Having a baby is a wondrous event in the life of a woman. Many choose to relish this special time, staying at home in order to care for the baby. There are many advantages to being a stay-at-home mom, but it's not for everyone. Some women don't want to give up their careers and others can't afford to. For those who want to make it work, it is very doable. Considering the changes in the new lifestyle can help you anticipate problems and develop a coping strategy to make this a wonderful time.
Make changes in your spending style. Before the big day, start to cut out unnecessary expenditures -- for each family these are different, but examples include extra cell phones, weekly dinner dates and costly vacations. See how you function without little luxuries. If you consider how much you might need to pay for babysitters and travel time, the decision to stay home might not even be as expensive as you originally thought.
Develop a routine. Staying home all day in your pajamas, while tempting, will not do wonders for your self esteem. It is crucial for you to get out and retain some vestiges of your former self. In the early stages, your baby will sleep a lot -- usually 16 to 18 hours a day. If you wake up first, take a shower and get dressed. If he does, take a shower while your husband watches him or at his first nap. Then, go on a walk, run an errand or enjoy the fresh air. If the weather isn't suitable, take a ride to the mall. Set specific times for playing with your baby, napping (even for you!) eating and bathing. But be flexible.
Meet other, like-minded people. Being alone all day with a baby can be lonely and isolating. Find other stay-at-home moms, whether through friends or a local mommy and me chapter, and make times to get together. It's also an early opportunity for babies to develop social skills.
Schedule some "me" time. Many new mothers lose their sense of self as they morph into "Davie's mommy," so taking some time to focus on yourself can be reinvigorating for your soul. If your baby has long naps, you can usually make some time then. If your baby has a more difficult nature, occasionally get a babysitter so you can have some time off. Learning how to let go a bit can help enable your success as a stay-at-home mom.
Go on a date with your husband, of course. If you spend all your waking hours worrying about the baby, your marriage may suffer. Let the decision to stay at home be a choice you make together and allow it to strengthen your marriage. If you must cut your spending, don't go on a dinner date; just go on a walk, or sit down for a coffee. The important part is talking and communicating.
Consider a work-at-home arrangement. For some women, the lack of stimulation in a stay-at-home arrangement is stifling. There are many freelance opportunities on the market, or perhaps your old job will let you telecommute part time. There are also businesses that you can run out of your home through the Internet.
Tips & Warnings
- Take on a hobby or craft to keep yourself from becoming bored.
- Get family and friends to help out when you need it.
- Make sure your house is set up safely for your baby.
- Don't get bogged down with the baby, he's one part, even if the main part, of your life.
- Photo Credit ULTRA.F/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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