I had the privilege of staying home with my first son from day one. I still remember those early days, I went from having a fun job, a social life, and a ton of time for myself, to no outside job, no social life, and only time to take care of my new baby. I worked with children and even had a job as a full time nanny before I had my son. But nothing could have prepared me for the weight and responsibility of being a mom.

When I think about those early days, I remember how difficult it was and how much I struggled. Today though, just three years later seems like such a different story. I've learned techniques that have really helped me thrive as a stay-at-home mom. I wanted to share these with you.

For all you new moms and for all you struggling moms, I hope these tips help you learn to thrive, be happy, and be the mom that God intended for you to be!

1. Wake up early

Don't pass this one up! I know you are tired, trust me I know! I'm tired too. Waking up before the kids though has really changed how I function the rest of the day. My boys wake up and start at 60 miles an hour. Getting an hour of alone time in the morning allows me to wake up and get ready for the day physically and mentally. I use the time to read my Bible, pray, and of course drink a ton of coffee. My boys are also ready to eat the moment they get out of bed so I cut out any morning fussing or whining and get breakfast on the table before I go get them from their room. This one may be a challenge if you are not a morning person but head to bed early and set your alarm, it really will change your day and help you to thrive!

2. Get a schedule

When you are home all day, time can fly by or it can drag by. I find having a schedule not only helps your day go smoothly but it always helps you get more things accomplished. Set up a schedule that works for you and your family. This will take some trial and error if you haven't got your family on a schedule before and as your family changes and grows, your schedule will need to be changed. Have a plan for your day but be flexible.

3. Get out of the house

When you're a stay-at-home mom and you are always home, you feel like you're always working. No one wants to be in their office 24 hours a day! When I had my first son, this was my biggest struggle. I only left the house once a week for church. I got cabin fever and was going mad. Make it a goal to get out of the house a few time a week, once a day if possible. Sometimes getting out seems like more trouble than it is worth but it can really help break up the day. Put the kids in the cart, grab an icee, and walk the isles of Target - whatever it takes!

4. Stay on top of the housework

Falling behind on the housework makes it impossible for me to relax while at home. That pile of unfolded laundry stares me down. I can't happily play with the kids when I keep thinking about all the work I need to be doing. Don't allow yourself to get to the point where you feel overwhelmed. Doing a little bit each day will really help to keep it under control and will keep you from having to take an entire weekend just doing laundry!

5. Take time for yourself

Do this every day. Yep, every single day! I know it's hard to do sometimes but it's much needed. I usually take my "me" time at the gym. I have an hour away to just listen to my music and run. If you can't get out of the house without your kids, take time during nap time or during bedtime. Let the housework sit for just an hour and do something to relax and that you enjoy. It's good for your mind and body to have a break!

6. Find a hobby

If you don't have a hobby already, find one! Make it something that isn't really centered around the family. Running, blogging, crafting, writing, drawling, anything you enjoy. When I found an interest in blogging it changed everything. As a mom you spend all day and all night taking care of someone else's needs. When I found something that I enjoyed and was good at, I felt a sense a pride in myself! Feeling good about yourself will really make you thrive as a stay-at-home mom.

7. Set goals

Somedays I head off to bed and wonder what I actually did that day. It all seems like such a blur. Being a mom can be pretty repeative. Seems like all we do is change diapers and wash clothes over and over again. When I set reachable goals for myself every day, I feel so accomplished heading off to bed for the night. Make big goals but be sure to make small daily goals. It may feel silly to call these things goals when it's really more of a to do list. I set mini goals for myself like, get three loads of laundry done, wash down the boys' bathroom, spend at least 30 minutes reading out load to the kids. Setting small goals everyday will help you do more in the day and feel good about the day!

8. Stop comparing yourself to other moms

This is really the most important tip I can share with you! Back in our mom's day, you only saw other moms at the grocery store or a playgroup. Moms today have other moms to compare themselves with right in their home, everyday. Women from all around the world, moms we don't know, moms from very different walks of life. All you need to do is log into Facebook or hop on Instagram. You see the moms with flawless make-up taking their kids to the park for the third time this week. We shame ourselves when we only see about 10% of what is really going on. Stop comparing yourself to others and start comparing yourself to yourself! Are you being a better person then you where yesterday? Are you striving to please the Lord more today then yesterday? Are you trying to have more kindness to your child today then you did yesterday?

You can only be your best, not someone else's best.

Editor's note: This article was originally published on The Diary of a Real Housewife. It has been republished here with permission.

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