We heard the why and the how over the last two weeks. What’s next? Well, choosing to stay at home or work from home is a pretty big decision for most couples, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Not everyone is in a position to make that choice. There may be some families who are managing to balance work, home and family time well, with both parents working outside the home. But for those who are feeling a tug towards SAHM life, but are not sure how to make the decision, here is some advice from those who are already doing it.
Anna* (mother of a 6yo and 1yo) encourages moms to try being a SAHM for the first five years of their children’s lives.
- “Financial commitments keep most moms working. But I’d suggest that if you can manage to make ends meet on your husband's salary, please give up your job and cherish these years when your kids are growing. They need you in the first five years of their life, perhaps more than in their teens. We as moms can always get back to working after a gap as many companies are realising the fact that children need their mothers.
- “Also, once they are a bit grown up, start off with a part time job as it's always good to be there for your child. Work from home is a good option but getting a part-time job is better as it gives you the freedom when you move out and also help you socialize and keep in touch with the world.”
After being primarily at home for the past five years, Anna is exploring the option of giving French tuitions this year. Anna’s passion is Finance and she would love to get back to that as long as she has work hours that allow her to get home at the same time as her kids return from school.
Among other tips, Jeanne* (mother of a 2yo & 9mo) encourages SAHMs to seek the active support of their husbands:
- "Pray about it if you're undecided."
- "Don't lose your close girl friends (even the single ones)."
- "Find time each week to do things that make you feel fulfilled."
- "Ask your husband to consciously appreciate you and the work you are doing."
Kiersten (mother of a 5mo) reminds SAHMs that life will not always go according to plan, and they need to prioritize self-care:
- “Know that being a SAHM is challenging and incredibly rewarding, sometimes in unexpected ways. Mommy bloggers and Pinterest boards sometimes make it seem like it’s easy and that all you need is a routine and ‘These Top 5 Tips’. But children, and infants especially, don’t always operate according to plan.”
For Kiersten, there were days when she couldn’t shower because she was just too tired. In the early days especially, when her child took a nap, she often had to choose between feeding herself, showering, and napping. But she reminds SAHMs that self-care is important too.
- “Listen to your body and do what it needs. Drink lots of water.”
- “It is easy to put your own needs on the backburner when you’re caring for someone else. But you have to remember to take care of yourself, too. Otherwise you will burn out.”
- “Remember that you are a person in your own right. Being a wife and/or mother is only part of your identity, and all parts of you deserve to be cared for.”
- “You have to know yourself. I’m an introvert, so staying home all day doesn’t bother me on most days. If you’re an extreme extrovert and thrive on interaction with other people, being a stay at home mom may not be the best choice for you. Or, maybe you’ll be more motivated than I am to get out and about with kid/s in tow and it will be awesome! Either way, that’s okay.”
- “Only you and your partner can decide what’s best for your family. Other people will have opinions, but that doesn’t mean you have to make your decisions based on what they think you should do. Be honest with yourself and your partner about what you want and work together to achieve that.”
Kiersten wants women to remember that whatever they choose to do, there will be both good days and less than good days. Society places a lot of pressure on moms to always do the “right thing.” But most people may feel like they don’t know what they’re doing most of the time.
-“Trust your intuition. It’s amazing how much your gut and heart know, things that your brain hasn’t figured out yet. Most of all, give yourself grace. Being a mom is hard, but so incredibly worth it.”
Adele advises a deeper rooting of one’s identity in the unchanging reality of God’s love:
- “Count the cost - the emotional cost, not just the financial cost.”
- “Be sure of who you are in Christ before making any huge life changes like getting pregnant/starting/ending a job/relocation, etc. The world is very, very quick to pull you down when you don't earn money /not contributing to the GDP. Once you know you're worth in Christ, you can stand firm in Him and be peaceful, safe and happy wherever He asks you to go.”
Venora (mother of a 6yo, 4yo and 10mo) was hesitant to give over-specific advice to young moms. “It's difficult to give advice to give since not everyone's circumstances are the same. But I'd say this-”
- “Don't let your fears stop you from fulfilling what God has placed on your heart. If He needs you to be an instrument as a stay at home parent, he will enable you, provide for you and the reward is far too great to comprehend. It also does not mean you will never go back to work later or that you will not use all your talents for the glory of God.”
- “Go forth in trust. I have found that God delights in those who obey His will.”
The SAHM Series: Why do Stay-At-Home-Mums Stay at Home? (Part 1 of 3)
The SAHM Series: Are Stay-at-Home-Mums Happy? (Part 2 of 3)
One Beautiful Dream: The Rollicking Tale of Family Chaos, Personal Passions, and Saying Yes to Them Both by Jennifer Fulwiler
21 Tips for Survival Mode
Can Ambitious Women Be Happy at Home? (Comment thread)
The Anonymous Stay-at-Home Mom
Don't Carpe Diem
To The Mother with Only One Child
“Have You Ever Felt Like Being a Mother Has Ruined You?”
I Took a Month Off from Being a SAHM. Here’s What I Learned.