Office holiday parties, silly holiday sock exchanges, catered lunches or breakfasts….and the list continues. These are the ‘luxuries’ that one half a single income parenting duo experiences during the holiday season. I am no stranger to the feelings of isolation, exclusion and plain envy that comes with being a stay-at-home parent. There was a time in my life where I woke up, dressed up and paid my dues in the corporate world. I was respected and appreciated. I excelled in that type of environment. Now, as a stay-at-home mom, it is easy to feel lonely.
Just this week I learned of my husband receiving the honor of an invite to attend a formal meeting, dinner and a NFL game with one of his company’s largest vendors. My first thought was, “it must be nice” with a bitterness deep inside. That is most definitely not how I should approach the situation. My husband has worked hard to be where he is. He works hard so that I get to stay home and raise our babies. Once I had a chance to pause and begin my introspective evaluation, I decided that I am likely not the only one to feel this way. Below are some of the tips that I am trying myself, to overcome these feelings of isolation and loneliness.
It’s All About Perspective
The old adage, is the wine glass half full or half empty comes to mind. Ok, I may have added the wine part. Your cup may have water, or another more potent drink. By the way, you nursing moms don’t have to pump and dump this holiday season! Head on over to our blog to see the article with evidence that this is not necessary.
Any-who. I’m not saying any of this is easy. It is really taking some work for me to do this. My husband is a family man. He values time with his family over most anything else. As hard as it is for me to be home all the time without feeling like I have a purpose, it is equally hard for him to leave each day. He would love nothing more than to be at home with us. I have to make myself change this perspective. It is a blessing to be able to raise my babies and to be the one they run to when they have a boo-boo or friend troubles. I am shifting my attitude of bitterness into an attitude of gratitude.
Ask your partner to let you help
No, you cannot go to work for them, or go to their holiday party in their place, but you can be a part of the fun in purchasing the silly sock exchange items. You can bake goodies for him or her to take into the party, so that they have the opportunity to brag about how awesome you are. My husband has worked for the same company, and with the same people, for 5 years now. He comes home and tells me stories about the guys at the shop. While I don’t interact with his co-workers on a regular basis, I feel that I have a pretty good understanding of their personalities. I enjoy planning the gag gifts and jokes that will go into the socks for the office silly sock exchange. It’s kind of like living vicariously through my husband!
Create your own holiday party at home with your minis
The effort required to dress a small child for the outdoors in the winter can be exasperating. In the case of more than one, multiply that frustration, I mean effort, by the number of small children you have. As a result, I tend to become a home-body during the winter months. Plus, who wants everyone else’s germs? YUCK! Come up with a fun way for you and the kiddos to have a little holiday party together. This year, we will be making graham cracker houses, decorating cookies, singing and dancing to Christmas songs and who knows what other brilliant ideas I have yet to hatch. No, it is not the same as adult interaction, but it is so rewarding to watch their faces light up with joy as you do these fun things with them.
Have a ‘Friends-mas’
This last suggestion was admittedly taken from my 13-year-old daughter and her friends. Last year they had a sleepover, a small gift exchange and made some Christmas-y, crafty things. For us adults, a simple dinner out with friends with a white elephant gift exchange makes for a grand time. You stay-at-home dads can do a guys night watching sports or whatever you and your buddies like to do. It is healthy and essential for the stay-at-home parent to get a mental break and participate in adult conversation.
Therefore, we stay-at-home parents can make the holidays a fun time for ourselves too. I’m sure that there are many other ways to help ease the feelings of loneliness and disappointment that can sometimes come with being a stay-at-home parent. I would love to hear your ideas. Leave me a comment below with how you make the most of the holiday season!
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