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Hey Busy Mamas (and Dads!)!
If you’re reading this post, I’m assuming you’re a working parent with very little free time on your hands. I completely understand – I was a working mom for 7 years before I realized it was time to become a stay at home mom. I know you don’t have much time so I’ll quickly tell you about my journey to becoming a SAHM. Afterwards, we’ll talk about how you can know if it’s time for you to pack it in and say adios to the working mom (or dad) life.
In 2010, I was a full-time Registered Nurse and we had just begun our journey with IVF. At this point, I never thought I would be a stay at home mom, nor did I really have any interest in it. I’m a very driven person and have always desired a career outside the home where I could lean into my strengths, hone my skills, and grow professionally. I knew when we had kids I would obviously want to be with them too, but I envisioned that I could have the best of both worlds and everything would be peachy-keen.
But once we had our twins in 2011, I quickly realized I was in over my head. Working this much wasn’t going to cut it anymore.
So, I dropped back to part-time six months after they were born. We stayed in this pattern for many years and continued it after the birth of our third son. We thought we were doing pretty good for having three rambunctious boys at home! It was tough, no doubt, but we were keeping our heads above water. We felt we had reached a pretty good balance and life would continue as it was, even if we used our frozen embryos and had more kids.
Or so we thought.
We had no idea we were only one child away from our breaking point. As we leaned into God more and more about where our family was headed and we started the FET process for our next baby, I had the distinct realization that my life in particular was headed for a drastic change – and I was right. Near the end of my pregnancy with my fourth child, I dropped down to an occasional position with the intention of continuing to work after she was born. I knew we couldn’t handle part-time anymore, but I was certain we could swing a shift here and there.
But once she came home, our lives that had been carefully balanced suddenly tipped over the edge and we found we could no longer maintain the rhythm we had. After maternity leave, I went back to work for a total of six shifts before calling it quits. I agonized over the decision – but it was obvious where I needed to be. We had four kids, five remaining embryos, and God was clear that our family was probably going to continue to grow. That was seven months ago – and we haven’t looked back.
Now, I’m not gonna lie – this was a seriously hard transition. It took a radical shift in my mindset as I embraced the plans life had for me and set aside the plans I had for myself. I may have even done a little kicking and screaming along the way – I had worked consistently for 23 years, since I was 15, and I had no idea who I was or how to function without a job to define me.
(Thinking of becoming a stay at home mom? Don’t miss our Top 10 Tips to Ease the Transition from Working Mom to SAHM at the bottom of this post.)
So I fought it for awhile – but I eventually gave in. The signs were obvious and I couldn’t deny it any longer. I needed to come home for myself, my husband, my kids, our embryos, and our life as a family. It took time to realize and accept that I was still going to contribute to all aspects of our livelihood, but just in a different way. I had to re-learn who I was and how I viewed myself. But it was a necessary step I had to take to keep walking the path the Lord had set before us. Leaving work was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done – but also one of the best. I can see the benefits and rewards of my decision all around me.
So what about you?
Has the idea of staying at home been more than just a passing thought?
Is it time for you to call it quits and seriously consider a different path for yourself and your family?
Well, let’s dive in and check it out.
Here are 10 ways you can tell if it’s time to become a stay at home mom or dad (btw, we experienced every single one).
1) You sense God is leading you in this direction.
Maybe you can’t exactly explain why, but if you sense the Lord guiding you down this path, it may be time to consider this option seriously. Perhaps you’ve noticed your circumstances shifting, your attitude transforming, or relationships changing. Maybe new opportunities are opening or doors are closing. Whatever it is, if you sense a leading or a calling, you’ve prayed about it, you think about it consistently, and you have a strong feeling this is where you’re headed, it’s time to give becoming a stay-at-home parent careful consideration.
This was, hands down, my first clue that it was time to become a stay at home mom. It really hadn’t crossed my radar until I was through the FET process and about six weeks pregnant with our daughter. I remember walking in to work one day in August 2017 and having an odd feeling that I wouldn’t be working there much longer – in fact, I wouldn’t be working anywhere much longer. I knew in an instant it was God preparing me for the road ahead. To make sure, I took it back to Him and prayed about it over and over, and I continued to receive the same answer and confirmation of His will. I left my job one year later, almost to the day.
2) You’re spending more money than you’re making.
