You did it. You quit your job to become a stay at home mom. Now that you’ve figured out how to live on one income and all of the logistics, you are starting to feel what it’s really like being home day-in and day-out with kids. Now, you’re feeling the emotions…anxiety, uncertainty, the blues, overwhelmed and frustrated. You’re afraid you’re losing your identity. I’ll tell you How to Transition from Career to SAHM Without Losing Who You Are.
Before I left my career to become a stay-at-home-mom, I worked as an Information Technology professional for a large investment company. I was successful and really enjoyed my work. It was very scary for me to leave my career. It was all that I’d ever known and I felt it defined me. However, I found out just how replaceable I was when I got laid off just so the company could make first quarter earnings during the recession in 2010 which, was six months before our wedding!
It’s so hard to go from having your own productive life to it being taken over by your kids. You’re time isn’t yours anymore. That is really hard to accept at first. Honestly, It took me about four years to accept my new life. Although, I was so happy to have my children and waited a long time to start a family, transitioning to motherhood was very difficult. It is for just about any woman.
I found it especially difficult because I worked for 20 years before I had kids. I was very comfortable in my life even while longing for a husband and children. Although, I still think about returning to work, especially on tough days with the kids, I keep reminding myself that I’m doing what I think is best for our family. I discipline myself just as I would if I was trying to accomplish any goal. Keep your eye on the prize.
So what is the prize? Your kids will grow up with their mom present, available and able to be there when they need her. Of course, this goes for stay at home dads too. I really think it’s important to have at least one parent available as much as possible.
How to Transition From Career to SAHM Without Losing Who You Are
At work, you’re told once in a while, that you’re doing a good job. You get an end-of-year review, a monetary raise, and praised when your boss is happy with your performance. You’re peers will recognize you’re hard work and how you stay late to meet deadlines. You get gratification every so often and you feel appreciated.
You will not have anyone patting you on the pack when you spent hours in the middle of the night cleaning up the widespread mess of your two-year old’s stomach virus. There are no days off. Nope! You’re mom 24-7. You’re kids won’t understand if you’re tired or sick. You don’t get sick days. That’s the reality.
Mother’s Day should be a federal holiday! You just have to persevere though it. It’s a marathon and endurance is key!
Focus on the love you get from them daily. This is your instant gratification. It shows in different ways than them just saying it. When they wake up and their first thought is to come looking for you or when you are the one they want to console them when they get hurt. You mean the world to them. That is your instant gratification. These are the signs of love they have for you. No one loves you quite like them!
Remember, you reap what you sow!
One day, when they’re adults, they’ll realize just how much you’ve done for them. They’ll understand you gave up a lot for them. You’ll see how they care for their own children and you’ll be gratified more than you ever thought imaginable. You are invested in your kids by being home with them.
Find New Stay-at-home-mom Friends
Join a moms club. Churches, communities and MOMS Club International have support groups for moms. Don’t think of them as a bunch of women sitting around crying on each other’s shoulders. These are moms in the same position as you. Many of them have quit their careers to be home with their children or are working part-time. They often care about the same things you do.
You will form new friendships and your kids will play together. The moms club schedules many fun events so moms can socialize with other moms with their kids present and sometimes without kids for Moms Night Out which, is my favorite! I benefited so much from being part of moms groups. I was once part of three groups and served as the vice president one one of them.
Ask for Help
There will be many times you’ll need help and you may let your pride or anxiety get in the way of asking for help. This is common and you shouldn’t feel like “I can handle it” or “I don’t want to bother my mother-in-law” or “I really don’t want to ask the babysitter again.” Getting help when you need can make you a better mom. You won’t lose your temper and be on the edge all of the time.
This is when you really need to put yourself first because, if you are not mentally or physically well, your kids and husband will feel it and absorb it.
You need breaks. When my kids were toddlers, I remember envying my husband’s schedule because he could sit in the car on his drive to work for a whole 45 minutes to and from work! Plus, he got to eat lunch by himself and even go to the bathroom alone. Clearly, he had it better than me. There were days I’d call him and beg him to come home early and sometimes he did.
