So you think you want to be a stay at home mom?
Well let me tell you something:
It’s super easy! I’ve been a stay at home mom for about 9 years now, and I’ve never made a single mistake or done something I regret! All my kids listen to me 100% of the time, there is zero conflict in my home, and my house is always pristine with a delicious meal waiting for my family when they all return in the afternoon/evening!
Does this sound like the truth?
Now, if you believe that this is what you will sound like 9 years or even 9 days after choosing to be a stay at home mom, I have to tell you from now: you need to adjust your expectations. Because while me being a stay at home mom has been beyond wonderful and has been a huge blessing to my family, the truth of the matter is that it was really, really, really difficult.
For those who may not know my entire story, here’s a quick summary:
I am a tax specialist by trade, and I worked in the financial institutions sector for years. I often worked 40, 60, 70-hour weeks; so needless to say, it was difficult managing my work schedule and my home schedule simultaneously.
After the birth of my third child, my husband and I decided that it was time for me to transition to being a stay at home mom. I was incredibly excited about this new season of my life, especially because I wanted to be more involved in raising my children, as well as in homeschooling them.
Now, I was used to long days and tiring weeks. I was a business professional, after all—I knew who I was and what I was capable of. So I really did not expect the transition to be that challenging. After all, if I could pull off a 12 or 13 hour work day, it couldn’t be that difficult to do the whole stay at home mom thing, right?
Wrong! I had a lot to learn – the hard way! So I want to share with you some of the most important life lessons that I learned during my time as a stay at home mom. Hopefully, this will save you from a lot of unnecessary mental and physical exhaustion!
CONSIDER YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION
To anyone considering whether or not to make this transition from working to being a stay at home mom, the first thing I would say is this:
You need to establish whether this is a financially feasible option for you and your family. In other words, you need to analyze your family’s financial state and answer the question: Can we afford to do this?
Now, I know that I am a tax specialist, which likely means that I focus a bit more than most people on the importance of financial intelligence and strategic financial planning. However, while I may be slightly biased, I really cannot emphasize enough just how key it is for you and your spouse to consider your financial wellbeing and whether you can afford to start this journey. And remember that you will likely have to make changes to your spending and saving habits in order to successfully make this transition and maintain it long-term.
Trust me, if you do this work from the start, it will save you from a lot of unhelpful, unnecessary stress!
BEWARE THE IDENTITY CRISIS!
Keeping up with the never-ending tasks that come with being a stay at home mom was not the biggest difficulty that I personally faced. For me, the greatest challenge was the identity crisis that came from no longer being a well-respected business professional.
Allow me to explain:
While being a stay at home mom ultimately is a full-time job and is by nature physically and emotionally challenging, this transition is about much more than a shift in responsibility. On a deeper level, this transition is most difficult because it requires a shift in understanding regarding one’s identity.
Here’s the thing:
If you are used to being in a workplace where your contributions are recognized, and especially if you are used to having a high-up position that is viewed with importance and respect, then it is very likely that you will begin to question your value when you are at home. We have been trained to view ourselves and value ourselves on the basis of productivity.
When I get to the end of my day, I usually ask myself questions like “What did I accomplish? Did I complete the tasks I had on my mile-long list of things to do? How much work do I have left to finish tomorrow?”. Is this healthy? To some extent, yes. After all, productivity is important, especially for someone like myself who runs a business from home.
However, when you finish a day, you should also be able to answer questions like “Did I enjoy myself? What relationships did I strengthen today? How can I improve and become a better, more joyful version of myself tomorrow?”
For too many of us, our identity is directly linked and deeply rooted in what we do rather than in who we are. What this means is that, if you aren’t careful, when you make that transition to become a stay at home mom, you will begin to ask yourself questions like: “Am I still valuable? Do I still have meaning and purpose? Is being ‘just’ a stay at home mom enough?
These are questions that I asked myself. The bad news is that it took me years and years and years to finally work through all the feelings of guilt and disappointment and inadequacy.
But here’s the good news: my struggle doesn’t have to become your story! You can create a new path for yourself! You can avoid this massive identity crisis by proactively doing two simply things:
Firstly, re-establish the importance of the work that you are doing. As women, we often tend to be quite hard on ourselves, particularly when it comes to our internal voice: the way we speak to ourselves. So be kind to yourself, especially if you are a stay at home mom! You are doing an awesome job! And you are important! Even though you may not see it now, you are changing the world, one child at a time!
Secondly, separate your identity entirely from what you do. What you do does not determine who you are. You are unique and valuable and important because of your unique personality and characteristics, not because of your job or lack thereof. And this is for all of us, not just stay at home moms! It’s time that we understand our true value. If we can get ahold of this idea, it will revolutionize the way that we treat ourselves and interact with others!
Ultimately, everyone’s transition from being a working mom to being a stay at home mom will be different. But if you can remember to root your identity in who you are rather than in what you do, realize the importance of what you are doing at home and have your financial situation clearly planned out, I truly believe that you will flourish and grow as you continue into this new season of your life.
Feel free to comment below if you have any questions or anything you’d like to add from your own experiences!
Now if you’ll excuse me, dinner was meant to be over an hour ago, but the fridge is empty, so it looks like I need to go do some grocery shopping!