How I Prepared To Become A Stay-At-Home-Mom

Recently, I celebrated my first year anniversary as a Stay-At-Home-Mom!  WOW!  I know, it's been a year since I turned my back on corpor...

Recently, I celebrated my first year anniversary as a Stay-At-Home-Mom!  WOW!  I know, it's been a year since I turned my back on corporate world!  Sometimes I ask myself, has it really been a year?  Seems like yesterday and memories of my last day in the office are still fresh!  Well, yes, it's been a year and time flew by so quickly that I didn't notice a year indeed had passed.

I know you may ask, do I miss working?  Do I miss the adrenaline rush when I manage and launch nationwide projects?  Do I miss dressing up and fixing myself up to go to the business district of the metro?  Do I miss my co-workers?  Do I miss being busy and having a routine?  To be honest, NO I don't miss any of those (except for very few friends I made during my working years).  If there's one I truly miss, it's having a regular salary with attractive benefits which I receive twice a month.

Do I regret my decision and miss having a regular and stable job?  No.  I never regret leaving corporate at all.  Some of the people I know who tried to be a SAHM and weren't successful or dreaded staying at home told me, "Louise, in a few months, maybe weeks pa lang, you're going to miss working, your corporate life.  Baka malosyang ka sige!"

I could choose to be offended with that statement or just let it pass and prove that being a SAHM do not mean I will let go of myself and get lost in the pile of dirty dishes or mountains of clothes to wash.  I fully understand where they are coming from.  Why they thought I would feel the way they felt and had to urgently come back to the workforce.  That is their story to tell, not mine.  I could easily tell you too that a SAHM life is not for everyone.  But that would be too selfish because I would make it appear that being SAHM is exclusive.

Instead, I want to share how I prepared to become a SAHM.  This chosen path is my obedience to God's design for the family - become a submissive wife to my husband, take care of my children and manage the household.  You can't just wake up one day and decide I just want to stay at home instead, just because your work sucks or your boss is a slave driver or your colleagues are too gossipy or judgy.  If you plan to leave your jobs to be a SAHM someday, you really have to prepare yourselves spiritually, mentally-psychologically-emotionally, physically, and even financially.

Every family life's major decision should not only be discussed with your husband but also be prayed about intently, whole-heartedly, and with obedience.  Praying about this decision helped me and my husband decide that it was finally time for me to leave behind my life as a corporate life. We prayed for it for a year.  There were many triggers and situations that led to my resignation.  We've lost a number of yayas, I was exclusively breastfeeding, my second son's behavior wasn't doing great.  God made all these things happen to help us decide about my resignation.  When God's message became very clear to us, obedience was in order.  That's why when I passed my resignation letter, I knew I was ready and my decision was rock-solid.

Being a stay-at-home-mom is not as easy as others see it.  I never knew how MORE exhausting and draining it is to be a SAHM.  Now, I breathe it, attest to it, and tell everyone that work at home is non-stop.  At the same time, home environment with loads of work ahead, and without a helper, is totally different from the office.  From a clean office desk I come to daily to a house which is  most of the time a mess when husband and kids leave me and my toddler for work or school.  I made adjustments and adapted to the new normal.  I mentally condition myself that there will be no more regular meetings to attend to nor team huddles to discuss my ideas or report my accomplishments to, no colleagues I could ask to come with me for coffee.  It's hard.  I am all by myself, no adult around to converse with but my husband when he comes home from work.  All the work and exhaustion absorb all the energy and positive vibes in me.  I go crazy at times and I have no one to express the bottled up frustrations, weariness, worries, loneliness, and even occasional self-pity.

When I reach this point, I seek help from my husband by taking a day-off, it's usually Saturdays.  I get support from other SAHM friends, I ask prayers from my friends from church community.  And because I am a blogger and a digital persona, I also connect with my mom blogger friends online.  Self-care is definitely a MUST - it's one way of coping with all these negative feelings towards yourself.  I cry it all out privately and lastly, I pray.  Prayers really work all the time.

Staying at home could affect a mom's mental health, there's even a condition now called Stay-At-Home-Mom Depression - it's real.  What are causes of this depression?  Lack of recognition and appreciation, over fatigue, and having no income could trigger this.  Want to stay at home?  You have to prepare for this big leap of faith.  But know that there's a greater God who will send you His angels to keep you sane, keep you safe, keep you motivated, keep you hopeful, and keep you energized so you could give your best to the best persons in your life.