If you tally up all your expenses that allow you to go off to work each day and find you’re actually spending more than you’re bringing in, this is another clue that it may be time to become a stay at home mom. Even if your spouse is able to offset this difference with his/her own income, this is still an important long-term consideration. Can you continue to lose money and still thrive? The risks and benefits of continuing to work should be evaluated, especially if you have several small children needing daycare or if you plan to expand your family further.
In order for me to show up to my job, we had to pay for daycare x 2, after school program (ASP) x 2, gas, a lunch here and there, and sometimes dinner out because, some days, I was too darn tired to cook or I’d forgotten to take the chicken out to thaw. Once we hit four kids, the cost to continue working was more than the paycheck I was bringing home – plus we were fairly certain our family was going to continue to get bigger and the decision would, at some point, be inevitable.
We also had someone cleaning our house once a month and we outsourced small jobs that we didn’t have time to do ourselves. Even though Scott felt confident he could cover the expenses and let me keep working, with respect to my job, we realized we were in the red every month. If we decreased and/or eliminated our spending in these areas, we were immediately back in the black.
We also realized there are actually many ways to make money while at home without being tied to a professional occupation. From something as simple as couponing to something more complicated like starting a blog, there are actually several ways I could positively affect our bottom line. All things considered, from a financial standpoint, the choice to come home was really a no-brainer for us (read more about why we have financial peace).
3) You’re not at your best.
Another indication is how you’re coping physically, emotionally, and spiritually with the schedule you’re running and the life you’re leading. Are any of these areas suffering? Although finances may be one of your primary reasons for considering the role of SAHM or SAHD, it is just as important to consider your health. Heck, even if finances aren’t a problem at all, you still need to make sure you’re living a healthy life!
If you’re not at your best and your overall well being is taking a hit, this may be another clue that it’s time to become a stay at home mom. I was super stressed trying to keep up the pace day in and day out and it was starting to affect me in several key areas of my life (here are some tips for your physical and emotional/spiritual self).
(When you become a SAHM, its critical to keep your well being a priority. Remember to check out our Top 10 Tips to Ease the Transition From Working Mom to SAHM at the bottom of this post.)
4) Your work is becoming more…work.
Are you finding it’s taking an act of Congress to simply show up to work these days? Are you finding your job less enjoyable or fulfilling? Does your work take more effort than it used to? Is life becoming increasingly difficult to manage? If any of these sound familiar, it may be another hint that it’s time to become a stay at home mom.
I found I was exhausted before I even started my workday because it took so much effort to get ourselves and all the kids ready and out the door. Picking up the kids after work was just as hard, especially if my shift ran late or Scott’s schedule changed last minute, which happened often. The logistics were a nightmare. Getting to work was a ton of….work. We needed help from our parents frequently, and many times, they weren’t available. And let’s not even talk about getting dinner ready or finding someone to cover my shift so I could stay home with a sick child.
Even with great preparation, our days rarely went as planned. On top of that, I found I was having trouble staying motivated in my job, too preoccupied with the responsibilities of home and family. Many days, my mind was elsewhere and I was simply going through the motions.
5) You’re marriage and/or parenting is strained.
Take a quick inventory of your marriage relationship and also how you’re coping with the demands of parenting. Do you find you’re struggling in these areas? Is your hectic schedule and work life a contributing factor? Are you able to meet the physical and emotional needs of your spouse and children after a long day/week at work? How are your kids functioning with you working outside the home? Think about what it would look like if you eliminated going to a job every day. If you determine your marriage and or parenting would significantly benefit from staying at home, it might be time to journey down this path.
This was certainly true for me. After a long day, being pulled in so many different directions, I found my stress was always on high and my patience was on low. There was just so much to do and so little time to get it done before it started all over again the next day. Scott and I would rush around like madmen and fall into bed at night without having more than a 5-minute meaningful conversation all day. We had no time to connect. And it was obvious the kids could feel it too. We had very little time and attention to devote to them and we noticed a subtle sadness overshadowing their spirits (learn how we turned this around).
I was unable to give of myself to the degree my family needed. They missed me. If for no other reason, it was time to become a stay at home mom for the sake of my marriage and the health of my kids.
6) You feel like you’re missing out on your family.
