Many families decide that having a spouse at home to take care of children and run the household is the best option based on the costs of childcare and the feasibility of finding a high paying job when big moves are all too likely.
Even though there are numerous benefits to having a stay at home parent, many people struggle to find a solid identity without the guidance and rewards of a career. As Marine Wife Unplugged wrote about it, it can be especially difficult as a military spouse because you are often separated from your family and support network and can easily feel overwhelmed and isolated.
If you are a stay-at-home parent, check out these ideas to help you build a strong identity.
Many stay at home parents say that they feel as if they aren’t challenged and don’t get the rewards that many receive from projects at work. Although being a parent can be very rewarding, it’s easy to feel like your hard work goes unnoticed.
Volunteering can provide an excellent outlet to fill your down time as well as give you the sense that you’re helping out your community. For an added impact, try volunteering for charities or organizations that help military causes like The Veterans United Foundation, Operation Homefront and The Red Cross.
It may not sound like much but joining a club can help you meet people with similar interests as well as foster some of your favorite activities. Join a neighborhood book club, city council or even the school board.
Not only can getting involved in your community help you find your identity, leadership and organization building are great skills to include on a resume if you plan on returning to the work force.
Those with a passion for learning and a goal to receive a degree should consider taking online or evening classes. Online and evening classes are incredibly flexible and you can spread your class load over several years to work toward a degree that can help you find a job later down the road.
Although raising children and taking care of the house is a very necessary job, it isn’t always the most rewarding or creatively stimulating. Giving yourself a creative outlet will help you feel passionate and stimulated.
If a craft or some type of art is peaking your interest, consider turning your hobby into a form of income. With a little careful planning and drive you can make some great extra money selling on sites like Etsy.com and eBay not to mention customers around your area.
One of the biggest mistakes a stay at home parent can make is thinking what they do isn’t as important as a job with income. Think of how lost your family would be without everything you do to make things run smoothly. Consider how much services like childcare, housekeeping or bookkeeping cost. Calculating the monetary value of the work you do in the home can help bring your self-worth into proper perspective.
Overall, the role of a stay at home parent is incredibly important and should not be taken lightly, but these supplementary activities can help fill the gaps in building a strong identity.
Photo courtesy Emery Co Photo