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15 Reasons Why Being A Stay-At-Home Parent Is Harder Than It Looks

15 Reasons Why Being A Stay-At-Home Parent Is Harder Than It Looks

If you are a stay-at-home parent, you may be gloriously happy watching your kids learn, develop and grow into caring, tolerant and well adjusted adults. What could be more satisfying? Yet, there are many problems that stay-at-home parents (SAHP) face. Here are 15 reasons why it is not always a bed of roses and some solutions to help fix them.

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    1. You may feel lonely at times

    Loneliness may be a problem for any stay-at-home parent. Dads may feel this more keenly as they may have recently left work and miss the company of their coworkers.

    The number of stay-at-home dads is growing day by day. It is hard to put an accurate figure on this as many of these are work-at-home dads (WAHD) or are unemployed. The latest figures put the number at 1.4 million. In Canada, about 16% of families have stay-at-home dads.

    But loneliness may be a problem for any parent at home. The best solution is to meet other parents and share tasks. You can also join Internet and Facebook groups but the best type of contact is where you can have real social interaction. Joining classes, gyms and projects is a great way to fight loneliness. You can also pick up some great parenting tips along the way.

    2. You may feel that you are a victim of stigma

    The idea that fathers can stay at home to rear kids is met with disapproval and stigma in some areas, even to-day. There have been cases of dads not being allowed to participate in moms’ forums on the Internet! Some of these went ahead and formed their own parenting groups as an answer to prejudice and stigma.

    Moms who work have to put up with the pitying looks and remarks made by neighbors who are convinced that their husbands can’t earn enough to support their families.

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    As regards more resources for all stay-at-home parents, the Band Back Together website has very helpful material. 

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      3. Your world becomes smaller and smaller

      Your relationship with your spouse may suffer. When they come home from work, the topics of conversation are limited. You want to tell him/her what happened to the kids and all the things that went wrong. The working partner is probably too tired to notice and finds it harder and harder to make meaningful conversation about the workplace. The solution is to make a real effort to keep alive all those topics which bound you together at the beginning before the kids arrived. Make a real effort to keep up to date on these interests and plan outings so that you can keep this essential bond alive.

      4. You never have enough time for yourself

      Having one pay check less may mean financial cutbacks which in turn put more strain on you to keep up with housework, cooking and caring.

      But if this means that you never have enough time to go to the gym, pursue your hobby, have a relaxing bath, then there is something wrong. Build in time which you can have for yourself. You deserve it. Getting exercise is going to release all those endorphins which will put you in a better mood. Your kids and spouse will love you even more!

      5. You never have enough money for yourself

      If you think back to the times when you had a regular pay check with nostalgia, don’t! The fact is that staying at home means that you are contributing quite a lot to the family finances. You are saving on carers and babysitters. Some estimates say that childcare can eat up 30% of family income

      Who does all the repairs and gets the best deals while shopping from all the coupons you have collected? You do, so take comfort and set aside a small sum of money that you can spend on yourself, every week.

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        6. You do not have full control over the family budget

        Given that there is just one breadwinner in the family, it is important to have a joint account, to which you both have access. This should be sufficient to cover all family expenses and it means you do not have to ask for money to do the shopping.

        Some experts have calculated that you can save up to $500 a week for your home and family, just by not going to work as there will be less tax to pay, no transport costs and you will not be eating out as much at lunchtime.

        Jeff Opdyke, author of Love & Money: A Life Guide for Financial Success, has some useful advice here to help you.

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          7. You may suffer from a loss of identity

          Stay-at-home parents have to make big adjustments in deciding to be the main caregiver. While their previous job was stressful and unsatisfying, the task of parenting can be equally demanding and may result in feeling less fulfilled. Changing diapers is not exactly meeting a deadline under pressure.

          The solution is to adjust and ensure that you are taking enough time off for your own hobbies and interests.

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            8. You may not be accepted by other stay-at-home-parents

            Making friends at the playground with a parent of the opposite sex is not that easy! There are all sorts of taboos and suspicions attached to that and you may well feel isolated. The stay-at-home dads are at a greater risk here as there are not so many of them. Just be careful.

