How to Be a Successful Stay-at-Home Mom or Dad
Be a Successful Stay at Home Mom or Dad
Be a Stay at Home Mom or Dad
Many parents are choosing to stay home to raise their children. In recent years, the number of stay at home parents, or SAHPs, has been on the rise. Why? There’s the shaky economy, skyrocketing gas prices, expensive day cares and the simple reason of choosing to raise their own children rather than chase a money dream. People would rather be a successful stay at home mom or dad than to work and be away from their kids.
There are many people out there who would like to discredit the choice to stay home, saying it’s an easy out of having to work at a ‘real’ job. These people have never been so wrong! Just do a search of ‘stay-at-home parenting’ and you’ll see how many people out there have been fighting about this issue of stay-at-home parents being ‘lazy’. In fact, the opposite is true for 99.9% of SAHPs. As many SAHPs will tell you, it’s sometimes more work being home with the kids than it is going to work.
Yet, as many stay at home parents will tell you, it is very easy to get into a rut, especially in the beginning if you are transitioning from the working world to a more domestic role. There’s no actual set schedule, you can be comfortable at home, you can watch more TV or spend more time on the Internet, you can eat Bon Bons, and stay in your jammies all day. Sounds like the life, right?
Wrong. Dishes pile up. Laundry piles up. Dust piles up. Messes can be everywhere. Is that how you want to live? Is that how you want your kids to live?
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I was not born a Domestic Diva. I dislike cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. So how did I make the transition to a stay at home mom after being in the work place?
It took me a few months, but I figured it out: being a stay at home mom isn’t my title. It’s my job. I now have responsibilities that are on my shoulders in order to keep this house running and keep my kids happy and healthy.
Statistics of Stay-at-Home Moms and Dads
- As of May 2006, there were nearly 5.6 million stay-at-home moms and 143,000 stay at home dads, and those numbers are on the rise today. In fact, in 2007, the number of stay-at-home dads increased to 165,000!
- 32% of stay at home moms have at least a bachelor's degree or higher. Only 19% had the equivalent or less than a high school degree.
Source: United States Census Bureau article, which can be found here.
How to Be a Successful Stay at Home Mom or Dad #1
Here are my tips about how to be a successful stay at home parent.
Make a list of your new responsibilities. When I first became a stay at home mom, I was astounded at how much I needed to do. How did I ever do these things when I was working?
Let me explain. When I worked, my son went to spend the day at my mom’s house, and in the afternoon my husband would pick him up on the way home from work. From the time I got home, until the time my husband and son arrived, I cleaned, did laundry, and started making dinner. The house was pretty decluttered since my son didn’t play with his toys all day at our home. Nice, right?
When my husband and I decided I would be staying home with our kids, I had just become a mother to our second child, a baby girl. I had two kids to tend to, plus the house to take care of. Yikes. It was a big transition. I now had to raise the kids and take care of the chores at the same time . I felt like things were complicated, so I made a list of my responsibilities that I had to accomplish around the house. Seeing the list was a relief to me and it became the tool I used to establish a routine.
Find a routine and make a schedule. Stick to it. Once I saw my list, the tasks seemed daunting. How was I supposed to manage all of that work plus manage the kids?
Finding a routine and creating a schedule helped. First, I mapped out my day based on how it normally went: wake up, get kids out of bed, make breakfast, run some laundry, catch up on dishes, play with kids, make lunch, put kids for a nap, make dinner, do some laundry, relax as family, go to bed. There was a lot of wiggle room to add things in, especially when the kids went for their afternoon naps.
I made a weekly cleaning schedule of tasks I had to accomplish during one week. Most of the time I did these tasks when the kids were napping so I could focus, but there were times when I did these things as they played around me. On Mondays, I would clean up after the weekend clutter, dust the downstairs, and clean the kitchen. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I would clean the bathroom. On Wednesdays and Fridays, I would clean and organize bedrooms. Etc., etc. etc.
Break your routine every once in a while. When you were working, you were entitled to some sick or vacation days, right? You still have that right! Every once in a while, or even once a week if you can swing it, take a break from your routine and schedule.
How is this possible when I have to take care of the kids, you ask? I involve them! Instead of doing the laundry, we go for a walk or play outside. When my husband is home from work to watch the kids, I go out and about by myself for a few hours. Sometimes I’ll take this break during naptime and watch a movie.
Do whatever you feel will make you feel energized once more. Taking a break once in a while can actually make you a better stay-at-home parent as you won’t be stressed all the time!
A List of Most of My Responsibilities
- Get kids out of bed and ready for the day
- Make breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Wash, fold and put away laundry
- Dusting, vacuuming, mopping of floors, furniture, etc.
- Collecting and sending mail
- Taking care of the dog
- Cleaning the bathroom and bedrooms
- Nighttime child awakenings
- Shopping for groceries and essentials
Responsibilities of a Stay at Home Mom or Dad
- Want to Be a Stay at Home Mom? Apply Here
Are you looking into becoming a stay at home mom? Read this job description before you make up your mind.
Tips to Help You Feel Great as a Successful Stay at Home Mom or Dad
Get out of your p.js. Okay, for many of us this is a standard procedure, but it can be really tempting to stay in your pajamas all day. Why not? You’re home, alone, with the kids all day. Who is going to see you?
It’s not a matter of who’s going to see you; it’s a matter of how you feel when in your pajamas. Pajamas are made for sleeping and lounging, not for managing a household.
That’s not to say that you can’t be comfortable. A pair of jeans and a nice t-shirt can do the trick. Not into jeans (or for many moms, not into comfortable, fitting jeans yet…)? Wear cotton slacks, capris, or yoga-like pants with a comfy top. As I’m writing, I’m wearing a simple tank top with a pair of stretchy denim capris, and I feel great!
