Especially if you’ve always been the ambitious go-getter working type, it can be difficult transitioning from working to stay at home mom. It’s a big change for any woman. There are also misconceptions and stereotypes of stay-at-home moms that can make you hesitant to make the jump.
But you’re not alone. Many moms left the workforce in droves the past few years due to childcare costs, the pandemic, and lack of work-life balance. During the Great Resignation of 2021, over 4.4 million Americans left their jobs, many of which were working moms with young children. One survey reported that one-third of all working moms either left or scaled back their jobs.
I also spent six months at home with my two young kids and recall the mixed feelings I had during that time. On the one hand, I loved watching my kids’ “firsts,” being there for them when they were sick or needed me, and sharing special memories that I would’ve missed out on had I been working.
On the flip side, there were times I missed getting out of the house and having a life separate from my home and children, where I could focus on professional goals and network with adults. Having been both a working parent and a stay at home mom at one time or another, I can tell you that neither one is easy, and both will require sacrifices.
It can feel both exciting and overwhelming to leave the workforce and take on the full-time role of taking care of your children. If you’re making this huge leap, know that it will take some getting used to. But it helps to have a plan for the transition and to remind yourself of all the reasons why you’re becoming a stay-at-home mom in the first place.
In this blog post, I’ll share some tips and advice to help make the transition a little bit easier.
Benefits of Being a Stay At Home Mom
Being a stay at home mom might seem like a daunting task, but it can come with many rewards. Many moms find that being home to take care of the family is incredibly rewarding.
For those who are considering taking this leap, here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of being a stay at home mom.
Benefits of being a stay-at-home mom
- Being able to stay home and watch your children grow, learn, and develop is a unique privilege that no amount of money can buy.
- You’ll get to spend more quality time with family members such as spouses, parents, siblings and friends. It can be a great way to strengthen relationships and make you closer.
- You may have the ability and freedom to set your own flexible schedule and pursue your interests without the demands of a job.
- You won’t have to miss out on important moments with your children, such as birthdays, sporting events or school plays, which is an amazing opportunity that many working moms often don’t have.
- You’ll get to be more involved in your children’s education and development. This can often give parents a sense of fulfillment they didn’t have when they were working.
Drawbacks of being a stay-at-home mom
- Sacrificing a professional career and financial security can be difficult. It’s not uncommon to feel as if the intangible benefits you provide by staying at home are not as recognized and appreciated as when you were out working and earning money for your family.
- Taking on the responsibilities of taking care of household chores and children can be overwhelming at times.
- Watching your partner go off to work each day can make you feel isolated, helpless, or worse, resentful.
- Stay-at-home mothers sometimes feel like they’ve lost their purpose or identity and can become disheartened.
- There may also be times when you feel like you’re missing out on important experiences in the workplace when you see former colleagues on LinkedIn or social media.
For these reasons, those who are considering making the transition from working mom to stay at home mom should recognize that it may be a big adjustment and should work on creating a positive mindset going into it.
Misconceptions of stay-at-home moms
Many people have the misconception that being a stay at home mom is a walk in the park. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Being a stay at home mom requires patience, dedication, and hard work. You have to be able to balance all of your responsibilities as a mother and homemaker. Here are some of the most common misconceptions of stay at home moms and why they are totally wrong:
- Stay at home moms get a lot of free time. This is simply not true. Stay at home moms usually have to do so much more than when they worked, including taking care of the home and children, cooking meals, doing laundry, etc.
- Stay at home moms are bored all day long. It’s true that there may be times when you feel a little stir crazy but stay at home moms keep very busy tending to their families and homes and are actively involved in their children’s activities. You can also find hobbies and activities inside and outside the house, like jogging, knitting, and volunteer work, to keep your mind stimulated.
- Another misconception is that stay at home moms lack ambition or the ability to pursue their career dreams. However, many stay at home moms are entrepreneurs, artists or writers and find great success in their own ventures. A great example is Suzi Whitford, one of the most successful mom bloggers out there, who started her online businesses while she was a stay-at-home mom of two.
- Finally, some think that stay at home parents lack social interaction with other adults. This is not true either, as there are many opportunities for stay at home moms to socialize and build relationships with other parents through play dates, their children’s activities, and local support groups.
Hopefully, we’ve shed some light on the misconceptions of being a stay at home mom and it has encouraged those considering making the transition to do so with an open heart and mind.
19 Tips for Transitioning from Working to Stay At Home Mom
Between adjusting to a new routine and handling all of the household duties, the transition from working to stay-at-home mom can seem like an overwhelming feat. But I assure you that YOU’VE GOT THIS- all it takes is a positive outlook, some planning, and some handy tips like the ones I’m about to give you to make the transition as seamless as possible.
1. Set realistic expectations
It’s important to remember that being a stay-at-home parent is not a vacation. It’s very much a full-time job that requires a lot of time and energy. So the first step is to prepare mentally for the challenges that come with it, such as the constant demands of your children, the piling up of housework, and the lack of adult interaction if you’re not proactive.
2. Create a routine and schedule
One of the best things you can do for yourself and your children is to create a routine. This will help you stay organized and on top of things, and it will also help your children feel more secure and comfortable. Get a planner, and make a schedule for yourself and your children that includes a morning routine, time for meals, playtime, and naps.
3. Find time for yourself
This is incredibly important and often overlooked. As a stay-at-home mom, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day responsibilities of taking care of your children. But you NEED to make time for yourself as well. Whether it’s a yoga class, a book club, or just a few minutes of quiet time at the end of a long day, make sure you’re taking care of yourself too. When I was at home, I liked to drop off my kids every day for one or two hours at my gym’s kids club, and exercise or just enjoy the time to myself. It’s exactly the daily reset I needed.
