Becoming a Stay at Home Mom: 7 Things to Consider
I have been incredibly blessed to have had this conversation several times with many of my close friends. My husband and I thoughtfully and purposefully planned our lives in such a way that would allow us to have me at home with our kids, while also being faithful to the Lord with the way we used our family income. Me becoming a stay at home mom was super important for our family.
We spent the first four years of our marriage paying off debt and then saving for the time I would be away from my career as a teacher. It WASN’T easy. But, it was totally worth it. I love being home with my kids. It isn’t always easy, but I am grateful we were able to provide a way to make it a reality for our family.
If you have found yourself in a situation of expecting and wanting to be home with your kids, OR if you already have kids and you and your spouse want to make a way for one of you to be at home, I want to share with you some things you really need to prayerfully consider.
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Current and Future Income and Budget Needs
Every family needs money, that’s just a fact of life. You need to consider what your standard style of living is and whether you’re willing to possibly change that if needed. As an example, when we started recording a budget (this is the sheet we still use!), we were spending between $300-$400 each month just on eating out. We now try to keep that between $50-$75. Would we love to eat out more often, of course, but, we have goals and those are more of a priority.
It’s important that you and your spouse sit down together and work through the numbers. Figure out how much money you’re spending each month. Do you have loans you’re still paying off? Are there things you’re spending money on that are luxuries and not necessities? Do you have 3 cars, and in reality, you only need two? Those are the types of things you need to be talking about.
When we were working through this ourselves, we had student loans as well as car loans that had to be paid off. We were very aware that we needed to be putting money into retirement, as well as saving for the unexpected. We were married for 4 years before we got to a point that we felt comfortable starting our family knowing I would be able to stay home, and we could drop down to one income.
If you feel like you need to work, but also want to be home, I have found some really great stay at home mom jobs that you could consider. Being a stay at home mom doesn’t mean you can’t do something on the side or even in the evenings. It just means you have more flexibility with your time versus if you were working a 9-5 job.
Related Post: Being a Stay at Home Mom- Here’s What It’s Really Like!
Have A Monetary Safety Net
As I mentioned a minute ago, it’s super important that you not only think about your present financial situation but also what things look like for your family in the future. Are you paying into retirement? Are you financially secure if the hot water heater goes out? Would you be able to cover the cost of a new appliance without stretching yourself thin?
These things may seem like, “no big deal, we’ll take care of it if that happens”, kind of things, but they happen. And then, not only do they cause a stress on your family financially, but also on your relationship with your spouse.
I have no idea what your monetary safety net looks like. Mine is going to look different than yours, and yours will look different than your friend who lives down the street. Have the conversation now so that you can check this off your list because as a new stay at home mom, you don’t want to have to worry about this.
There are so many great things about being a stay at home mom. However, looking around and always seeing the things you need to do in your house isn’t one of them. But really, this is something you need to realize. We get out and do things a couple of times a week, like a library, a MOM’s group, and walking with friends, but other than that, we’re usually at home.
Are you the kind of person who is OK being at home or if not, are you comfortable finding things to do all the time? And, are you setting up your finances in such a way that will allow you to go do things that cost money? Those are something things to think about.
Right now, we’re going to set up the situation in such a way that you and your spouse share responsibilities around the house. There are things you do, and things they do, and that’s that. If you become a stay at home mom, is that going to change? Is there going to be the expectation that you’re going to take on more of the household responsibilities above and beyond just being there to take care of your kids? This likely isn’t something you’ve thought about but having the conversation now can help you avoid an argument down the road. Make sure you’re on the same page!
Even after you have all of these discussions and you think you’re all good, it’s likely inevitable that someone will become upset or frustrated with something. It’s imperative that you have open communication in your relationship. Make sure that your marriage stays a priority. (By the way, make sure that you budget for some time out alone with your spouse. Dating your spouse still needs to be a priority for the sake of your marriage, and your family!)
Sit down and discuss the budget so that everyone knows what’s going on. Talk about the things around the house that maybe aren’t getting done. Always come to the conversation with an open mind and not placing blame. Work from the perspective of finding a solution rather than causing a fight. Don’t create an argument over who does more laundry, or who took the trash out last if it’s not really worth it.
Related Post: The Best Cleaning Schedule for Busy Moms
A Social Life
This has been one of the hardest things for me. I put my career on hold to become a stay at home mom. Many of the people I worked with were, “my people”. It’s hard to keep those relationships active when I am not spending the same time with them I was before. Day in and day out, we were together. I miss that aspect of my job for sure.
As I have mentioned before, my husband is a pastor, and we have an active group of church friends. We have them in our home for dinner and a bible study once per week. This has certainly helped me feel connected to other people our age.
I have a good friend who I try to walk with once a week. Sometimes I do have to take the kids with me, but that isn’t the end of the world. The important part is that I am getting out of the house and spending time with another adult. As an added bonus, I am getting some much-needed exercise each week also!
Another thing I started doing last year was attending a MOM’s group at another local church. This has been SO good for me. I can attend and not be, “the pastor’s wife”. I get to be me. They offer free childcare which has been amazing! I get time to invest in myself and my faith.
Unless you plan to homeschool your children, or your spouse makes enough for you to stay home indefinitely, then you’ll want to make sure you have a plan for when your kids go back to work. My career as a teacher makes this fairly simple as long as I keep my teaching license active.
If you had your kiddos when you were super young, you may not know what you want to do. There are plenty of other things you can do, you just need to know what’s out there.
Is it important for you to have a job that is within school hours? Maybe you’ll need to find something you can do online from home.
Effects on Your Family
Making the decision for you to be at home is going to change the structure and dynamic of your family. Your relationship with your kids and your spouse is going to be different as a stay at home mom. The way you handle situations with your kids will be different than if you were a working mom. Trust me!
My first was little when I become a stay at home mom. But, I can tell you that if I were a working mom, I would come home and likely be much more patient at 5 or 6 pm than what I am at the same time as a stay at home mom. It makes sense really. As a stay at home mom, I have been at home with them all day and already faced my fair share of situations that have tried my patience. As the number of those kinds of situations increases, my level of patience decreases. So yes, the way you parent will be different.
It’s also likely that your spouse is going to view you differently. This, in my opinion, is why it’s super duper important that you still go out on dates with your spouse. I know from experience that I went from dress clothes and make-up every day to shorts and a t-shirt every day and makeup just a few times a week. It’s not that I don’t want to impress my husband and put that time into myself. It’s simply because my audience (aka my kids) I spend my days with could care less if I have eyeliner on. Decide where you want to spend your time on yourself, but make sure you also nurture your marriage in other ways. And when you hit difficult times in your marriage, take the time to figure them out. Remember that your marriage is the center of your family. It needs to be strong for your family structure to remain together.
Being a Stay at Home Mom Isn’t for Everyone!
Being a stay at home mom isn’t for everyone. Really, it’s not. Some people are better parents if they are working outside of the home. I get that. You have to do you and what’s best for your family. There are obviously a lot of things to consider and some big discussions to be had before jumping to the decision of becoming a stay at home mom. The time you spend with your kids is something you’ll never get back. But, it’s important to be comfortable with your decision before you quit your job.
I hope I’ve given you some things to think about and consider. Start the discussion now and see what you think. If you have questions, ask away! I would love to help you!
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