Welcome to the sixth instalment of my weekly feature The Stay at Home Crowd or #SAHCrowd.
Each week I get to interview a blogger to find out all about their experiences of being a stay at home parent. I stay at home with our little boy and I always find it interesting to find out about others who are in the same situation. I’ve found it incredibly supportive and has helped me realise I’m not alone.
Thank you to Gemma from A Gem’s Life for taking part in last weeks edition.
This week we have the lovely Sarah, from the pregnancy, parenting and lifestyle blog Forget Me Knit. Sarah is due to have a baby any minute which is very exciting!
Tell us a little bit more about yourself and your family, including how long you’ve been a stay at home parent.
I’m Sarah, Mum to Ted who was born in July 2014, when I became a stay at home parent. I’ve been married to my husband Tom for three years and we live in the wonderful city of Bristol. We are expecting our second child who is due today.
Why and how did you choose to become a stay at home parent?
We aren’t originally from Bristol so don’t have any family close by. We always knew that if we had children I would need to stop working to look after them. We looked into the cost of childcare compared with my salary and it makes more financial sense for me to be the one looking after Ted. I was on a fixed-term contract before I had Ted which came to and end just before I had him. I stopped working a few weeks before he was born.
What do you enjoy/not enjoy about being a stay at home parent?
Sometimes it can feel a little lonely as a stay at home parent, or if we are having a difficult day where Ted is a bit clingy or grumpy I might not get things done around the house, and then I feel a bit guilty. I like to be able to keep things fairly tidy and have dinner prepared and sometimes that is just not possible – especially since I have been pregnant and feeling unwell or very tired some days!
What’s been one of the hardest challenges you’ve faced?
I found it really difficult when my friends returned to work – we were in a nice routine with lots of play dates and outings and then suddenly I was on my own. I admire them for going back to work and I am sure it must be difficult juggling home-life and their jobs. We had to find ourselves a new routine and new places to go just the two of us, but I have made some new friends who are in a similar position to me.
I think the most difficult thing is not having my own income, it can feel quite restrictive. We have had to cut back on things and budget so that we can live off just my husband’s salary. We get by, but can’t splash out on things and have to be careful.
How do you find time to get other things completed (for example blogging, housework, etc) during the day when you have a children demanding your attention?
I try to take advantage of Ted’s naps and get things done during that time. Once he is napping in his cot I will use that time to maybe put some dinner in the slow cooker, prepare our lunches and tidy round. Once that is done I take some time to have a cup of tea and do some blogging. I can’t really get these things done when he is awake so nap time is crucial! Sometimes I can clean the kitchen whilst he is in his high chair eating lunch, and he is amazed by the washing machine so I always have that on the go! Some days don’t go to plan and he has a short nap and I don’t get much done, but I have learnt just to accept it when that happens. The last few weeks I have occasionally had a nap when he has as I have been so tired!
How do you find the reaction of others when you tell them you’re a stay at home parent?
What advice would you give someone who was contemplating becoming a stay at home parent?
Just to do what is best for your family and not to listen to what other people say – and don’t feel guilty about your choice. I would say it would be good to have a support network around you and try to have a bit of a routine of different places to go to ensure you get out of the house. If you feel like you are getting run down, make sure you tell people and ask for help – your job is tiring too!
What one thing would you wish your partner/family/friends would do to help/support you more?
I honestly don’t think my husband could be any more supportive than he is! He is really hands on with Ted and even after a long day at work he comes home and takes care of him and tries to give me a break. He always gives Ted his dinner in the evening and is in charge of the bedtime routine. I am so glad of this because by the evening I am exhausted! It gives me time to have a sit down or I will often have a bath at this time. My husband is really understanding and knows that my day will have been busy and at times, hard work!
How do you relax and unwind at the end of the day?
Once Ted has gone to bed my husband and I will eat dinner together and have a catch up. I will use this time to do some blogging or chatting with people on social media. Before I was pregnant I went to a dance class once a week which I loved, and hope to do so again some time. It is really nice to have a bit of time to yourself! I also enjoy knitting so sometimes work on a craft project – but often I am too tired and just veg in front of the telly!
What are your plans for the future with regards to being a stay at home parent?
As we are having our second baby I will be a stay at home parent for a while longer. When the new baby is older I would like to look for a job that could fit in with our family life. I am a qualified dance teacher so could consider working evenings/weekends so that we don’t incur childcare costs, as my husband would be able to look after the children. I’d love to have my own dance school one day!
Any tips or anything else you’d like to share?
I would say try to achieve one thing a day – whether it be a fun activity for your child like going to a group, the park or soft play, or running an errand like going to the shops or post office. I always feel better when we have managed to get out and do something, however small. But, if you have a bad day, don’t be hard on yourself and try again tomorrow.
Thank you very much for taking part Sarah.
I hope you don’t have to wait much longer to meet your new baby and that everything goes well and quickly for you. Can’t wait to see a birth announcement and some cute newborn baby pictures very soon.
We also try and achieve at least one thing a day, even something as simple as putting the washing away.
If you are a stay at home parent and would like to be featured in The Stay at Home Crowd series please email me at email@example.com, send me a tweet @mummy_lala or comment on this post for more information. I would love for you to join.