4. Connect with other moms
As I mentioned before, one of the challenges of being a stay-at-home mom is the lack of adult interaction. Joining a mom’s group or a playgroup can help you connect with other moms going through the same thing. For example, one of my favorite ways to connect with other moms is through local support groups on Facebook. I also made a really good friend on the Peanut app, an app where you can connect and find support from other moms.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
You can’t do this all alone. Whether it’s your partner, a friend, or a family member, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. It’s important to remember that it takes a village to raise a household and it won’t benefit anyone if you’re crumbling under the weight of overwhelm and burnout.
6. Create a budget
When transitioning to being a stay-at-home mom, money can be tight. That’s why one of the most important steps is to create a budget to track where your money is going and make sure you’re not overspending. This may allow you to live comfortably on one income. Evaluate your expenses, find ways to save money where you can, and create a detailed budget that you can reasonably stick to.
7. Find ways to keep your kids busy
This is especially important if you have a second child or more. When my kids were younger, I used to set up activities for them to do while I cooked dinner or did some housework. Depending on their age, this could be anything from coloring books, puzzles, crafts and STEM games.
8. Set boundaries
As a stay-at-home mom, it can be tempting to take on too many tasks or commitments. But it’s important to learn how to say “no” when something doesn’t align with your priorities. This will help keep you from feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Set boundaries with your family members and establish who will be doing what. For example, if you have a partner, decide who will be responsible for what tasks and make sure everyone is on the same page.
9. Find childcare
If you need to, find a reliable and affordable form of childcare. This can be anything from a daycare or preschool to a nanny share or babysitter. I know sometimes you feel guilty putting them in childcare when you’re at home, but it also benefits your child’s social development. Even a few hours a day might work well for you and your family’s needs.
10. Establish a “date” night with your partner
It’s easy to get caught up in all the responsibilities that come with being a stay-at-home mom. That’s why it’s important to make sure you and your partner are still carving out time for each other. Try to establish a regular “date night” where the two of you can have some quality time together, even if it’s just an hour or two to get grab dinner or take a walk.
11. Stay active
Not only will regular physical activity keep you energized and healthy, it will also help your mental wellbeing. Find an exercise routine that works best for you and make sure to stick with it. Whether it’s jogging, yoga, or strength training, staying active will prevent you from feeling sluggish and demotivated during the day.
12. Take time to celebrate
It’s easy to get caught up in the mundane tasks of being a stay-at-home mom. But don’t forget to take time and celebrate the little victories, like when your kids finally learn how to tie their own shoes or they mastered potty training. These moments are worth celebrating!
13. Stay in touch with old friends
As a busy stay-at-home mom, it can be easy to lose touch with your old friends. But connecting with old friends or coworkers can help you stay in touch with the things that interest you. It will also help you keep your network active in case you decide to go back to work and get a new job. Reach out and make plans for regular coffee or lunch dates, or even just a quick phone call.
14. Declutter and organize your home
Before you settle into SAHM life, it’s a good idea to declutter your home as much as possible so that there is less mess to clean up every day. Set aside time to throw away and donate items you no longer need or use, organize storage areas, like closets and drawers, and make sure everything has a place.
15. Keep your skills fresh with a side hustle or volunteering
It’s a good idea to continue to build your skillset through online courses, a side hustle, part-time work or volunteering in case you decide to go back to work one day and want to remain attractive to potential employers. Even if you don’t plan on going back to work, keeping your skills fresh can help in a pinch and give you something interesting to focus on.
16. Take advantage of online resources
There are so many great online platforms for stay-at-home moms these days. From budgeting tools, like Mint, to planner apps, like Trello, take advantage of the technology out there to help make your life as a SAHM easier.
17. Automate or outsource what you can
Save time by automating and outsourcing certain tasks. You can hire a cleaning professional to clean your home once a week, use grocery delivery services like Instacart for your grocery shopping, pay a high schooler to walk your dog, or use virtual assistants to schedule your appointments. Doing this will help save you energy so that you can focus on more important decisions and tasks.
18. Create a meal plan
If there’s one thing you can do to make your life easier as a stay at home mom, it’s to create a weekly meal plan. Decide what meals you’re going to make ahead of time and make a grocery list. This will save you from the headache of trying to figure out what’s for dinner every night and save you money from ordering take-out.
19. Acknowledge the good job you’re doing
It’s easy to fall into the mindset of comparing yourself to other moms and to believe that you’re failing. But it’s important to recognize all of the hard work you’re doing as a SAHM and know that you are doing an amazing job! Give yourself frequent pats on the back for everything from mini-wins (“Yay, I got my kid to eat broccoli!”) to big successes like potty training your toddler. All of those things matter.
Transitioning from working to becoming a stay-at-home mom can be a big change, but with the right mindset and a little bit of planning, you can make that transition smoother. Remember to set realistic expectations, create a routine, find time for yourself, connect with other moms, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that every mother, whether she’s a stay at home mom or a working mother, is doing the best she can and should be celebrated!
Frequently Asked Questions
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For more resources for busy moms, check out:
- How to Create a Realistic Cleaning Schedule
- How to Create the Easiest Meal Plan
- 14 Best Side Hustles for Moms
- The Perfect Morning Routine in 9 Easy Steps
- How Savvy Moms Get Help With Household Chores