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Just like not everyone wants to be a stay at home mom, not everyone wants to be a working mom either. The journey of raising kids is different for every family. If your heart is at home and you want to learn how to become a stay at home mom, this post is for you.
How to Become a Stay at Home Mom
I actually got the idea to write this looking at what people google to find my blog. There’s definitely moms out there who are saying “I wish I was a stay at home mom” but have no idea how to get there.
I get it – I was in your shoes too. In fact, just a few weeks ago I was feeling desperate and applying for jobs. Not because we are so horribly broke, but because I felt like being a stay at home mom wasn’t the best value of my time.
Then things got real and I learned how very wrong I was.
Benefits of Being a Stay at Home Mom
The worst part about moving into full time work is that I’d lose all those great benefits I get being a SAHM (stay at home mom). With 5 kids, it’s even more obvious how little time I would have with them and how much we’d be juggling if I worked.
Here’s some of the ways me being a stay at home mom benefits my family:
- Availability when the kids need something during the day. With COVID this year the school sends kids home at the smallest things and without that flexibility I would have suffered at work. Especially with 5 kids in school.
- Support for my partner’s career. The 40 hour workweek was designed with a stay at home parent in mind. As a stay at home mom, I can support my partner by taking over more unpaid labour and childcare and in exchange he can earn more money for both of us.
- Easier meals, especially dinner. If both parents are working all day you still have to come home, cook dinner, get homework done, and so on. As a stay at home mom, I can have dinner cooking while my partner works so there’s less stress in the evenings for us.
- Enables me to have a bigger family. I don’t know that I would have wanted this many kids if I had been working outside the home. Each one has unique needs and I’m feeling pulled in every direction. Trying to juggle full time work alongside that would be very stressful.
- Very little childcare stress. Except for emergencies or when we want to go out without kids there is almost never childcare stress in our lives. School holidays, early dismissals, and sick days never leave us scrambling.
- Makes me happy. Being a mom has been my number one dream for as long as I can remember. Being home during those first few years of life was really positive for my mental health.
Most of these stay at home mom benefits continue past the first few years – it’s worth it being a SAHM with school aged kids too.
How to Afford to Become a Stay at Home Mom
So you want to pull the plug but you can’t figure out how to make it happen financially? This is probably the most common reason people work outside the home when they’d rather be homemakers, in my opinion.
But there are ways that you tip the financial scales in your favour! Here’s some of the ways I manage to afford to be a stay at home mom on a low income.
Calculate Your Savings
A lot of people leave out the extra expenses that work causes for a family. Your paycheque isn’t your true income. What kind of costs are associated with working?
If you become a stay at home mom, how much are you going to save on…
- Work clothes
- Meals out
- Commuting (gas, wear and tear on vehicle, bus tickets, etc)
- Groceries/convenience foods
- Work related travel
- Cleaning or similar time saving services
- Less taxes/increased government benefits
Pay Off Debt
A lot of us have some debt. Servicing that debt costs money and ties up our budget. If that sounds like your family, are there ways to reduce the amount of debt you have so you can use the savings to support you staying home?
An easy way to get a head start is to sell things around the house. Toys the kids aren’t using, outgrown clothes, etc. Throw it on the bills and see how quickly those numbers fall.
If you don’t owe much you can use this technique to build an emergency fund instead.
Make Extra Money
There’s plenty of ways that a stay at home mom can make some extra money on the side. Some people join MLM companies, others pick up part time jobs.
I know plenty of moms who run home daycares, make crafts, flip furniture, do photography, and so on to keep them from having a 9-5.
Personally, I bring in an income through blogging, writing, and digital marketing services. I’ve always had to have something on the side but I manage to keep my work flexible.
Even if you don’t need to work that much you can also use your side income for extras. That’s how we pay for our trips!
How Can I Become a Stay at Home Mom? – Step by Step Guide
1. Talk to Your Partner
You both need to be on the same page to make this work. If they’re on board then it’s a lot easier. But if you’re met with resistance, try and find out why. Work through it, talk it out. Maybe even see a couple’s therapist.
Once you both agree on the decisions then you can start taking most steps to make your dreams of being a stay at home mom come true.
2. Take a Hard Look at Your Budget
Remember those savings we talked about earlier? This is where you’re going to look at how much of an impact that will have.
For some people, being a stay at home mom doesn’t really create much budget shortfall. For others, there’s a big difference.
Try and find out what extras can be cut to make it work. If there’s nothing that can really go, you’ll need to look at options for making some extra money on the side or your partner will need to bring in more income.
3. Make Sure It’s What You Really Want
Assuming you’ve made the numbers work, you can take the time to really make sure the decision is worth it to you. Even though it might not cost extra, staying home can have long term career impacts.
While it is possible to take time off work temporarily, or stay in your industry as a consultant, many stay at home mom’s don’t have a “career” in the same sense as their working peers.
For me, I’m perfectly happy writing at home. It’s my dream job anyway!
The other thing to consider is how well your child does at daycare, how much you enjoy spending extended periods with them, and how much you value the other benefits of working. (For example… No lunch breaks as a SAHM, way less adult conversation time, etc.)
4. Tie Up Loose Ends
If you’ve made the decision to become a stay at home mom, congratulations! Now’s the time to get everything in order as you make the transition.
If selling things and paying off debt was part of your plan, work towards and set some goals. This is also a good time to take any vacation time you’ve accumulated at work unless it will be paid out to you when you quit.
Consider how much notice everyone needs and coordinate daycare, work, etc.
5. Be Patient With Yourself
Becoming a stay at home mom isn’t easy. Whether it’s a newborn or you’ve made the leap with older kids, expect a rocky period at the start as you develop new routines.
Like anything new it does get easier over time!
Should You Become a Stay at Home Mom?
Even if everything works out financially you may still be wondering if this decision is right for you. I know I’ve really struggled with the opportunity cost of staying home – especially when the day to day isn’t very glamourous.
But being a stay at home mom comes will all kinds of rewards and benefits too!
You should become a stay at home mom if:
- You feel like it’s the right decision for you and your family
- It’s hard to be away from your kids all day
- You can make it work financially (even if money is tight)
- Flexibility is important to you
- Your career isn’t really a must-have for your happiness
- You find joy in the day to day of being a stay at home mom
Being a stay at home mom might not be right for you if:
- Your career is very important to you
- You prefer quality time over 24-7 with your kids
- Being a stay at home mom would be very stressful for you
- It’s not something you feel is right for you
- You simply cannot afford it no matter what you adjust