These are the things that I personally think stay-at-home moms should do in order to avoid any kind of guilt of having given up on career or of not being able to do anything worthwhile.
We all know that the decision on whether to be a full-time stay-at-home mom or continue with one’s career as soon as the maternity leave is over is a very tough one. It’s a decision ,which is far more difficult to stick to as days pass by. The first one year with the baby just flies. The thrill of having a baby is soon replaced by so many emotions like fear, anxiety, helplessness, frustration, tremendous joy, and some more which you never even knew existed. So the first one year is gone before you even realize.
The little time that you (may , if you are lucky) get is spent on catching up some sleep. So, its only when the child turns around one that you suddenly realize that your colleagues are all still in shape, they are still working as hard and some of them have done really well in their career. You start to wonder what and where you would have been but for the “baby plan”. But then, one giggle from the little one and you temporarily come out of that thought. That thought hides for some time and then it surfaces again with even more magnitude. So it’s an ongoing process till you either get back to work or start doing something that gives you immense pleasure and pride.
I quit my full-time job as soon as my kid was born. I made sure I had something to divert my attention to other than home and kid. It varied from taking up part-time jobs to conducting events in the society to trying my hands on things I never thought I could do to building up a new hobby etc. I still have not felt the need to get back to a full time job. I have realized that the most important thing is to prove to yourself that you are growing as a person. I have seen my colleagues and classmates grow in their career but I know that I can still strike a conversation with them on any topic without feeling left out or let down.
Here, I am sharing some of the things that I did while being a stay-at-home mom which ensured my current state of mind. The break can be small or big. What you do during that break has a significant impact on you and in turn your family.
- Give priority to your health and fitness: I have always believed that a fit and healthy body is a very important ingredient in building a happy home. I have tried various forms of fitness regimes including walking/running, zumba, yoga and gym. All of them have at different times given me the required results and I enjoy a fit and healthy body today. This gives one a lot of confidence in oneself and also helps in setting a right example for kids. Needless to say that one is in a much better condition to play and run around with kids. I would personally recommend getting out of the house and joining a class rather than trying out things at home. That little amount of socializing has a huge impact.
- Get involved in society related activities: Now-a-days most of us live in apartments or gated communities and that gives us a huge opportunity in terms of taking up a cause and spending some time towards it. It provides us a platform to learn new things. The many things that we usually ignore because it is all taken care of by somebody else, opens up in this process. The little recognition you get doing this is a great positive stroke. At the end of the day the thought of having done something for the society is wonderful. I would personally recommend you to take up some activity in your society or be an active part of the activities already happening in your society. The years of corporate experience always comes handy while dealing with any such thing. So go for it!
- Consider your hobbies seriously: It’s never late to pick up a new hobby. Or if you already have a hobby, which you never got time to spend on, just do it. I have seen so many momprenneurs ( mom entrepreneurs) around me. They are doing so wonderfully well for themselves. Right from owning food blogs to conducting webinars to having a home studio of art and dance, the examples are many. There are so many mommies who have chosen an alternate career after the stay-at-home break . And all of them say they are so happy now as compared to their corporate life. Some of them make more money now than they ever did. So no matter how short or long the stay-at-home break is, it is worthwhile to invest time in your hobbies. You never know! You may not want to get back and work for someone else anymore. You may want to be your own boss and start a career combining your passion and profession. I would personally recommend you to pick up a new hobby. Since we are so used to the term “expand your horizon” while at work, expanding your horizon by picking up and enjoying a new hobby will surely boost your morale.
- Travel as much as you can: It is always easier to plan a short weekend trip with your family when you know that you don’t have to finish all your chores during weekends so that you can get back to office on Monday morning. Plan short weekend trips and come back rejuvenated. Kids love trips and going to new places. No matter how much time you spend with them at home, the bonding that happens when you travel or stay out of home is different. It becomes a dedicated time for them, playing, reading and having fun with them. Now that you can spend time on planning, preparing and organizing the trip, make the most of it. Visit places that “you” have always wanted to. A Sunday night drive without having to worry about the hectic week ahead is a bliss! I would personally recommend you finish all chores during weekdays so that you are ready and prepared for any immediate, instant outings during weekends.
- Have your “me” time: I have heard mommies who go out to work say that they are so happy to get out of the house because that gives them some time to themselves. The drive to office or the office free time become their “me” time. This is something that stay-at-home moms have to really work hard on. So once the kids start going out to a play-group or whenever you can get someone else to take care of the kids, just go out. Watch a movie with friends, go out for lunch or go and get yourself pampered at a spa. Or simply lock yourself in a room and read a book. Studies show that this rejuvenating time is very essential for every individual and more so for stay-at-home moms. I would personally recommend dividing your free time into an exclusive “me time” and some time to catch up with your friends or watch your favorite hero’s movies. This really gears you up and helps you get back with a different perspective.
- Hire ample help: Just because you are a stay-at-home mom, you don’t have to do it all. If you can financially afford, hire enough helps so that you are not a zombie by evening. In the initial days, the help can do simple things like keep an eye on the little one while he/she sleeps so that you can have a nice shower. Or may be take the little one outside while you take a walk around. I never let go of my maid or cook even after quitting my job because I deserve them. I cannot stand in the kitchen and make all meals and take care of everything else in the house and end up feeling exhausted, angry and sad. I have all my helps in place so that I am not physically drained by the end of the day. I enjoy putting together some special meals for the kids and I do that listening to some good music and the kids also know that there is something yummy cooking when they hear my favorite music playing in the kitchen! Do what you enjoy doing, but don’t force yourself to do stuff just because you are a stay-at-home mom. If you are someone who enjoys cooking but would rather not drive around in the city, you take care of the cooking and hire a driver! I would personally recommend you to delegate all activities that can be delegated so you focus on the important things with regard to your kids.
No matter how short or long your “stay-at home” phase is, make it enjoyable. Don’t have any guilt or regret about taking that decision. The grass always appears greener on the other side but that’s probably because you don’t look at your side of the grass very often. Grass remains green as long as it is watered and gets some sunlight.