Struggling with being a SAHM

Melissa - posted on 03/04/2012 ( 34 moms have responded )

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I have just recently left my long time career to be a SAHM to our daughter who is due June 1, 2012. I am really finding myself struggling to not go back to work. It is what defined me FOREVER and I honestly miss all of my friends and co-workers. I am also finding it hard not having my income. I have never had to stick to a budget, I have not balanced a checkbook in God only knows how long, and I am so used to being spoiled. I still would not have to follow a budget or balance a checkbook on my husbands salary but I would like to still save as much as possible. I guess I am just needing reassurance that this is possible and families all over do this daily and survive and that moms do not lose their identity while being a SAHM. Thank you all!!

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Christy - posted on 03/04/2012

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Your job doesn't define who you are, being a wife doesn't define who you are, and being a mom doesn't define it, either. You will be OK. Come to terms with the fact that your life is always going to change, good or bad. In this case it's a good thing. Use the time before the baby comes to get on a budget and see about saving money from your husband's paycheck. Get a hobby, do volunteer work (if you can), take a short term class to learn something new, and to learn something about yourself! Good luck. I have been there, BTW!

Deanna - posted on 03/05/2012

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First, congrats on the baby girl!!!

Second, it is hard when first become a SAHM. Especially since she hasn't been born yet. But, you are lucky enough that you now have time to get everything ready. Set up the nursery, go to your appointments, get the crib, etc. Also, take this time to yourself.

I won't lie and say you don't lose part of your identity, because for a little bit you do. And there is nothing wrong with that. Being able to stay at home is a blessing. You get to spend the bonding time with your little girl, spend time learning who she is, and what you are capable of doing. You learn more about yourself and you grow as a mother and a woman.

Now, there is something else. Don't feel guilty about wanting to go back to work, some women do and there is nothing wrong with it. It is great to be able to stay at home but not every mother can do it. It does NOT make you a bad parent, but one who understands she has limits and want to provide for the child. So, no guilt. If you feel you have to, go back to work, there is no shame.

Enjoy the time you have with baby girl.

Working with a budget can be hard, but can be quite fun. You get to be more experimental. You get to look for deals. Which can be fun. Imagine getting a $500 stroller for $400 or less. You get the same thing, for less and can get more!! being on a budget does not have to mean you go without, it means you really have to think about what you get. Is that spa day really worth it? (As a stay at home Mom I say YES!!!). But is the coffee at Starbucks every morning? Maybe not. Get a great coffee maker (my friend loves her Tassimo) and you start to make those on your own. You can save hundreds in a year. A budget is looking to see what you can get. A need, a want, and a treat (and by all means treat yourself sometimes). A budget just means you change how you think.

Survival of staying at home is a matter of asking for help!!! If you need a couple hours to yourself, ask for it. Have a nice hot bath, read a book, go for a walk, visit friends. Being a mother is one of the hardest jobs, but one of the most fulfilling.

Making the choice to stay at home is one of the hardest. It is just as hard as deciding to breast-feed or bottle-feed. Decided what is best for you, and feel no guilt either way.

Good luck!!!

Christina - posted on 03/05/2012

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@Karen Thompson

That's pretty much an ignorant response. Basically you're saying that a couple, by law, should not be allowed to have children if they work? Who do you think you are? I have been on both sides and I can tell you, there are LOUSY SAHMs just like there are working moms. The quality of the parenting is dependent upon the person doing the parenting.

Elfrieda - posted on 03/04/2012

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It'll probably be pretty rough to start with, especially since you don't even have a baby to take care of yet, but if you're in the US, what a blessing that you can stay home instead of taking only 6 weeks off!



I would suggest making routines for yourself and getting out of the house every day.

Holly - posted on 03/06/2012

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You are so lucky! I work two jobs, am taking prenursing classes, & homeschool. I would love those early days of just nursing on demand I had as a partly sahm back when my son was born. It takes adjustment. Make sure you don't let yourself get isolated. Find a supportive network of other mom's and remember that a career lasts until you retire, a child lasts forever!

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Melissa - posted on 03/08/2012

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Cindy I don't have to worry about money nor do I have to report every cent. My money fears are that I cannot keep growing our savings. We have an 18 month emergency fund but we also have some extravagant money set aside for those spur of the moment trips, purchases etc we are famous for :)

Cindy May - posted on 03/08/2012

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i agree, you need to make the best decision for you and your baby because if you are left unhappy your baby will feel it.

