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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.

                  7 Things You Can Do to Deal with Low-Energy Days 10 Reasons Why People Are Unmotivated (And How to Be Motivated) 10 Morning Habits Of Happy People 10 Simple Morning Exercises to Make You Feel Great All Day What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It

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                  Last Updated on September 18, 2020

                  7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                  7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                  Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

                  Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

                  1. Exercise Daily

                  It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

                  If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

                  Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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                  If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

                  2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

                  Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

                  One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

                  This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

                  3. Acknowledge Your Limits

                  Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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                  Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

                  Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

                  4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

                  Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

                  The basic nutritional advice includes:

                  • Eat unprocessed foods
                  • Eat more veggies
                  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
                  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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                  Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

                    5. Watch Out for Travel

                    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

                    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

                    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

                    6. Start Slow

                    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

                    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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                    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

                    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

                    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

                    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

                    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

                    Final Thoughts

                    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

                    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

                    More Tips on Getting in Shape

                    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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