Be Happy as a Stay-at-Home Mom {Loving Home Life + Staying Busy}

Inside: How to be a happy stay-at-home mom. When you’re dealing with homemaking and caring for children, you can sometimes be bored and overwhelmed all at once. Let’s fix that.

Even if you’ve always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, the reality of it can sometimes seem… disappointing. It’s a job with no positive feedback, no time off, and no peer companionship.

A detailed close-up of a kitchen windowsill with a pitcher of flowers, an open journal, and a glass of water, with a soft natural light.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t thrive and find happiness when you’re home full-time. You can, and you should. Here’s how.

What You’ll Learn

  • How to structure your day: You need a mix of purposeful work + relaxation.
  • How to enjoy your work: How to love what has to be done
  • Why you’re unhappy: It’s usually NOT because you’re working too hard.
  • Balancing childcare + housework: Why it’s okay not to entertain your kids all day.

1. Set Goals

Research shows that the key is happiness is the achievement of short-term goals. Not love, money, or power. Weird, right? Let’s work with it. Set some short-term goals!

be a happy stay at home mom scene with a planner in front of window

One thing that women miss when they leave their job is praise and a sense of accomplishment. When you do a good job at paid work, you often get a raise, a promotion, or at least a compliment. When you do well as a stay-at-home mom, you get… nothing.

Make them specific and actionable. This means you have to know when you’ve achieved them, and you have to be in control of how you achieve them.

When will you decide that you’ve “learned”? For example, the goal “learn to knit” is not specific. No, set something like “knit a dishcloth by summer.”

Similarly, don’t set a goal that you aren’t in specific control of. A goal like “win a sweater-knitting competition” is outside your control.

A better goal would be: make a fisherman’s sweater by Christmas that uses three kinds of yarn.

But don’t go writing things down to write things down. These goals have to be things you care about, that you really want, or else you’re wasting your time.

2. Create a Routine for Yourself

Another problem that stay-at-home moms face is boredom. Of course, they are busy and have a lot of responsibilities. But it’s easy to mismanage your time and not get a lot done during the day. It’s hard to be disciplined when no one is watching over you. It becomes all too easy to wake up, sit around, look at stuff on your phone, and put off what needs to be done.

The solution? Give yourself some much-needed structure.

A bright kitchen scene with a teapot on the counter, jars of ingredients, and a lush garden view from the window.

Set up a morning routine, a weekly routine, and an evening routine.

These don’t have to be elaborate! Start small with a few commitments to yourself. Pick two or three of the following:

  • Be awake by 6:30 every morning
  • Pick a day of the week to make a freezer meal
  • Tidy the house for fifteen minutes before going to bed
  • Do a load of laundry every day
  • Go grocery shopping and make a meal plan every Sunday

Once you see how productive you feel with a little more structure in your life, you’ll likely want to add more and more.

3. Create Routines for Your Children

Now, of course, you aren’t the only one in the house who needs structure. There are all these little people. And they have a lot of needs and feelings that conflict with your own.

And if we’re trying to set routines and goals, we won’t get very far if the kids aren’t on some kind of routine.

A cozy living room with plush blue sofas, a roaring fireplace, and an array of green houseplants.

Schedules for children often get a bad reputation for being restrictive. But they are not. Kids thrive with a little structure, just like adults do. Obviously, this is very personal, and I can’t give you the exact routine your family will do well on.

Here are some ideas:

  • Set a wind-down routine of baths and a book for everyone under 8.
  • Try an early afternoon quiet time. Non-nappers can read or play quietly
  • Enforce a nightly clean-up of all toys
  • Start a Saturday night movie night as a reward for good behavior during the week.

The important thing is not to wake up every morning with no idea of how the day is going to go. Because I can tell you that if you do, it won’t go well.

4. Get Fresh Air and Sunlight

It’s easy to forget how much our surroundings affect our contentment. Being cooped up in a dark, stuffy, messy house is a recipe for misery.

If your house is naturally dark, don’t despair. Find the sunniest corner and set up a chair for yourself. Follow the sun around the house, spending the mornings in places that face east, and evenings in places that face west.

Get in the habit of opening your curtains every morning and on nice days, open the windows.

If none of this is possible, make sure you get out for some light and air. This doesn’t mean running out to go shopping. Just get outside, even if it seems like a pain.

5. Make Home Your Happy Place

If you can’t be content being at home, you’ll always be a stressed-out mom. (Besides the fact that you’ll be spending all of your family’s money.)

Running from Target to Starbucks to the gym just because you can’t stand your own house is no way to live.

A comfortable reading nook with a blue armchair, wooden side table, and bookshelf filled with books, beside a window with greenery outside.

Motherhood for a stay-at-home mom can feel dark and lonely, and I know how tempting it is to dash out for a shopping trip. And there are some times when you should!

But at the same time, being home with your children is your life right now. You have to set up your home in a way that makes you happy.

The best way to do this;

  • clean
  • declutter
  • be busy
  • find home-based hobbies

6. Get Dressed Every Day

Your physical appearance has a huge effect on your mood. There is something deeply depressing about staying in your pajamas all day. I know it might seem relaxing, but it’s gross, and it will make you feel gross.

When you’re a stay-at-home mom with no set work hours, it’s tempting to start your day in your pajamas and then get dressed…later. But I highly encourage you to set a deadline time by which you have to be dressed.

If you can manage to do your hair and makeup, that’s even better.

But at the very least, be clean, presentable, and dressed. It’s good for your mood. Honestly.


