How to Be a Stay-at-Home Parent (Guest Post by Amanda Donaldson)

Stay-at-Home MomGrowing up I always thought of myself as a working parent. An eight to five Monday thru Friday job with a bluetooth plastered to my ear, business suits, high heels, protein shakes and salads, hitting the gym. What a perfect life, right? However, God had other plans for me. I am still a working parent but nowhere near my past expectations. Working a 24/7 job with ketchup plastered to my ear, pjs, flip flops, mac and cheese and chicken nuggets, at-home workouts. What a perfect life, right?

Both of these examples are of the most extreme ends of the working parent spectrum. Not every parent can stay at home while their spouse works due to many reasons. I myself have a flexible part time job; however, my number one job is to be a mother and wife. If you are a stay-at-home-parent or are thinking of becoming one, here are three guidelines I follow every day to make sure I’m doing my job well.

Be Present
Your kids learn from you by watching your every move and hang on to every word. Their fine motor skill development derives from coloring, writing letters/numbers, crafts (such as gluing and cutting with scissors), molding play dough and legos; all of which include using the imagination. Thus develop their enhancement skills. Kids learn how to be a good parent and spouse by cooking with you, cleaning their rooms, folding their own laundry and putting it away. Their mental health and maturity stems from understanding how to manage feelings and get along with others within the household.

Most importantly, a child’s spiritual health depends on YOU as the parent (Ephesians 6:4). Do not expect your child to grow up being spiritually healthy if you have never taken the time to read the Bible or explain Jesus to them. Wisdom tells us that if we teach our children about the Word they will not turn from it (Proverbs 22:6).

Being with your kids 24/7 can be stressful and overwhelming. By designing a discipline plan that you and your spouse both agree on, you can control your home in any situation while being calm.* You can also search the web on ideas for a discipline chart or other tactics specific for your household.

Be Productive
Let’s be honest, social media and entertainment has taken over the world. With the click of a button we are immediately connected with world news, celebs and gossip. This is a huge distraction to our family. It takes away the attention our kids deserve. We are neglecting our kids when our eyes are on a screen instead of them. It is wise to choose another time to check our Facebook or Twitter account. Perhaps when the kids are asleep.

If your kids are in school the majority of the day, continue to be productive around the house and yard, volunteer at your local food pantry, plan and prepare meals for the entire week in advance and educate yourself on your children’s upcoming extracurricular activities. Look ahead, be organized and prepared. No one wants their spouse coming home asking, “What DID you do all day?”

Be Consistent
Getting into a flexible routine was the best thing we could have done for our family’s mental and physical health. Kids thrive off routine. For example, my kids know that after lunch we have nap/quiet time. Usually, I receive no fuss from them. During this time I do whatever I want for these two blessed hours! This is where my social network gets checked, my workout gets done and a little snooze on the couch until my 2 yr old is in my face saying, “Mommy, wake up!”. We also have a reasonable bed time for the girls which allows Zack and me to have our time together.

Another helpful tool I use is the TV. So, if I need 30 minutes here or 60 minutes there I turn on the beautiful sounds of Sofia the First or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. We have found it best to monitor our children’s screen time no matter what age. This includes TV, computer, iPad, smart phone, etc.

*For more on disciplining your children, click here.

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