Being a stay-at-home parent can be very rewarding, but also incredibly challenging. There can be guilt about not bringing home a paycheck combined with significant loneliness and boredom.
Below are three emotional challenges that can come along with being a parent that stays at home and suggestions to support you.
Reach out for support
Before you became a parent, maybe you could keep on top of things. You may have worked full time, and kept the house mostly organised, stay on top of the laundry and the food shopping. It seems like now you can not finish one thing and keep on top of anything.
It feels like there are always dirty dishes in the sink, laundry to be done, the list goes on. It is perfectly normal for parents, especially new parents, to need to shift the hierarchy of their priority list frequently.
Call up a friend for support, reach out for help. You will get jobs done faster, feel less isolated and get some much-needed adult time. It takes a village.
Also, maybe a friend or family member can watch the baby/kids while you spend an hour or two a week food shopping. This will help you stock up on supplies you need for the week and give you some well-deserved alone time out of the house.
Find some time before parenting starts
Is it possible for you to get up before your little one? Even an extra half an hour in the morning will help you accomplish one other thing a day which could help you feel less overwhelmed. Getting up earlier is a lot easier said than done, though, especially if you have a newborn.
Coping with isolation and boredom
Maybe once, before parenthood, you were typically surrounded by people in your office or workplace. Now you spend most of your day looking for socks, changing nappies, clearing up vomit and having conversations with yourself. Out loud.
Being a stay-at-home parent can be isolating. And, though raising children is on the one hand very rewarding, there are plenty of days when the boredom is mind numbing.
Although it is not always comfortable finding time to nurture your needs; try to connect with others. Take an online or when possible in-person class. Walk around your neighbourhood regularly with a friend. It is great to get together with another stay-at-home parent who understands the current life stage you are both experiencing.
Parenting skills questioning
Stay-at-home parents eat, sleep and breathe being a caregiver. There is almost no break from it. Therefore, it can become very easy to become obsessed and question every parenting decision you make.
Connecting with other stay-at-home parents, whether in person or online, will help you gain perspective on your situation. If you begin to worry and obsess over a recent decision you have made, try to take a moment, step back and look at the bigger picture.
Rather than asking, did I do this or that right, ask whether my family is happy and healthy? If you can say yes to the second question, then you know you’re doing a lot right.
Sometimes, talking with a counsellor can help you gain perspective on how being a stay-at-home parent affects you daily. If you are interested in exploring this more, please contact me. I would be pleased to speak with you about how I may support you. I offer sessions online through zoom at the listening room in Hove.