            9. You may have to learn new skills

            Whatever your talents, being the housekeeper and laundryman or woman is going to require acquisition of new skills. You may have to learn how to cook which can be a great experience. On the other hand, because of financial stringencies, you may have to cook more at home and eat out less than when you were earning.

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              10. You may have to face the challenges

              Bringing up a child is no easy task. You have to put up with the mess, the tantrums and the chaos. But think that you are doing a great job in providing a positive male/female role model. Maybe this is what you always wanted your father or mother to be like, but it did not work out. Now is your chance with your own offspring to prove that parenting is one of the most rewarding jobs you will ever have to do.

              ‘It’s the toughest job you’ll ever love.’- Peace Corps recruitment slogan.

              11. You may need to study parenting skills

              Unless you have enormous quantities of empathy and emotional intelligence, you will have to study parenting. Joining a parenting class will also help you feel less isolated. You will feel more confident about your parenting skills.

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                12. You need to plan for the future

                At some point, when the kids are teens, your role will change. There will be no need for a 24/7 position anymore. This is where planning for the future comes in because there will be pressure on you to return to work. You may hate the idea of a boss breathing down your neck. Plan on acquiring new skills and take online training courses so that you may be able to work again, when the time comes.

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                  13. You are helping to change people’s attitudes

                  This is good. Stay-at-home dads are pioneers in many ways. They are helping to change people’s attitudes about gender roles. It is no longer true that the children are the mother’s sole responsibility and that the father is the breadwinner. If workplaces had more family friendly policies and if governments gave more parental leave, many of these problems could be solved.

                  14. You may have to learn to respect each other’s roles

                  The great thing about stay-at-home parenting is that the working mother really appreciates what the father is doing. But it does not always work the other way round as you would have to swap roles for a while. Showing appreciation, asking each other about problems and having meetings to discuss budgets and other problems helps you to be more appreciative of just what is involved in running the home.

                  15. Get all the support you need

                  Whether you are just keeping afloat as a stay-at-home parent or planning a re-entry to work, you will need a great support team. How are the kids going to be involved in running the home? How can other family members and relatives help? You need to plan this from the beginning so that chores are always done from a very early age. It also takes a lot of the strain off you and can make your comeback to work all the less traumatic.

                  Let us know in the comments about your experience as a stay-at-home parent.

                  Featured photo credit: Father’s revenge/Aaron Brinker via flickr.com

                  More by this author

                  Robert Locke

                  Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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                  Last Updated on April 6, 2020

                  How To Be Successful In Life: 13 Life-Changing Tips

                  How To Be Successful In Life: 13 Life-Changing Tips

                  What is success to you? How to be successful in life?

                  To some, when they think of success, they imagine wealth; others want power; some just want to make a positive impact on the world.

                  All of these are perfectly valid, indeed success is a concept that means different things to different people. Though no matter what success is to you, it almost certainly isn’t something will come easily.

                  There are countless guides and books to being successful, however, as success is personal and unique to each individual. The advice contained in these books can often not be relevant. Therefore following the advice of a single individual can often be unhelpful.

                  With this in mind, considering the advice of a great many people, people whose ideas of success were different both to each other, and quite possibly, to you can be a good alternative.

                  What follows is a list of 13 of the best pieces of advice from some of the most successful people who have ever lived. If you want to learn how to be successful, these tips are essential:

                  1. Think Big

                    From Michelangelo Buonarroti, Great Renaissance Artist:

                    “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

                    There are few artists as influential as Michaelangelo. Today centuries after his death, his work still inspires and connects to people. His work is world famous, just think of his statue of David, or the Mural in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

                    Imagine then, if he decided not to work as an artist.

                    Being a successful artist has always been extremely difficult, imagine if he decided to give up this ambition in favour of something easier?

                    Oftentimes, people often decided to put their dreams aside for something more “realistic”. To give up their dream for something easier. This quote teaches us the danger of such a point of view.
                    Instead be ambitious.

                    2. Find What You Love to Do and Do It

                      From Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul:

                      “You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.”

