Stay at Home Parents
It might be easy to lose sight of the things you want to do outside of parenting. Sometimes you sacrifice other parts of you to being a parent, meaning you put less energy into being a friend, spouse, volunteer, part-time worker, etc.
Because of the 24/7 nature of raising children, it’s easy to get lost in being “mommy” or “daddy.” If you have ideas about how you want to reinvent your life at this stage, but you’re not sure where to begin, I can help. I inspire stay at home moms and dads who feel stuck to rediscover who they are so they can successfully build a life for themselves outside of parenting according to THEIR needs, goals and desires. (The truth is the more balanced and satisfied you feel overall, the better parent you ultimately will be!)
You work hard but you’re not paid for your efforts in hard currency. Becoming a stay at home mom or dad is a conscious choice. For most, it is an incredible adjustment and it pretty much changes almost every day thereafter. That is what makes raising children equally exhilarating and exhausting. Just as you seem to get a beautiful routine established, your children change or mature and the routine requires some readjusting. Do your best to be flexible.
Structure and organization are also important.
So that you are better able to go with the flow at other times, have a rough idea when the good times are to get certain things accomplished so that you don’t end up falling behind and feeling overwhelmed. Set a schedule for yourself. For example, aim to do household chores on Mondays and Thursdays, errands on Wednesdays, and be sure to take time to call friends on Fridays (you might want to leave Tuesdays open for anything!). It doesn’t have to be written in stone but it will help ensure that you address various obligations or areas of interest on a regular basis. Know where things are: if you are constantly searching for things, you are wasting time and energy. Have places for things, so that even if you can’t get to them immediately, you don’t have that sense of panic set in when you can’t find your credit card or your child’s favorite stuffed animal goes AWOL.
Address the thoughts and feelings associated with adjusting to being home.
Sometimes it’s difficult to no longer have your paid job as part of your identity, impacting your self-esteem. You may also be adapting to a loss of income. You may feel isolated or lonely. You may have noticed the dynamics in your relationships have shifted. Or you may be having the time of your life! Either way, be sure to acknowledge it.
Work life balance..
applies to stay at home moms and dads as well. Setting boundaries and prioritizing is important. Now that you’re home, you may have more requests for your time. Be sure to say YES when those requests are in line with your own needs, interests and values. Learning how to say NO is of key importance to your sanity. Though you may initially be interested in serving on every school committee, hosting every play group and taking your child to every class known to mankind, you (and your child) will likely eventually wear out and stop having fun. Choose thoughtfully.
Take good care of yourself. If need be, ask for help. Incorporate stress busters into your days, whether it’s a walk, a workout, a talk with a friend. Avoid isolation and be sure you have opportunities to interact with adults. Stay connected to friends and family; tend to your relationships so that they give you fuel in return. Build a network of support.
Keep your mind engaged. Continue to learn about what interests you. Explore hobbies. Cultivate new skills. Are you considering working part-time at home? Again, create healthy boundaries so that you can be an effective parent AND worker. Are you thinking about returning to work in the future? Maintain your skill set and seek opportunities to develop them. This might be through volunteering, continuing education (attending conferences or classes), reading, training or teaching what you already know.
Be creative and sometimes let your children lead the way. You can gain an amazing appreciation of the world around us when you see it through the eyes of a child. Being a stay at home mom or dad can be your means to finding fulfillment. However, if you are feeling frustrated in this role, perhaps it is time to reach out for help in identifying, and moving you toward, what is personally meaningful and fulfilling for you.
Laurie Leinwand is a Professional Life Coach assisting clients with a variety of personal and professional life issues. Ideas 2 Action Life Coaching encompasses Laurie’s work as a life coach for women and men, career life coach and work-life-balance coach.
One of her specialty areas is career life coaching for women and men transitioning between jobs or reentering the workforce. If you are feeling stuck in a job or career and need help in finding fulfillment and your life purpose, Laurie can help you break through and arrive at your desired destination fast and efficiently. She also coaches clients who are stay at home parents . Stay at home moms and dads are required to make adjustments regularly as their children grow – this can be difficult. Laurie also works with them as they make pivotal decisions such as returning to work.
Ideas 2 Action Life Coaching is located in Randolph, NJ and services the surrounding communities of Morristown, Denville, Parsippany, Florham Park and Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, though much of her coaching is done on the phone and is accessible to clients worldwide. Laurie is a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF) and the New Jersey Professional Coaches Association (NJPCA).
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