Find out what steps to take before becoming a stay at home mom to help you with a smooth transition.
How to Become a Stay at Home Mom
Are you thinking about transitioning to a stay at home mom? You’re not alone!
In fact, these days, about 1 in 5 parents are stay at home parents (source). For many, it’s the most economical choice to make, while others want to be home to witness all of their child’s milestones.
No matter what your reason for being a stay at home mom, there is some planning you can do before making your final decision to stay home.
Here is what you should consider before becoming a stay at home mom.
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8 Steps to Become a Stay at Home Mom
These are some of the things I have considered before becoming a stay at home mom. Doing these beforehand has greatly increased my chances of being a successful stay at home mom!
(Want a workbook to help you decide if this path is right for you? Here is my SAHM Planning Guide!)
1. Talk with your significant other about being a stay at home mom before you have kids.
While it is a major decision for you to make, your significant other should have input since the decision will affect the whole family.
Before we got married, my husband and I went to pre-marital counseling to talk about anything that might come up in our marriage. One of the topics was what happened after we had kids.
At the time, we were both working full time. I loved my job as a teacher and didn’t really want to be a stay at home mom, but we decided together that it might be best for the kids if I stayed home with them.
It meant that we had to discuss a few other things too:
- how many kids we might have
- how we would support them
- what it would mean to live on one income
- how our relationship would change once kids came
If you’re with a partner and you’re thinking about the future, it wouldn’t hurt to discuss these things before you decide to have kids. This way, you can both be on the same page about your family when the time comes.
Trust me; this isn’t a step you should skip. Too many women talk about how their significant others don’t support them when they become stay at home moms.
Why? There was most likely no communication about it until after the fact.
Discussing the want to be a stay at home mom before kids will help you and your partner to iron out most of the major topics and can help you open up the lines of communication when difficulties arise that you need to work through together.
Already have kids? No worries! You can still have a discussion about the future with your significant other. You never know what the future will hold!
2. Make a plan.
Once you’ve talked it over with your partner and you’re both in agreement, it’s time to make a plan. These are things to consider for your plan:
If you have a job, when will you be leaving? Will you be taking maternity leave during your pregnancy? Will you resign when the baby arrives? Will you be able to redeem any sick days or personal days in any way before you leave? Did you accrue any retirement and if so, can you keep it?
I didn’t resign from my job until after my second baby was born. It wasn’t until the end of my maternity leave that I decided that I wasn’t returning to my job. Because of the timing of how I left, I needed to pay back some money that I was paid to take classes for my Master’s Degree, but I was able to keep my retirement.
What health/dental insurance will you have? Will you qualify for any assistance programs once the baby arrives?
This is important because not only will you need to see doctors during the pregnancy, but once the baby is born, you’ll be seeing the doctor quite often with the baby for check ups, sick visits, and more.
How will the housework get done? Okay, this is a biggie. But before we even mention housework, this needs to be remembered:
You’ll be staying home with a baby, which is a lot of work on its own. As the baby grows up, that ‘work’ doesn’t get any easier. This work is in addition to anything else you can get done during the day. Because of this, there may be some days when the housework takes second place.
While yes, most of the housework can be done by you during the day, the family still needs to work together to keep the house in order.
Sometimes, it’s as simple as saying “If you notice something needs to be done, then do it.” Sounds a little harsh, but it’s like this: if someone notices that the dishes need to be done, they can do them. If they notice socks on the floor, instead of stepping over them they can pick them up.
In our home, I do take care of most of the major housework since I’m home (laundry, cooking, dishes, making the grocery list, garbage, etc), but my husband will step in if something needs to get done. He also irons his own work clothes, manages the bills, helps with the kids’ bathtime/bedtime, and more. It’s not expected of him to do those things, but since we work as a team, he does his share at home as well as going to work.
And of course, since the kids are getting older, they’re doing their part to help with the housework. They’re able to tidy up the living room, put away their clothes, keep their rooms clean, clean off the kitchen table, unload the dishwasher, load/unload the washing machine, feed the dog, and more.
Who will take care of the kids if one or both of you gets sick/injured?
This is an important item to consider, especially if you don’t have family or friends nearby who can help in a pinch.
