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Everything You Need to Know About Being a Stay-At-Home Parent
Updated on
March 7, 2023

Everything You Need to Know About Being a Stay-At-Home Parent

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Everything You Need to Know About Being a Stay-At-Home Parent.
Everything You Need to Know About Being a Stay-At-Home Parent

Being a stay-at-home parent can feel both exhausting and like the best choice you ever made. The days can feel repetitive and endless but also filled with joyful moments.

There are many reasons why families might choose to have one parent stay home with their baby instead of looking to other childcare options like a daycare or a nanny or au pair. And while there are benefits to being a stay-at-home parent, there are also a lot of challenges and it is a deeply personal decision. If you’re weighing the options, here are some things you should consider.

Tips for Being a Stay-At-Home Parent

Establish a routine: Babies and toddlers thrive off of routines—and as it turns out, so do we! Getting into a predictable, yet flexible, daily groove can help things go smoothly.

Build your village: Parenting is an all-consuming job, so it can be nice to have a group of people in your corner to lean on for support. Look for local parent groups on Facebook or connect with other parents on the Peanut app to make some friends. That way you’ll have other parents to connect with or even meet up at the park for a playdate!

Get out of the house: This is much easier said than done when you have a baby. Look for activities like a music class or story time at your local library. Activities like these are a good way to meet other parents, fill the time and add some variety to your days.

Take a break when baby is sleeping: You don’t have to sleep, but at least try to take a few minutes to yourself. When you’re home all day, the lines can get blurry between caretaking and regular household duties. There will always be something else you could be doing while baby is napping but it’s also important to rest so you don’t get burned out.

Don’t forget self-care: It can be hard to know what to expect if you’ve never spent much time caring for a baby alone, and you probably never thought you’d actually forget to eat. But when you’re home alone with your baby you’ll quickly realize that they require a lot of attention. It can be easy to skip over your own basic needs in the rush of day-to-day tasks but keep in mind, you have to take care care of yourself in order to take care of them.

Pros and Cons of Being a Stay-At-Home Parent

The pros and cons of being a stay-at-home parent can vary as each family (and their financial circumstances) are different, but in general, here are some things to consider.

Pros of Being a Stay-At-Home Parent

Money: For some families, the choice to have one parent stay at home with the kids is solely based on financial circumstances. If one parent’s income will be just enough to pay for daycare, it might make more financial sense to have one parent stay home with the baby. Meanwhile for other parents, the desire to hang on to personal autonomy and keep working can outweigh the fact that most of their income will go toward childcare.

Quality time: Ask any parent and they’ll tell you how fast time flies once you have a child. Babies grow so quickly, and a major benefit of being a stay-at-home parent is the precious time you’ll get to spend with your baby and having a front-row seat to all of their growth and milestones.

Cons of Being a Stay-At-Home Parent

Tighter budget: Even if most of the income would have been spent on childcare, having one parent stay home is still a loss of salary. This means you may have to be more careful about spending and establish a family budget if you don’t already have one.

Blurred boundaries: When you’re home all day with your baby, it can feel like you need to be constantly doing household tasks simply because you’re home. Remember, it’s okay if your house looks like someone lives there. Setting up a chore or cleaning schedule can help you stay on top of things without feeling overwhelmed.

Putting your career on pause: It can be difficult to pause your career to become a stay-at-home parent. It can feel like you’re not really ‘doing anything’ since you aren’t bringing in an income or making progress in your career. Remember this, the work you’re doing inside of your home is just as (if not more) important as working outside of the home.

It can feel isolating: Being alone all day, with a baby who can’t verbally communicate with you just yet, can feel lonely sometimes. This is why it’s important to seek out and make connections with other parents and friends.

Remember, two things can be true at the same time—being the primary caregiver for your baby can be both challenging and rewarding.

Briana Engelbrecht

Assistant Editor

Briana Engelbrecht is Babylist’s Assistant Editor, where she brings her passion for early childhood development and the perinatal period, plus experience as a mom of two to Babylist articles and guides. She’s also a certified lactation counselor. A former preschool teacher, she loves children’s picture books, cats, plants and making things.

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