So you’ve worked most of your life and have all of a sudden found yourself making a decision for your family to stay home. Along with the many pros of making the choice to be an at-home parent, there are a few cons to combat. Some may find that the transition can be a lot more difficult than anticipated. When I had to stop working due to my family’s PCS, I did a small happy dance for the break I would have. Once that break stretched into almost a year, I began to suffer from cabin fever. I had to find ways to break up my days and stay productive, even though I wasn’t working outside of the home. Don’t get me wrong, caring for a child (or children) can be a daunting task. Still, sometimes it can feel mundane and tedious. Here are a few ways to find a little balance:
- Planning. I received a very nice planner as a Christmas gift from my mother. I have always loved planners, notebooks, pens, and anything having to do with writing. Not only has it increased my productivity, it has given me an extra hobby that I enjoy. I write down everything from appointments to chores that need to be done. Breaking up my days into sections and assigning myself even small tasks such as dishes or laundry has helped keep me on track. There’s something way exciting to me about crossing off accomplishments, no matter how small.
- Leaving the house for no reason. This may sound a little silly, but trust me, it’s needed on occasion. On the days I’m feeling especially bummy, I’ll force myself to get up and leave the house with my toddler for absolutely no reason whatsoever. It’s amazing how a walk around the neighborhood, a drive down the road, or even a trip to the store can revitalize you. Seriously, try it.
- Interact with other adults. It’s important to remember to take some time to have a conversation with a friend or family member. It may not seem like a big deal, but tapping into your support system doesn’t have to be for emergencies. There are days where I feel completely isolated and surrounded by a sea of cartoons and crayons. Sometimes, even sending a quick meme to a friend on messenger helps keep my social skills honed. There isn’t always time to sit down and have a long conversation and my lovely people understand this. However, I do try to make time to have a few conversations a day with various friends and family.
- Get involved. This is probably the most preached piece of advice ever and it’s not for nothing. There is sort of a stigma among the military community towards spouses and the interaction they have with one another. Rise above the preconceived notions that military spouses are all participating in an audition for a bad reality show. There are some pretty amazing people to discover within the military community, as well as awesome programs and projects to become involved with. Test the waters and you will most likely find yourself pleasantly surprised. I’ve set a few goals in this area such as joining some workout groups and play groups. It’s a great way to network and make friends.
- Give yourself permission to not do a thing. We all need a “day off.” For those of us who stay home, this isn’t really possible. I have my days where I am in pajamas all day and don’t leave the house. For me, it’s a much needed break from feeling like I should be doing something. It’s perfectly okay to take a day and just lounge (as much as possible) and catch up on your shows. Speaking of which, I need to catch up on The Walking Dead.
It can become overwhelming and even frustrating to make the transition from working parent to stay-at-home parent. Especially if you’re actively job seeking with no luck. I know this feeling all too well. It’s important to remember that you’re still serving a much needed purpose for your family. While making your family a priority, don’t forget to reserve yourself a spot also.