Staying at home with kids IS NOT for everyone. (Gasp!) I’m serious. You would be shocked at the number of times people have looked at me and said something like, “I don’t know how you stay at home with kids all day. I COULDN’T DO IT.” I’ve read countless articles, blogs, comments… blah blah blah… from other stay at home parents and childcare providers that have the same message, “If you had to stay home, you would… and you would be just fine.”
Yeah, sure… when you look at it in terms of survival… the vast majority of the population could stay at home and care for children… if they had to. But, that doesn’t mean they should… especially if you don’t want to. What people are really trying to say is that they couldn’t handle it… and that’s totally fine! If staying at home with kids all day would result in you driving to the closest mental health institution and checking yourself in, then please… don’t stay at home with your kids.
“But, Momma Bish… I stay at home and sometimes feel like checking myself in at one of those places… it sounds like a vacation!” Oh, don’t you worry… I think every parent EVER has felt like this at times. It just makes you normal. That’s why parents (all parents, not just stay at home parents… because even working parents are stay at home parents on the weekends… or days off) need to create a “HOLY SH*T ESCAPE PLAN.” Put it in your phone, tape it to the fridge, tattoo it on your arm… I don’t care… but in a moment of “OMG, I’M SELLING MY CHILD(REN) TO THE GYPSIES” panic/rage/disbelief… just read through your plan and find an alternative solution. I’ll share mine with you… feel free to adopt similar strategies.
MOMMA BISH’S HOLY SH*T ESCAPE PLAN
1. Lock yourself in the bathroom/outside for three minutes and calm down with some of that focused breathing sh*t they taught you in those birthing classes.
2. Call/Text/Message a parent friend for a 60 second vent session. (If my friends and I need to vent, we typically start the conversation with OMG… I NEED THE NUMBER FOR THE GYPSIES!) While this contact doesn’t have to be a parent, they are often able to relate to your situation a bit better.
3. Leave the house. Don’t leave the children… this is illegal… but get out of the house and go do something. A change of environment might just be what everyone needs. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy… go to Target, the park, for a walk… just GET THE EFF OUT.
4. Ditch the kid(s). That’s right… have a list of people to call if you just need a break. (We ALL need breaks. If you don’t know anyone… go to family events and activities, find a parent group, church, etc…) Our list consists of grandparents, aunts, uncles, family, friends, neighbors, teenagers, etc. (Hell, last week, I posted on FB that we needed a sitter and within about 10 minutes I had seven people offering to help.) Taking a break doesn’t make you weak… asking for help is a necessary part of parenting.
As a preventive measure, always have something on the calendar. “Play date” is a fancy term we use to not only socialize our children… but so we can socialize with other adults, too.
The key to staying at home is to form allies… and helping each other out. But remember… being around kids full-time isn’t for everyone. There are plenty of people who have the skills and passion to do so. Find what you love and do it… I’ll sit here and watch your kid(s) while you do. (Umm… except that’s a lie… because I’m at capacity… but you can find someone else who will.)
One more thing… this whole post has me thinking about how I COULD be an accountant… but that would drive me crazy… and I would just start punching people in the face… which is why I’m not an accountant. Let’s all do stuff that makes us (at least moderately) happy.