Staying home to care for your children, whether you're mom or dad, can be a fulfilling way to spend your days. Yet, you might experience mixed emotions about your choice to stop working. Daily child care can be difficult, even though you probably enjoy many aspects of it. If you find yourself with unsettling emotions, talk to a mental health professional to work through the issues so you can be happy in your role.
Being home with your kids all day can get lonely. You're isolated with little ones who can't carry on an adult conversation. If you left your career to care for your children, you might miss spending coffee breaks with your co-workers and lunch meetings with clients. Social isolation plays a role in many other issues, including sleep problems, stress and addiction, notes Band Back Together, a website that provides resources for stay-at-home parents. Make an effort to meet other parents at the park or library or join a class for parents and their children that lets you dance or do art projects together.
Some women who become stay-at-home mothers experience feelings of depression, with some having mild symptoms and others having severe symptoms. The risk of depression is higher if you would rather be at work, but circumstances don't let you, according to a 2011 story at PsychologyToday.com. Depression can also occur if you have high expectations for your days. If you want each day to progress smoothly from an educational game to a snack to a load of laundry to a nap, you'll ultimately be disappointed. Life with kids is typically pretty unpredictable and little ones don't always cooperate. Loss of previous friendships can also contribute to depression.
Staying at home with your kids, particularly if you're leaving the work force, can cause anxiety. You're worried about having enough money to pay the bills, buy food and necessities for your family, and do enjoyable activities. This can translate into tension between you and your spouse and boredom if money is too tight to eat out or go the museum. You might also be anxious about making good parenting decisions and ensuring your children grow and develop as they should.
At work, you know when you've done a good job because it's acknowledged. Raising kids doesn't always give you that pat on the back that lets you know you're doing your job well. The loss or suspension of a career also can make you feel as though you've lost your identity. Dads might lose their sense of masculinity if they spend their days changing diapers and hanging out at the park with mostly moms. Men who aren't the breadwinner might feel inadequate for not caring for their family financially.