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7 Tips for Transitioning From Working to Stay at Home Mom

I was guilt-ridden, pieces of my soul broke apart each and every time my son would ask me to play with him; but I was on conference calls, responding to emails, or reviewing documents. The disappointment in those little eyes and his downhearted “okay” stabbed me in the heart every time. I liked my job, but this made it miserable. When I had my second child, I expected to go back, but as the return date inched closer, a feeling of dread overcame me. I want to be there for my kids. I need to be there for my kids. So, I gave up the career I’d worked my tail off for the last 15 years to be a stay-at-home mom. Except, it wasn’t at all what I expected.

I expected pure, unadulterated joy. That wasn’t the case.

I did have pre-resignation jitters, of course. That was expected. What if my husband loses his job? What if I decide to go back to work when she starts school, but I can’t find a job like the awesome one I just left? I’m going to lose my independence. I’ve always been a financial contributor- how will I feel not contributing financially? So many questions and what-ifs, but these settled quickly. I decided I would regret not having that time with my kids. I wouldn’t regret leaving the job. Soon, the excitement took over.

I always thought that saying goodbye to the traditional workforce would be such an amazing and liberating experience. Pure joy, right? I had fantasized about it several hundred times. But, there I was on day one, overwhelmed with thoughts I didn’t expect. No unadulterated joy. Not those pre-resignation jitters either. As it turns out, 15 years of corporate indoctrination is hard to shake. Questions kept coming to mind: How do I define success? What is next on my ladder? How do I climb it? How can I make money? Make money? Really? Yes, that thought seriously crossed my mind. Sorry, honey, but stay-at-home moms don’t get paid. I quickly realized I miss having a regular paycheck. I miss being a leader. I miss being successful in my career. After all, I was really good at it. But, this is my job now. I can still be all those things. It will just look a little different. But, how do I start? I knew this transition was going to be more difficult than I imagined.

Navigating major life changes is freaking hard, and this is a big one. How can I make this transition smoother? How can I stop second-guessing this very important decision? How can I make sure I don’t screw up my children? So, I looked into it, and this is what I came up with. I am following these tips to help make this transition more manageable for my family. Maybe they can help you, too.

I. Stop questioning your decision.

The decision has been made. It cannot be undone. So, save yourself from ruminating, and move forward. Instead, focus on the benefits. For one, you get to be there for all the wonderful moments. I use the Reminders app on my phone to keep a grateful section. I also have one for positive affirmations. Each morning, I read aloud my grateful and positive affirmation lists. This is a great way to start the day and will help keep those “what if” thoughts at bay.

II. Identify your values, and create reasonable goals.

Like any new endeavor, you need to create a roadmap to success. You do this by first identifying your values. Then, craft smart, reasonable goals. We are here to teach and guide our children. So, I knew right away that if I was going to be a stay-at-home mom, I’m going to push it to the limits. These kids are going to have all of me, and they are going to remember the lessons we learned along the way and carry them through life. But, I also still have big ambitions of my own–like writing and teaching. So, each part of your journey will be included in your goals. Some examples are: completing one art and one science activity with the kids each day, read one book to the kids each day, write one blog post per week, complete five written pages of my book each week. It is important to make short-term and long-term goals as well. Write these out and keep them close. I keep these in my planner so that I can look at them daily to stay on track.

III. Set a good routine.

I thrive when I have a routine. Routines give us structure, give us a sense of accomplishment, and keep your stress levels low. Children thrive when they have structure as well. It makes them feel safe and secure, lowering anxiety and stress levels. So, I wrote down what I wanted each day to look like. Meals, naps, activities, and free time will be scheduled at the same time each day. With that being said, the occasional schedule shift is also important. For instance, I have added field trips to our calendar, like tips to the zoo and the aquarium.

IV. Regularly evaluate feelings.

Journal every single day. If you don’t know where to start, you can find hundreds of prompts online. After a while, you won’t need them anymore, and your feelings will spill onto the paper. Journaling helps you work through any anxious feelings. Major life changes like this one are bound to leave you anxious. It does me, and that is okay. But, If you ignore these feelings and let them spiral, you will become stressed and prone to negative thoughts. Our children deserve you at your best. Choose a time. Add it to your routine. Keep your journal close.

V. Expect uncomfortable feelings, and have a plan for those moments.

I worked at the same company my entire career – 15 years. My old routine looked drastically different than it does now, and that makes me very uncomfortable. That is not to say I don’t enjoy my new routine – I love it! What I mean is that changing the way you do things after such a long period of a time feels weird. You feel like you are forgetting to do something, feel like you still have deadlines to reach, or feel almost lost. As someone with a history of anxiety, I have coping mechanisms to help with these uncomfortable moments. First, I will talk about it. Getting those feelings off your chest will feel like a burden lifted. Also, when you speak those feelings, it’s almost like you really hear it for the first time, helping you re-evaluate your feelings about them, usually lessening the intensity or feeling of doom. Second, revisit tip number four – journal. Write those feelings down and reflect on them. Lastly, move your body. Exercise pumps up those endorphins, which fosters relaxation.

VI. Take care of yourself.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Taking care of the home and children is non-stop. It can be difficult to remember to slow down and take care of yourself as well. Keep your doctor’s appointments, maintain your exercise routine, read a book, eat well, and most of all, schedule a day to yourself every once and a while.

VII. Find community.

“It takes a village.” It really does. Have you ever tried going to the dentist appointment with an infant and a six year old? It’s hard! Maybe you don’t have any friends with kids. Or, maybe you just have a ton of questions, zero answers and need support. Queue the community. The popularity of community mom groups has grown in the last several years. Think “coffee with moms” or even mommy book clubs. Check to see if your town has one. Online community groups are also wonderful. Check out Facebook, Instagram, or online forums for stay-at-home moms who pull people together and inspire. The resources are endless, and there are so many tips shared that can really impact your life in a positive way.

I am still navigating this new life. I think I will be for a while, but I know I have set myself up for success by following these seven tips. I know it won’t be easy, but when has anything really worth it ever been easy?

I am building a community of my own. I will be sharing my stay-at-home mom journey with all on instagram and through my blog at My goals are ambitious, but I know I will grow into a successful and conscientious stay-at-home mom with lots of stories to tell! Come grow with us.


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