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HOW TO BECOME A STAY AT HOME MOM







So, you want to be a stay at home mom?


Or maybe just want to peak inside the life of one to see if it's the right path for you?


Well, no matter what brought you here - staying home to raise your children in todays culture can be overwhelming!


You may be a new mom feeling that seperation anxiety pull at your heart strings and want to stay with your baby (which was me).


Or you may be wanting to explore more to seeing if being a SAHM is right for you before you make the leap.


Regardless of where you are in your journey of motherhood right now - you came to the right place. Here I want to give you a stepping stone to start preparing for this monumental leap and answer some core questions about preparing for a new life as a stay at home mom.


I hope this article gives you a good idea of what planning you need to do to be happy and successful at home. So lets dig in...




There is just so much information floating around about stay at home moms. For just as much positive perspectives out there, there is equally a negative. Its hard to sift through everyones opinions online and come to your own conclusion if you aren't already living the day to day life as a stay at home mom. I mean, personally, it all seems silly sometimes because... well... like what's the big deal right? You're home or you're not. It is what it is right?! Well I think because this is not something you can go back and re-do in life we all get a little tied up in giving our kids (and ourselves) the best experiences in terms to raising our children.



There is pressure for women to stay in the workforce - but that means missing out on a lot that motherhood has to offer. And there is equally as much pressure for some women to be home taking care of the home and kids while their husbands go off to work. I've met both types of moms...and so believe me you'll be judged if you do and judged if you don't. What I recommend you do is to do some soul searching and find what's right for you!




Are stay at home moms happier than working moms?



The big question that is always up for debate - some studies suggest that being a working mom, even if you work part time outside the home, makes you happier and healthier emotionally. This could be due to having a drive and purpose in the workplace, or getting more social interaction throughout your day. As a stay at home mom myself, I think that being happy due to working or not is such a small piece of the puzzle. Happiness isn't really directly tied to working or not working, I personally think it boils down to socialization, feeling accepted and your overall life satisfaction. I've been miserable in the workplace - so unhappy in fact I still get anxiety thinking about going back into corporate America when my kids are in school full time... so believe me just the act of having a job doesn't make you happy.





Being unhappy as a SAHM boils down to the root cause of the unhappiness. there will be days you feel like you're not getting anything accomplished and you feel so worthless as a mom- those feelings are normal. So to answer the question no I don't think working moms or SAHM's are happier either way - I think its a personal journey of happiness that you need to find for yourself. Holding yourself up to a false ideal that you were raised with, in which you feel you need to get it all done every day including a fabulous career, a clean house and super happy and fulfilled children, will only get in your way. If you want to be a stay at home mom, then find yourself - your center, and find your own journey. Truth be told being trapped at home with crying infants doesn't last more than a few months or years if you have more than one child, and before you know it you will be picking your kiddo's up from school or the bus stop and your days will be filled with completely different set responsibilities, joys and annoyances :).





The benefits of being a stay at home mom



The #1 benefit is that you control your own time and day! Period. Being a stay at home mom is the freedom from someone else putting job related responsibility on you in addition to the many responsibilities you already have to your family. It's your ability to focus on what's most important on the homefront.



This is a once in a lifetime experience and you will have the freedom to curate your days to the type of parent you are whether you're into homesteading and cooking fresh meals all day or if you like to go out and explore, or even homeschool for those early years... being a stay at home mom gives you the ability to curate your home life.



You also have the opportunity to raise your kids with your family culture, values and ideals - they won't be raised by a daycare system and you will create bonds with your kids that many other children won't get the opportunity to do with their parents... it really isn't the same. You will be there for every milestone your child reaches and believe me, from experience, those life transitions that you watch your child grow through are the moments you wouldn't trade for the world later in life.



Being a stay at home mom is good for your kids, now don't beat yourself up over it if you truly want to stay in the workforce, this is not a guilt post - but studies have shown that being a stay at home mom or having a stay at home parent rather, is good for kids mental health beyond early childhood years and kids that have a parent that is home have kids that do better in school overall. That's a big win for stay at home families, and why my choice to be home doesn't keep me up at night wondering if I'm doing the right thing.





The down sides of being a stay at home mom


On the flip side, being a stay at home parent means you’d likely be missing out on many financial advantages to working such as retirement contributions, extra spending money and quicker lifestyle advancements. But don’t worry there are still many options that can help you compensate for most of these financial setbacks.



