When I told people I was going to be a stay-at-home mom to my two boys, many people looked at me with envy and told me how much easier my life would be. After a few days at home I realized that being a stay-at-home parent is often more difficult than working a regular job outside the home. It is easy to get into a rut, become overwhelmed and even feel extreme amounts of stress with your choice to stay at home and all of the demands that go with that decision. Here are five big mistakes and assumptions I made when I considered becoming a stay at home parent.
Having Expectations That Are Too High….Your House Will Not Look Like a Model Home
When I decided to be a stay at home parent, I assumed that since I was home all day I would have more than enough time to keep my house looking like a model home. This ideal was quickly crushed when I realized that when you are home all day, your house is more messy. The more traffic, meals and play time you have at home the more your house will quickly become dirty. Many stay-at-home parents put pressure on themselves and have these expectations of perfection only to become discouraged when everyday is not perfect. You can prevent this from accepting that each day you will be able to do what you can do for that time period and nothing more. Making a list of your top goals are for the day will help. Remember, just because you cannot get all the laundry done, make and clean up meals, clean the windows and re-wallpaper the bedroom in one day is not a reflection on what type of parent or homemaker you are.
Thinking You Don’t Have to Plan
Being the stay-at-home parent means having an idea of what you will not only be doing with the kids that day but what you need to do that day. Having and organizer or master family calendar will help you feeling like you don’t know what comes next. It will also help you insure you don’t try to change the world in just one day. Many parents that stay home say they like to write out the “must-do’s” of the week on a calendar and then fit in all the other chores, appointments, play dates and duties in around those.
You Always Forget About Yourself
It is easy in the hours of the day to forget to do something for yourself. Plan a special time each day, even if it is just an hour for you to do something for yourself. Read, paint your nails, work on a craft or go for a walk. Even just an hour will help re-charge your mind and body for the next day. Some parents enjoy setting a few hours on a specific day that they do all of their personal appointments such as doctor appointments or set appointments for a hair cut. That way they can always plan that on that day they will take care of personal business without the kids.
It is important that you keep your outside relationships with other mom or dad friends or maybe join a mom’s club. This will allow you to create a network of support and get you out of the house. You can also find a favorite “mommy blog” that you like to read so you can feel connected to the “outside world”. There are also lots of great Moms Clubs across the country that you can join to build friendships.
You Feel Like You Are Not Contributing
Some parents begin to miss the day to day “work” that they performed while in the work force. The need to feel that they need to contribute more to their family might also drive them to look for a part time job that they can do from home. Writing for places like Associated Content, may fill that need to express themselves and generate some income for your family. You can also start your own blog and share your experiences with others. I started a blog called Preschool Mommy and got great satisfaction from sharing information from my former profession and may parenting experiences with others.
Remember, one of the hardest jobs is being a parent, especially when you choose to be a stay at home parent!