Young brunette mother smiling and feeding her baby in kitchen at home

15 Ways to Thrive in a Relationship Where One Parent Stays Home

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Parenting is one of the hardest jobs, and choosing to be a stay-at-home parent is arguably one of the hardest choices in any parent’s life. Studies indicate that 7% of fathers and 28% of mothers in America are full-time stay-at-home parents.

Navigating the dynamics of a relationship where one parent stays home while the other works can be both rewarding and challenging. The stay-at-home parent often manages the household and childcare, while the working parent provides financial support.

Balancing these roles requires understanding, communication, and mutual support. This guide offers practical strategies to help you thrive in such relationships and ensure both partners feel valued, connected, and fulfilled.

1. Foster Open and Honest Communication

Happy Family Sitting On Sofa In Lounge Talking Together
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Miscommunication or lack of communication is a major cause of conflict in a family where one parent stays home with the kids. Communication is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship. One may not understand the needs of the other if they don’t ask, and the other may wonder why their partner seems tired after “staying home” all day.

Regularly discussing feelings, challenges, and expectations can help prevent misunderstandings and resentment. Create a safe space for both partners to express their emotions without fear of judgment.

2. Schedule Regular Quality Time Together

Family with flashlight reading book at home
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Ensure that you set aside time to connect as a couple and as a family. Regularly scheduling activities can help the stay-at-home parent take a break and provide the working parent with opportunities to bond with the family.

This can range from weekly date nights to weekend family outings. During this time, focus on yourselves and avoid “baby talk” or household discussions (as much as possible).

3. Show Appreciation and Support

Woman cooking and grilled meat at home
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Being a stay-at-home parent is a full-time job that often goes unnoticed. Ensure that you regularly show appreciation for the work your partner does at home. The stay-at-home parent must also acknowledge that the one who went out to work is doing an equally great job.

This can be as simple as saying thank you or leaving a love note. Offer support by taking on tasks when possible, such as cooking dinner or preparing their work clothes (it’s a two-way street!).

4. Address Guilt Early

frustrated parents family with a baby
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Feelings of guilt, can arise in any relationship, especially when one partner stays home. The parent staying home may feel guilty for abandoning their other pursuits, while the working parent may feel guilty for not being around more. It’s crucial to address these feelings early on to prevent them from festering and causing issues in the relationship.

Acknowledging and addressing these feelings early on and openly can be crucial. Discussing and understanding each other’s perspectives can help mitigate these emotions before they become problematic.

5. Share Responsibilities Equitably

In Kitchen Family of Four Cooking Together Healthy Dinner
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

The stay-at-home parent often shoulders most household tasks and childcare duties. To prevent feelings of disconnection and burnout, the working parent should actively participate in these responsibilities when home. This not only lightens the load but also fosters a sense of teamwork and partnership.

There has to be an understanding that both jobs are important and contribute to the household. One brings in financial support, and the other provides invaluable emotional and physical care for the family.

6. Set Realistic Financial Goals

Happy Family saving money
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Financial pressure can strain any relationship. Discuss and set realistic financial goals to ensure both partners are on the same page regarding spending and saving. Transparency in financial matters helps prevent misunderstandings and builds trust.

A one-income household often requires budgeting and making sacrifices, but it’s important to prioritize spending on self-care and quality time together. This can involve finding free or affordable activities to do as a family.

7. Seek Support from External Sources

Three attractive young women talking while walking together
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

External support can provide valuable perspectives and advice, whether through family, friends, or parenting groups. Encourage the stay-at-home parent to connect with other parents in similar situations, which can offer emotional support and reduce feelings of isolation.

Get a sitter for a night out or seek therapy to work through any underlying issues. Remember, taking care of yourself is crucial to taking care of others.

8. Prioritize Self-Care

Woman putting anti-aging cream on her face
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Most people get lost in staying home and forget they, too, are human. Self-care is essential for both partners. Encourage activities that promote well-being, such as exercise, hobbies, or alone time.

Taking care of oneself ensures partners can bring their best selves to the relationship. When partners prioritize self-care, they can better support each other in their respective roles.

