Thank you to Catherine Myers from Family and Home Network for this guest post.
“Like many women expecting their first baby, I spent a lot of time making plans. …What I simply could not plan for was my emotions.” H.B.
Our culture does little to support parents as they care for their infants.
“After working ten years, I suddenly found myself alone from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. with an infant whose care I knew very little about… I felt extremely isolated, and my self-esteem plummeted as I struggled to fill each day…” S.D.
Becoming a parent for the first time is a major life transition. Parents who leave the workforce often find themselves facing layers of issues and questions.
“Being at home brings me face-to-face with myself (with my values, insecurities, what’s most meaningful to me) in a way that a career never did. It also makes me feel worse when I don’t feel I’m “getting it right” than jobs ever did.” L.M.
The grassroots nonprofit organization Family and Home Network has been fostering communication among at-home parents for decades. Drawing on our experience and our parent-written publications, we developed a six-week discussion group series: Transitioning Home. We offer parents reliable, science-based information, opportunities to reflect on their thoughts and feelings, and discussions with peers. Topics include expectations and feelings, personal identity, values, goals, tasks, marriage, cultural pressures, individual interests, interdependency, community and more. In addition to the material covered in discussion group meetings, there are optional readings and activities. We aim to help at-home parents gain knowledge, confidence, and an expanded toolkit for continued learning.
This Spring, Family and Home Network is offering free discussion groups to first-time at-home parents of infants born between June and November 2011. (Other parents who are interested in discussion groups: please let us know so we can notify you of future groups.)
I’ll be facilitating these Transitioning Home discussion groups. I’m trying out a new way of offering these groups: using Google+ hangouts to meet online (video conferencing). There are many scheduling options for the 90-minute weekly online discussions; please visit the Family and Home Network website for more information, and please help us spread the word about these free discussion groups.
Executive Director, Family and Home Network
Melanie Mayo-Laakso is the Content Manager for Mothering.com. Mothering is the birthplace of natural family living and attachment parenting. We celebrate the experience of parenthood as worthy of one’s best efforts and are at once fierce advocates for children and gentle supporters of parents.