concept is revolutionary in that it’s not about the kids, so it’s not a play date. It isn’t daycare. It’s obviously going to be much less expensive than daycare is. But at the same time, you can set up the mom pod so that you might earn some income.
So it can alleviate some of those financial pains that can come from being a largely one income family. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that our society is not set up for one income families anymore. It’s not always a choice for moms whether or not they go earn an income.
Stay At Home Mom Tips
And so if we can create mom pods, though, and make them be more of an option, then I think that will help moms feel better about the process overall. Of course, the pandemic has really helped in terms of changing what the workforce looks like. So many more moms can work from home because they had to for several months. And so they can go to their employer and say, look, it worked during the shutdown, so let it keep working because that’s really ideal for me. It’s ideal for my children.
The cool thing about mom pods is you’re giving the same gift to another mom that you are getting. So it creates this beautiful unity between mothers. I actually am at my mom pod right now while I’m recording this. So yeah, my older kids are doing their older kid stuff, but my three year old and I are part of a mom pod, and that mom is in charge right now while I’m getting to record this podcast review.
So is a mom pod only two moms or is it a larger group of moms?
Well, the mom pod that I started here and participate in is just the other mom and me. We live across the street from each other. Little bit wonky there on the across the street part, but we’re very close neighbors. And she has two children, where I have only the one who participates in the mom pod. But it has worked out really well as far as timing because her one older one goes to preschool.
And so when I’m the mom in charge of kids, that’s called the kid’s mom. Then I just have the two. I have my own, plus her younger one. And then when she’s the mom in charge of kids, it’s her older one who comes home from preschool at that point. And she and my daughter buddy up real good. And then her son, he’s in that transition stage away from naps.
But sometimes he takes a nap, but it’s been a downtime for him. So it works out really well. And that’s the beauty of the mom pods is you can have this situation that you create, you determine how are we going to work this out? So it doesn’t have to fit somebody’s daycare schedule or, in fact, the other mom, Jessica’s sister came to visit a couple of weeks ago from Spain. And so it worked out just fine, right? Jessica’s just like, hey, I’m not going to do the mom pod while my sister is here from Spain.
So that was all good. And it all worked out just fine. That being said, we do think three moms is the math for a mom pod. We feel like if you have four moms, you might as well split into two mom pods just because of the figuring out of the schedules and the figuring out.
There is some paperwork to do it. We have available at our website, we have a 34 page mom pod packet is what we call it that is full of good information. It has worksheets to figure out together how to plan your time. For Jessica and me, we just do our mom pod two days a week. We do it on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I am the kid’s mom for the morning timeframe, and then we break for lunch. So we don’t do lunch together. But the worksheets that we provide as our mom of eight is the name of the organization, the nonprofit that I run.
So mom of eight provides all these worksheets for how to determine if you are going to do meals together, even evening meals, if you decide together, hey, if we’re going to be spending eight, nine, even 10 hours a day together, let’s figure out how to make it so the person whose house it’s not at still gets to go home with a meal and doesn’t have to make dinner when she gets home. So we have all these ideas for you, but it’s really personal. It’s something that you decide, you brainstorm it, you work together.
If you discover that your mom pod between the two of you that you really don’t eat similar meals, but you don’t have similar tastes, then that’s okay. Just skip out on that meal part and don’t do that, or whatever it is that’s going to make it work for you. And that’s really the end goal. What is going to work? And if we see an obstacle in our way, let’s plan around it. Let’s figure out is it a deal breaker, or is it something that is just going to have to get us thinking more outside the box, more innovatively?
I think as more moms decide they want to do mom pods, I think it would be cool if we had a Facebook page dedicated to women who are in mom pods and they can share what their experiences are. They can brainstorm together. They can come to the Facebook page with questions or concerns. And how did you handle it when whatever? Because that’s essential with motherhood on its own, let alone a mom pod. But you just have to figure out how to pivot. You’ve got to figure out how to transition.
A lot of motherhood is about transitioning because the kids are always growing, so the family dynamics are changing. And even a little thing I remember with my twins, it was such a big deal when they could finally hold their own heads up. Just that next strength made such a difference to me as the mother of twins to be able to realize, okay, meant new things. So in some ways we’re excited for those transitions. In some ways they’re good news. But in some ways then it changes. Okay, what does that mean next? What do I need to prepare for? How do I need to mentally gear up for what’s coming?
So if there’s a mom that is wanting to start this, wanting to get the support. What would her very first steps be? What would you suggest?
Well, first, download the packet. In the packet, we have sample mom pods. Some of them are based on real life circumstances. For instance, I knew a couple of ladies whose husbands both worked second shift. And so these ladies, they met at church and they had just started chatting and realized they had this similar schedule and how hard it was because that’s the end of the day.
