Archive for the ‘Stay-at-home-Moms’ Category

Apr
12

Six tips to be a successful stay at home mom

Posted by Lorain County Moms

By Alonna Friedman, Care.com contributor

You’ve decided to stay home with your kids. Congratulations on making a very important, yet often difficult decision. And welcome to your new role as CEO of a cottage industry called: Your Kids, Inc.

No matter how thrilled you are to be with your kids, going from the boardroom to the playroom can be a drastic change. “Much of stay-at-home mothering is harder than any other job,” says Shannon Hyland-Tassava, Ph.D., author of “The Essential Stay-at-Home Mom Manual: How to Have a Wondrous Life Amidst Kids and Chaos.” “Can you think of any other profession that has 24/7 shifts, no coffee or lunch breaks, and no vacation or sick days?”

We asked Robi Ludwig, Ph.D., a Care.com parenting expert and Tassava to offer advice for women making the transition from full-time professional to stay-at-home-mom. Here are their six tips _ and why they work. (Tip: They may work for all you full-time nannies too.)

1. Set a schedule

Suddenly the day is over and you haven’t showered, left the house or had an adult conversation. It’s easy to get depressed. “Time can go quickly when there is no external pressure to get things done and you don’t have a deadline,” says Dr. Ludwig. You need to structure your time so that you can use it productively while still allowing for flexibility.

Why it works: A general schedule will make getting from 6 a.m. to bedtime a lot less stressful. “It gives some shape to the day and tells kids what to expect — kids love consistency,” Tassava says. You might like to leave morning activities open but have set times for meals, naps, art projects, a trip to the library, a visit to the playground and watching a special TV show. Whatever the timeframe, consistent blocks of time each day and week will work in everyone’s favor.

2. Network in your industry

It’s essential that you talk to others in your line of work to vent, swap strategies, have a good laugh and realize that you’re all in the same boat on good days — and bad.

Why it works: Both Drs. Ludwig and Tassava agree: Getting out of the house for any form of adult interaction will stave off loneliness and give you a support network. “Stay-at-home motherhood can be extremely isolating, especially when your children are babies, or when you’re brand-new to SAHM-hood,” Tassava says. She suggests: library story time, the playground, mom-and-toddler groups and classes, preschool drop-off and pick-up and school volunteering. Think about it like dating — and start “picking up” moms with the best thing you have in common — cute kids!

3. Strive for good enough

Every professional has room to do better at their job, even moms, but you need to be realistic. Kids want TV, chicken nuggets and fries? Ludwig says go ahead — if it will make the next hour easier for you. If your kids are healthy, loved and taken care of, don’t doubt your ability. Work on being a great mom, not the perfect mom.

Why it works: “You’ll never be a perfect mom, because there’s no such thing; but chances are your ‘job performance’ is plenty good enough.” The more you obsess over the right and wrong ways to parent, the more time you waste that you could be enjoying your children or coming up with a new way to spend rainy afternoons inside (shaving cream wall art anybody?). If on most days you can say you truly love your job and your kids, then you really can’t do any better than that.

4. Hire a co-worker, aka, a nanny

It used to be that extended families all lived in the same house or on the same block. Childcare was just a holler away. Having MIL move in is probably not an option (or safe for your marriage). But neither is being a totally solo SAHM all week, and not giving yourself a break.

Why it works: At the office, you worked with a team of people to get a job done. The same goes for your home. With an extra set of hands, there is someone else to wash the bottles, make meals and go down the slide for the 100th time. And you finally have a chance to take a nap, go to the gym or run some errands, peacefully. Sweet joy! Whether you hire a part-time nanny, housekeeper, Au Pair or find a great babysitter, you’ll find that the break and extra assistance helps you be a happier mom.

5. Socialize after hours

Step out of the role of mom: join a reading group, work with a charity, attend an art opening at the local library, or get a manicure with a friend. “Do anything where people expect you to show up and it will serve as part of your motivation for getting out,” Ludwig says. Sprinkle these after-hours activities across the week — like Monday and Thursday — to break up the week.