Basically, you want to wear something that is comfortable yet stylish enough to make you feel like getting up and tackling the day. Pajamas will not give you that effect.
Practice Good Hygiene. Since you’re not going to be out of the house as much as you’re used to, it can be tempting to skip a few of your daily hygienic practices, such as brushing your teeth. Don’t skip these things! Make sure to brush your teeth at least 2-3 times a day, take a shower, and use some deodorant. Moms: run a brush through your hair, apply lotion and perhaps even a bit of makeup to your face if you would like. Dads: brush your hair and shave when needed.
Why do these things? They will help you feel good about yourself while keeping you clean and tidy. Also, should you need to run out of the house for any reason—food shopping, doctor’s visit—you are set and ready to go.
For example: On a daily basis, I brush my teeth, brush my hair, wash my face, use deodorant and apply a little makeup (liquid foundation and mineral powder). I wash my hair every other day (which is healthy for your hair anyway) and shower every night. I’m ready to get out of the house at a moment’s notice and I feel good about how I look.
Stay hydrated. I think this is something that many people wouldn’t think about as part of a stay-at-home parenting routine. Drinking enough water to stay hydrated can be key to feeling well and staying active. Being hydrated helps you to maintain body temperature, avoid headaches, keep your skin from getting dry, helps you lose weight, and keeps your body and organs functioning normally.
Aim for around eight 8oz (64oz) a day. Keep a reusable bottle filled and drink from it throughout the day.
Eat a healthy diet. Be sure to make healthy choices about the foods you eat. It can be very easy to eat all day since you have constant access to food in your home, but it's important to be a good role model to the kids and make healthy choices. If you want a snack, have a piece of fruit or some veggies. Find healthy recipes and have the kids help you make them.
Eating a healthy diet can help you lose or maintain your weight and keep you feeling great. Eating greasy foods or too many snacks can make you feel sluggish, which won't be helpful when you need to complete your daily tasks.
Get some exercise. Staying fit and active can be very easy when you are a stay at home parent. You want to be able to chase your kids, right? Incorporate an exercise routine into your daily activities. Exercise can be anything from walking, jogging, playing outside with the kids, yoga, Pilates, dancing or anything that makes your heart beat. Aim for 10-30 minutes a day of activity.
I use EA Sports Active 2 for Wii to do a workout every other day for about 30-40 minutes while the kids are napping. I also play with them and go for walks around the neighborhood. It helps me to feel energized and keeps my muscles strong to take care of my other household responsibilities.
Confessions of a Stay at Home Mom
Ok, I'll admit. There are days when I want to stay in my pjs all day and do absolutely nothing. Don't you feel like that some days too?
If you want a pajama day, take one! In fact, make it a pajama day for the whole family. Everyone can wear pajamas and relax. Watch a movie together. Play some board games. Cuddle up and read some books. The laundry and dishes can wait, at least for a few hours.
An older mom who had been a stay-at-home mom while her kids were young told me this: "If the house is clean, so what if it gets cluttered now and again. So what if the laundry basket or the sink is full for one day. Is your family happy and healthy? Then that is all that matters. "
Video: How can I be a good stay-at-home mom?
Resource for Stay at Home Dads
Staying Connected with the Outside World while Being a Successful Stay at Home Mom or Dad
Stay connected with people from the outside world. It can be so easy to lose your connection to the outside world when you become a stay at home parent. Why? While you’re home with the kids, everyone else is working or doing other outside the home activities.
There are quite a few ways to stay connected to the outside world when you are a stay at home parent. For one, you can take your kids so many places where you will find other parents with which to connect. Libraries often have days when you can bring your kids for story time, or you can join a class at Gymboree.
You can also keep in touch with family and friends. Have get-togethers at your house or have a play date at a friend’s house.
Being connected via the Internet is another option. Using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Google+ helps you to stay connected to those from the outside world.
Don’t spend your whole day on the computer, tablet or smartphone. Another very tempting thing to do when you are a stay at home parent is to be on the computer all day, visiting social media sites, reading blogs or playing games. While it’s okay to do these things, it’s not okay to focus on only them and to ignore your other responsibilities, especially your kids.
I know when I’m looking at my smart phone too much. My son likes to say “Are you done texting the Universe, Mom?” How about that for a wake up call! I try to monitor my technology use during the day so it doesn’t interfere with my kids or responsibilities.
How to Save Money or Make Money as a Stay at Home Mom or Dad
Budget your income and find ways to save money. Most stay at home parents have given up an income to stay home with their kids. It is tough thing to do, especially in this economy. Find ways to use your money wisely. Create a family budget to determine how your money will be spent. Use coupons and club cards to save money while shopping. Shop at second hand stores, yard sales, or on eBay to find great buys for a fraction of the cost.
Need some extra money? Find work to do at home. A popular search from stay at home parents is how to make money while you’re at home. Why? Many of us have given up a second income to be stay at home parents and money gets to be tight.
Here are some ideas of how you can earn money while staying home:
Working from Home
What have you tried to do from home to help make extra money?
Being a Successful Stay at Home Mom or Dad: Remember Your Kids
Why did you choose to stay home? To be with your kids, right? Don’t forget about them in your busy home life. Make time to be with them and watch them grow. Take every opportunity you can to just sit with them to talk, read a book or play a game. Play with them outside or go to the park for fun. Let them help you with your chores or teach them to cook. Tend to their needs as they occur, making sure to be the best caregiver possible. Volunteer at their schools and be their best cheerleader at their sporting events.
They’re going to grow up before you know it. Don’t miss out on everything they achieve, even if it seems like a minor milestone.
Kids will only be kids once. Along with keeping the household running, you’ll be the most successful stay at home mom and dad just by giving them all the love and attention they deserve.
Stay at Home Parenting Articles
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