Cindy May - posted on 03/08/2012

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i found that a half day job gave me the best of both worlds. I had to trust someone else to look after my treasure, I had to get dressed every morning, I got to interact with others, earn a little money and then come home and play all afternoon with my little bundle. I would take her to play dates (which were more for the moms until about 9 months), go window shopping, go to the park, feed the ducks.



it will be tough until the birth but then you will find a routine that works for you.it is also nice to use any support you might have around (mother-in-law/mother) to come over and look after the baby while you enjoy a relaxing soak in the bath, have a cat nap , read a book, or pop out for some hassle free shopping.

Cindy May - posted on 03/08/2012

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it is important to find your value away from you job. Just because someone isn't putting a value to your worth doesn't mean you are note worth a lot.



It will be great for you not to have to worry about going back to work, getting a carer, sending your child to a play school, or having to save up expressed milk.



However especially with so much time on your hands and no money to spend you are going to have to be constructive with our time.



I would suggest you get into the habit of walking now. When the baby comes it is nice to get out and get walking - find routes now that will be baby friendly (big sidewalks, ramps up and down, easy roads to cross ect.



You could also put together books for your baby about your family and those important to you.



Good luck finding your inner peace with not working. You may have to find a group having babies at the same time as you and start socialising with them - get walking with them, or go to a park with them. Especailly if you are used to the social aspect of work.



You could also find a charity in your area and volunteer your time - that way you won't have a problem pulling out when you need to have your baby, but it will keep a social aspect to your lift without having to spend money or take up a new hobby (which also is costly).



finnancial freedom is tough to say good bye to but maybe you can organise an allowance now that can be paid across to you so you can have money you don't have to account for. There is nothing worse than having to report every cent spent.

Melissa - posted on 03/08/2012

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Krista I have found a few companies that does telecommuting work in the medical field. I have to have a certain amount a CMEs to maintain my license. I did log onto meetup.com and found a few mommy groups here locally I have contacted with. I feel more at ease today about everything after praying about it all. Thank you so much for your advice and input. I really appreciate it all.

Krista - posted on 03/08/2012

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I don't blame you for being nervous. It's a huge lifestyle change. I think a big key is to find playgroups and mommy groups, so that you don't feel isolated.



Depending on what field you're in, is it possible to take on a tiny bit of freelance work, just to have a bit of your own money and to keep your skills fresh in case you do ever return to work? I do PR, and if I get pregnant again, I'm planning to put my name out there to craft media releases for local community groups/non-profits looking to get their message out. Even if I only do one a week, it'll be a bit of extra cash, and will keep my skills sharp.

Melissa - posted on 03/08/2012

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You ladies are right!! I am so blessed and lucky to not have to worry about income and never give staying home a second thought. I truly believe it is mostly just new mom fears and I know once Izzy arrived and I am proudly taking are of her I will find that I don't miss anything at work. I need to stay busy until then :)

With that being said please know I have no judgement on working moms or sahm!! How we all choose to raise our children is a very personal decision and I know for a fact that some families have to have 2 incomes to make it. I will NEVER judge a mom/dad/family because I am not in their shoes!!

Karen - posted on 03/07/2012

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@ Christina Hester

What I meant was if one parent didn't work and stayed home to raise the children then there would be more jobs for the unemployed

I didn't say that both working partners shouldn't have kids that's purely the adults choice

I have read the comments you raised and like you said you should choose what is best for the family but if you sit and think about it the world would be a better place

[deleted account]

Honestly, would loove to be in your shoes, specially with the fact that you could devote to your baby 100% without the anxiety of financial burden due to your husband's income. Your priorities are likely to change a lot once the baby arrives and my guess is that you would long for more time rather tahn more money.



I just have a 5 year old daughter who satrted school recently and yes looking back it just pass so quickly that I wish I had be more aware of it, I did enjoyed her as a baby don't get me wrong but just hope I was more in tune with my "present moment" back then.



Was working at a big corporate bank before been a mother and although cliche NOTHING compares with the joy of witnessing how a person evolves.



