An estimated 85.4 million moms live in the U.S., with 5 million of them staying at home to care for their children and families, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Between acting as a child care provider, chauffeur, chef, waitress, housekeeper and social secretary, the stay-at-home mom needs an array of skills to keep the show running.
The most obvious skill that a stay-at-home-mom needs is the ability to appropriately care for her child. Just like day care and preschool workers are skilled in this art, the stay-at-home mom must have the ability to supervise, entertain and educate her kids. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2011 American Time Use Survey, women spend an average of 2.31 hours per day caring for household members. This time includes caring for her children, activities that relate to the child's health and activities that relate to the child's schooling or education. While this is the average across the board for all moms, stay-at-home moms typically put in more than a 40-hour work week caring for the kids. This is especially true when you factor in middle of the night wake-ups and weekend care.
With sports schedules, the baby's feeding time-table, nap time and fitting in grocery shopping, time management is a valuable skill that all stay-at-home moms should have. Time-management skills can help moms to orchestrate a steady routine, in which the kids know what to expect and when. Additionally, knowing how to manage time can help the mom at home to accomplish all of her daily work, tasks and activities. For example, a mom who picks, and sticks with, 10 a.m. as nap time knows that she has that free period -- barring sleepless tantrums -- to get the laundry done or catch up on cleaning the kitchen.
Calm and Relaxation
Picture a snowy winter day where you are trapped in the house with a tantrum-prone toddler and a colicky baby. The ability to keep your cool, calm down and relax is an essential ability that every stay-at-home mom must have. The Child Development Institute suggests that moms practice deep breathing for five to 10 minutes every day, listen to music and avoid foods and beverages such as caffeinated coffee that might hinder the ability to relax. Mastering relaxation, or self-calming, skills can make the difference between a well-run house and a chaotic environment.
Of the many skills that stay-at-home moms need, taking care of the house makes up a primary part of the job description. This includes cleaning, general upkeep or maintenance, scheduling home appointments -- such as a pre-winter furnace check or calling the washer repair person -- cooking and shopping. While these can be mundane tasks, without the stay-at-home mom's efforts, the household won't run well. Although many working moms must also take on these tasks, the stay-at-home mom might have to spend extra time on these jobs or tackle these activities without any help from her spouse.
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