9. Acknowledge When You’re Jealous

happy couple in love with baby
Photo Credit:

Jealousy is a natural emotion that can arise in any relationship, particularly when one partner stays at home while the other works. The stay-at-home parent might envy the working parent’s social interactions and career achievements, while the working parent may envy the time the stay-at-home parent gets to spend with the children.

It’s essential to acknowledge these feelings rather than suppressing them. Open and honest communication about jealousy allows both partners to understand each other better and work through these emotions constructively.

10. Do Not Harbor Resentment

Smiling young man and woman sit comfortably on gray sofa
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Resentment can build up over time if feelings and frustrations are not addressed openly. The stay-at-home parent might feel overlooked or underappreciated, while the working parent might feel the weight of being the sole breadwinner.

Addressing these feelings before they escalate into bigger issues is crucial. Regularly check in with each other to discuss any brewing feelings of resentment. Creating a routine for these conversations ensures that both partners have a platform to voice their concerns and seek resolutions.

11. Establish Healthy Boundaries

Portrait of smiling happy family at home
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

It is crucial for both partners to maintain clear and healthy boundaries between personal and family time. Work and household duties should not encroach on the time dedicated to relaxation and self-care.

Respecting each other’s personal space and time for hobbies or interests can help maintain a healthy balance and prevent burnout. It also allows for quality time together to be more meaningful and fulfilling.

12. Foster Shared Interests and Hobbies

Family with backpacks taking selfie by smartphone
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Engaging in activities that you both enjoy can strengthen your bond and create shared experiences. Whether it’s cooking together, gardening, or a shared sport, finding common interests helps build a deeper connection beyond daily responsibilities.

Exploring new hobbies together can also bring a sense of adventure and refresh your relationship. It’s important to make time for each other as a couple, not just as parents.

13. Maintain Individual Identities

Happy man at the office
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

While it’s essential to function as a team, maintaining individuality is equally important. Encourage each other to pursue personal goals and interests outside of family duties. Acknowledging and supporting each other’s growth can lead to a more fulfilling and balanced relationship, allowing both partners to bring their unique strengths to the partnership.

You’re not just what you’re doing, and it’s important to maintain a sense of self beyond your roles as parent and partner. The kids will grow and leave, you will retire one day, and it’s essential to have a strong foundation in your personal identity and interests.

14. Practice Patience and Understanding

Happy young couple in love relaxing on a couch at the living room
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Life as a partnership involves navigating challenges and occasional disagreements. Practicing patience and understanding ensures that conflicts are resolved constructively. Recognize that both partners may have different coping mechanisms and paces for resolving issues.

Cultivating a supportive and forgiving attitude can lead to a more harmonious and resilient relationship. Effective communication and mutual respect are also crucial for maintaining a strong bond.

15. Assign Tasks Based on Strengths and Interests

Portrait of cute Latin girl planting with family in garden
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

When dividing household responsibilities, consider each partner’s strengths and interests. This can lead to a more efficient division of labor and prevent resentment from unbalanced workload distribution.

For example, the stay-at-home parent may better manage the family budget, while the working parent may excel at organizing social events. Assigning tasks based on strengths and interests can also be a way to incorporate shared responsibilities and foster teamwork.


20 Strong Words Parents Should Never Say to Their Kids

sad girl black and white eyes
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Countless adults sitting in a therapist’s office today are grappling with the lasting impact of words spoken by their parents during childhood. Regardless of how you perceive yourself, in your child’s eyes, you are nothing short of the most remarkable thing to happen to them since “skip intro.” This underscores the critical importance of being mindful of what you say to your children, as your words become the small but influential voice in their developing minds.

20 Strong Words Parents Should Never Say to Their Kids

16 Common Phrases Grandparents Should Stop Saying to Their Grandkids

Grandparents taking care of grandson
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Do you still remember something your grandparents said that made you uncomfortable? As much as we adore our grandparents, their words (even with good intentions) can sometimes hurt our feelings or are plain embarrassing.

If you are a grandparent, using your words mindfully around your grandkids is as crucial as any other relationship. Words hold immense power and shape our kids’ behaviors and perceptions. 

16 Common Phrases Grandparents Should Stop Saying to Their Grandkids

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *