For some women, their ultimate dream is to be able to stay at home full or part-time with their children so that they don't miss out on those precious years when their children are little. In my experience, this was one of the single hardest decisions of my life because I had always planned to be a career woman but the second I realized the cost of daycare compared to my income and how little I would see my children do to my work schedule, that quickly changed.
(Insert the old cliche here: If you want to see God laugh, tell him your plans.)
Almost 8 years into staying at home/working from home I can now say I do not regret the decision to quit my 8 - 5...however, in many ways...it is not AT ALL what I thought it would be. So for those of you who have a picture in your head of what staying at home will look like, or those of you struggling with the realization that it's different from what you expected, let me share a few things that may have come as a shock to you OR that you may be struggling with, and don't want to say out loud, so that you know you are not alone.
1. Your house will NOT always be clean.
What you thought:
You will have all the time in the world to keep your house clean, get the laundry done and stay organized.
You are at home more, but so are your children and children are messy period. The whole reason you chose to stay home with your kids was so you could spend time with them right? Keep in mind that you will not remember how clean your house was, but you will remember experiencing milestones and memories made so focus on making memories and put a limit on the cleaning time or keep a scaled back cleaning service in the budget.
What helped me:
When you clean, find ways for the kids to help. They won't do it perfectly, but they will learn life skills. Assign days of the week to clean certain areas or do a task for a short time. (Ex. do one load of laundry every morning, vaccume on tuesdays, mop on Wednesdays, clean bathrooms on thursdays etc.)
2. You May Still Need an Occasional Babysitter
What you thought:
I thought I could completely cut babysitting costs from the budget aside from the occasional date night with the hubby.
You're probably used to fitting things like doctor, hair, nail appointments and happy hours with the girls in during daycare, work hours or evenings. When you stay at home you will most likely want to do these things during the day during the times when you have the kids. It can be tricky to find a reliable daytime babysitter so you may want to still allot some money in the budget for babysitting.
What helped me:
Finding mom friends with similar aged kids near by that don't mind swapping kids when appointments come up. Bonus for finding lunch spots to let the kids play while you chat! Swapping happy hour for play dates is now a thing!
3. Your Friend Circle Will Likely Change
What You Thought:
You may wish to keep in touch with your current friend circle, but keep in mind that may or may not be phesable. Your schedule will likely change quite drastically and your interests and topics of conversation will most certainly change. Be prepared that this may mean it's time to find a new tribe that is more in alignment with your lifestyle.
Factors I hadn't considered which have greatly affected my friend circle:
- Ages of your children and whether or not they share interests with and/or get along with your fiend's kids
- Shedules; your kids may be early risers so you like to get out of the house early others may like to sleep in.
- Preferred activities: You may like to do outdoorsy things while others prefer the AC/Heat. You may be a home body while others like to get out and about.
- Beliefes and values: Parenting styles and values vary greatly and you may find that while you can be friends with someone, you may differ in opinions on what is acceptable for your children.
What helped me:
I quickly found that trying to meet fellow mamas at the local playgrounds didn't work out well for various reasons but when I connected with other moms that my children were friends with at church, mom's day out programs and extra curricular activities, it seemed to be a better fit because we had something in common and the kids generally gravitate toward those with similar interests and common ground.
If you're new to staying at home, remember to give yourself grace and do your best to carve out quiet time just for you regularly! You CAN NOT pour from an empty cup and your kiddos need a happy mommy NOT a super mom that does it all.
Struggling to find quiet time?
Oh my friend, I've been there and I've got you covered! There is a free 5 day 10 minutes for me challenge (<- Click the link) over in the facebook community which will help you carve out "me" time every single day. I've gotten great feedback from those that have made the commitment and taken the challenge!
I can't wait to see what it does for you!