Making Stay-At-Home Mom Life Work For You
I knew I wanted to be a mom from the moment I adopted my first Cabbage Patch Kid. (Her name was Eunice, then I changed it to Tabitha. I still have her).
After spending just a few months with DudeDad (calm down, we were actually together for three years before we did the whole starting-a-life-together-officially thing), I knew he was the guy I’d like to go half on a baby with. Just later—like after we had a house and a savings and a bunch of other stuff we didn’t have crammed into our one-bedroom apartment. But then, we discovered we’d be changing our names to Mom and Dad soon.
One year post college, we weren’t planning to be parents. (Clearly, we weren’t doing an awesome job of planning to NOT be parents either, but that’s neither here nor there!)
But, as it turns out, we actually couldn’t have planned it better!
We timed our first baby with a cross-country move, and I found myself thrust (happily) into stay-at-home mom life where I’ve been (sort of ) ever since.
It might not work for everyone the way it did for us, but here are some ideas about how you can make it work for you!
Plan, plan, plan.
Surprise pregnancies are generally not advisable if you are hoping to set your life up so that you can be home and financially comfortable enough to raise your children. When you and your spouse decide that you want to make parenthood a part of your future together, sit down and discuss timing. Everything from your age to significant career-related milestones you see coming, should be taken into account. If you plan well, you can more easily prepare for the future. Not that I could've predicted how awesome DudeMom life was gonna be, but you get the picture!
Rock your budget.
Everyone needs one. Whether you are planning to add to your family or already finished building it, having a realistic, working budget that you and your family can stick to is important. (And yes, having a shoe fund in your budget is 100% acceptable, and even encouraged!) When baby making is in your future, think about how your budget will change once you welcome your new human and give up your income if you plan to stay home. Take a 12-month practice run if possible to see what life would be like without another salary coming in. Even if you work out that SAHM life isn’t for you, think of the awesome shoe fund savings you will have amassed.
Beat back your debt.
Many will argue that giving up your income when you have debt is fiscally irresponsible. But regardless of your feelings on that issue, eliminating as much of your debt as possible before adding to your family is a really great way to go. Even if times get tough, you will breathe easier knowing that you don’t have a bunch of creditors breathing down your neck.
You've probably seen those extreme couponing shows where families are able to save thousands of dollars every month because they are insanely meticulous about their coupon clipping. No way could I pull that off, but I am all about creative ways to earn and save cash. For example, we sell tons of stuff on eBay—not like a major production from our basement where we work our kids sweat-shop style every day after school, but before we will donate a useable item, we will attempt to sell it on eBay. Or consign it. Or have a garage sale. Plus, we buy in bulk, we use discount cards, we shop deal sites, and we make every effort to save on the items we need. It may take some extra time to be frugal, but when it results in a payoff that allows me to stay home another year with The Dudes, it’s sorta worth it.
Fill up your life.
Many people are able to get past the financial element of being a one-income family. They adjust and live smart. But many women still feel like they are missing out on something by not having a career or contributing in some way. This is an issue I’ve never struggled with. I’ve found that filling up my life with things that bring me joy, helping others, and sometimes pursuing interests leading to an income are enough for me. When The Dudes were small, the thought of brushing my hair and going to work each day was enough to keep me from missing my job. Plus, I was contributing by raising awesome humans and keeping our home in order so that my husband could devote himself to his career. As they got older, we sought out more opportunities to enjoy life; we spend a lot of time with friends, we travel, and we engage in community activities. Eventually, I launched my own business and got involved in volunteering in my community. (I’m on the PTA and sports league committees, I volunteer in their classrooms, and help out at community organizations too). I’ve never spent a moment feeling bored with my children or my life as an SAHM. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
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