Four strategies for adjusting to life at home with the kids.
Even if you happily chose to stay home with your kids, you may still find that you feel stressed, lonely, and even downright depressed at times. Don't worry! These feelings are normal, especially at the beginning. Here are some tips for how to cope.
1. Be proud of what you're doing. If you aren't proud of your decision to be with your children on a daily basis, you can't expect other people to be either. Let's face it, going to an office every day at least gives you the opportunity to drink a cup of coffee in peace. Staying home with squabbling, screaming kids is no picnic. Give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back and try to put things into perspective: Your children are only young once, and you can always reenter the workforce later.
2. Get -- and stay -- organized. You might think that moms who have no office to go to in the morning don't need to keep a strict schedule, but this couldn't be farther from the truth. Kids (and moms) thrive on routine. Set up a calendar, either weekly or daily, and keep it somewhere accessible, such as the kitchen. Knowing where you have to be and what you need to do next will make the hours go faster and keep your whole family on track. Include time with friends, errands, and kid-friendly activities in your days.
Keeping your house in order will also help you stay sane. No one wants to wade through piles of unfolded laundry. Try using baskets in every room to collect items that need to make their way upstairs or down to the basement. Remember: There is no one way to organize. Pick a system that works for you and stick with it.
3. Make your relationship a priority. Even if you're the most dedicated mom in town, if your marriage is suffering your kids will suffer, too. Try to schedule a regular date night with your partner at least once or twice a month. And be sure to have one kid-free vacation or long weekend every year.
Daily communication is also crucial to keeping your partnership on track. Plan some alone time every night. Move your kids' bedtimes earlier if necessary. A little extra planning now will pay off in the long run.
4. Make time for yourself. It is perfectly OK to put your feet up and just relax. Whether it's during your child's nap or an hour off while a friend watches the kids, you need a break to be a good mom. Most importantly, make time to see your girlfriends. A night out with the girls can do wonders for your outlook.
Just because you've decided to stay home for now, does not mean you have to lose touch with your "working" self. Stay in touch with office friends and remember that networking is still important. You never know when you might have to go back to work or when your former boss might need help with a project.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.