5 Ways to Succeed as a Stay-at-Home Parent

Having a stay-at-home parent is an efficient use of many families’ resources. There are many stigmas and many advantages to having a parent work in the home, and in these modern times, it’s important to keep a good perspective on goals and realities. To maintain a Practice Life Method approach, stay-at-home parents should mind these guidelines to perform their job to the best of their ability.

Congratulations!

Pop some champagne: You just got a promotion.

I’ve heard the recurring complaint from stay-at-home parents that they are part-chef, part-housekeeper, part-chauffeur, part-butler to their child’s whims and activities. But if you give more responsibility to your child then tasks are completed faster, your child has a better understanding of how a household is maintained, you are freed from servitude, and there is more time for extracurricular activities.

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“Yeah, Grandma put me down for my nap… have a good time getting a manicure.”

Think of your parenting role the same way a CEO thinks about her role in a company. Focusing less on day-to-day minutiae and more on the big picture and philosophy helps you clarify exactly what your goals are, and from there you can formulate strategies to achieve them.

Superiority Debunked

Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In details a report released in 2006 by the Early Child Care Research Network, which studied more than 1,000 children over fifteen years. The study discovered no discernible differences in “cognitive skills, language competence, social competence, ability to build and maintain relationships, or in the quality of the mother-child bond” between the children of stay-at-home mothers and children cared for by others[1]. This disproves the 60% of Americans who believe that a child is better off with a mother at home versus a mother who works outside the home.[2]

Since neither stance is superior, either perspective casting judgment upon the other only gets in the way of thinking critically about how we parent. Employed parents should ensure that they engage with their kids during the time they do have together. And if you work in the home, understand how important it is to…

Keep the Passion Alive

People have myriad aspirations or interests throughout their lives. Just because you have a child doesn’t mean that those completely go away.

Even if you do feel fulfilled solely by being a parent, understand that the idea that a child fulfills you is an unfair expectation of him. Furthermore, if being a parent is your only identity, you may judge yourself unnecessarily harshly when facing inevitable parenting struggles. Find an outlet (volunteering, teaching your expertise, taking a class) for sustaining a feeling of purpose and a worldly connection.

Clock Out

Just because you stay at home with the children, doesn’t mean you can’t get out of the house. Grabbing lunch with friends, exercising, or any other attentiveness to your own needs is crucial to maintaining clarity for what may be a blurry work-life balance. Hiring a part-time sitter or handing off to the grandparents should be a regular occurrence to keep yourself in a healthy mental state for when you are on the job.

There’s No “I” in Couple

Even if one parent practices parenting techniques fewer hours in the day, there should be consistency between both parents. While a parenting team works together, the stay-at-home parent has more hands-on experience so he can help illustrate the procedures and expectations to the employed parent. It’s also important to remind the employed parent not to circumvent healthy structure and offer the children indulgences as recompense for fewer hours together.

 

Stay-at-home-parenting is right for families who see the job as a mandate towards helping their children develop skills and building healthy routines for the entire family. And whether your job is in the home or at an office, just be sure to retain healthy selfishness for yourself and a constructive, objective methodology for the child.

 

[1] Sandberg, Sheryl. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2014.

[2] Caumont, Andrea, and D’Vera Cohn. “7 Key Findings about Stay-at-home Moms.” Pew Research Center RSS. N.p., 18 Apr. 2014. Web. 19 Nov. 2014.

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