Why it works: Maintaining your adult identity outside of being a parent will stimulate your mind, body and give a boost to your self-esteem — all of which will make you a better mom and partner. You’ll connect with fulfilling people, create a role outside of your home (Zumba superstar, book club regular), and energize yourself.

6. Pay yourself

No, your kids won’t set up your direct deposit. And they won’t be praising you for your most recent project (finding that lost fire truck under the couch). So without a steady paycheck and an occasional sense of feeling undervalued, what’s to keep you from quitting? You need a “salary” — as well as positive reinforcement. “Remind yourself that you’re doing some of the most valuable work there is, even if you’re not getting paid for it,” Tassava says. She also states that “Feeling undervalued comes from inner ambivalence, or a lack of validation from a spouse or partner.”

Why it works: Any self-doubt is just making your job of SAHM more difficult. “You need to change the way you speak to yourself and start appreciating your own worth and hard work as a mom,” Tassava says. It will actually make your job more fun. Don’t feel shy in asking your partner as well as your kids for more appreciation — a hug, a thank you, breakfast in bed. Getting paid can help you feel better about spending money without “making” it. Remember, you are doing a job. Payment can also come as an occasional treat like a weekend morning to yourself, a new pair of jeans, an extra day with a babysitter — there are plenty of little ways you can feel rewarded.

Care.com is an online service that matches families with great caregivers for children, seniors, pets and more.

Mar
31

Happy to be a stay-at-home mom — even if it wasn’t by choice

Posted by Kendra Green

Why do I freeze every time someone asks me what I do or who my employer is? It really should not be a hard question to answer, but it is one I struggle with everyday. My dilemma is quite simple. Am I a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM), or am I unemployed? Can I be both?

Here are the facts. On January 2, 2009, I was no longer employed. Was it by choice: no. Nice way to start a New Year, huh? So on January 5, 2009, I got up as I always did when I was employed and made my husband coffee and a lunch to take to work. But instead of packing a diaper bag for the sitter, or taking a shower and putting on work attire, I brushed my teeth, my hair, and sat and played with my kids. As the day went on, I looked on some job boards for a new job and even sent my resume out. But I also cleaned the house top to bottom and cuddled with my kids.

As the days, weeks, and months went on I developed a schedule for cleaning, grocery shopping, and activities. I began printing out calendars for the refrigerator to keep track of all of our comings and goings. I enrolled my son in swim lessons — during the day! I scheduled doctor’s appointments on any day of the week at any time. My stomach didn’t get in knots if one of my kids woke up with a runny nose because I was not worried if the baby sitter would keep them or not. I took the kids on walks, we went to parks, we visited daddy for lunch. And, I continued to look for a job and send resumes out.

And here it is 15 months later and not much has changed. I have a routine down. I wake up by 7, start the coffee, and pack a lunch for my husband. We kiss and hug him goodbye at 7:30 and then it’s time for breakfast and getting dressed. We make the beds and do the dishes. Then, depending on what day of the week it is, we do a chore — clean the bathroom, mop, vacuum. It just depends on the day. By 9:30 the first load of laundry is in. Somewhere in there I jump on the computer and catch up with the world by checking Facebook and the local news Web sites. I comb through all the e-mailed coupons and special offers that filled my inbox as I was sleeping. Then it’s time to play. We play with the Little Tikes kitchen, with baby dolls, with Lincoln Logs, with any or all of the thousand toys my children have been blessed with! We have lunch by 12 then quiet-time at 1. (I say quiet-time, because for some reason my children rarely nap anymore!) Quiet-time starts with me taking a shower, if I haven’t had one yet. Then, it is time for me to search the job boards. And that is when my struggle begins.

See, during the routine of the morning I am perfectly comfortable and happy to be at home with my kids. However, I continue to search the job boards, but every time I find a job that interests me, and I apply for it, the application asks my current profession, and I do not know what to put. I do not like considering myself as unemployed because I am not. I take care of my household and my kids. I have a schedule; I have duties and goals each day. They are measurable and they are rewarded in the best ways ever imagined. But yet, I can’t quite think of myself as a SAHM. Is it because I had no choice in the matter? Is it because I do still continue to look for work?

