I feel like I'm on the top of a roller coaster, scared but ready to take the ride of my life. Any advice from those who have BTDT to help me into the world of SAH parenting? Books? Strategies? Tips for maintaining sanity? Thanks in advance.
Hi there! I'm not very far down my stay-at-home road, but my situation is similar to yours. We moved to Texas when my husband was OKd to work from home. I found a job outside the home, and he worked for his company from his home office. We decided to start our family and have him be the stay-at-home parent, with a "mother's helper" coming in if needed. Not quite a year after purchasing our home our little daughter arrived. During my 16 week maternity leave my husband realized that infants are difficult to handle. This coupled with contracts starting to dry up at his company, and those factors, in conjunction with some other not-so-positive developments with his position (more work, more hassle, not enough more money) led him to think about job-searching. He was contacted by a headhunter within, I swear, minutes of his announcement of availability, and WHOOSH! all of a sudden it's no more fun-times for Mom, he's off to his shiny new job which, incidentally, replaced both his and my salary (to be fair, I was barely topping 20k) and I'm a stay-at-home parent. I am, frankly, a little resentful. But on the day I would have returned to work, my little sweet potato biscuit with honey butter rolled over for the first time. As if to say "Mama, it's gonna be worth it."... so I know we've done the right thing. That's what keeps me going when I'm bored, when I'm struggling with self-identity and self-worth, when I'm sobbing into my stretch pants and tee shirts laundry.
I went ahead and tackled being a stay-at home mom like I tackled my most recent position; I schedule my day, I set goals, I review my progress and provide feedback. I may go ahead and buy a day runner. The only advice I have, is, know that it's worth it, be prepared to make changes if you need to (to your goals, to your ideals, to your schedule, change your pants when someone barfs on them) and find another way to measure your self-worth. Get outside a lot. A LOT. Join a children's gym or a mommy-and-me activity. Wear a dress and makeup in the house. Yes, do it. Do it on a day you know you're getting a package so you can open the door for the mailman and be like: "Yes, yes my house is SPOTLESS and I am dressed like the most fabulous SAHM EVER and yes, that is my happily cooing and perfectly outfitted baby in the background!" and then smile and blink your eyes until you hear bicycle bells going off in the background. I think what I mean by that last part is, go ahead and go a little crazy. Because you're going to. And that's OK. You can do this, you will make it, and yes, yes it is and will be worth it.
And on 09/23/2011, we were three; husband, daughter, and me!
Also don't feel like you have to entertain kids all the time. It's good to interact with kids, obviously, but you don't have to do it constantly and it's good for them to learn to entertain themselves too. I think we as SAHMs can sometimes feel like we aren't doing our job well if we aren't constantly teaching our kids or playing with our kids, and I just disagree with that. We need balance, and they need autonomy and to control their own play.
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