Elizabeth Stone said that having a child “…is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” It can almost take your breath away when you realize how strongly you love your children; you would literally do ANYTHING for them. For some working mothers or working soon-to-be mothers, this means that they want to trade their job for being a stay-at-home mom. Even the moms with the best of intentions are likely to feel a little shell-shocked. After all, it is a huge lifestyle change! To make staying at home a successful and enjoyable experience, make sure you do these 4 things:
1. Strengthen your support system. – At work you have all kinds of social interactions, whether it is with co-workers, customers, patients, students, or clients. Now it’s just you and your child. This can be especially isolating for mothers with newborns and infants. Don’t lose touch with family or close friends. They make excellent company while you feed your baby and he or she is napping in your arms. Join a playgroup or local mother’s group. You’re sure to meet at least a few wonderful friends who will offer a sympathetic nod and a stack of napkins when your toddler throws food at the restaurant where you’re all eating lunch. You can also meet mom friends at libraries, parks, and community center classes – you and your child will both enjoy getting the chance to socialize with people your own ages.
2. Get out of the house. – At work there are schedules and deadlines; there’s always something to do. While it might seem alluring for you and your child to hang out at home in your pajamas, save it for special occasions as it gets tiring quickly. Stay-at-home moms spend a lot of time cooking and cleaning, which can make you feel like a sad version of Cinderella who will NEVER get to go to the ball. Plan outings for you and your child just as you had a plan for the day when you worked. Go to the park, library storytimes, music and kindergym classes, child-friendly museums, aquariums, beaches, or lunch with a friend at a child-friendly restaurant. The outings don’t have to be expensive; they will make each day special and fun though, and allow you to really get to know your child’s unique personality.
3. Reclassify your new “job”. – It can be discouraging for new stay-at-home moms to listen to others speak negatively about what they believe to be the right choice for their families. Comments from working moms about how they’re sacrificing their entire careers or that they’re just a mom now, can really hit below the belt. You will undoubtedly deal with this at some point; just think of your new lifestyle as a new job. You are your child’s first teacher. You will be the one to teach him or her how to talk, read, count, eat with a spoon and good manners, be kind to other people and animals, and how to feel confident. Plan some different fun activities to do at the house that involve multiple senses. Baking, art projects, reading stories, creating homemade musical instruments, and even having dance parties are all great ideas for your curriculum.
4. Make time for you. – When you go to work, even after the toughest days you get to clock out and go home. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, your workplace is your home where you’re on call 24/7. You don’t clock out and go somewhere else, and you’ve spent the entire day with your children. Since many children do not sleep perfectly at night, this can be exhausting! Spend at least an hour minimum everyday for yourself. Sometimes a child’s nap-time can fulfill this purpose, or schedule time for your partner or a trusted sitter to watch your little one. Nap if you need to, read in silence, catch up with friends without children, or focus the time on a hobby or passion of yours. Take a class at the gym; the regular schedules make it easy to plan. Don’t lose touch with the person you were before you were a mother. A well-rounded women is happier and makes an excellent role model for children.
If you’re a working mom looking to transition to being a stay-at-home mom, it is possible to do so and remain emotionally stable. Follow these guidelines and you’ll be reveling in this stage of your life! Accept that this transition can potentially be a really good kind of different, just like having children.
Enjoy the journey