Advice for Stay-at-Home Parents
by Carol L. Meylan
You fell in love with your baby and at some point, whether she was 3 seconds or 3 years old, you decided that you wanted to be at home with her. Children are delightful people – enthusiastic, entertaining, sweet – and being their primary caregiver can be a wonderful and satisfying experience. And yet sometimes, being the full-time, non-stop, never-ending parent doesn’t always make you happy.
You’ve given up your career for this new job and you don’t want to question your choice. But sometimes you may wish you had made a different decision! What is going on?
If you aren’t as happy as you thought you would be when you left your paid job, try to think about the following:
Remind yourself that parenting is a very tough job, and it is a job that's 24/7.
It is easy to be stressed and irritable when you feel like you have less free time than you did before you quit your job. Are you holding yourself up to the high professional standards you did when you were employed? Just for now, try to relax your expectations of yourself. When your toddlers are napping, allow yourself to recharge your batteries. You too deserve a nap or a chance to read a book for an hour. Remember, you are your own boss now and you get to decide how to allocate your time.
Give yourself praise and appreciation.
Being a parent provides joy and satisfaction, but rarely does a two year old say “Mommy, you are doing a terrific job. I think you do an excellent job of planning and executing our days”. Nope, there is little concrete praise and thanks from our “clients” in the early years. Instead, try to acknowledge yourself for all that you provide your children. Identify the ways you have grown and developed as a person. You may be amazed at how much more patient, kind, and genuine you are now.
Your self-image has shifted
You probably felt competent and skillful in your old job. You had the respect of the people you worked with; you had an area of expertise; and you interacted with a variety of people. And giving up one’s own income can be an emotional loss, even if your family income is secure. Be patient and kind to yourself as you let go of your old identity for your new important role. Use language that shows respect for yourself. Set goals for yourself so you can continue to feel a sense of accomplishment. If you would like to schedule individual psychotherapy let me know. I can help you get focused and gain perspective on the issues that are bothering you.
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