                      This is a good quote to remember and think about when you’re at work.

                      Imagine being as successful as possible in your current job. Ultimately you’ll probably find yourself working extremely hard and this it will take up much of your time.

                      If it’s a job you hate, then being successful at it might only mean filling your life with something you hate to do. What’s the sense in this?

                      Instead, why not focus on doing something you love? When you’ve found what you’re passionate about, you get the motivation to keep you moving. Success at this means the fulfilment of your dreams.

                      Not sure what your passion is yet? You should learn about this Motivation Engine first.

                      Even if you’re not successful, you still filled your time with something you love to do. Many successful musicians spent years of their lives doing unpaid performances, the only reason they kept playing was because they loved to perform.

                      3. Learn How to Balance Life

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                        From Phil Knight, CEO of Nike Inc.:

                        “There is an immutable conflict at work in life and in business, a constant battle between peace and chaos. Neither can be mastered, but both can be influenced. How you go about that is the key to success.”

                        All too often, people think that to be successful, they need to make the object of their success their life.

                        If a person thinks their job will lead them to success, then they may spend countless hours per day, and well into the evening working hard.

                        However this comes at the cost of rest, your health and having an enjoyable life. Ultimately they may burn out and cease to be successful at their job anyway.

                        If success comes from having a strong social life and a good group of friends, their job may suffer; meaning that they may lose their job, and then be unable to afford going out with friends.

                        In these ways, success, as Phil Knight says above, is helped by balance. Think of it as a balance between rest and work, or work and play.

                        To achieve that balance, this Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life can help you.

                        4. Do Not Be Afraid of Failure

                          From Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motors:

                          “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

                          There is a story, it’s unconfirmed whether it actually happened, yet the message within is none the less true:

                          Thomas Edison inventing the lightbulb was the result of several hundred failed attempts. In an interview, he was asked “How do you feel after all of your failed attempts?”

                          His response was great, “I didn’t fail, I learned hundreds of ways not to invent the lightbulb”

                          He saw each “failure” as a lesson. From that lesson he learned what won’t work, and also might work instead.

                          Each failed attempt, each rejection, were key steps on his path to success. It is easy to feel like you should give up after a failure. But perhaps in that failure is a lesson.

                          Pay attention to your failures, study them. Perhaps then you’ll learn how to succeed.

                          If you find it difficult to fight your fear of failure, here’s a guide for you: Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It Step-By-Step)

                          5. Have an Unwavering Resolution to Succeed

                            From Colonel Sanders, Founder of KFC:

                            “I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.”

                            This, in many ways relates to the above quote about learning from your failures.

                            It’s the easiest thing in the world to give up from a failure. The only way to push on is if you have the true burning desire to succeed, to not be moved or dissuaded from your goals.

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                            If you are not truly dedicated towards success, then each failure will hurt more, each set back will slow you down.

                            Success is hard; without the unwavering desire to succeed, this difficulty may seem insurmountable. With the desire, it is merely an obstacle to go through.

                            6. Be a Person of Action

                              From Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance Genius:

                              “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

                              Though it was said hundreds of years ago, it works just as much today as it ever had. It applies to literally any successful person.

                              Think about it, picture someone like William Shakespeare:

                              When we think of the time he lived in, we think of the time in a way shaped by him. When we think of Renaissance era Italy, we think of Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. Or think about the present day, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Our current way of life would simply be incomparably different if they didn’t accomplish what they did.

                              You’re probably reading this article on a device by a company that they either founded or companies influenced by them.

                              All these figures were proactive, they saw ways to do things differently and did them. If they let the world shape them, then they’d simply fit into the background. Instead they shaped the world.

                              Applying this to you?

                              Don’t be afraid of going outside the norm. If you can think of a better way to do something, do it that way. If you fail, try again.

                              7. Cultivate Positive Relationships

                                From Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of America: “

                                The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

                                The best leaders and some of the most influential people (and Theodore Roosevelt is one of the best leaders and one of the most influential people to have lived) were not those who caused commotions, who fought with people or disregarded people; but were people who were friendly to those around them.

