Being on duty 24/7 can be one big pressure point for stay at home parents.
A stay-at-home mom had long been the cultural norm until a few decades ago when women had more opportunities in the workplace; since then it’s common for both parents to work and now cultural shifts and changes in the workforce have increased the number of stay-at-home dads out there. And if you’re a single parent, everything is doubly challenging!
One perk of being a stay-at-home parent is that you get to witness your child’s life – pretty much all of it. Every milestone, hockey practice, bake sale and recital. It’s a joy to witness how your child develops and it feels lovely when everything is going well – but sometimes, you need space. You don’t need us to tell you that parenting is hard work. You don’t clock on and off – it’s 24/7. And, like any job worth doing, you need a break.
Being able to find a way to balance your life and your child’s is very important. One of the problems of a stay-at-home parent is being able to create an identity outside of your child’s life. As much as it might feel weird right now, your child will go to school and then be absent on sleepovers or summer camps. Gaining a sense of independence for you both is important and can be achieved despite the pressures of stay at home parenting. It’s time to ditch the guilt and find yourself. After all, you have to look after yourself to be able to look after your child properly.
One way is to use your relatives, if it’s appropriate. Sending the children off with their grandparents or aunties and uncles is a win-win situation. They get time with each other and you get a much-needed break to decompress or reconnect with your hobbies or even just some peace and quiet to reflect or journal. Want a bit more interaction with grown-ups? If you can, hire a sitter once a week and go to a book club, martial art evening – whatever you’re interested in.
Another way to get a break is to find other stay-at-home parents whom you like. Set up a deal where you take turns babysitting or even just team up all together so you all can enjoy a play date – children and adults together.
What do you do to give yourself a break? What’s your advice for our other moms and dads out there?