Over a year ago, I left my full-time office job and joined the stay-at-home parent club. At first, I couldn’t wait to stay home all day with my adorable babies, playing and cuddling until I couldn’t take it anymore—until one day, several months later, I actually couldn’t take it anymore.
Winter had settled around us, so playing outside most days was no longer an option. We were limited in square footage in our small home and spent most of our time in two rooms. What was I going to do? Who was I going to talk to? I didn’t love my children any less.
I certainly loved spending time with them and didn’t regret my decision to leave my career. However, somehow even in their sweet little company, I felt very isolated. I longed for adult conversation and additional interaction. However, I have managed to beat the stay-at-home parent blues with a few tweaks to my routine and mindset. Here are some things to remember if you’re facing this struggle, too.
Because nobody had ever talked to me about it, I assumed I was the only one who struggled at first when leaving an office environment to stay-at-home parent with children.
I got to snuggle whenever I wanted, kiss every boo-boo, and decide exactly what kind of discipline to employ; what could be so bad about that? We had to make financial sacrifices to afford the transition. The fact that I could feel any emotion besides gratitude for a situation I had petitioned for left me feeling isolated and guilty.
The fact that I had the blues was exponentially decreased when I realized I was, in fact, not the only one. It is normal to have highs and lows in life, especially in transition. While I was overjoyed at the decision to focus more on my children, I was also sad to leave behind the professional recognition and interpersonal relationships my career afforded me. Once I accepted that these emotions were normal and not mutually exclusive, I felt better.
You’re a human, and humans occasionally need to talk to other humans…who aren’t toddlers? Find a group of like-minded people and do something you enjoy. If you can’t find a group in your area, start one.
In addition, you may find that you aren’t the only one who needs a different social circle once in a while; your children also benefit from new and diverse interactions. Try calling your local library or community center and enroll your child in an activity with others in the same age group.
You’re worthy of taking time for yourself to pursue hobbies or passions—being a stay-at-home parent does not rob you of that. Work with your support system to designate a time each week that is specifically for you.
Love to sew? Like to pump iron? Are you a painter? This is different than finding a group, as discussed above. Taking time strictly for yourself will allow you to reflect and reinforce that you are worthy and capable. This self-confidence boost will trickle down to other areas of your life, including your interactions with your partner and children. That’s more than a fair trade for a couple of hours of alone time per week.
You’re so smart that you used to have your day planned at your office before you even got there. Your calendar was packed with meetings, prioritized project due dates, and client calls. What if, one day, you showed up to your office with nothing on the agenda? Would you even show up?
Being jobs for stay-at-home moms organization and time management just like corporate life, only your clients are a little more difficult (because they’re two), and your prioritized projects include paying bills and making it to the grocery store with little humans in tow. Guess what? Those things are important, too, and should be on a schedule.
Write down what you need to get done daily. If your children have dedicated naps and mealtimes, pencil those in and build around them. Your tasks are not any less important now—they’re just different. (Remember, you’re smart, so you already knew that.) Sometimes, though, we all need reminding.