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Transition to a stay-at-home mom is a much more difficult task than it seems.
Many people believe the idea of “not having to work” is a dream come true. The reality is much more stark.
That said, you can have a much easier transition if you properly prepare.
How to Become a Stay-At-Home Mom
There are several factors that must be considered when planning the transition from working away from home to staying at home.
Factors to consider include: managing your household budget, compensating for lost benefits, time management, balancing chores and finding leisure time for yourself.
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Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom
I made the transition to a stay-at-home mom after my son was born.
It wasn’t my original plan. Throughout my entire pregnancy, I never saw myself as a stay-at-home mom.
My husband and I thought the right choice was to hire a nanny or employ an in-home caregiver with few charges.
When the time came, neither of us thought it was a right fit.
Because his career was more advanced and he made significantly more money than I did, the choice was made that I would be the one to stay at home.
It isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are several steps that need to be taken in order to make a successful transition.
Once you go through these steps, you will find that being a stay-at-home mom is a beautiful and rewarding experience that is worth the sacrifices you will need to make.
Step One: Calculate Your Budget
Your family has become accustomed to having two incomes. Suddenly dropping to one is going to change the way you live your life.
You will need to restructure your household budgeting. You have regular bills that will never go away. These include rent or mortgage, utilities, insurance, transportation and food.
Can you pay all of these bills with just one income?
If not, or if money is so tight once these bills have been paid that there is nothing left over, think about the changes you can make.
If you have car payments, consider trading down or using public transportation.
When it comes to food, you can save on grocery bills by planning your meals in advance and only buying those items you need. You should also price shop for items you regularly buy.
When I chose to stay home, my husband and I thought our budgets would be turned upside down.
We actually managed to save money through some serious tightening and, frankly, good luck. I donated my car, which gave us one less insurance policy and tax bill to pay, not to mention regular upkeep, maintenance and gas.
When I was no longer working, we stopped eating out. My husband even took a packed lunch to work.
The average family can save around $2,200 simply by not eating out. We also purchased a membership to a wholesale club where we could buy diapers and a few other supplies at lower prices than our local supermarket.
My health insurance payment went up, but other than necessities, my spending was virtually zero. In addition, I started working from home part-time. More on that later.
If you choose to do this, and unless you are independently wealthy without two incomes, you will have to give up some things.
You can’t have regular trips to the spa, new clothes, weekly happy hours with the girls and wine-of-the-month memberships.
However, with a baby or young child in the house, you probably won’t have time for those things anyway.
Step Two: Determine Household Chores
You are a stay-at-home mom. That means that your full-time job is taking care of your child.
Trust me when I tell you that you will not have time to keep your house spotless. You will fall behind on dishes, laundry, mopping and dusting.
Even making the bed will feel like a luxury. You will need to sit down with your partner and determine how household chores will be divided between the two of you.
You might feel like, as a stay-at-home mom, all of the housework should fall on you. That is not true. Your partner will have a job that they work roughly 40 hours per week.
Your job is 24 hours per day, every day with no vacation, no sick days, no lunch hours and no bathroom breaks that aren’t accompanied by little hands reaching for mommy.
If your budget allows for it, you can consider hiring a housekeeper. Only about 10 percent of homes employ maids regularly, most of whom are two-income families. However, if you can afford it, it is an option.
A more realistic option is to discuss who will be in charge of which chore and how often it needs to be done.
Even with a division of chores, most of them will probably fall to you. It’s the sad reality of being a stay-at-home mom. You have to live in your house all day long, every day.
You will not enjoy having a space that isn’t clean. The best way to manage this is with a to-do list.
Get a list that you can affix to the refrigerator or hang from a wall. Make a list of one or two chores to accomplish every day.
Don’t try to do too much at once and don’t worry if you can’t get to everything sometimes.
Step Three: Discuss Childcare
You are a stay-at-home mom. Assuming you are not a single mom, you are not the sole caregiver.
Your partner needs to take over the responsibility of childcare when they are not at work. Talk this over.
Chat about the importance of bonding with the baby. Also, remind your partner that you are exhausted.
The trade-off on getting up with the baby in the night, changing diapers and feeding.
The deal my husband and I made was that I got up with the baby on nights when he had to work the next day.
If he didn’t have work the next day, he took over. My husband also loved changing diapers. I will never understand it, but I didn’t complain.
Step Four: Consider Working from Home
You might find that you just can’t make the budget work without an income. Working from home is a realistic option.
There are many types of jobs that are available to moms who wish to work from home.
Data entry and customer service have truly boomed in the work-from-home market.
You can also make a decent income as an English-language teacher, a graphic designer, a social media manager or a virtual assistant.
If you do look for a work-from-home position, I encourage you not to take on any type of job that requires an initial investment.
These “jobs” seldom come with an actual payday. Luckily, multilevel marketing schemes are on the decline so you shouldn’t have as many mom-friends pushing you to sell Young Living or Herbalife.
There are also “jobs” that require you to purchase expensive courses with the promise of high-paying work when it is complete.
Some are legit, some are not. A good rule of thumb is that any job that requires an investment from you may cost more than you will earn.
Step Five: Make a Plan for Personal Time
You will get burned out if you don’t make a plan to take breaks from time to time.
Before you begin your journey as a stay-at-home mom, seek ways to spend some time away from home.
You don’t need to spend money to have some me-time. Go for a walk, take up yoga or have a designated nap time when your partner is home.
My me-time, as a new stay-at-home mom, was a Saturday night bubble bath. I pampered myself for one hour every Saturday regardless of what was happening with my child. In fact, it’s a ritual I continue to this day.
Now that my kids are older and I am not a full-time stay-at-home mom, I still relish that quiet time to myself.
You will find your own solution for personal time. No matter what it looks like to you, it is necessary.
Being a stay-at-home mom has a lot of perks but it’s not without its drawbacks.
Follow these steps to make the transition easier. Are you considering working from home while caring for you child? Take a look at our job board!