“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, 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.
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 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.
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 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!
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.
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 the mother-in-law 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.