Moms everywhere have done it. Given up their job or career to devote all of their time and focus to their children. Some Dads have even done it. In this day and age of most families needing two full time incomes to live with any kind of financial wiggle room, one parent being able to leave work to stay home full time with the children can be viewed as both a luxury and a sacrifice. And it is both a luxury and a sacrifice. If you are considering leaving your full time employment to devote more time to your home and children, there are some insights from this Mom who has done it, that you may want to think about. If you have already made the decision and will be delving into the world of stay-at-home-parents soon, don’t reconsider, just read on for some helpful hints concerning what changes you can expect. Some may be things you have already considered extensively, but other aspects of this life change are difficult to truly understand until you have experienced them.
Unless you’ve won the lottery, or your spouse is taking on a second job to replace the one you are leaving, chances are, you will be working with less income when you leave your position of employment. Hopefully, you have considered this thoroughly. It isn’t a reason to not stay home with your children. However, it really is important that you make a very close determination as to what your remaining income will be, and work up a few mock budgets with it. You don’t want to be any less prepared for this aspect of your life altering decision to be a full time stay-at-home-parent. You have probably already accepted the fact that you will have to make certain financial sacrifices. Perhaps you and your spouse will be sharing a vehicle, or moving into a smaller home. Whatever you have decided and are expecting, put it all down on paper so that you can identify and resolve any of the financial considerations you were not expecting.
You have probably already thought, at least a little, about how this change from full time employee, to full time Mommy (or Daddy), will affect your social life. For many, friends in the workplace are almost the only friends we have, or have time to interact with on a regular basis. From where you are standing, this may not seem like a lot to walk away from. However, expect to miss these relationships more than you realized you could have.
Put simply, leaving a job to stay home with small children wreaks havoc on your sense of identity. Before you are a full time stay-at-home parent, it seems you have so many roles to play in your life. Wife, friend, co-worker, boss, not to mention whatever your actual title is at work. Whether you are a secretary or a school principal, once you leave to stay home full time, it is not always an easy transition to think of yourself as no longer being that title. Even though you still have friends, you don’t really have time to visit too much usually, unless they are stay-at-home-parents, and if that’s the case, you’re in luck. Your ex co-workers have all gone on with their lives around the office. And even though you send occasional emails back and forth, it’s not the same. You miss them. A lot.
THE LAST THING YOU EXPECTED
The truth of the matter is, that switching to being a full time stay-at-home-parent, if you’ve never done it before, can be really tough. Don’t be disillusioned, it won’t be all baking cookies and tickle sessions. There are a lot of wonderful aspects to it, to be sure. You get to play a larger part in the daily lives of your children than you did before. You get to watch every “first”. You have time to lay on the couch together to watch a video, plant new flowers in the flowerbed, take a walk to the pond to catch tadpoles, build snowmen, or play in the sprinklers together. You never have to miss a thing. Not…one…single…thing. Not the juice that got spilled onto the carpet, the three poopy diapers in an hour, the words, “LET ME GO!!” being screamed into your ear by your two year old who is really angry that you are trying to put him down for a nap, the 117 requests for drinks and snacks in a single afternoon, the entire rack of DVD’s and videos that your toddler managed to throw to the floor while you had your back turned for exactly eight seconds (you were just trying to quickly spot treat the carpet from that juice…), the ball they threw off the balcony, or the entire basket of freshly folded laundry that they threw around the living room. Sure, you may have to deal with these kinds of incidents on most days, you are their parent, after all. The difference is, now you’ll be dealing with it all day, every day. And, you may not like it. You like your children, of course. You love the extra cuddles and kisses you get to fit in throughout the day, you love the conversations you get to have that you didn’t have as much time for before. But there are most likely going to be moments when you don’t like being a full time stay-at-home-parent, because at times it feels more like being a full time stay-at-home-maid who the kids sometimes do not seem to appreciate being with as much because they have the luxury of being with you all the time now.
It isn’t a reason not to do it. Just be prepared. Have a realistic understanding of what you are heading into. Most, if not all, parents who stay home full time to be with their children, even if they find aspects of it to be very difficult, do not regret having done it. It is a worthwhile venture, and you will have many more memories of life with your children than you would have had otherwise.