Things to Think of Before Becoming a SAHM

Updated on November 17, 2008
K. asks from Dayton, OH
12 answers

Hello Ladies,

My husband got a new job awhile ago and it's going really well. We've always talked about me staying home, and are now finally at a point where that could be possible. It would be a benefit to him because with his new position he can't help me as much by taking off when the kids are sick. He'd be able to get in earlier/leave earlier, etc.

There are tons of library and park events, and we'd keep our membership to the rec center to go to the pool during the day and the mueum too. I have some girlfriends who stay at home and I'm sure they'd enjoy meeting us at the park once in awhile too.

I've been working for 21 years straight though, and it'd be a definite change from what we're used to. Have any of you gone from being a working woman to a SAHM? What joys have you found in it? What are some things you wish you would have thought of beforehand?

I'd love to be able to be home with my girls and keep the house clean - LOL - and have good meals ready at a decent time, homework done before the sun sets, etc. Just wondered what things there are to think of, that you never know before you switch over and have to think of them! Thank You!

I understand ladies. I should have added that when I was on maternity I loved every moment and hated going back. I'm a senior software programmer, and I really enjoy my job, but I could easily keep up my skills designing and maintaining web pages and such. Which may not be a bad part-time idea. :)

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone. Julie A., that's awesome advice. There are a group of ladies who are in the PTO and do classroom parties and all. I'm not sure if I'd be moving in on their gig, but wouldn't hurt to ask everyone out to ice cream or something after an event. I have two good girlfriends at work whom I'm pretty sure will stay in contact with me; the rest probably won't which is fine. My two best guy friends actually have a SAHM wife who lives close with little girls the same ages as mine, and the other's wife teaches school and is off in the summer and always wants company to go to the pool or hang out with. But very good advice to keep the activities fun and low, not to overdo it.

As for dinners and such, I make dinner at home 9/10 working days anyhow, so no biggie especially if I can toss something in the oven and forget about it. Same for housework, it'll be a boon to do half an hour each day in the morning after my oldest gets on the bus and before the little one gets up. I don't mind toys everywhere - it's clean bathrooms and kitchen that would be a blessing!

Thanks so much everyone. I'm hoping to be able to try it in January.

Just in case anyone checks, I'll be putting my notice for the end of this month. I'm so excited to stay home with my girls! I stayed home at Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed it. I've talked to my best friends at work and plan on staying in contact and have also found some SAHM groups that do once a week things too. Thank you again everyone.

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answers from Columbus on

I did pretty much what you described--worked for a couple of decades and then quit to stay home. My two older kids were in college and my youngest was five. I always enjoyed my jobs but I never loved working! Once I stopped (I also moved to Columbus at that time) the worst part was managing my finances. My husband and I had always split the household money so that we each operated independently. That is no longer possible and it bugs me more than I would have predicted. Other than that, I am very happy with the new situation.

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answers from South Bend on

I always knew that I would stay at home with my kids so when my son was born, i cut back to two days a week (from a job I loved). It was wonderful waking up with him and spending my days with him too. I never did get much housework done though. After a year of it, I couldn't do it anymore. I was always tired and fighting with my husband for not helping more around the house. At 5 o colock I was ready to hand my ilttle guy over and take a nap.

Staying home is exhausting. I am glad I did it because I'll never regret having that time with him, but I was miserable. It was very difficult admitting that I wasn't cut out to be a stay at home mom. I thought I was letting my son down. I made the decision to go back to work full time and my husband works part time to take care of baby. A friend helps out 2 days a week. It's wonderful. My relationship with my son and my dad has really improved. Now that house work NEVER gets done. I had to get used to that along with only having 2 hours in the evening with my little guy, but the excitement I see on his face when I come home is amazing and my husband says he asks about me all day and looks at my pictures.

For me it's good to miss my kids, it makes me excited to come home and gives me a little extra energy boost in the late afternoon.

If you are going to work part time, make sure you take Mondays off. It's the best gift ever.

Good Luck,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Youngstown on

Hi K.,

I had my first child almost 4 months ago, and I was going to quit when my maternity leave was up (unpaid maternity leave). I wanted to be a SAHM and we thought we could afford it. During the three months of my leave I also was in a "fog". I LOVED being home with my newborn, but I felt so disconnected from the world. I started to miss the adult interaction, and I missed the paycheck too. After the three months was up I decided to go back part time instead of quitting. That first day back was nice, it made me feel "normal" again. It was just too hard after working all my life to be home full time. Also with this economy I am afraid to completely walk away from a good paying job. So now I have the best of both worlds. I get to work about 15 hours a week and feel like I am contributing and being part of the outside world. I also get lots of quality time with my baby. But you do what is best for you and your kids. I think there is nothing better for children than to have a full time stay at home mommy. But for me I needed the outside interaction - and the money :) Good luck to you!