When you are wanting to put those kids to bed, you’re just tired. So these moms realized that they could buoy each other up if they shared dinner. So the one mom would come over to the other mom’s house and dinner would be made.
And then they would switch for the next night and dinner was already made. And they noticed that for their children, it sent a signal in those kids heads because they would let the kids play and then moms would get to chat. And then about 8 PM, the moms would be like, okay, time to go home. And then, of course, the one mom was already at home. But their kids in their brains, that sent a signal, it’s time to go home, it’s time for bed. And it helped those kids wind down.
Self Care For Stay At Home Moms
And it was just to hear these moms share their experience about that was really uplifting. And it helped the moms then get through bedtime a little easier. And the moms had had that chance to rejuvenate and having that, again, that social mom time together. Even I think in their case, they were not trying to fit in something else or whatever. I think they did have a similar hobby, quilting, maybe or scrapbooking.
I don’t remember the details, but they weren’t worried necessarily about fitting in time for business. Now, in Jessica’s and my case, we do want to be getting her, in my case, a nonprofit business. In her case, she is a crafter and she sells on Etsy. So we are trying to do our mom pod to find work life balance.
But sometimes if you are just doing the mom pod just for the sake of social interaction, then by all means, that is filling that need in your soul. And that’s why I picked your podcast to request to be on it, because I love the concept of recognizing that we have souls. We are deeper beings than just our bodies.
There’s so much more to us and we need to address those needs in terms of finding the self care, realizing it’s not just about going and getting my nails done, but actually realizing what are my inner needs and how can I meet those needs?
Ready to Find More Time For Yourself?
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And I know that some days are harder than others, so you’ll even find a library of short and sweet guided affirmations so you can simply press play and reconnect with your inner calm in just minutes. Join Vibrant Mom Life today by going to soulcaremom.com/membership so you can stop running on empty and truly enjoy mom life. I can’t wait to welcome you inside, mama.
Yes. Can we talk about that a little more? So if you have your mom pod set up so that you’re getting some time to yourself, and maybe part of that can be for work, which also can be really nourishing and really filling because it gives you some other passion and some other creative avenue outside of being a mom, which I think is so helpful.
I didn’t realize that I always magnetized towards that, even in the midst of being committed to motherhood. In my brain, it never translated into, and so you can’t do anything else. Of course, I can arrange for my husband or bless my mom’s heart.
When my twins were born, my mom moved in with me and she has stayed. So I had another adult in the household for 16 years. And of course, she’s got varying degrees of interaction with my kids. It’s not like she’s a second mom. But that has meant that I’ve been able to tag team a little bit more easily, I think, than what I’ve seen in other moms situations.
And I feel like I wanted to give that gift to other moms. I wanted to say, okay, so your mom doesn’t live with you, or maybe your husband isn’t as helpful as my husband happens to be. So let’s figure out some dynamics that will help you anyways.
Mom, Take Care Of Yourself
Instead of complaining or making comparisons and then just feeling stuck in that comparison. Let’s take that you’ve noticed this because that’s what complaining is. It’s noticing. And what we have to do is move beyond that.
We can’t just stay stuck in that. Oh, I noticed that so and so has a different and better life than me or whatever. But how? Let’s ask. Let’s think creatively. How can I move forward with my own set of circumstances?
And to be able to really think that through and want that, you’ll figure it out. You will start to have the intuition come to you or inspiration. And you do have to reach out.
And we include that in our mom pod packet. I don’t know if I said that already. The mom pod packet is free and it always will be. We want moms to have access to all of these ideas, so we help you brainstorm.
How To Find Time For Yourself As A Stay At Home Mom
Who could I reach out to? For Jessica and me, we didn’t really know each other, but she had noticed that I had teenagers. And so she had reached out and said, Do you think your teenagers… I could hire them to come so I can get a few things done with my business. And my brain was like, Bingo.
This is my mom pod friend. Luckily, my teenagers are extremely busy, so they had to say no. And I could say, Oh, but I have this other idea. So that’s been a fun thing to get our mom pod up and going and feel like, Hey, this really does work. It’s a mom pod in action and it’s beautiful.
And Jessica and I get along great. And so that’s a nice part of it. You do want to make sure… But in fact, her feedback when I said, I’m trying to spread the idea of mom pods, what would your feedback be?
She was like, I think it would be cool if the moms could come into it having taken a personality test. In hers and mine case, it just happened to work out. We realized, oh, you’re easy to chat with. We have similar values and things like that. But that might be something that we add is, I don’t know, links on the website or something to some free and easy personality test so that the moms can go into it.
Not to say that, Oh, you didn’t turn out to be the same personality as me, so I can’t work with you. But just to go into it realizing, oh, she’s got a need for… some of those personality things are about being an introvert or an extrovert.
