Getting used to life as stay-at-home parent

Found a really eye-opening article about stay-at-home parent. Read it with your partner. Taken from here:

Being a new stay-at-home parent can be tough, but there are ways to make your adjustment a bit easier.

Pencil it in!
Now that there’s no one dictating the shape your day takes but Baby, it might seem like your life should get less scheduled – and it can. Moving from a structured work environment to one where the biggest driving force is Baby’s needs can be disorienting, though, and if you don’t have a plan for your day, it can slip away, and it can be hard to pin down where it went. Just taking care of Jolene is going to eat up a huge chunk of that time, so don’t worry if you don’t make it through your whole to-do list. However, having one or two things a day that you plan to get done, and then checking off that they happened, can help you feel better about the rhythm of your day.

Full-time vs. full time
Just because you’re becoming a full-time, stay-at-home parent, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll actually spend all of your time parenting – having a full-time job doesn’t mean you don’t get days off now and then, right? Not that you’ll probably get many full days off from parenting. Still, it’s important to take a little time for yourself now and then. So much of your day as a stay-at-home parent of an infant or toddler becomes about her needs that sometimes it’s tricky to remember that you have needs of your own. Whether it’s an afternoon of leaving Baby with a babysitter, an hour or two to grab a coffee, or even just a little time out of the house on the weekend while your partner gets some quality time with Baby, taking a little space can make you a happier, healthier parent, which leads to a happier baby! Needing a little bit of space to yourself isn’t wrong, it’s just a sign that you’re an individual. So if you have the opportunity to take a little bit of that space, take it.

All in this together
You don’t want to be ‘that friend’ who ditches their old friends once they have children, but having a parent friend or two on your team – who understands how it feels when Baby makes a scene at the grocery store, and totally understands if you have to cancel your plans because Jolene finally went down for a nap, and you can’t wake her now if you value your sanity – can make a world of difference. As Baby gets older, having a friend with kids will become even more convenient, because when you need to vent with a friend, Baby gets an insta-playdate to keep her occupied.
The bottom line? Being a stay-at-home parent, especially to a child who isn’t talking yet, can feel isolating and lonely. Having friends who knew you before Baby is incredibly important, but so is making a friend or two who understand what your life looks like now. Parent groups, the sidelines of baby activities like sing-alongs, read-alouds at the library, or Baby’s favorite park are great places to connect with other mothers.

Value yourself
In your brain and in your heart, you know that being a parent, and getting to be there for all of Baby’s earliest milestones and moments is one of the most important and rewarding jobs you could have – if you do choose the stay-at-home path, it’s probably why. In your gut, though, it can be easy to feel a little lost about your sense of self when you move from the working world, which had easy ways to measure your progress and value your effort, to a world centered around the home, where you have no set of instructions, no specific goals to meet, no paycheck, performance review, or coworkers to compete against. And if you do try to see your new realm that way, it can get uncomfortable for you and everyone in your life fast.
If you start to feel this way, it’s important to remember why you’ve chosen this direction, and how valuable the place you’re directing your energy towards these days really is. What you are doing is valuable to Jolene, to her future, and to yourself. It’s also not forever, and it’s not a requirement, which is important because requirements can start to feel constricting. You’ve chosen to be a stay-at-home parent right now because it’s what’s right for your family at this moment, and if it’s ever not right for your family, you can reevaluate. In the meantime, what you’re doing has a world of value and importance.


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