(Photo by Michael Morse/pexels.com)
When it comes to becoming a stay at home mom, everyone deals with it differently. Maybe you always wanted this for your life. Maybe you realized daycare was too expensive. Maybe it just made sense at the time. It can be a hard decision. Whatever the reason, you decided it was best for your family.
For me, it was a little bit of all of those things. I grew up in a home where my mom stayed home. Having her there was just a given. Until I became pregnant with my first, I’d never given it much thought. As my due date came closer and my work harder to focus on, I realized that job wasn’t what I wanted for my life. I wanted to stay home with her, but I had to figure out how.
There are things that you can do to help prepare to become a stay at home mom, but keep in mind, you will continue to change and adapt after the baby comes.
Here are my tips
1. Enjoy being married for a while.
To build a strong foundation in your marriage, you need to be together for a while before you have kids because once they come, everything gets shaken up. It is important to get to really know each other and have this time together before you bring kids into the mix. This time will also allow you to save some money. Savings are important, especially when you’re transitioning to one income. Make sure to build a cushion.
2. Get rid of as many monthly expenses as possible.
With these savings, get rid of whatever debt you can. I paid off my student loans and a car loan early. I also brought our cell phone bill down by paying off our phones that had been rolled into the monthly payment. Look at reducing your data plan. If you’re home, you can just tap into your own Wi-Fi. Bringing down your monthly costs will help a great deal on one income. Reducing these recurring expenses will go a long way in being able to survive as a family on a single income.
3. Tighten up your budget.
If there are other things you can do without for a while, consider cancelling or adjusting them. We downgraded, but still kept, our Netflix account. We also don’t have cable. Take a look at what things you can cut or reduce to bring your costs down.
Make sure you budget for everything and consider how much those diapers (and wipes!) are going to cost you. We use Amazon Subscribe and Save to reduce the cost of diapers and other recurring household items.
4. Do surveys to earn Amazon gift cards.
There are a few of these out there, but I recommend QuickThoughts. You may need to stick with it a while, but I average usually $50-70/month now! It’s super helpful! Take a look at a variety of these and see what makes the most sense for you.
5. Find something on the side.
For me, I’m a writer and do copywriting on the side as I can. It’s important to be fair about the amount of work you can do. Do not overload yourself. Kids are demanding! Give yourself a break if you need it. The place I work with is pretty flexible and I let them know if I need to take a week off… like when a cold was spreading its way through my house!
Even if you’re not working on the side, find a hobby. In this stay-at-home gig, you need something that’s just yours. I love to write fiction and read, so I do a little of that each day when the kids are napping or in bed. Work out when you can. It’s important to take care of yourself. I also love to bake. Whatever you love and keeps you sane, find time for it as your kids grow. It’ll help keep pieces of your individuality. You’re still you, Mama.
6. Accept that there will be hard days...or weeks.
It can get stressful when the budget is tight, add a tantruming toddler and teething baby into the mix and you may begin to lose your mind. Take a deep breath, eat something and put on your favorite music. If I need to dance, it’s 50’s rock n roll. If I need something calming, it’s Frank Sinatra. Some days will be worse than others. The best you can do is work to get through them and give yourself a break.
7. Connect with other moms...or don’t.
Connecting with other moms can be great. It can be awesome to have play dates and vent to each other. It can also be stressful to pay for an activity or even just get out of the house. If your kids are being cranky or you just don’t feel up to it, you can stay home instead. Other moms get it. Some days you just need to stay at home and do some indoor activities. Other days you may need to get out. It just depends on how you feel that day and what you are up to doing.
8. Have a fluid schedule.
As your child gets older or you add another into the mix, a loose schedule will help keep you organized and entertained. Babies are always changing though, so keep that in mind as you move forward. Your schedule will often get messed up, but just the act of making one helps. You may need to change your schedule weekly and that is okay.
Remember why you’re in this. You want to be the one with your kids. Like any job, it can get rough, but it can also be awesome. There are good days and bad days. They’re worth it. Sure, you get worn out, but you also get to draw a sidewalk chalk monster or build a snowman in the middle of the day together and that’s pretty magical.