There are so much to do in the house when I became a stay at home mom.  When the last yaya left, we intentionally didn't get a replacement anymore.  I did everything from laundry to dishes to mopping, carrying the garbage, cooking, and taking care of the kids and my husband.  Being a SAHM is a tough job which most people take for granted, ignore or even belittle.  With everything that's happening at home, a SAHM needs to make sure she's in tip-top health to endure the daily draining tasks.  I also have to possess high levels of immunity because if I get sick, nobody else will care for my kids.  My physical exhaustion resulted to three things, one, I lost weight; two, I felt stronger each day; lastly, I learned to delegate tasks to my husband and kids.  The new normal sat pretty well with me and my boys because even if we didn't have a helper, they are happy to see me at home and personally do things for them which usually other people do.

Speaking of physical aspect, prettifying myself wasn't a priority anymore.  I rarely go to the salon to have my nails done nor the spa for a regular massage.  Sa bahay pa lang kulang talaga ang oras and when you have a clingy and still exclusively breastfeeding toddler, you can't be separated that long.  When I have time on Saturdays, my day off, I do self-care.  Now I understand where the notion that SAHMs become losyang.  I make sure though even if I don't get to date myself that often, I don't let myself go.  I bathe everyday and smell good, I make an effort to dress up when going out and apply make-up (#kilayislife) too.  Staying at home taught me to be more selfless and part of this is letting go some of my personal agendas in the beauty department, because I'd rather spend time (and money) with my husband and kids.  I've also become less of the physical world, because my new world now revolves around my family.  Staying at home taught me simplicity and contentment.

This may be a sensitive topic for some but I want to point out that this is one of the major consideration should you plan to stay-at-home.  From two income generators, my husband is now the sole provider, the breadwinner.  I couldn't thank him enough for all his hard work, for providing for us, for stepping up in his role as a husband and father.  It wasn't easy at first.  Imagine, our family was living comfortably.  All our family's needs and wants were given - when I was still working.  But you see, it isn't always about money.  The kids need me more than what we could materially give them. They are the reasons why I resigned, our growing boys.

All kids naman should they have a choice, they'd really want their moms to be at home instead of working.  Let's focus on a a regular family unit, one that has a father a mother and child or children.  It's a different ball game for single moms or when incomes of both parents still can't seem to make ends meet.

To prepare, make sure you have savings and had set up an emergency fund. This emergency fund should be 6 months worth of your salary or household expenses.  You could build this while you're still working.  Set aside 10 to 20% of your salary monthly to go to this fund which you could use for rainy days or when you decide to quit your job to give way to staying at home.

My husband and I listed down all our monthly household expenses, that includes bills, food and groceries, transportation and communication, and even leisure expenses.  You should be doing this religiously so you know if you're still within your means or going over your budget.  When we assessed that we can do a one-income generating route, given his monthly take home pay, our emergency fund and savings, my part-time jobs - we decided I stay at home.

I realized that I had been spending too much on unnecessary expenses while I was still working like daily coffee and doughnuts, lunch outs, and impulse shopping.  While staying at home, I only spent for basics like regular groceries and food.  I saved more staying at home because I didn't have to spend for daily parking fees, set weekly gas budget, salary of a yaya, lunch outs, and expensive coffee.

I guess what's important is we never let financial challenges create misunderstandings or rift between me and my husband.  It was a mutual decision and a choice we prayed for, if anything goes wrong, we shouldn't play the blaming game.  We're both accountable and we are partners in making this route work.  We also know in our hearts and have a strong conviction that God is our great provider and we wouldn't have survived a year with just one regular income.  God's grace and provision paved way for extra income for me through blogging, some opportunities (which surprisingly just sent my way) so I may save on some expenses, and of some business transactions that will enable us to help others and glorify Him more.  Trust in God's plan - that's what we do.

Staying at home, may or may not be for you.  It's a big decision to make. Being a stay-at-home mom shouldn't be frowned on.  One should never say when asked what her work is with "Sa bahay LANG ako" or with "Stay-at-home-mom LANG ako."  Be proud of being one.  It's harder than a regular office job.  I know so because I've been a working mom all my life until this major life decision.  Staying at home one is an obedience to God's design for every family, and with that alone, He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Because of this decision, I became more focused on my priorities, my husband stepped up in his role as our family's provider, and he's become more loving and sensitive to our needs.  I became more selfless, simpler, though yes more exhausted than ever, but more fulfilled than ever.  Lastly, I became more prayerful and thankful for the gift of my life and my family.

~ Are you a stay-at-home-mom?  How's being a stay-at-home-mom?  How did it change you?  How did you prepare for it?  Why did you decide to become one?  What are your challenges?~

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Mommy Practicality is a home and lifestyle blog that's about positive, informative, 
inspirational and helpful sharing of life experiences of a working mom 
with topics on motherhood, relationships, events, food, travel, shopping, and finances. 
It hopes to influence moms and women to realize 
that it's possible to live a quality life while choosing a practical lifestyle.

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