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answers from Fort Wayne on

Before I became pregnant with my first, I was a total party girl. I was the head bartender at Pieres and LOVED my life. All of a sudden, I found out I was pregnant. I dropped everything bad I was doing, including smoking and drinking, and went through quite a transition even B4 I became a mother. I realized that since I wasn't going to parties every weekend anymore, most all of my friends had moved on to people who were. That's one thing about a job and a lifestyle. You surround yourself with others that have a common interest, even if the common interest is just your work place. Once you step out of that, you find that 99% of your friends were really just acquaintances. THAT is the hard part. You all of a sudden are totally detached from the outside world. BUT the thing that makes or breaks you is whether you accept that, mourn it, and let it make you fall into a slump, or if you decide to embrace the new chapter of your life and find others who are experiencing the same things too. A great way is by joining a local MOPS group, a playgroup, sign your kids up for things at the YMCA during the day so you can meet other mothers while they're in class, pretty much anything that gets you out of the house and around other children and mothers. And if you have trouble talking to strangers, get over it because I've noticed that with mothers you usually have to strike up the conversations. Most of them are completely watching their kids and don't always even notice if you sit next to them! If you think that you'll be okay because there are certain activities around to take the kids to, you'll be disappointed. Even when there are 10 things to pick from everyday, if you are alone with the kids, you will begin to feel isolated. I joined a play group after falling into a slump of being a stay at home mom for almost 2 years. Until then, I had completely lost touch with myself. I didn't know who I was anymore since I wasn't a fun party girl I used to be who was always surrounded by tons of people and had her phone ring multiple times every hour. All of a sudden, the only thing on my agenda was changing diapers, feeding, and naptimes. I wish I would've been warned and given some specific things to do to avoid feeling like I was cut off from humanity. NOt only is it really bad for you, it's also bad for your husband, who all of a sudden has these high expectations he feels from you since he's suddenly the only adult you have constant contact with. So, get yourself situated BEFORE you quit. Research MOPS, look up some playgroups and stop during lunch breaks to meet the head of them to see if you think the group would fit you. Try to get a schedule for you and the kids to have. Don't fill it with stuff everyday, just maybe on Tuesdays and Thursdays at first. If you fill it everyday, then you'll never feel content just staying at home with the kids. Kids enjoy and need to stay at home in my opinion, rather than bustling around to different activities. But, if you don't face the issues now, you may find that you're wanting to go somewhere every single day. My cousin does, every SINGLE day she goes somewhere! Just can't stand to be home. She's out all day.

Anyway, hope this helped. It honestly took me the entire first 2 years of motherhood before I finally embraced it and started to enjoy my new life as a stay at home mother. I think it could've happened a lot sooner though if I had known what things I'd see happen. Losing those friends was really hard on me.

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answers from Indianapolis on

I had ALWAYS worked since the age of 15. I only took a 2 week maternity leave with all 3 of my children! Before my now 7yr old daughter was to begin Kindergarten, I had to make the same decision. She is quite the little escape artist, and I could not trust a babysitter and the school to watch after her. I am not an extremely religous person, but I prayed about it. I received the "sign" I was looking for! I have been a SAHM for about 2 1/2 years now. I do have my real estate license and work from home. I can work around my kids schedules and love it! There are so many networking opportunities, and the thing about real estate is you get out of it what you put into it. It can be a struggle, especially getting started. I never thought I could be a SAHM, but I wouldn't change a thing now. The difference it has made in my kids is beyond worth it!

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answers from Indianapolis on

I have been in your spot too, after working in a corporate marketing job for 15 years, I decided to change gears after we moved to a new city and our son was having a hard time adjusting. It was enough to pull me home. You didn't mention the ages of your children but if you have preschool age children or younger, I'd highly recommend getting involved in MOPS (Mother's of Preschoolers) group. This is a non-denominational group for mothers and gives you a great break and a chance to meet other women outside of your work friends. I would also encourage you to take on the free-lance work to keep you current in your career. It will help your confidence later if you decide to re-enter the work force and will also keep money in your bank account. The shift in the dynamics between a husband and wife over money is something to prepare for too. It may be subtle, but not having your own income does give you a different feeling about your own mad-spending. Thats the other reason that free-lance work could be a plus for you.

Also, just because you are at home, it still might make sense to get help with the cleaning if you can manage the cost. Its a tough transition from senior professional to toilet cleaning duty and everything else that needs done. Good luck in this new exciting chapter of your life!

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answers from Cincinnati on

I have to agree with Jill (especially the 'fog lifting' part) and Lauri.