                                People liked them. They wanted them to do well.

                                This is key to good leadership.

                                It’s logical. If someone likes you, they want to help you; if you give them a suggestion, they’ll gladly follow through with it.

                                But if someone doesn’t like you, they may either refuse to help or actively get in your way.

                                What’s more, it’s always a good idea to cultivate good relationships. You can never tell who will prove to become someone who’ll be able to help you in a big way, or even be a good and supportive friend.

                                As such, help people and they may help you; and be good to people, and they my be good to you.

                                8. Don’t Be Afraid of Introducing New Ideas

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                                  From Mark Twain, Famed Author:

                                  “A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”

                                  It is an unfortunate truth that those with the boldest ideas are often disregarded.

                                  Most of us are taught from an early age to think and do things similarly to everyone else. This can be great to fill an existing role. But to truly do things differently (and all successful people did things differently), you need to think differently.

                                  If you have a new idea, don’t throw it away because it’s new and different; instead, celebrate it. Your strange new idea might one day be the one that leads you to success.

                                  9. Believe in Your Capacity to Succeed

                                    From Walter Disney, Founder of Walt Disney Company:

                                    “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

                                    Success has to be something you can imagine yourself achieving.

                                    It is possible that you will come across those who doubt you and your ability to succeed. You must not become one of these people because the moment you cease believing and dreaming is the moment these dreams fall away.

                                    Keep dreaming!

                                    10. Always Maintain a Positive Mental Attitude

                                      From Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of America:

                                      “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

                                      Like the above quote says, you need to trust in your ability to succeed. This is the only way to cultivate the right mindset.

                                      Replace negative thoughts with the positive ones. You need to approach problems, not as obstacles stopping you, but merely tasks that need to be completed for you to keep going.

                                      If you stay positive and think like this, setbacks won’t affect you so much, people’s doubts won’t impact you and even the biggest obstacles will seem like minor problems.

                                      However with the wrong mindset of doubt, you’ll be much easier to stop.

                                      11. Don’t Let Discouragement Stop You from Pressing On

                                        From Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of America:

                                        “Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed.”

                                        It is an unfortunate fact of human nature — all of us in some way, doubt ourselves. This can be made far worse if others doubt us too.

                                        When surrounded by doubts, giving up can actually seem like a good idea.

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                                        Don’t pay attention to the doubts. If you are discouraged, ignore it.

                                        If this discouragement moves into your mind and you begin to doubt yourself. It is important to ignore this too.

                                        This is How Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck and How to Overcome It

                                        12. Be Willing to Work Hard

                                          From JC Penny, Founder of JC Penney Inc.:

                                          “Unless you are willing to drench yourself in your work beyond the capacity of the average man, you are just not cut out for positions at the top.”

                                          You might have heard the quote that “success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration” or you may have heard about the 10,000 hours idea.

                                          Whichever way you frame it, they say one thing:

                                          True success comes from work.

                                          You’ll never become successful if you don’t work towards your goal in life and keep working towards it.

                                          Check out this article and you’ll understand Why Hard Work Beats Talent.

                                          13. Be Brave Enough to Follow Your Intuition

                                            From Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple Inc.:

                                            “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

                                            In ancient Greece, there was a group of Oracles who lived in Delphi. Everyone who needed advice or to know their future visited them, from the poorest of society to kings. Above the doorway of the temple were the words “know thyself”.

                                            If you strongly believe and desire something, chances are that you already have an idea how to get there. If not, you may naturally know what things will help you and what things will slow you down.

                                            It’s like how your body can detect danger even when things seem safe.

                                            Ultimately then, you need to trust your own instincts.

                                            Final Thoughts

                                            What you might have noticed is that many of the above lessons are similar — most are about developing the right state of mind. This clearly suggests that the key to achieving success, in whatever you wish, comes down to the way you approach it mentally.

                                            Moreover, no matter what stage of life you’re at now, you can still make a difference and pursue success. You can make resetting your life possible when you do this: How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                                            More Tips for Achieve Success

                                            Featured photo credit: Ryan Wong via unsplash.com

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