The transition from being a working mom to a stay at home mom can come as quite a shock. Like with any big change there are many surprises that can occur so we're here to give you a heads up. Here are a few things to consider before leaving your job to be home with your children.
Have a Clear Reason Why
What do you think stay-at-home mom life will be like? Is there something you're looking forward to doing like being able to bring the kids to the park whenever you want?
It's hard to predict exactly how life will be once you're home. But if you have a vision it makes this big life change seem more possible.
Based on your vision, determine your top three reasons for why you're leaving the workforce (use the mind-mapping technique to get your ideas on paper). Not all of your reasons need to be shared with your employer but they're good to know in your heart. This way, when your decision comes into question, by anyone, you'll know deep down inside why you're leaving.
Most likely you're leaving is to care for your family but there could be other reasons. Maybe you want to take the time to start a new career or you're burnout and can no longer tolerate the commute. Whatever your reason may be, be sure they are legit. You may have been in the corporate world for over a decade so be certain you're making the right decision.
Leave Work on a Good Note
If you leave work on good terms you leave the door open to go back.
Even if you know you don't want your old job back you will want to use your employer as a reference. So leave work on a good note by giving a two weeks notice, finishing all your assigned work, and showing kindness to your co-workers.
When saying good bye to your colleagues be sure to say a special thank you to those that mean the most to you.
This heartfelt and authentic thank you should consist of why they were part of your support system and how they helped you in your career. People will remember how you made them feel not what you said.
Update Your Budget to Reflect Your Transition
When you voluntarily resign you won't receive a severance package but you may be able to collect unemployment. This depends on the U.S. state you live in and if your "good cause" is good enough. You can try filing for unemployment and pleading your case.
If you can't collect unemployment and your spouse's salary can support your current lifestyle you'll need to adjust your family budget. For starters, you'll be saving money on your two biggest budget items, food and gas. No more commute or eating out for lunch! To save even more on groceries, you may have the time to meal plan, check your supermarket flyer, and try cutting coupons.
There is always some fat in your budget that can be cut out. Any online or mail order subscriptions could be cut out like food delivery services, online video subscriptions, or clothing deliveries. You can resist the urge to buy things online because let's face it. It's so incredibly easy to click that "buy" button!
The name of the game is discipline. So before each buying decision as yourself if you need the item or if you want it. To trim your budget, stick to only things you need. If needed, get really clear about what it is you really need. You'll be amazed what you can get by without!
Find "Me-Time" Every Single Day
You are about to become a very wanted individual. Little people will be constantly asking you to do things. This is why you need to find a time, each day, to do things for yourself. When your spouse comes home take the dog for a walk or go do errands by yourself. Or when the kids go to bed and before you snuggle with your spouse, read a book or meditate.
You may not realize it but when you work outside of the home you get plenty of time to yourself. You have your commute, lunch break, and don't forget the uninterrupted bathroom breaks!
Once you stay at home, you'll have very little downtime, privacy and alone time. So find a fun hobby quick and make plans.
Find a Side Hustle or a Way to Stay in the Game
However long you want to stay home it's a good idea to find a way to keep your skill sets fresh or find new ones. It can be challenging to get back into the workforce when you've been out of the game for awhile. Also, this could help your family budget as well as get you some guaranteed "me-time".
Do you want to stay relevant and use your education while still being at home? Start a side business or find a part-time work from home type of job. This could help you stay knowledgeable in your field and help hide the time gap on your resume.
Have you been thinking about changing careers? You could take this time to go back to school, get social in new associations, or find influencers in your new market to follow. Even better get some experience with your new knowledge by volunteering your services to an organization! This will help fill the gap on your resume and give you some real-life experience.
Get Ready for Things to Not Go as Planned
When you are at home there's no one dictating what your day will be like. Unlike work life, where you know you'll get up, go to work, perform your duties, and then come back home, stay-at-home life can sometimes be unpredictable.
Sure, you'll make plans to do things, but kids have a sneaky way of changing them. Your new mantra will be to go with the flow. This change of pace can take a little getting use to, but try not to get discouraged when things don't go as planned.
There is also a lot of monotony to staying at home (laundry, dishes, vacuum, take care of the kids, repeat) and you're on your feet pretty much all day. There's no one around to give you a break, so invest in a new pair of sneakers to care for your feet!
Grow Your New Support System
When you're at work your support system consists of co-workers, family, and other working moms who have your back. When you're home you'll want to add new people to your support system that get what you're going through.
Now that you're home you'll grow a new network. You'll want to find other moms and dads that are home often. There will be times when you need to vent or drop your kid somewhere so you can go to the doctor's alone. Plus you'll want your kids to play with other kids. It takes a village to raise a family and this new support system will help you transition easier into your new lifestyle.
Set Expectations with Your Spouse
This is a big one. Your spouse may not know what it's like to be home with the kids all day long. What do they expect you'll accomplish every day? Compare their expectations to yours to be sure they match.
Why is this important? You're not helping support the family financially anymore (or at least not as much as you did as a full-time working mom). So you may begin to feel like you need to support the family by appeasing whatever expectations your spouse sets because they are the ones supporting everyone. This is a major role shift that can't be ignored.
If expectations aren't met, from either side of the table, you'll both get frustrated and perhaps resentful. You don't want your husband thinking you're not keeping your side of the bargain and he doesn't want to think he's being taken advantage of. But you don't want to break your back trying to keep the house spotless while keeping up with your kids. Staying home has a long job description that you'll both need to review so that both of your expectations are met.
One last piece of advice, be easy on yourself. This transition can be a bit bumpy because there are many people involved in this change, not just you. Your kids, spouse, friends, and family will adjust along with you. Although you may feel like you are home alone with your kids that doesn't mean you need to go it alone. Ask for help and be easy on yourself when you don't have the answer. This lifestyle comes with a learning curve so be confident that you'll ace it over time.