My wife and I have been considering houseparenting for a couple of months and have been researching and contacting some places. My wife has a dream of working with teen moms and although I don’t have as specific a vision, I am completing my MS in Counseling and want to work in a counseling role of some kind. We have a 4 month old daughter and a 7 year old daughter (step-daughter for me)and are willing to move from NJ for the right opportunity.
My question is about my personality and energy level. I am more of an introvert than extrovert and get recharged by having time to spend on my own. That being said, I also like working directly with people and would not want to be stuffed in an office crunching numbers or working solely with ideas and concepts all day. I guess I am concerned about the energy needed to houseparent and wonder if introverts make it very far and if there are any tips on how to incorporate a personal quiet time to recharge into the busy life of a houseparent. Any suggestions?
You can be a very good houseparent and be an introvert. I think that I am and I have know several others that have been also.
As far as time alone, it depends greatly on the facility that you work for. Many facilities provide a great deal of alone time, especially during the school year. During the summer and school holidays it gets more difficult. We work at a long term facility and work with younger children that are not always in school so personal time is a little more difficult to come by. We have to rely on nap times, getting up early, or staying up late to get alone time. We also rely heavily on relief time to regenerate. This is something to discuss thoroughly during the application process prior to accepting any position. That way all parties are clear as to what is expected of you.
As far as energy goes. I don’t think it requires a lot of energy to be a houseparent, I do however think it takes a lot of energy to be a GOOD houseparent. I will be honest it is a very hard job (if you want to call it a job), the hours are long, it is emotionally draining, and some would say it is spiritually draining. Those that try to make houseparenting a laid back job, usually don’t make it long.