Some people think that the decision to become a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) is an easy one. More one-on-one time with kids, more time to clean the house, keep up with the laundry, and make meals; it sounds heavenly, right?
But to be honest, I never thought I would be a SAHM. I knew I always wanted to be a mom, but not the kind that stays home.
I just had too much drive and ambition to “just be at home with kids.” Well, you know that Thomas Rhett song with the lyrics, “You make plans and you hear God laughing,” that was 100% true in my case.
The Reason I Became a SAHM
When my oldest was younger he would go to daycare. He was always sick, and chronic ear infections were the culprit. Every time he would get an ear infection, it seemed like the drainage would go down into his lungs. We then lived on a nebulizer for months.
Finally, three months before my second was born, I decided to be a SAHM. It wasn’t an easy choice, but I didn’t like seeing my kid sick all the time, and going into doctor’s offices every week. It was the best choice I could see at the time and four years later, I’m still at home.
The first few weeks of being a stay-at-home mom I felt like I was on top of the world! I was my own boss and on my own schedule.
Then it slowly started to creep up on me: the loneliness of barely seeing another adult because most of my friends were working. And the balancing act of trying to keep up with household duties while also spending time playing and teaching the kiddos was overwhelming.
Also, the dreaded no sick days. I now have to decide how sick I am, if it warrants my husband to take a day off to watch kids while I rest. News flash: this rarely happens. I usually power through it so my husband can keep his days off.
I think the biggest unspoken difficulty is budget. Going from two incomes to one isn’t an easy task. Budgeting is a huge thing and only works if both of you agree on it.
We always wanted a big family. That also meant kids close in age, and a bigger daycare bill. When you get to the point where the daycare bill is almost more than your paycheck, it becomes time to evaluate. Sometimes for families it means one parent stays home until the kids are school-aged. For some families, it means that they feel they are a better parents while both are working outside the home.
Find Your Tribe
Once my friend was expecting twins (her number 3 & 4), she made the decision to become a stay-at-home mom. And I was ecstatic!
Even though it can be hard to be a SAHM it makes it 1,000 times easier to do it with a friend. You can meet up for a playdate at the zoo, splash pad, a park, or at each other’s houses.
It means no judgment when walking through the toys scattered all over the living room and the dishes in sink. My best advice is to find a friend you can text and say, “My kids are crazy today. Need to get out of the house. Want to meet up?”
It took awhile to adapt to life at home with my kids and figuring out how to get everything done. After having three kids under three years old, hauling the kids with me to run errands was a task. So, I started to make it fun by playing “I spy” on our way to a store, and allowing each kids to pick out a treat while in the store.
And my best advice for running errands is to pick the drive-up option at the store. No unloading and loading of kids, and no stress of kids having a meltdown in middle of the store.
The Reality of It All
It’s hard. It’s all hard. I have been a working mom outside the home and I have now been a SAHM for four years. I think the hardest part of it all is realizing that being a SAHM isn’t all glitter and unicorns. There was a lot to adjust to. And just like a working outside the home, there are good days and bad days on the job.
Parenting and working is hard, so don’t judge how that mom decides to provide for her family. Give all moms grace no matter whether they are stay-at-home moms, working moms, or something in-between.