For the most part, if a stay at home mom gets sick with something basic like a cold or a stomach bug, she usually can manage to keep the kids fed and safe while she recovers.
But what if Mom is sick with more than just a basic cold or bug? In this case, a plan needs to be in place for who can take care of the kids.
- Is Dad able to take a day or two off? If so, how often?
- Is there a family member available who can help with the kids?
- Is there a friend who can help with the kids?
- If Dad can’t take days off, or there isn’t a family member or friend available, is there a service that can be used to find a reliable sitter for the kids?
A similar plan should be in place if both Mom and Dad are unable to take care of the kids.
3. Make a budget.
If you’re going from a working mom to a stay at home mom or even if you don’t currently work, you need to think about a budget. You’re either going from two paychecks to one or you’re adding more people to your family, and both of those things need to be addressed before becoming a stay at home mom.
If you don’t already have a budget, first take a look at all of your expenses. Make a list of all of your current bills, and how much you owe. Next, make note of your average grocery expenses, gas expenses, household expenses, and anything else you regularly pay for (health insurance, car insurance, etc).
Will you be able to cover all of your expenses on one income? If you’re already on one income, will adding a baby to the family affect your finances?
4. Cut back before you switch to one income.
Once you know how you’re handling your finances, it’s a good idea to start cutting back on spending before you switch to one income. (If you are already on one income, it’s still best to see where you can cut spending since you’ll be spending future income on baby supplies!)
Some common ways to cut back are:
- reducing or eliminating cable TV
- finding a better data plan for smartphones
- reducing the amount of times you eat out
- making homemade meals/coffee
- using shopping apps that save you money
- buying generic items instead of name brand
- cancelling subscriptions that don’t have much benefit
- shopping with a list and sticking to it
- refinancing mortgage or car loan
- having staycations or date nights at home
You’d be surprised at how much money can be saved by doing these things alone!
There are other spending cuts you can make as well, but this is a good place to start.
5. Think about ways to stay connected to your spouse.
You may think, “I’m going to be home all the time, so we’ll stay connected more!”
It’s not that easy when you start having kids.
Make a list of some ways you and your significant other can connect after you start having kids. Will you go out once a month? Will you spend time together after the kids go to bed? Will you get up early to eat breakfast together in peace?
6. Consider how you’re going to get a ‘break’.
If you were at work, you would get a break of some sort to help you be a more productive and less stressed worker. A fellow coworker would step in for you or there just wouldn’t be any major work to do at that time, and you can step away for a minute to refresh yourself.
When you’re a stay at home mom, you can’t just step away as easily, but it’s still important for you to get a break so that
One of the best ways to do this is to plan a Mom Time Out. Get a whole list of ideas in this post.
7. Think about ways to stay connected to the outside world.
One of the biggest complaints of stay at home moms is how isolated they feel from the outside world. It can be hard for some women to be home all day with a baby (or babies) and not have any adult interaction, besides with spouses.
How can you stay connected to the outside world as a stay at home mom?
- Join a local moms group, like MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers), MOMS Club (Mothers Offering Mothers Support), La Leche League, etc. You may even find a group for moms through a church or other non-profit organization.
- Visit a local park.
- Visit the library.
- Plan a playdate with friends.
- Visit the local museums.
- Chat with other sahms in Facebook Groups.
8. Talk to your significant other again.
Before you officially make the jump to become a stay at home mom, it’s best to touch base with your significant other again.
Talk again about how you’re going to handle the kids, housework, finances, shopping…basically anything that has come up in all of your planning. It’s great to be able to start this new adventure on the same page!
And believe it or not, this should be a conversation that should happen at least once a year if not more. It’s a good idea to touch base and discuss what things are working for your family and what might not be working.
Ready to Be a Stay at Home Mom?
Feel like you’re ready to be a stay at home mom? No matter what your decision, I hope that this guide helped you make your decision or your planning a little easier.
If this post has helped you, please share it with your friends and family.
And of course, if you ever have any questions, feel free to ask!
READ NEXT: How to Be a Successful SAHM
Also READ: How to Create a Stay at Home Mom Schedule