My two babies are the reason I was a SAHM for 5 years. Plain and simple. Being a SAHM isn’t as glorious and easy as some people think though. Even without the daycare kids around, it wasn’t easy. What happens is you end up cleaning more, cooking more, washing more dishes, spending more money to homeschool if you can’t afford to send your children to preschool. And if you can’t afford to send them to preschool and don’t qualify for subsidized childcare, you can forget about having any kind of time to yourself on a weekday until it’s time to take a shower. Sometimes the bathroom is your only sanctuary I’m sorry to say. Other times, being a SAHM is heaven!
Working a full nine hour shift at work everyday on the other hand, also stinks. I ain’t gonna lie to you friends. Now that I’m working full-time outside my home, I miss having breakfast with my kids. I miss taking my little guy out of his crib when he wakes up from nap and having cuddle time on the couch with him until he’s fully awake (he’s a slow-to-wake kind of guy). I miss our outings and discovering new parks. BUT….it’s time to move on and help my family move forward. Staying at home wasn’t beneficial to our financial well-being, nor was it beneficial to my mental health anymore.If you are someone debating on becoming a SAHMom (or Dad) by choice, I have some advice for you. Work at finding a balance! I know that’s easier said than done, trust me, I know. It took me a long time to realize most of these tips (some of them just recently), and I still don’t have it all together! As I reflect on being a SAHM, this is what I’ve learned…
Be sure to make some time for yourself.
Going to the grocery store or running some household errands is not the same thing! Some mamas just need a little space and time away from being the CHO (Chief Household Officer) to appreciate her babies. Go out on dates with girlfriends and/or your spouse on the weekends or even by yourself. Please try to make time for yourself. This is very important!
Get out of the house with the kids and enjoy a nice walk, a trip to the library, the zoo, or try a new park. Look in your free local parent magazines to find a calendar of events. Getting out of the house often is a must.
Don’t forget to take care of YOU.
When I mean take care of YOU, I mean take care of your health, body, and mind. Whether it be yoga, going to the gym, dancing in your living room, eating right, or at least attempting to eat right, please remember that your health comes first. I don’t mean this in a selfish way. It’s like when a flight attendant is going through the emergency procedures just before take-off and says (if there is an emergency), to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then your children. In other words, take care of yourself so that you are able to take care of your children. Know what I mean? See your doctor if you have one, take vitamins, try and get a good night’s sleep when possible. With young kids this is one of the biggest challenges parents have, so whenever possible, try to catch up on sleep. Even if it means taking a small nap with your kiddos during the day.Learn how to budget your money well!
When you have to live off one income, keep in mind that that one income can end at anytime, so learn to save. Learn to save for those days when your spouse is ill or in between jobs, or when all of a sudden you need two new tires and a tune-up for your car. Saving has been our biggest challenge, and there were times when we were wishing we had some money saved up for emergencies. According to financial fitness expert Dave Ramsey, you should start with an emergency savings of at least $500.00 to $1000.00! The amount depends on your debt (and expenses) to income ratio. Anytime you dip into your savings, restock it with what you took out the first chance you get and save it ONLY for emergencies (The Total Money Makeover, p.102). “Give every dollar of your income a name…” (p. 99).
Schedules ARE important.
Don’t stress over the little things.
And for the biggest piece of advice I can give you…..
I guess what I’m trying to say here is take it easy. Remember the good parts, and try not to stress over the little things. It is so easy for a SAHParent to forget about themselves when they are all of a sudden in charge of running a household and raising their children for the most part of the week. You really can lose yourself in all the responsibilities that rest on your shoulders as a SAHP. The worst part is that the working spouse/parent sometimes has no idea how much hard work a SAHP does because he/she doesn’t see what goes on during the day. It’s okay to remind them how tired you are too. Being a Stay At Home Parent IS WORK! Never assume your work is less valuable than that of the working parent. EVER!
What’s your experience on this subject? What advice would you give to a newbie SAHP?