Not only can you tell your family is missing out on you, but if you feel like you’re also missing out on your family, this is yet another reason it might be time for you to consider a career change to professional SAHM or SAHD. You can’t remember the last time you were able to make your marriage a priority – you miss your spouse and crave deeper connection. Maybe you’re so busy you’re almost leading separate lives!
Perhaps it’s starting to pain you more and more that someone else is with your kids while you’re working. You’re not there for all of their “firsts”. Or maybe you’ve had to miss a practice or you’re late to a recital. You’ve had to tell them, again, that you can’t go on that field trip because you have to work. Bottom line, you’re not able to be there like you want to be and you realize you really don’t know them like you want to. This was definitely me – I wanted to stop missing out on my spouse and my kids’ childhoods (and this has made a big difference).
7) Your supply can’t keep up with the demand.
This one is pretty straightforward. If you realize the demand on your energy and your time is simply greater than your supply, something has to give. You’ll definitely see this in your relationships with your spouse and kids, but it’s also manifested in a variety of other ways.
Maybe your house needs repairs that you can’t seem to get scheduled or there are projects that you’ve needed to get done for months, or even years. Maybe you’re late on a few bills or didn’t realize until recently that your dog hasn’t been to the vet since 2017. Perhaps your laundry is piled up and out of control. Maybe you simply can’t seem to get enough rest to function effectively. You’re pooped and unable to keep your head above water. Scott and I had many indications, aside from our relationships, that it would benefit us to have a parent stay home.
8) You have several children and you plan on having more.
If you already have a few kids at home and you’re feeling the strain, but you’re planning on having more or already expecting again, it may be the right time to become a stay at home mom. It’s definitely possible to continue working, but with more children on the horizon, it’s wise to thoughtfully and intentionally re-evaluate your circumstances and determine if you can continue to manage your current lifestyle effectively.
Scott and I were already feeling the strain before our fourth child came into the picture. We slowly realized over the course of the pregnancy that it wasn’t going to be feasible for me to continue working, even in a part-time position. I transitioned to an occasional position before going out on maternity leave and quit altogether only two months after returning to work.
9) You’ve reached a tipping point.
If it seems the scales are being tipped in the wrong direction, your equilibrium has been compromised, and suddenly it feels like life is on the brink of spiraling out of control, the time to pull the plug and come home may have finally presented itself. Something has to change and it has to change fast. At this point, you’re beyond discomfort and in to full-fledged survival mode.
This is what happened when I returned to work after having our daughter. Even though I was only working occasionally, just a few shifts per schedule, we quickly found out it was way harder than we’d imagined and more stress than it was worth. Life kicked into high gear, beyond what we could handle, and it had no signs of letting up. This was the final push we needed – I resigned just a few weeks later.
10) It just makes sense.
All things considered, if it just makes sense to come home, it’s probably time. We realized there was no logical reason for me to keep working when we truly investigated the ins-and-outs of our lives. Once I turned in my badge and came home for good, we were amazed at the immediate, positive impact it had on our family
Friends, I know there are SO many things to consider when it comes to choosing to continue in your career or deciding to come home to be with your kids. Each of us have unique circumstances that drive our decisions – but it’s rarely cut and dry, even if all the signs are staring you in the face. Scott and I talked about it for a long time before actually making the leap, in part because it took me awhile to come to terms with how my life was changing course, and because there were a lot of details to hash out.
All in all, I hope I’ve provided some information for you to consider so you can really evaluate if perhaps its time to become a stay at home mom or dad and give your life a change of pace. Perhaps this article even gave you clarity that it isn’t the time to become a stay-at-home parent! For us, we experienced everything I’ve written about, so it wasn’t just one thing signaling me to leave – it was all of them (and I’m sure I’m missing a few!). So, if you can resonate with several of the points presented above, and you’re feeling strain in many key areas of your life, it sounds like it may be time to give the role of SAHM/SAHD some serious consideration.
On the journey with you and praying God’s wisdom, discernment, and peace over your decision!
Our Top 10 Tips To Ease The Transition From Working Mom To Stay-at-Home Mom
Get our Top 10 Tips to Ease the Transition to SAHM here. We hope they bless you and help make this time in your life just a little bit easier.
P.S. If you need additional support or guidance as you consider your choices with your embryos, please join our private FB community, Leftover Frozen Embryos Support Group. Here, we talk in real time with other parents about the difficulties of living life with leftover frozen embryos and the options we have moving forward.