I worked full-time for 11 years before having my first baby. My husband and I decided that I would take an extended leave of absence of 9 months, thus making me a temporary SAHM. Prior to the job (and yes, I do mean job...don't get into the trap thinking that just because you're at home you'll have more time to do this or that or clean or make elaborate dinners or whatever...remember that with two kids at home all day, the house will have the chance to get messy ALL DAY, not just in the evening hours!), I was really excited and looking forward to being at home. I had no idea that my world was going to change so drastically and that I'd be trading in a life that I knew so well for a life that I really hadn't prepared for.

I really think that there are some women that are destined to best use their skills and talents as a SAHM and then there are other women who are destined to use their skills and talents in a career. Both jobs are important. Both require balancing self and family. Both jobs are difficult. I'm not knocking the SAHM and saying the work-outside-of-the-home mom is better; I've done both and know the pros and cons of each.

For me, it was almost as if I had to mourn the loss of my career even if it was temporary. I'm a high school teacher and I missed working with adolescents and the fulfillment and satisfaction that accompanied my job. I missed sitting at my desk, working on creative projects and lesson plans for hours on end without any interruption from a screaming, hungry, or bored baby. I missed the socialization with my co-workers and felt so totally isolated in my home. It was me and a baby all day long, and the only interaction outside of the occasional Gymboree class was when my husband came home. Don't get me wrong, I loved being with my baby but that's all I did - focus on the baby and his needs and when that was done I had to focus on the needs of my house and my husband. Very little time was left for me and I was absolutely exhausted both mentally and physically at the end of the day. Of course there are ways around that - playdates, moms groups, etc. but everything I did always involved my child.

I think it all depends on how you feel about your career, how you feel about giving it up, and how you can plan for making time for yourself while being a SAHM. Every woman is different and has different needs, and what works best for one might not be the best for another. If I knew that I was going to be a temporary SAHM again, I would lower my expectations about what I would be able to accomplish around the house and prepare myself better for the potential isolation by scheduling more outings/activities that include adult interaction.

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answers from Cleveland on

I waited so long to be a sahm. It was my dream. Then it happened over night when we brought our daughter home from Russia, and I almost did not know who " I " was outside my job. It was a bigger adjustment that I had bargained for, but it was so worth it.

I missed the day to day adult interaction of a full time job, the " atta girl" for a job well done, getting dressed up and earning my own money to spend.

Like I said it was all worth it, but I did go through a bout of depression at first.


answers from Columbus on

Dear K.,

A really difficult trap to get into when you're going from working to staying at home is to devalue yourself. Many of us - myself included - thought I owed it to my children and husband to go to every event, work every project, clean every corner of my house, read up on every parenting idea I could find. It was almost as if I was only worthy if I became a supermom. And I kind of lost sight of being in the moment of being with my children. They grow so fast anyway, why not let those beds go for a day? (Who am I kidding, I hardly ever make the bed now) Nowa days we play, play, play. We talk and make up stories and sing songs and enjoy everything. Try and stay focused on the 'now' and explore it all with your girls.

Congratulations on your Stay-At-Homness!



answers from Cleveland on

i did the stay at home mom thing when I had two kids in kindergarten, one in the AM class and one in the afternoon.

I'm sure you have already figured out the loss of income and how to deal with that, but for me, it was that I would not spend a penny on myself because I was not contributing any money to our household.of course we all know what the mom contributes, but , like you , I had always worked.

I also found out that I was a procrastinator. I had always been really good at keeping up with everything, but when I had more time, I always found excuses to put things off until tomorrow.

I went back to work part-time in May of that year and it was really good for me and my children. Now I work about twenty hours a week and I am simply more organized. I still would like to find a way to get more sleep though.

Ok, well My recommendation is to see if your workplace would let you go part time, allowing you more time to spend with your kids. In my case, I ended up resuming full time work in order to provide health insurance for us as my husband got a job that did not provide it. If I had just quit back in that year I would not have had thae option to do that.

good luck,



answers from Cleveland on

I am very lucky. I have a job that I can do out of my house and I have a babysitter about three monrings a week and a husband with a very flexible, although chaotic job. I could not not work. It is not that I don't adore my son or love spending time with him, but I have a post masters degree and I felt that if I did not do something, I was wasting my education. I started back about a month after he was born, from home, and the fog that had been surrounding me since his birth lifted.
I suggest trying to find something part time. You can always ear mark that money for dinners out or special activities or a cleaning lady. Trust me just because you are home does not mean you want to clean.



answers from Indianapolis on

I am not a SAHM but hope to be when someday, we're blessed with another child. Check out Joni Mc Coy's website!

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