Being a stay-at-home parent with a spouse in the military is sometimes by choice and other times by circumstance. For some, staying home with the kids has always been a part of the plan. For others, careers may be on pause because the family needs a parent a home for a season. There are many reasons why parents choose to be stay-at-home moms and dads. No matter why you find yourself at home during this season, the PCS Homegirls want to encourage you to make the most of this time and thrive as a stay-at-home parent!

Be present.

The opportunity to be more present is often a top reason why moms or dads in military families choose to stay at home. Remember that this season will pass by quickly. Enjoy every moment that you can spend with your children without the distractions of work outside of the home. Help your spouse to be more present, too, finding opportunities to lay down the stress of work to share precious memories with you and your children.

For military kids, the constant presence of their mom or dad can be especially meaningful as their service member parent might deploy or travel frequently for work. With a parent always at home, children and teens may feel more secure and supported. Embrace this opportunity by slowing down and sharing meaningful, focused time with your loved ones.

Be intentional in how you spend your time with your children and spouse inside your home and outside your home, soaking up every special memory.

Create a routine.

A simple daily routine can help you stay organized and manage your home with less stress. A routine doesn’t need to include set times for all activities, but it should include periods of time for designated tasks and a list of daily goals. You might include weekly outings (lessons, appointments, etc.), a daily household chore checklist, or a wake-up/morning sequence of events.

A good way to get started on a routine is to make a list of things that you must do every day or week and then a list of things that you would like to do but don’t necessarily have to be done. Take your two lists and start plugging in your “must dos” and then add in your “would like to dos.” Add in some wake-up and bedtime routine lists, and you’re ready to get going. Revisit your routine regularly as the needs of your household shift from season to season.

Military life can throw some curveballs from time to time that can affect your routine and schedule. Remember to remain flexible and to give yourself grace if your days don’t always go according to plan!

Get out of the House.

Just because you are a stay-at-home parent doesn’t mean you have to stay inside your home all the time. It can be easy, especially for military spouses with a service member who works long hours or is deployed to stay inside the home. Isolation is not healthy for the body or mind.

Work some outings into your weekly schedule to socialize with other adults, for your children to social with others their age, and to gather with other families. Some options to consider are attending playdates, joining a hobby group, or participating in religious services. Even during weeks when you don’t feel like a big social gathering, run some errands for minimal social interaction and a quick change in your environment.

Take the kids out. Go out as a family when the other parent is home. Hire a babysitter and head out for a date or to hang out with some friends sans kids. Stay social (and we don’t mean Facebook or Instagram)!

Take care of yourself.

Your health and well-being are just as important as those you care for on a daily basis. You cannot take care of those you love if you’re not taking care of yourself, too! Moms and dads need to refuel regularly. 

Make sure you get regular exercise and eat healthy meals. If your family is especially busy during this season, make sure you add some strength training or cardio into the routine we discussed earlier. Make a meal plan for the month and set a budget to prevent eating out for convenience’s sake.

Dress up from time to time, set appointments for the salon or barber, and plan a special outing to do something you love or always wanted to do. Be sure your needs are part of the priorities for your household! You are a member, too!

Lastly, if you are struggling with emotions, depression, or other mental battles that you think might stem from being a stay-at-home parent, seek a counselor for guidance! It’s easy to get sucked in to false thought patterns whether your work is inside or outside the home! Get help if you need it.

We want to know!

How long have you been a stay-at-home parent? Do you do any of the things listed here? What has been the most helpful advice you’ve received to help you thrive at home as a military spouse + stay-at-home parent?

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