How To Know If Being a Stay At Home Mom Is Right For You
When I found out I was pregnant, I honestly had never thought about whether or not I’d stay home with my baby. This was mostly due to the fact that I was only 19 and hadn’t thought much about babies at all, but being a SAHM never crossed my mind. After doing a ton of thinking and discussing with my boyfriend, we both decided that staying home was the best option for us. Sometimes you know right away, and sometimes you won’t know until the second that baby is born. So, I’m here now to give you some insight on the day in the life of a SAHM and what qualities are desirable to do it successfully!
1. You have to be okay with little to no socialization
I am an introverted-extrovert. I need socialization from time to time, but I’m also okay with being alone all day. I wouldn’t be a blogger if I needed to be around people all the time. I do have to admit though, sometimes, especially when my boyfriend is away on business trips, I get real stir-crazy. it’s not easy staring at the same walls all day. This is actually something that not everyone can get used to, believe it or not. Honestly, if you aren’t already okay with this, you won’t become okay with this. It’s totally possible to join mom groups and stuff like that, but it would still only be a small fragment of your day. One of my best friends is a SAHM to her twin girls, so we get together as much as possible, but between the housework, cooking, my blogging + photography business, it just can’t happen often. Which leads me to my next point…
2. You have to be okay with doing all of the housework
So a lot of people may disagree with this because the man “should help”, but here’s the thing: you’re home all day, he’s not. Yes – you are both working, but you’re working in the house. It’s not right for your man to get mad at you for not having the house spotless everyday, but let’s be honest, if you expect him to do housework all the time, it’s going to cause problems eventually. My boyfriend and I have been together for 5 years and have an equal-opportunity relationship, he does what he wants + I do what I want. He is 1000% okay with coming home and helping me out by doing a load of his own laundry or loading/unloading the dishwasher.
Our daughter’s room is always a mess (she’s 18 months old and we’re still working on teaching her how to tidy up), and our room is always filled with 100 piles of folded laundry, but the living room, kitchen, and bathroom are spotless 90% of the time. We have a realllllllly small house by the way, so don’t be alarmed, lol. I know that full-time working moms also are responsible for most of the cleaning, which amazes me, but when you are home all day, any mess will drive you bonkers.
3. You have to be okay with being dependent
This was probably the hardest part for me. Everyone always thinks about how you’ll be living off of only one income and how it will affect them financially (which is my next point), but they don’t always think about how this will affect them mentally and emotionally. Some people are just born to work, some people are just born to be homemakers, and some, like me, are both. You can be a mother and not necessarily be all that maternal. I’ve met people who knew without a doubt that they would be going back to work as early as possible, this may be for money or it may be for sanity, but it doesn’t at all mean they don’t love their child. In fact, moms who fight the guilt of leaving their child to go back to work because they know they need to be there are doing their children a huge service. No child wants a mommy who is unhappy. Giving your child all the love, smiles, and happiness you can for only 3-5 hours a day after work is better than being an angry, resentful mom all day long. Not saying this would always be the case, but staying home isn’t for everyone and it could make you insane if it’s not what you’re made for.
On top of not working, you have to be okay with your SO (significant other) making all the money and living off of his money only. I hate having financial dependency, so I started my own business. I have always been into photography, literally since I was a toddler (I was obsessed with cameras), so I decided to take my hobby to the next level last year. The money I bring in gives me some financial freedom which is enough to hold me off until I finish my degree and start my real career.
It’s nearly impossible to make a great living off photography alone, and for the people that do, you can bet your buns that they worked their asses off to get there. Photography becomes less and less in demand as smart phones advance, especially in lower income areas like the one I’m in. Well, my area varies from below the poverty line to millionaires, and a crap-ton of amateur photographers offering their services for dirt cheap, so getting business is rough! However, this is okay for me since we don’t need my income to survive.
4. You need to be okay with making financial sacrifices
Now for the richer families, this might not be even be a problem in the first place, but for us plain Jane’s, some sacrifices will need to be made. I am lucky because there isn’t much that I go without thanks to my amazing boyfriend and to my business. Some of you might have the option to work from home, which is essentially what I do between the business, my blog, and college, but it will take your stress to a level you’ve never seen (this can be a conversation for another day). However, for most of you, this isn’t an option, so let’s talk about it…
If you are both working two full-time jobs with similar incomes, you’d essentially be cutting your income in half. So, unless your bills were all paid with one income and the other income was just savings, you will need to cut some stuff out. We, for instance, cut out cable completely. We have wifi, Netflix, Amazon video, + Hulu, and combined, it’s all $100 less a month than cable. That’s about all we cut out, but it makes a big difference.
Putting money aside while you’re pregnant and budgeting is key. You should start transitioning into this lifestyle once you make the decision during pregnancy so you’re not learning two new lifestyles at once – living off of one income AND motherhood. You also might have to cut down on food, you might not have money to do fun things, like vacations, day trips, eating out at restaurants, etc. If you are okay with this being long-term, then being a SAHM could be an option for you!
5. You need to be okay with your SO living the life you once had
This can get really hard for me sometimes. When my boyfriend complains about his job, sometimes I feel for him, but other times I’m like “AT LEAST YOU GET TO BE OUT OF THE HOUSE ALL DAY AND DRIVE/ GO PLACES ALONE”. You never get a break, you hardly get to go out, and when you do, you always have to take a baby with you. Once they get to be a toddler, going to the store alone will seem like fun. You feel guilty ever going out without them either. You get so used to having them around all the time, that being apart from them can also make you anxious. My boyfriend took our daughter to see family for a few hours a couple months ago, so I went to go pick up my prescription alone and instantly panicked in the driveway. I felt so out of place and had an identity crisis. I swear to God.
This lifestyle really changes you, and it makes it really hard to watch your SO continue to live his life like nothing ever happened. This is something that you won’t think about until it happens. Even reading this now is not enough to know how this feels, you won’t know until it’s your life. I like to work and make my own money, but even more than that, I wanted to be with my child for every milestone and be the one to teach and love her all day. I couldn’t live knowing someone else was with my child all day. I would barely be okay with an in-home nanny, which we couldn’t afford anyway, and I sure as hell wasn’t putting her in daycare. So staying home was a no-brainer for me.
If you’re pregnant right now, or trying for a baby, and this decision isn’t obvious for you, I really hope that these pointers can guide you in the right direction. I read somewhere that once you go back to work, you can’t just leave to stay home, so if you’re on the fence, stay home from the get-go. Then, if you realize that staying home isn’t for you, go back to work. You might not be guaranteed a job, but you won’t regret staying home with your newborn. You might, however, regret going back to work and leaving your baby. No matter what, it’s not going to be easy. Motherhood is beautiful, it can be fun, there is so much love involved, a love that you’ve never felt before, but it is never easy. This will probably not be an overnight decision for you, so take everything I said and really think about whether this lifestyle is good for you :). If you’re a SAHM and have something add, feel free to comment and let us know!