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Stay at Home Parents | Soultenders

Stay at Home Parents

Stay at Home Parents | Soultenders

Parents who stay home, how are you doing? Have you checked in with yourself lately? Has there been time to? Parenting is an endless cycle full of rewarding moments and moments that challenge every single one of your coping skills. Is being a stay-at-home parent a choice or a necessity? Was it the result of intention, planning, or unexpected? Did it stem from trauma connected with the Covid pandemic? 

Being a stay-at-home parent can highlight areas in ourselves that are working or need strengthening. Is it hard to connect with other parents or even just get out of the house? Was this always the case or did it become reinforced by the mandates and cautions during the pandemic? Where is your family financially? Do you have access to resources, are you struggling to make ends meet? Are you able to engage with your support system, are you reevaluating your supports or trying to build them up?

Cleaning, laundry, cooking, wiping, chasing, picking up, pick-ups, drop offs, schedules, groceries, practices, holiday planning, medical appointments, lunches, shopping. Where does that leave you?

Our hygiene, dress, exercise routine, healthy eating habits, and socializing can be some of the first things to get pushed aside for all of the needs of a child. This is understandable and there is a learning curve to parenthood. But sometimes we can get stuck in those patterns of not prioritizing our needs as parents enough. Over time this can create strain on our relationships. It can muddle our identity as we negotiate parenthood with who we were before as individuals. Are you able to incorporate parts of yourself into your day to day?

Being a stay-at-home parent can feel like running a marathon. Not only are the obligatory day-to-day tasks tiring, but parents can wrestle with the need for documentation of all the special moments. Parents can feel the sting of comparison of their lives against others. Schools, dress, vacations, lunches, extracurricular activities, family gatherings can all be areas on social media that trigger self-doubt. We can become susceptible to measuring our value as parents against what other parents are showcasing on social media.

This is all a lot to grapple with. Parents get tired, even burnt out. At times we might think we can do it all and we might be able to for a while. But it’s not sustainable and it will catch up with you. Therapy is just the place to turn to when you stop being able to fall asleep, or when you are no longer enjoying your kids’ special events or when it becomes hard to get yourself out of bed in the morning. A therapist can introduce you to tools that will support you. Let’s be honest, it can be hard to ask for help when you’re used to being the one everyone in the family looks to and depends on. But sometimes we need an outside perspective to see things in a different light or reignite something in ourselves that we didn’t know was still there.

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Lauren Pena
LMFT
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