We ask my mother and father-in-law to watch our boys each summer for three nights so my husband and I can go away alone. This break really helps our marriage. We look forward to it so much.
Go on Dates with Your Husband
Going out with your husband on a recurring basis is necessary for a good marriage. A good, stable marriage is necessary for the well being of your children. You’ve heard how relationships are work. They are. You have to make time for yourselves to be a couple.
Also, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on date nights either. Taking long walks, making a romantic picnic or even watching a movie together after the kids are in bed are ways to spend time together.
Related: How to Live on One Income
What I Would Have Done Differently
Find Time for Yourself
In hindsight, I would have scheduled more time for myself. It’s easier said than done but, it’s really important. When both of my children were simultaneously in the terrible two stage, I should have made sure I had more time to myself. Often I didn’t want to pay the money for a babysitter as it gets expensive as a recurring cost.
There were times I could have left the kids with my husband and just left the house but, felt I had no place to go. I was too tired to go shopping and most of my friends were home watching their own kids.
I wouldn’t have been so hard on myself when I made mistakes. First-time parents will make mistakes. We’ll lose our temper and not be as patient as we should sometimes but, it’s all normal.
Go out with your friends for dinner or a picnic. Go to a concert. Have fun! You need to have fun once in a while and you’ll feel yourself again. This will really help you not lose who you are.
Schedule Your Days
Just as you would do at work, schedule your day. It can be done every morning when you wake up or weekly. If you are into meal planning, make your schedule at the same time you choose your meals that way you’ll have your schedule fresh in your mind. Schedule craft time, story time, learning letters and numbers or reading, TV time, playing outside time, etc.
Structure your day so you know what’s coming. Scheduling your day enables your kids to get a variety of activities. Kids do well with structure.
Also, you can schedule your own time to get housework done while they’re napping or playing with their toys. You’ll feel accomplished if you get your list of things to do too.
Don’t Be Hard On Yourself
Before I became a mom, I had this notion that I’d spend my summers taking my happy children to the pool a few times a week and enjoy it. Hmmm…. not quite. After you pack up all that you need, snacks, toys, sunscreen, etc. You’re chasing after them every minute. It’s easier to stay home. Change your expectations.
You might think that because you’re home, it will be clean and you’ll have plenty of time to make dinner every night and do all of the shopping and housework. Are you laughing yet? It doesn’t happen that way. You may be lucky to have time to shower on some days and even if you do, they’ll be banging on the door to get to you.
Being a stay-at-home-mom also means you’be now become your husband’s secretary. He’ll add things to your list because, you’re home and he’s not. It makes sense. I get it but, it just adds to your list of things to do so, again, don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t get it done every day.
There will be days that you don’t get much of your to-do list done simply due to circumstances, mainly called your kids, that won’t allow you to get all of it done and that’s o.k. You’are not a failure if you couldn’t find time in the afternoon to make dinner or do the wash. The great thing about not having a boss, is you don’t have to answer to anyone about how much you accomplished on any particular day.
When you become a mom, you’re first instinct is always the well being of your children. It’s easy to forget your own needs or put them on hold. You’ll have good days and you’ll have bad days but, you’ll realize just how fulfilling being a stay-at-home-mom can be over time. You’ll get used to it and you’ll start to see how much you mean to your kids and how you’re shaping them, loving them and being there for them every step of the way.
Learning how to transition from career to sahm without losing who you are doesn’t happen over night. Give it time.
Learning how to get gratification at home and scheduling your days will making leaving your job easier. Asking for help, and finding new mom friends gives you the support you need to make it through the days and alleviate anxiety. Making time for yourself and going on dates with your husband while not being hard on yourself will help to not lose yourself in motherhood. Your transition to stay-at-home-mom can make you a better mother and have a less stressful home life while spending meaningful time with your kids. You’ll find your journey in motherhood satisfying and rewarding while finding a new you.
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