And so if you can go into it, respecting each other and just knowing ahead of time. If she’s an introvert, then her energy levels come from having time alone, where an extrovert is there more gaining the energy when they’re hanging out with people.
And it’s okay if you’re different. It’s not the purpose of the personality test to reject each other, but rather to help you unify in the process and be aware of each other’s preferences, so to speak.
Yeah. I find that those personality tests also just help me understand myself better sometimes. Which is neat.
And it can be like, oh, that’s why my brain always has a reaction like this. And once I’m aware of that, then I can handle that reaction more appropriately. If you’re aware of it, then you can use it to your advantage even.
And it has been quite the adventure to figure out how to simplify motherhood while respecting the complexity of it, because there are various facets to what mothering entails, but you don’t want to get so caught up in all of those little details that you miss out on that simple joy or being able to just meet that child’s needs just by hugging them. Sometimes you just need to simplify just that much.
I had one of those moments this morning. Yeah. It’s powerful and beautiful.
Yes. I think it’s like a seed. And I just thought of that’s how our children are, or motherhood and being a stay at home mom itself is. Right? In a sense, it’s easy. You just put the seed under the ground. You just dig into motherhood and you go for it.
But in another sense, there is a necessity to understand some of those ins and outs so that we can solve the problems. And if we are willing to at least understand some of those complexities, then I think our outcomes in general can be improved. That’s what we would want for the sake of our children, right, and as well for ourselves.
I was looking on your website, and I love the concept that you bring up of the confidence that we gain as mothers when we spend time building ourselves. And that confidence, I think, rubs off on our kids and has a positive effect on our children as well. And so it’s almost a gift that we’re giving them. But in the meantime, we’re getting to enjoy it.
Maybe what’s the saying about spreading jam? You can’t spread jelly without getting some on yourself. And I think that’s how it is with our kids. And as we experience self love , then they’re going to have that same sense of self love too.
Yeah, they’re definitely watching. And when we live authentically and we’re true to ourselves and give ourselves what we need, we’re modeling it for them and they’re definitely going to take that in, too. They’re definitely watching all the time. They love that.
Yeah. And I think it’s fair to consciously ask them for the time that you need. They then will feel like they’re contributing to your wellbeing. Sometimes we subliminally send the message to our children that they are a burden. And it comes across in various ways.
When my husband comes home from work and I’m like, Oh, my gosh, I need a break. My kids are hearing that and they’re like, A break? What? Am I a burden? You need a break? So if we can just be straightforward with our kids and say, You know what? Mommy does need to take a 15 minute nap.
So we’re just going to close the door, make sure you stay in the room and play with your toys and mom’s going to get enough or whatever it is. It’s almost like giving them the opportunity to serve us and then they will grow from that. They will feel like they’re helping mom meet her needs instead of being a burden on mom, if that makes sense.
Yeah. And we talk about, too, just like you guys need naps or quiet time, mom needs that to herself, too. And I think they understand that so much better when they can see it play out in their lives, too. And if we’re caring for ourselves, they’re going to want to emulate that. I think that’s really beautiful because it’s a win for both of us, for all of us. And I really believe that when we take care of ourselves, we thrive in all the areas of our life, including being the best mom we can be, which is what we want. What a beautiful gift to give yourself and your children.
I agree. So just as far as some other things that are in the mom pod packet, we help you in your efforts to reach out to someone. We help you brainstorm who you might know or who you could approach.
Our mom pod packet gives you ideas of how to express to her what a mom pod is, how to go to her and say, you know what, I have this idea, I downloaded this free packet. I’m really interested in creating a mom pod. These are my purposes. So going with your own purposes in mind.
And then we have it sorted for you as far as what to call each other. So like I mentioned during the morning shift, I’m the kid’s mom while Jessica gets to be the focused mom. And we talk about how to determine where to go from there.
Thank you so much for sharing this unique and creative way to help moms carve out space for themselves. Can you let us know where we can find this beautiful packet online?
Yes. So our nonprofit is called Momivate. It’s a play on the word motivate. That’s one of our goals is to motivate moms. It’s Momivate.org
That’s really beautiful. Your work is your ideas, your inspiration, and your just beautiful energy is going to help so many moms. It’s helping so many moms to feel less alone on their journey to find ways to bring self care into their lives so that they can be the moms they want to be and enjoy the whole process of motherhood, the whole journey. Thank you so much.
Thank you very much.
Thanks for joining me, Mama.
I’m over here smiling from ear to ear and giving you a big virtual hug. I love spending this time with you. You are amazing for showing up and carving out this space to nourish your soul.
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Sending you so much love, mama.
Save This Soul Care Goodness For Later!
I’m Catherine Wilde homeschool mama, yoga & meditation teacher, best selling author, and mom life coach. I believe you can feel calm and find your unshakable confidence as a mom, when you first care for yourself.