I’m going to get really honest with you; I did not want to be a stay at home mom. It was a thought that never had crossed my mind. My mom always worked. Sometimes from home, but mostly, I grew up in daycares. No, I don’t have major memories of horror stories or feelings of being neglected by my parents. That’s not why I decided to be a stay at home mom. Ultimately, it came down to saving big financially (on the cost of daycare) and because I believed it was the best thing for my children. After all, it was only 5 years, right? (Going on 10 now). So let’s talk surviving SAHM status both mentally and financially. The ups, the downs, and how to not lose yourself while you help your kids find who they are!
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It’s so common these days to read blog posts, and books or see motivational quotes designed to help the working mom or the workout mom achieve her #goals.
For some stay at home moms, those personal goals get put on hold in order to focus on creating a home and raising a family.
I’m not downplaying the huge responsibilities of working parents, because they bust their butts and deserve credit for that. They also have a boss (most likely), schedule, and coworkers to hold them accountable for getting stuff done.
I’m going to be honest, some days, when there were nothing and no one to hold me accountable, I just turned into a hot mess with no direction.
Those were the days I was more likely to snap, let the house chores implode and wind up falling into a depression.
It is hugely important to set clear goals or intentions for what you want to accomplish in a day, week, month and maybe for the year.
In fact, there is a great organizational planner designed to help you plan groceries, workouts and daily life.
Remind yourself what you want to accomplish and it will make it a lot easier on those days when you feel absolutely defeated and getting out of bed feels harsh enough.
Running a blog from home while also being a SAHM mom/homeschool mom was one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done. Trying to find the balance between work, school and momming
The best tip I could give any mom who is feeling overwhelmed by the amount of things she has to do in a day is, time blocking.
Time blocking is sort of like life on a schedule, but with a little more flexibility.
For example, you could say your 6am – 9am time is for coffee and getting everyone dressed for the day.
Having a schedule like this can be super helpful if you are trying to multi-task so much that you feel like nothing ever actually gets done.
It allows you to carve out time for each important thing without having to have a set-in-stone schedule.
The next best thing you can do to dial down the chaos of SAHM life both mentally and financially is to automate as much as you can!
What do I mean by this?
If there is a way to make your must-do daily tasks easier (or avoid doing them at all), do it! 6 ways to stop running errands every day.
News flash: you are not Superwoman. No one is. Do not set goals for yourself that are unattainable.
There is nothing wrong with aiming to be better but don’t set too much too fast because chances are you will come out feeling like a failure.
If you can’t bake cookies for the PTA, make homemade all organic baby food, completely breastfeed for a year, do your makeup every day, give your husband a back rub, keep the house spotless and maintain 10 friendships then don’t even try!
Focus on keeping the house semi-presentable, the kids alive and put on jeans once a week and feel successful, then just stick with that.
Some things many SAHM’s don’t think about is planning for their retirement. I hate to break it to you, but more often than not, men die before women and if the finances have been poorly planned, it’s you that will see the consequences.
Here is a great article from Dave Ramsey’s team about the Spousal IRA.
This allows a work at home parent to set up an IRA in their name.
Putting 15% of your total pay away toward retirement/investments is the best way to make sure you are both secure financially in the future.
Check out the charts here to see how this type of savings plan can actually be more beneficial to you than just a one person have a 401K and an IRA.
On top of planning for retirement, managing your money day
To take it a step further, I recommend Financial Peace University to every couple. It’s such a great way of getting financial struggles broken down into more manageable pieces.
Other reads you’ll love:
For the first few years of motherhood getting out of the house meant walking around Target talking to my 4-month-old…like a lunatic.
No wonder Target wound up getting most of my money at the end of every month!
Unfortunately, most of my friends were still living the single, childless life, so I felt pretty isolated.
I joined mommy and me classes but to be honest, they weren’t really my cup of tea. Small talk for me is basically like sucking the life out of me in a very slow and emotionally exhausting way.
Here are some basic ideas on how to get yourself out of the house to prevent total isolation styled craziness:
Of course, depending on everyone’s different needs and personalities, these things will look different for everyone.
Ultimately, do what you can to get yourself out and about. Get fresh air, adult contact, and a little R&R whenever you are able to.
The biggest thing that helped me both mentally and financially was when I would find or create a job for myself. I have always been an independent person and I enjoy the feeling of working. Repetitive things like dishes, cleaning and sweeping tend to make me a little bit crazy.
When it comes to working, I love fast-paced environments, challenges and the feeling of earning money.
There are so many jobs you can do right from home if you are still trying to avoid the cost of babysitting. Here are my top picks for SAHM’s.
This is the most important lesson to learn when it comes to at-home parenting. Just let it go. This time is short and it really is precious. Some days you will have to let go of the little things like dirty laundry, messy hair and all organic. If you spend too much time fussing over the details, you might miss out on those really big moments that never come back again.
If you are trying, if you love your kids and if you give each day your all; then you are doing a great job. Don’t ever trick yourself into believing you’re not. Be flexible, find what works for you and your family and try to soak up all the best parts.