As a stay-at-home parent, you may have the opportunity to cultivate a number of emotional virtues, including:
Patience: Caring for young children can require a lot of patience, especially when they are learning and growing. Which all of us are always doing from 6 months to 16 years to 20 years...you get it. They are always growing and learning- having the patience to not try to answer everything for them is so important. Patience with the learning process is key in nurturing critical self-trust skills cultivated easiest in childhood.
Empathy: Being a stay-at-home parent provides opportunities to develop your empathy skills as you try to understand and respond to your child's needs and emotions. It aids you in understanding your needs and how to fill yourself up from a good place in order to give. It encourages empathy towards yourself and towards others because you need to creatively provide solutions to mostly emotional problems all day. Yet this gives deep insight as to how important a good caring relationship with yourself is. Empathy starts with you!
Compassion: Caring for your child can also help you develop compassion, as you strive to be understanding and supportive in their development. When they push you away or when they push the other parent away you become the emotional center for the family. This requires immense creativity and ability to see parallels in things more people could see but cannot put the time to it in the ways you can.
Resilience: Parenting can be challenging at times, and being a stay-at-home parent can require a certain level of resilience to handle the ups and downs.
Flexibility: Being a stay-at-home parent often requires a great deal of flexibility, as you may need to adapt to changing schedules and unexpected events.
Courage: Parenting can require courage as you face new challenges and make difficult decisions on behalf of your child. Just like being a working mother, doing anything as a woman is going to come with a great deal of opinions from others. This is sadly as old as time itself and you need courage to forge your own path, family makes this easy though.
Gratitude: Being a stay-at-home parent can provide opportunities to cultivate gratitude as you appreciate the small joys and milestones in your child's life. When you take the time to notice that big things happen in small increments it can be so fun to make a mess in the kitchen. Because your focused on the memories being created NOW not the mess that will come after. Little by little, a little becomes a lot. This can't be measured though- so have faith.
Humility: you cannot change anything unless you accept it- accepting the dishes need to be done is Mike's apart from accepting where you as a parent (and most times a person) need to change can hit differently. Being a stay-at-home parent can help you develop humility as you learn from your mistakes and work to improve overall. It requires a radical amount of self awareness and an ability to change based on your own needs and the needs of your family. It helps me to journal, breathe, hike, and pray for guidance.
Ambition: When you see your kids meeting developmental milestones for themselves it inspires you to question what you have been doing, perhaps how fast you could go, and how you can rise to meet more challenges. It also teaches you that you can be more than what you think or even know at the moment.
Kindness: Caring for your children with kindness and empathy does not ALWAYS mean they will return the same amount of care and compassion back to you. In fact, it is quite healthy and neurotypical of them to not understand the sacrifices you're making throughout life. Thankfully if we, as parents (both the default caregiver and the default provider here) understand them and work to cultivate a relationship where BOTH people are accountable and authentic kindness comes with slow cultivation. "My heart is a garden, my throughts are the seeds. I can grow flowers or I can sow weeds."
There's so much more that one needs as far as inner growth is concerned that I know I have missed some- so what do you think? Let me know your thoughts and we can start a conversation around this, parenting in general is a high calling and this is one of my favorite subjects to discuss as a mother and a community member. I hope you enjoyed our time together today, thank you so much for reading