Being a stay at home mom is tough. Whether you’re a veteran, or you’ve just found yourself staying home, there’s always something to learn and improve on. These are some of the things that I wish I knew before I becoming a SAHM (stay at home mom) over 13 years ago.
Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a SAHM (stay at home mom)
Now, I’m not 100% a stay at home mom. I’ve always had a part time job, and now I run my own business from home. But overall, I’ve been the one responsible for all the child rearing, housework, and home management that stay at home moms usually take on.
Here’s what I wish I knew before taking all that on.
You never shut off
When I would go to work, like a physical job, I never stopped being a mom… But for a few hours thinking about my kids wasn’t my top priority. At work I could enjoy my lunch break and actually take time for myself. Even though working and juggling kids is exhausting on its own, it’s different than being a full time stay at home mom.
As a SAHM I never, ever get to shut off when the kids are around. That means all day long, 24-7. Even during the night! If your partner works, chances are the stay at home mom is the one doing the nighttime battles too. It’s draining.
You worry more about your husband’s job
With two people bringing in full time incomes (even with childcare costs) it feels like you have a lot more control over your life. Knowing that one of you losing your job isn’t going to end all your income is somewhat comforting. Especially if you feel confident about the work you do.
When you’re a stay at home mom you’re reliant on your partner’s income. That means you end up getting more invested in their career, and worrying more about work problems when they come up.
You lose some of your identity
It’s amazing how much of ourselves is tied up in what we do. When that thing happens to be wiping toddler noses and changing diapers, it doesn’t feel very ‘you’. Even worse, when people ask you what you do for a living and you don’t have the same answer you used to.
The days blend together as a stay at home mom and you drift away from friends, hobbies, and work. Unless you work at holding on, you can easily lose some of who you are or at least end up changing. Change, though, can be good.
It will change you
Whether you want it to or not, being a stay at home mom will change who you are as a person. Everything from the things you care about (“what’s the best way to introduce solid food?”) to the friends you keep (mommy groups are great).
That’s not a bad thing, but I think most people aren’t prepared for how much motherhood changes women. It can be worse for a stay at home mom, though, because she’s farther removed from her “old” life.
You feel distant from your husband
Sometimes as as stay at home mom it feels like you and your husband are living on different planets. He’s not always interested in hearing about the minute aspects of your day with the kids (let’s face it, it’s kind of boring sometimes), and you feel so far away from working a 9-5 that his work talk isn’t that rewarding.
Sometimes you might even get some jealousy towards him as he gets to golf with clients or go out on his lunch. It can lead to resentment, ora t the very least feeling distant in your marriage.
This is one of the biggest things I wish I knew before becoming a SAHM since my first marriage fell apart partially because of it.
It’s not as expensive as you might think
Once you factor in the costs of childcare, and any other work related expenses sometimes working outside the home isn’t the most cost effective way to take care of your family. In many cases, being a stay at home mom can actually be cheaper!
If I didn’t stay at home we wouldn’t be able to afford as many kids as we have, too.
You’ll miss your kids when they’re away
You’d think that the first thing you want to do as a stay at home mom is to enjoy any break you get from your kids. And sure, you will enjoy the first little bit of it. An occasional sleepover at grandma’s or a couple hours a week at preschool are nice breaks that every stay at home mom needs.
But anything longer and you’re probably going to find yourself missing your kids. You’ll miss them when they go to school, or when you go on vacation. It’s crazy!
It gets easier
First starting out as a new mom (or even just a new stay at home mom) things can feel a bit overwhelming. You can’t fall into the trap of thinking those early bumps are how things are always going to be, though.
There will still be hard days, but for the most part you’ll fall into a great stay at home mom routine. You might even start to think you’ve got this! That is, until the kids throw something new at you.
It’s not just for little kids
A lot of people assume that as soon as hit kindergarten age it’s time for a stay at home mom to get back to work. If your finances allow, there’s nothing wrong with staying home (or just working part time) even after the kids are in school.
There’s still a lot of work to be done as kids grow up. You’ll need time to meal prep, clean, and volunteer at your kids’ school.
You might just love it
Personally, I love being a stay at home mom even when it’s hard. That’s why I’ve held onto it, even though juggling is more work. Nothing makes me happier than being the one who takes care of my kids every day.
Some people don’t enjoy being a SAHM, and that’s OK! But don’t let their experiences make you think you shouldn’t like staying home with the kids either.
These are just a few of the things I wish I knew before becoming a SAHM… But I’m so, so happy to be one every day.