When you think about quitting your job to stay home you may not think about the actual transition to a SAHM- what life would immediately look like when you stopped working. At least I didn’t. After you quit your job, your days are completely different. There are different challenges and activities to keep you busy as a SAHM, but your old routine and identity are suddenly gone, which is a big adjustment. I began my transition to a SAHM in December 2022 and have learned a lot this first month.
As a brief background, I was an attorney for 10 years. I have a 4 year old son and a 1 year old daughter. With each pregnancy, I took a long maternity leave (6 months, which I know is much more than most people get), and then I returned to work. My children went to daycare, which was a great experience. My son flourished and I think has learned so much at daycare in terms of education and how to interact with other kids. My daughter was doing well socially but was sick constantly. I was at the pediatrician almost every single week for months.
This became one major factor in my decision to be a stay at home mom– seeing her sick all the time was horrible and I was working every night and weekend to make up for taking care of my daughter all day when she couldn’t go to daycare. My husband was a great support and would often take off days to stay at home with her, but it was draining on both of us.
My Life as a Working Mom
Even when both of my children were in daycare, I was spending all of my time doing one of three things: working, taking care of my kids or sleeping. That was it. I didn’t have quality time with my husband, I never saw my friends, my house was a mess, and I was exhausted all of the time. My days were a cycle of work, kids and sleep. I felt guilty when I was awake for not spending time with my kids or catching up on work. I had no time to pursue the many hobbies I am interested in.
I loved being an attorney, even with the many stresses of the job. However, with the type of law I practiced, I had a lot of night meetings to attend. This meant I spent a lot of time away from my children and husband, I worked all day then went to meetings at night. During the pandemic, a lot of the meetings took place by Zoom, so I was home, but locked away in my office during my kids dinner time and bedtime routines. I was missing quality time with my family.
I liked my job, I had a wonderful husband and amazing children but I was incredibly unhappy.
So, I quit my job and began the transition to a SAHM
On December 1st, I started my new life as a SAHM. This is a big transition for me, I have officially had one full month at home and honestly, it has been great. I am very happy with my decision. My first month was great. I had fun, quality time with my children and worked on myself. I want to share what I did this first month that I believe helped with my transition to a SAHM. I looked at this first month as my transition period, to relax and get an idea of what my life as a stay at home mom may be like.
Before I get into my tips for your first month as a SAHM, I feel like I need to have a short disclaimer here- I am not advocating for anyone to become a stay at home parent. This is just my experience and why I made the decision to stay at home. There are so many factors for you to consider in making this decision and figuring out what is best for your family. There may be a time when I go back to being a working mom, but for now, this is the right thing for my family.
If you are thinking about staying at home, I think the following tips will help you transition to SAHM.
My suggestions for the first month as you transition to a SAHM/Stay at Home Parent
1. Don’t change too much too quickly. Besides the clearly obvious change that I don’t go to work anymore- I didn’t make any other major changes this month. I kept my son in his current daycare, although I switched him to three days a week. He had fun participating in all the school holiday activities, but I think he also really loved being home with me two days a week. I didn’t jump on signing up for mommy and me classes or making any new commitments. I am adjusting and so are my kids and husband. We are learning about this new life right now.
I am starting to figure out some things I will have to be better prepared for as a stay at home mom. For example, I really need a list of rainy day activities. We watched a lot of tv a few days when it was too cold to play outside. I will have to get on Pinterest to get some ideas. I also really need to declutter my house, my kids have too many toys.
2. Start to figure out your new role with your spouse. When I worked outside of the home, my husband took on a lot of responsibilities with the house and kids. He works full time and it was not unusual for him to work a full day, then pick up our children, take care of them all night and put them to bed if I was working late. Parenting is never divided perfectly 50/50, but my husband took on way more than 50 percent of the work when I was working. I was happy to take away some of my husbands stress and make his days (hopefully) a little easier.
But it is going to take some time for us to adjust to me being home and what each of us does around the house. My husband likes to cook and had always done housework and errands. While I expected that I would take on all of housework and household errands, he did not assume that. We will have to figure out our new roles around the house.
3. Get out of the house every day. This was hard for me this month, since I wanted to avoid busy stores around the holidays. But I made it a point of getting out every day, even if it was just a trip to the library or to get coffee.
I learned that even really simple activities are a great excuse to get out of the house and can make a day exciting. For example, one day we left the house just to check out a new Crumbl Cookie store that just opened. My kids loved looking at all the cookies and picking out cookies to try. For my kids this was a fun adventure. For me, it was an excuse to get out of the house, walk around a shopping center and tire my kids out a little.
Adjusting to going out with my kids by myself was also a challenge that I did not expect. On the weekends, we would always run errands as a family. I was not used to taking out two kids every day. Figuring out how to get kids in and out of the car by myself, and which stroller to bring took some getting used to. I am feeling more confident now taking both kids out by myself.
4. Do not worry about a schedule or a perfect mom morning routine (for now). I have been reading a lot about being a SAHM (thanks to Pinterest), stay at home mom schedules and routines, and establishing the perfect morning.nighttime routine for moms. But I did not worry about that this month. I think a set morning routine will be great for me and my kids in the future- but I am adjusting right now and figuring out things.
When I worked outside the home I would spend time every night making lunch for everyone and I would wake up early to do chores and get ready before everyone woke up. Well, I don’t have to do that anymore. I can do chores during the day now and do not have to be dressed and ready before the kids get up. I have taken this time to just relax and not worry about schedule and routines for me or my kids (besides snack time and bed time, because let’s be honest, I live by my kids eating and bed times).
For right now, I am just living without a routine or schedule, maybe for the first time in my life. I am actually not kidding about that- I love routines and schedules. For once to just live each day without worrying about scheduling the day to get the most out of my awake time is very nice.
5. Meet other stay at home parents. This is a hard one for me- even though I have been a mom for four years, I do not have any mom friends. I have a great group of girlfriends and was always so busy with work that I never sought out mom friends. But obviously life has changed. I’ve been actually striking up conversations with moms I run into at kids activities. I can’t believe how many other moms are newly SAHM from professional jobs. It has been really nice to talk to these other moms about this experience. I am even planning some play dates with kids from my sons school.
I am excited to share this journey and transition to being a SAHM. It is going to take me more than just one month to adjust, and I am sure next month will bring its challenges. If you transitioned to being a stay at home parent, do you have any tips for a mom just starting her journey?
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