Whether raising kids, caring for a loved one, or coping with a disability, there are a variety of reasons to stay home full-time, but the transition can be disorienting. Unfortunately, choosing to stay home can feel like leaving the outside world entirely, and it takes time to find a new normal. To make your transition to home life easier, here are some considerations as you start this new phase in your life.
Building a Support System
One of the hardest parts of leaving work or school to stay home is the resulting isolation. Stay-at-home caregivers can go days without seeing friends or extended family, unless they make the effort to connect. It is vitally important to maintain friendships and family relationships.
School and work provide a natural place to gather with friends and coworkers, so you will need to make a point to see friends at least a few times a week. Now is a good time to join a playgroup, crafter's group, mom's support group, or caregiver's support group. This will provide you an opportunity to get out of the house, and continue to nurture friendships you made during your working days. Make plans for lunch with friends, and have a girl's or boy's night out on a regular basis.
If you find yourself feeling isolated, don't suffer in silence. Reach out to your support network and discuss your feelings with others. It is normal for new moms and caregivers to feel lonely, and you will find empathy as you share your feelings.
Maintain a Schedule
Work and school are helpful in giving purpose and direction to your day. As you transition into staying home, it may be surprisingly difficult to organize your day and get everything done on your to-do list. Approach your homemaking like a job, and you'll feel a greater sense of accomplishment at the end of each day.
Wake up around the same time each morning, and try to look presentable. Don't feel that you have to dress up everyday, but getting out of your pajamas will make you feel better about yourself. If you did your hair and makeup for work, continue doing something similar at home. Feeling good about yourself will keep you motivated.
It is also important to take care of your body. Eat healthy meals on a regular schedule, and fit in time to exercise. Good food and a healthy body will give you more energy and help prevent burnout. Also, get plenty of sleep and maintain a regular sleeping schedule.
Foster Your Passion
Work and school provide clear goals and opportunities for advancement. Without something to strive for, some homemakers feel directionless. Keep your life moving forward by creating meaningful goals for yourself. If you've wanted to learn to play an instrument, study a foreign language, or perfect your cooking skills, now is the time to focus on these goals. Pick hobbies that will enrich your life, and fill your time with things you love.
Set aside time every day for yourself. Even if, it's only fifteen minutes, do something fulfilling and has nothing to do with your caregiver duties. Burnout is common among full-time caregivers, and taking time for yourself will allow you to be the best wife, mother, and caregiver you can be.
Completing the Transition
Being a homemaker is one of the hardest, happiest, most fulfilling, yet the most demanding job in the world. Be patient with yourself as you make the transition into full-time homemaking. There may be rough times along the way, but those who love you and rely on your talents will appreciate your willingness to stay home.
There is no right way to be a good homemaker, but by using your unique talents, you will find your stride. Remember to take time for yourself, feed your mind, and prioritize your time. Also, rely on your social network, and maintain your friendships. Before long, you will be a veteran homemaker and an experienced caregiver.