Let me just say now, that I would prefer to consider myself a SAHM. However, from a financial stand-point it is not feasible. And before you say, what do you mean, you have been fine for the last 15 months, let me add that I do receive an unemployment check each week that helps tremendously. However, I do not know what will happen when that is gone. And yet, in the grand scheme of things that does not bother me as much as the thoughts I have when I get a call back about a resume I have submitted. I immediately start to dread not spending the days with my kids. Or playing with them. Or having my house clean (I am not implying that working moms don’t keep their homes clean, I just know for me when I am working things get way out of hand around here). Or not being able to wake up and decide to visit a friend, go to the park, or head to the zoo without planning around days off. Or having to find and pay for child care again.

And yet, at the same time it is nice to imagine a time of two paychecks coming in to the house. Of having benefits like healthcare, dental, and retirement. (We are on Cobra still and I dread when that runs out) And as selfish as it sounds, I imagine having adult conversation, of not having to change diapers or clean up all day. And of being able to say without a doubt, “Hi, I work for __________________ as a __________________ .”

Although, saying “Hi, I work for my family as a SAHM” has a great ring to it!

Kendra lives in Elyria, Ohio with her wonderful husband, two children, and a dog that doesn’t get as much attention as it got before the kids arrived. She has a Bachelor’s in English from Bowling Green State University. In her spare time, when she gets it, she loves to read and scrapbook.

Oct
22

Separation trauma a dark side of mommyhood

Posted by Lorain County Moms

By Carolyn Pravda, NYC Moms Blog

Recently, I bumped into a mommy acquaintance on the street in my NYC neighborhood. I asked how she was doing, and she let loose with a story that brought me up short. Her son recently started school, and she was feeling blue. Beyond blue. She sounded seriously depressed.

I tried to listen as we talked on the busy street corner but finally had to move on with my complaining kids. Through that night and the next day I worried for her and thought a lot about this problem of motherhood that is frequently missed.

A lot of attention gets paid to postpartum depression, but I think a somewhat overlooked problem is the kids-starting-school syndrome. I can only speak as a stay at home mom but I know I put most of who I am into raising my kids. I don’t work outside the home anymore, and I barely have time for hobbies. I do make time for myself and for my husband, but much of my identity is tied up in my kids because it has to be. When my daughter starts school in another two years, I will have been out of the workforce and general circulation for nearly six years.

I ran into my old boss on the street last week. She was coifed to the nth degree with beautiful, shiny blond hair and perfectly styled dress while I had my daughter on my back in the Ergo, loaded down with a diaper bag and cooler for lunch after an urban hike that included a rush hour subway trip and a mile of walking the cross town avenues to get to a class at Chelsea Piers. Disheveled and sweaty would be putting it nicely. She was very friendly, but it was such a clash of worlds for me.

I was outfitted in full mommy regalia and had a huge gush of emotion for the old me. She runs a successful small business, lunches with powerful people and oversees millions of dollars in business. I made my choices, and I really am happy with them overall, but it was uncomfortable to run smack into my alternative reality: could that have been me if I made different choices?

My mother-in-law has talked about how she had a tough time when her kids started elementary school.
Over playdates, some of the mommies discuss ways of trying to keep hold of something for themselves either by volunteering or taking classes so that when the kids go back to school they still remember who they are. For me raising good kids means put all of my energy into parenting.

The needs of kids are huge … but they naturally dwindle over time which can frequently take a mommy by surprise. Also, all those hormones and impulses that make us good mommies set up us up for a serious emotional crisis as our kids begin the process of separation as early as kindergarten. As for me, I am hoping to take this an early warning alarm and see where else my choices can take me in my two remaining years.

This is an original post from the NYC Moms Blog (http://www.nycmomsblog.com). Carolyn Pravda is a stay at home mom to two children in Brooklyn, NY. She also writes about fashion for mommies at MamaThreads.com.