Making any transition is difficult and we face many of them throughout our lifetime. Transitioning from school to a career, from one job to another, from one home to another, and from single life to married life are just a few of the most common. Feelings of inadequacy, isolation, and role confusion are often experienced by people making transitions. Many parents expect to jump into the role of at-home parenthood and be immediately capable and happy. Most of the time, it doesn't work that way. Transitions take time. Just as it may have taken several months, or years, to feel comfortable in a past work-related role, it could take just as long to adjust to all the transitions you'll face in your role of at-home parent.
Although there are some similarities between transitioning to at-home parenting and other transitions you've made in your life, there are also some significant differences. Here are just a few of the differences that make the transition from career to at-home parenthood possibly the most difficult to make:
These differences illustrate just how difficult moving from career to home can be. In doing so, most women face a reassessment of who they are and how they should spend their time, but they often don't think about these changes until they've taken the plunge. By then, they are inundated with dirty diapers and laundry and there is little time to sort out their feelings.
Even though I officially left the workforce four years ago and thought that I would be settled in my new role and done with transitions, I find that I am constantly in a state of transition. I realized that life in general (and parenting in particular) is just a continuous series of transitions -- some little, some big.
It doesn't matter if you've been an at-home mom for two months or 20 years, things change. Just when you think you have the "terrible twos" figured out, a new baby is added to the family and sibling rivalry appears. Boom! -- a new challenge for you to figure out and add to your parenting repertoire.
Over the years, your time at home will go through many transitions -- your children grow and change, you change, your life circumstances change, and you must adapt and respond to each new stage. Whatever transition you are currently facing with, be good to yourself. Change is hard and moving though different stages of life at home with children is challenging. Give yourself credit for the successes you've had. Embrace your current transition. Think of it as a journey . . . one that doesn't have to be done perfectly or quickly. Give yourself time to adjust and, most importantly, enjoy the ride!
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