It’s all too easy to fall back on bad habits. Consider focusing on one of these for a few weeks until it becomes second nature, then moving on to the rest.

7. Work Hard

Have you ever gone shopping for furniture and noticed that some chairs are more comfortable than others? And after an hour or so of comparing, lounging, and being picky, only certain chairs seem good enough.

But if you walk around a city for five hours, it feels great to sit down on a concrete step.

In general, the more you lounge around and think about what you want, the unhappier you will be. If your baseline level of existence is doing nothing, you’ll need to be one level above that to be happy.

If your baseline level of existence is hard work, you’ll suddenly enjoy doing nothing. Relaxing with a cup of coffee, even with children everywhere, feels like a luxury. It’s like magic.

Now, hard work can be anything. Exercise, cleaning, cooking, gardening, painting a fence. Whatever.

Just do not, under any circumstances, sit around all day, thinking it will make you happy. It will do quite the opposite.

8. Don’t make your children your whole world

Wait, didn’t we just say that being at home with your kids is your world right now? And so it is.

But focusing all your energy on your children is unhealthy for you and them.

Of course, taking them to the playground and story hour is lovely. Playing with them, reading to them, and buying them toys are all great things.

But there are times when you need to do your own thing. They can watch, help you, or just play independently.

You are a stay-at-home mom to care for your children, but not just to care for them. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to constantly stare at them, entertain them, rock them, or chat with them.

Just let them be sometimes. You need a break, and so do they.

9. Learn to Love Cooking

Making dinner is a big part of the stay-at-home mom’s life. You can hate it and complain about it, or you can learn to love it.

A rustic kitchen scene with a cooking stove, orange pumpkins on the counter, and a bright floral arrangement by the window.

If you say you don’t like to cook, here are some ways to turn that attitude around:

  • Make food you like. When you cook things that aren’t appetizing to you, it’s sort of miserable.
  • Make a meal plan. Thinking of what to make is half the battle. Get it done upfront, and dinner won’t seem like such a chore.
  • Lose the crazy expectations. Not every meal has to be a big production.

10. Schedule Time to Relax

Motherhood is hard work. Managing your home and life is hard work. Everyone deserves a break, including you.

Make sure you schedule a time to take that break so that you can do so without guilt.

You’re doing a great job.


What’s the best schedule for stay-at-home moms?

It’s the one you create yourself. You can read more about how to time block your week as a homemaker and the homemaker’s daily schedule.

How often should moms get a break?

You should have quiet time to yourself before the kids wake up, after they go to bed, and for at least an hour in the afternoon.

More Resources You’ll Love

All of these articles will help you build out your home atmosphere and your routines even more so you’re as successful as possible.

And remember that being happy is a big topic that takes more than a few articles to fix.

Helpful Tools for Moms

A serene bedroom with a lamp on a nightstand, a cozy bed, and a window with a view of a peaceful landscape painting.

If you are feeling cranky and miserable, I understand. And if you read this and don’t know where to start, I’ll leave you with this. Every morning, get dressed and look nice by 8 am. Start a load of laundry, clean the kitchen, and send the kids to clean their rooms after breakfast. See if your day gets off to a better start. I hope it does, and I hope you keep layering on more of these strategies until you find yourself where you want to be.

Be Happy as a Stay-at-Home Mom {Loving Home Life + Staying Busy}

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  1. If you have a hard time learning to enjoy cooking, try putting on a playlist you enjoy, have flowers in the kitchen, and/or try new recipes.

  2. I’ve been following your posts on Pinterest for awhile (and now get your emails). I like your kick-in-the-pants approach. 😉 When my kids were younger I did need to give myself more grace about sometimes staying in our PJs all day, etc. But as they’ve gotten older, I have implemented more and more of these suggestions with good results. I was never a morning person, but in the past few years I’ve learned to love those early morning quiet hours before the kids get up. I try to go for a walk then too, while the neighborhood is still asleep, which gives me a dose of nature and fresh-air first thing in the morning… it’s better than coffee! I think, as you point out at the end of the post, that these are habits we grow into by God’s grace over the course of months and years. Thanks for all the hard work you do creating this site… it has encouraged me many times. 😊

  3. Thank you for sharing! I am awake between 4:30 and 5 a.m. every morning and it is my absolute favorite time of day! I am an autistic adult who is easily overstimulated and overwhelmed by my two wild boys (ages 9 and 13), but it is my time to reflect and meditate on what my goals are for the day, whether it is regards to upkeep of our apartment or educational because my boys are homeschooled. It comes pretty natural for me to wake up so early because I was raised on a farm, but it is very comforting to know that in a world of Mama’s that I feel like I “fit in,” because we all go through Motherhood on the rollercoaster of emotions that we sometimes experience daily and it is not just because I am autistic! 🙂

  4. you have so many wonderful ideas here. im an empty nester and your ideas apply ro me! wish you had a book with everything in it!

  5. Katie, I just admire your mindset with regards to these topics.
    I resonate and agree wholeheartedly! 4 years in and I’ve only just found my footing.. Don’t give up. It will come naturally, if you persist.

  6. This is a wonderful article! I wish every new moth7e6y54 (that was my cat’s contribution to this comment)….I wish every new mother could see this post before her maternity leave is up. It’s been 18 years since I’ve had a child at home. It was the most wonderful, fulfilling years of my life, but as you say, we are not recognized for all that we accomplish like we were when we had a paying job. Setting goals, as you pointed out, can help us feel good. I find a simple daily To Do List where I put check marks by the task when accomplished really helps.