In many cultures, there is a stigma tied to being a Stay-at-home parent – mostly that they do not work nor do they understand what it means to have a “real” job. Since Stay-at-home parents are regarded as being unable to financially contribute to the household or have too often been seen as another mouth to feed, their role has been minimized. Some have gone as far as labeling them as an insignificant contributor.
Making a Difference
While being a Stay-at-home parent is not for everyone, there is indeed a huge benefit to being able to stay home with your kids during their impressionable years. Staying at home not only benefits younger kids but older kids as well.
When my second child was born, I was on maternity leave for four months. This was the best experience of my life. I was not only able to be there for my newborn but also for my son, who at the time was 7 years old. Being able to drop him off to the bus stop in the mornings and pick him up was where we had some of our best mother/son bonding moments. It was during these times that we filled each other in on our plans for the days ahead and our accomplishments for the days past. It was then we discussed his role as an older sibling, his interaction with classmates and more importantly, this was his uninterrupted moments where he was able to talk about his feelings.
While there were so many great benefits, there were those days in which I did get overwhelmed, stressed, mentally and physically drained. However, being able to be home enabled us to work on his homework earlier in the day and still have family time before bed. This alleviated the guilt, shame and stress I often felt when I would be home just in time for homework and to tuck him into bed. During these 4 months, I developed a huge appreciation for Stay-at-home parents.
“Netflix and Chill”
Some perceive Stay-at-home parents as lazy individuals who sit around all day and don’t contribute to society. It was the opposite for me. Contrary to what some may say or believe, I felt like during my time at home I added more to society by creating a happier household. I was able to give more time to my family (i.e. husband, kids, and dog) and learned to carve time out for myself. It was during this time that I began to understand what work/life balance truly meant.
Establishing balance is crucial to anyone wanting to live a more holistic life. This also assists in reducing stress levels and improving mental and emotional well-being. Work/Life balance, however, is not a one size fits all solution. What might work for you today may be totally different tomorrow. It’s important to ask yourself daily “What is the one thing that I need to eliminate or add to my routine to help me feel balanced today?”. Once that is answered, there are many steps that can assist with achieving said balance. Here are a few below.
5 Ways to Establish A Work/Life Balance as a Stay-at-Home Parent
KNOW YOUR WORTH
- Stop convincing others that what you do is a job. Spending time convincing others of who or what you do can be draining. It also causes you to second guess your value. This creates unnecessary stress and a sense of unworthiness. Be comfortable in what you do and who you are. YOU MATTER!
ASK FOR HELP
- Stay-at-home parents give the impression that they are superhumans. As a result, sometimes their mates do not realize how overburdened or burnt out they may be. There is also a level of guilt a Stay-at-home parent may feel from asking their “working” partner for help. Communication is very important. It removes the opportunity for assumptions and confirmation bias. Psychologically, it helps with learning to express feelings and improving emotional health. SPEAK YOUR MIND!
SCHEDULE A PLAYDATE
- Managing a household can get overwhelming some days, especially when stuck in a house with a kid(s) day in and day out coupled with daily house chores. Playdates are not only for kids but also grown ups. It is a great way to introduce your kids to socializing with others but also a great way for some grown-up bonding time. HAVE FUN!
CREATE A DAILY SCHEDULE THAT INCLUDES MEDITATION
- Having a schedule not only for you but for your kid(s) helps with better time management which also, in turn, creates mental stability. A cluttered space equals a cluttered mind. GET YOUR LIFE TOGETHER!
TAKE TIME TO CREATE
- Establishing time to create some form of art is a major stress reliever. One of the easiest and quickest is journaling (be it writing or art). It doesn’t require much thought or planning. It is a form of expression and a tool used for decompression. MAKING ART HEALS THE HEART!
There are many other ways to establish a work/life balance as a Stay-at-home parent. These individuals add value not only to society but more importantly to the household. They should be treated fairly humanely and with compassion. After all, this is the concept behind Sprinkle TLC – “Spreading Togetherness, Love and Compassion should be Colorful and Contagious”.
(Click here for more effects of being a Stay-at-Home Parent)
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