Why You Should Feel Great as a Stay-at-Home ParentIt's amazing to be able to take this time to be present with your children and enjoy them while they're young. I want you to realize what a tremendous gift that is to your children.via @ParentingJunkieTweet This
Are you a stay-at-home parent? If so, this video is for you. Today, I’m sharing my top 7 ways to boost your confidence as a stay-at-home parent.
So many of my clients and community members are stay-at-home parents who aren’t currently working or who are working very minimally. What I often hear is that there’s a loss of identity or feeling like their value and worth isn’t recognized by others.
Let’s get started with the top 7 ways to turn that around and feel great about your choice to stay home with yourchildren:
- Stop Saying, “I’m Just a Mom”
When you say things like, “What do I do all day? I just look after the kids and clean the house” you actually send a subconscious message to your brain that your work is not as valuable and important as what other people are doing. Using qualifying words like ‘just’, or ‘only’ is a way of devaluing yourself and the things you do. Instead, I want you to say proudly what you do: “I’m a stay-at-home mom” or “I’m currently taking care of my kids” or “I’m not working outside the house right now. I’m working inside the house.” Think of ways that you want to phrase it to describe what you’re doing without minimizing it.
- Show Up
The next tip is to show up to your day as if you’re running a Fortune 500 company. You may not be out in corporate or making money right now, but you are absolutely running the show inside of the house. You’re running a complex machine! It takes a lot to run a household, keep it clean and functioning, make the food, and take care of little kids. It takes a tremendous amount of organization, planning, and communication skills–the same skills you would need to run a big company. So you need to show up just like those CEOs do because you are the CEO of your family. Good CEOs take care of themselves and their energy levels. They work out, get dressed in the morning, and make sure that they’re feeling phenomenal so they can run their company and show up as a strong leader for their people.
- Stop Apologizing
My next tip is for you to stop saying sorry for what you’re not accomplishing and to start to value what you are doing every single day. You need to take pride in this time in your life. It’s a short time when children are young and you’re likely putting in a tremendous amount of effort and energy during this time. You might be constantly focusing on all the things you’re not accomplishing, such as contributing financially or climbing the corporate ladder. Instead, start to notice everything you are doing: “I’m running a household, I’m keeping it clean. I’m keeping it organized. I have a clear family vision. I’m offering love, attention, and support to my children. I’m taking care of myself. I’m putting healthy food on the table.” Whatever you’re most proud of, start by focusing on that. Take ownership over the choice you’ve made and take pride in it!
- Be interesting
I think often stay-at-home parents feel devalued and unimportant or like they have something to apologize for because their whole brain revolves around caring for children. It’s all about making lunches, supermarket shopping, diaper changing, and laundry. When we go out in the world and interact with people who have careers and activities outside of the home, then suddenly we can feel like we’ve been living under a rock. The idea here is to ask yourself what you find interesting outside of childcare and homemaking and invite a little bit of that into your life. Maybe you want to take an online course, listen to an audiobook or podcast, read a book, or engage in stimulating conversations. The hack for being an interesting person is to be an interested person–someone who’s interested in the world around you or something within it.
- Address Your Money Mindset
My assumption is that if you’re staying home with your own children and not working that you can afford to do so. However, the fact is that many of us judge our value on our earning power. When we’re not bringing in money, we feel devalued and unimportant. That’s something that you want to address because there are so many different things that are valuable to society. Caregivers, homemakers, and great parents provide a tremendous service to the world. Yet, because it doesn’t have a monetary value, we often devalue it in our own minds. We think, “I’m just taking care of kids.” But providing a stable, loving home and raising the next generation is as much work, effort, and energy as any job out there. It’s valuable, important, and hopefully incredibly meaningful to you personally. Address your money mindset and ask yourself if you are only valuing things that bring in money or do you see worthiness in things that are unrelated to monetary gain as well? Do you see the deeper, more meaningful value of what you’re doing beyond a dollar amount?
- Be Grateful
Flick the switch between feeling sorry and apologetic to feeling grateful for the privilege of staying home with kids. It might also be something that you’ve made a lot of sacrifices to be able to do. Sometimes we can feel bad because not everybody has that privilege, ability, or choice. I want to help you to feel more confident and at ease in your decision by flipping the switch from feeling sorry to feeling grateful when you are faced with something amazing like being able to stay at home and not work. We can feel grateful for how blessed we are instead of wasting that privilege on feeling sorry or bad about it.
- Reflect on the Gift You’re Giving Your Children
I don’t stay home full-time with my kids because I work from home. However, I think there is tremendous value when I see my friends who are full-time with their kids. I am just mesmerized by them. I think it’s incredible to be able to be so present and dedicated and to make such sacrifices. They don’t have the glory, prestige, and money that comes from working outside of the home or working at all. But I think it’s amazing that they’re able to take this time to be present with their children and enjoy them while they’re young. I want you to realize what a tremendous gift this choice is to your children. If you’re with them, but you’re constantly feeling lesser-than, you run the risk of making yourself into a victim and making your children feel like, “Why did you sacrifice all of that for me? I didn’t ask you to give up on your career.” You don’t want to get to a place in 10 or 20 years where you’re looking back and blaming your children for why your career was shortened. Make sure that you’re doing this from a place of love and not from a place of fear or of giving more than you mean to give. In 20 years, you’ll look back with no expectation of thanks, rewards, or glory around this decision, and feel proud and grateful that you were able to give that to yourself and to your kids.
Please, my dear stay-at-home parents, this is your invitation to feel incredibly confident, energized, and proud of what you’ve chosen to do and what you’re accomplishing in the world.
If you enjoyed this episode, I’d love to hear if you are a stay-at-home parent and why you feel great about your choice. Leave a comment below or join me on Instagram @parentingjunkie!