It is also very easy to get overwhelmed, over worked and struggle with depression. A stay at home mom does everything. All day every day and even with help from your significant other it still feels like you do everything. I joke all the time with friends that being a SAHM is ABC - always be cleaning! Seriously kids are very very messy, and infants somehow add 5 load of laundry to the day. ha ha. And its day in and day out on rotation with no 9-5 clock in clock out time. its round the clock caregiving and without proper balance and self-care it can be easy to get burnt out.



Stay at home mom guilt is also -all consuming. And for some reason women everywhere feel guilty about something - I have friends that feel guilty for going to work and I have felt guilty for being home as if they would have had a better childhood surrounded by friends at daycare. It took me a long time to get a grip on all the mom guilt (the internet doesn't make it easier either) and it unfortunately and ugly reality for being a stay at home mom especially if you start comparing yourself to others or mom influencers.



So if you're still interested how you can take the reins and full control over your time and life, there are a few things to consider before making the jump to being a SAHM full time. I know it seems obvious that it would only take quitting your job (and it does) but hear me out, there is more to it if you want to set yourself up for success!



So you decide to go for it......



Preparing Financially

Finances are the biggest peice of the puzzle here. If you had all the money in the world you wouldn't even have to think twice about staying home with your baby. Unfortunately in todays American society we don't all have a huge bank account to fall back on. Most of us start careers in our 20's and never even consider the financial necessities of having children and how much money can buy you in terms of time.


The first thing you should do with your partner is find out what you can afford financially in terms of living off one income.



Identify your income


It may seem like a simple concept, but surprisingly many people take their earnings for granted. And some don't even know how money works or is broken down. So your homework will be to go through your finances with your spouse.


Identify your gross income and your take home pay. This is how much you make before and after taxes. its just good to know the difference. Include all income from both jobs, side hustles etc.


Create a budget - Now go through every expense you had last month record it all in a spreadsheet if you need to or write it all out and compare that against your take home pay.

This is how much you need to live on.


Do you regular expenses fit nicely with your earnings? Could it all get paid on one income? It should! If it doesn't you could brainstorm ways to bring in some extra money while you are home with the kids.





Hashing out your future finances


Having kids is not cheap, in the beginning there are plenty of ways to scale back but if you're going to commit to being a stay at home mom permanently then having a long term plan is important.


If you're still working start saving now! It's never too late to prepare. When I stayed home and quit my job my husband and I had saved enough to last the 3 months of my maternity leave that was unpaid. But then I just couldn't bare to leave my 6 month old. It almost literally broke my heart! So we made a plan, and luckily didn't burn through the savings we had because we were managing living on just his income.


Planning for the future will likely save you in times of need. You’ll likely still need a nest egg for retirement, college for your kids and surprise expenses like home repair- how are you going to save that? How much extra income will you need to start making those savings goals a reality. Just because you stay home doesn't mean your finances need to suffer! Make a simple plan and when the time comes you can tweak it and customize it to your lifestyle.






Preparing for the ups and downs of motherhood.


It is impossible to have all great days! You likely have seen that being a stay at home mom comes with a lot of challenges such as loneliness and depression and its true, whether its post partum or other mental health stuggles the struggle is real. There were days and weeks I would cry every. single. day. But the good outweighed the bad and coming up with a plan helped me immensely. I knew deep down my only priorities were my kids and I could not see myself being able to juggle work and family in the when I decided to stay home. I intrinsically knew something would suffer and I didn't want my kids to be the ones to miss out or have negative memories of mommy needing to work...(as I did growing up). Maybe that was just the dreaded mom guilt at its finest... but it forced me to take action.


Here are a few things you should think about and plan for before staying home full time:


Having a schedule: Schedules will make you feel like you accomplished something on days you felt the most lost. It will give you a sense of purpose and direction. I use time blocking and did since my kids were infants, I time blocked their nap and feeding times and then made a rule to get out of the house at least once a day - and just scheduled it all in on my calendar, if you want to check it out here is an example of my schedule and calendar.


Self-Care: Have a list of things that make you feel your best for times when you feel like you're in a rut or burnt out. There will be many days you feel you are just running on autopilot.


Hobby or Side Hustle: No one told me that I would be bored out of my mind all day. I was used to being very busy and engaged at work and then didn't have that same feeling at home even though I was very busy with feedings, play dates and cleaning every day.... I was still incredibly bored. It took me a long time to find a hobby that I enjoyed and that beat the boredom.



I hope this helps you in deciding if being a stay at home mom is right for you. If you have a story as a stay at home mom I would love to hear about it in the comments!



More you may like:


A Letter to the depressed stay at home mom


What's it like to be a stay at home mom


5 Ways to cope with stay at home mom depression

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