When I got pregnant with my son, I had no thoughts at all about becoming a stay-at-home mom. I fully planned to go back to work, so I spent my pregnancy making the necessary arrangements for child care rather than anything else.
After he was born, I really began thinking about becoming a stay-at-home mom so that I could spend more time with him. I didn’t like the idea of leaving him to go back to work.
I also didn’t like the idea that I might not be there to see his firsts. His first steps, his first word, I wanted to be there for those big milestones.
Though I probably rushed into being a stay-at-home mom a little faster than I should have, I did not make the decision lightly. It also wasn’t a decision that I alone made. My husband also needed to be on board with the changes that becoming a stay-at-home mom would bring.
So if you are considering becoming a stay-at-home mom, take the time to really think about what it would mean. Don’t rush into the decision. Make sure that you are prepared for what it will bring.
Can You Afford to Become a Stay-at-Home Mom?
Becoming a stay-at-home mom can cause a real strain on your finances. Though you aren’t having to shell out the money for child care anymore, living on one income can still cause its own share of problems.
You and your spouse need to sit down and really look over your finances. Are you currently living above your means? Is he (or she) bringing in enough money to not only cover basic expenses, but also debt payoff and add to savings? Do you need to figure out how to bring in some extra money to supplement the income?
These are important considerations.
My husband and I have never been very good at budgeting. We generally would just buy what we wanted when we wanted it and worry about the repercussions later. For me to become a stay-at-home mom though, that mentality had to change.
I had to go through and put us on a budget, an actual budget, and make us stick to it. I figured out how to rework our finances to free up nearly $1400 a month. Doing that really helped to make my dream of becoming a stay-at-home mom a reality.
How Does Your Spouse feel about it?
You becoming a stay-at-home mom doesn’t just affect you and your baby, it also affects your spouse. Not only will you need to live on one income, but you will also not be able to do as many things because of it.
Is your spouse okay with not having as much free income to work with to do extra things?
Take the time to discuss expectations with your spouse. What does he (or she) feel that you should be responsible for during the day while he is at work. Is he expecting the house cleaned, dinner made, the laundry done, and the baby cared for? Those are high expectations for every day.
Taking care of a baby is a full-time job in and of itself, so is taking care of a household. Though you will be home every day, depending on what kind of mood your little one is in, you may not have the extra time to get everything accomplished, and you shouldn’t be expected to.
You both live in the house, you both made the baby, you should both care for those things. Your relationship is a partnership. Take the time to discuss with your spouse the parts that you are willing to take care of and the areas that you feel he should help in.
For instance, in my house, I generally cook dinner and my husband cleans the kitchen. He typically also puts the baby down for bed while I take some time for myself to either get a little work done or to just enjoy some time by myself to practice a little self-care.
We lean on each other because we wouldn’t survive without it, but it took time for us to figure out a system that worked for us.
What About Your Career?
Do you have thoughts of going back to work? How long would you want to stay home with your kids? One year? Two years? Forever?
What kind of career do you have right now? Is it something that you can drop for a few years and pick back up where you left off, or will you have to start from scratch?
You need to really consider how important your career is to you. It is okay to be a working mom if that’s the direction that you want to take. There is no reason to have guilt over that, but becoming a stay-at-home mom can really damage your career goals.
Take the time to really think about what it would mean to you to give up your career. It is obviously something that you have worked towards, are you okay with giving it up or starting over if you need to?
How Will You Socialize?
I am really guilty about this. When I became a stay-at-home mom, I would typically sequester myself at home for days on end, just the baby and me. That really isn’t the healthiest way to live.
I have to work each and every day to make sure that we aren’t becoming hermits. You will need to do the same.
Are there other stay-at-home moms that you know that you could arrange play-dates with? What about local mom clubs in your town?
You’d be surprised the amount of mom groups out there. You can even find a lot of them on Facebook. Just make sure that you are taking the time to talk with someone else during the day besides just your kid. Kids are cute, but they aren’t great conversationalists.
Socializing will also be good for your baby as well. Remember that.
How Will You Retain Your Identity?
Becoming a stay-at-home mom and spending all day every day with your tiny human can wear on you as a person. You still need to have something that is for you that isn’t baby related.
For instance, I started a blog. Though my blog is technically baby related, it’s a way for me to get out my thoughts and frustrations in a healthy way that also has the benefit of helping other women like me. Win-win!
If you don’t already have a hobby, find something that makes you happy.
Do you like to read, draw, write, go to the gym, build birdhouses? Really anything can be your hobby. Just pick something that you can spend some time on.
It doesn’t have to require a lot of time and energy, but a few minutes every day to do something just for you can make a big difference in your life.
Should You Become a Stay-at-Home Mom
Deciding whether or not to become a stay-at-home mom definitely takes a lot of thought and planning. The payoff though can be completely worth it. You just need to make sure that you are making the decision to stay home with your children for you, not for anyone else (other than your kids obviously).
Are you thinking about becoming a stay-at-home mom? What areas are you struggling with? Leave me a comment below.
Until next time!