The Ups and Downs of Working as a Stay-at-Home Parent
I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for the past six years, and I can honestly say it’s not all easy. There are so many things that people don’t tell you about when they tell you to “do what makes you happy.” Here are some of the ups and downs I’ve experienced in my time as a SAHM.
The sense of self-worth you gain from being a SAHM is excellent. You’re not just doing what’s expected of you, but taking time to figure out who you are and what makes your family happy on the days when life gets tough.
Being a SAHM is freeing in so many ways. Outside of the day-to-day tasks, you don’t have to worry about what to wear for work or how your coworkers will react when they find out you’re pregnant again. You can take time off from parenting if that’s what feels right and not feel guilty about it because your kids are being cared for by someone else (whether that be a grandparent, an au pair, or nanny).
You get the chance to be the parent you want to be and not just the one society says.
You’re a great role model for your children, and they’ll understand what work-life balance means from an early age because it’s something that’s modeled in the home. They will see firsthand how hard their parents are working while still taking time off or staying at home during the day when needed. It shows them the importance of balancing life outside of work with family life inside of work, which is important as we live longer lives today than ever before.
The joys of spending time with the kids
We have the privilege of being the ones to pick them up when they’re sick or the ones who can be there with a hug and tuck in bed. That kind of connection is invaluable.
Sports or other after-school activities are great too. You get to be there when they need you and cheer them on in the best way possible!
And when possible, you can join them in playing fun games like air hockey and pool. I’ve always loved pool games and played it all the time when I was little and still play it with my husband. An air hockey set has everything you’ll need to play like a pro. So don’t worry about the kids not knowing how to play.
The pool game is also a great way to spend time with the kids. You can play together, or they can take turns playing while you work. However, ensure you buy pool cues that’ll be durable even after repetitive use.
And if there’s ever a day when we’re all not feeling up for playing air hockey or pool themselves (or even watching their siblings), then those tables have so many accessories too! From chess boards and checkers sets to card decks and board games, there will be something fun for everyone.
Another upside of being a stay-at-home parent is that you get to be intimately involved in your child’s life. You know all the little things they do, who their friends are, and what has happened at school each day. That level of connection can’t really happen if you’re working outside the home unless there is someone else taking care of them while you work (which often isn’t an option).
Ah yes, the other side of the coin–there’s no such thing as perfection! There are plenty of things that work-at-home parents don’t want you to know about either (and it would all make sense if you knew how hard we try at our jobs). There are days where I’m so happy with my choice to stay at home. But there are also days when I feel completely lost without an office job routine or any adult interaction outside of our house (unless we go out). That sense of loss is something that all parents experience at some point truths:
- You forget your identity outside the home sometimes – I’m not just my children’s mom anymore; I am also their teacher, chauffeur/driver, nursemaid (phew!), bookkeeper for school fundraisers, coach’s helper, and a million other things.
- It is so easy to get burnt out on parenting when you’re cooped up in the house all day (especially if your kids are not very cooperative). There’s only so much reading aloud or arts and crafts time that one can do before it gets old. It can be difficult for them too because they may have fewer chances to play with their friends than they would if they were at school during the day.
- Feeling like my opinion doesn’t matter. When I was working outside the home, my opinion did matter. My decisions were important and respected. When you’re a stay-at-home mom, your opinions are often overlooked or ignored from someone else’s point of view – even if it might not be in the best interest of the child involved.
- Sometimes work can seem unattainable because there are no limits on what you can do to make things happen when trying to build something new from scratch. It can feel like such an uphill battle when all your energy and time is going into taking care of kids at home (and housework!)
How to deal with the stress and frustration that come along with working as a stay-at-home parent
We don’t want you to think that being a stay-at right parent is an easy job – it’s not! And sometimes there are days where I feel like all my hard work was in vain, and I’m at wit’s end trying to find ways around what feels impossible. But when I step back from it all and take inventory of everything I’ve been able to accomplish as well as how happy my kids make me every single minute of every single day, then it’s worth sticking out those bad days because those good ones keep coming anyway!
A lot of parents try to maintain their other interests outside the house by volunteering with schools they attended when they were younger or town organizations where they can meet new people over common causes.
Finding the balance for you and your family will be different from what works best for someone else. But it’s worth taking a closer look at all of the pros and cons before deciding whether or not to stay home with your kids. You have to find what works for you.
We hope these tips will help! If you need more advice, feel free to reach out or contact us!