I just wonderstill and am completely fascinated by the complexity of how we humans develop and having a child is having a front seat to it all which actually a lot of people take for granted or just missed entirely, so not being condescending but "open your eyes" (your new eyes) and embrace this precious opportunity, overall: ENJOY.

Samantha - posted on 03/06/2012

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Melissa , you are sooooooooo lucky , how I wish I could be a stay at home mom. You mus have planned this and thought about this really hard before as a family you quit your job. Its not easy but BIG Up's to you ....damn you are lucky I wish I could be a SAHM for my babies / family

Pamela - posted on 03/05/2012

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First of all sounds like you have not yet understood that NOTHING outside of you defines who you truly are. Your authentic self is the Spirit that is inside of you and is the gift you arrive here with.



The best way to find that Self is through meditation whether it is a walking meditation , a moving meditation (as in dance) or a sitting meditation. Believe you me, you have only a couple of months to enjoy having the time to do that BEFORE the baby comes, because once the baby has come and for a number of years thereafter, your life will be easily consumed by the care of your child and family.



I do not know if you had a SAHM or not. I didn't and so I always wanted to return to work to help support the family and to keep myself satisfied as well, as I tend to be am active person. It was also the role model for mothering that I grew up with, so of course, it was the easy pattern to follow.



Nonetheless, I usually took the first year of my babies' lives off from work and did the SAHM routine. By the 3rd child, my husband's income allowed me to take off a full year after my last child entered Montessori school training at age 2.5. I enjoyed it for a while but soon became bored and went back to work.



If I were you, I would take this time to learn about me....meaning take online courses about Spiritual (not religious) awareness. May I suggest checking out www.miguelruiz.com and his son's site The Universe of Now which you can access there or through Facebook by going to the page for don Jose Ruiz.



Books such as The 4 Agreements, The Fifth of Agreement, The Mastery of Love, The Voice of Knowledge are all books which can lead you on a path of self discovery that will aid you greatly in becoming a Mother and just a better person period.



Enjoy your time away from work and be PLEASED that you can afford to be a SAHM, so many women wish they could trade places with you.



Recognize your blessing and use it to your advantage in these next 3 months before the baby arrives! The highest and Best to you!

Jolene - posted on 03/05/2012

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Ever heard the saying “If mama ain't happy, nobody is happy?” If you’re not happy then your baby won’t be happy. Make a pro/con list and do what you think is best. If you decide to stay home reach out and make new friends so you are not so lonely. However, if you decide to go back to work then do so without guilt. Just be true to yourself and do what is best for you and your baby. Good luck!

[deleted account]

Hi Melissa,

I felt exactly the same way when I left the workforce - my job was a huge part of who I was and a large factor in my feelings of self-worth, and then suddenly I had no job, little interaction with adults, and a baby that I was learning to take care of. It's a massive change, and it's great that you can acknowledge it - so many new mothers don't and it simmers away in the back of their heads, making them resent where they are.

A lot of people will try to tell you what you should do, and while I won't do that I can say that my experience has led me to appreciate that my time with my babies was so precious and so short lived. I love that I am able to spend time with both my children while they are young (No. 3 will be here in the next few weeks). Once my eldest child was about 3y.o. I really felt ready to embark on a new project that took me back to the professional world, but I insisted that it would be on my terms. I have managed to start a business that allows me to dictate when I have time with my children. I don't have to put them into daycare, and I work the hours that I want to and can manage around my children. I have the best of both worlds - I have gained so much from being 'productive' again, yet I am there every step of the way for my kids. That is my experience. If there was one thing you could allow me to say to you, it would be to trust your own instincts, and do what you feel you need to do. If you want to work but don't want to give up your family, then you WILL find a way. And go easy on yourself - we career women often expect a whole lot more of ourselves than we would ever expect from anyone else. Sal

Melissa - posted on 03/05/2012

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Kelly it has nothing to do with being in charge of anything. I never said I had to be in charge, and if I do return to the workforce it will be the same career as I did not put in 8 years of college for no reason. I'm sure raising my child will be rewarding in itself but I do know that it is not for some moms to be a sahm. I will never look down on anyone who works regardless of the reason. Also if I ever return my daughter will not be in childcare and I know without a doubt she will be cared for nearly as well as I would.

Alexandra - posted on 03/05/2012

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You will love it! It is a new chapter in your life. You can still balance the budget, the checkbook, do stuff that needs to be done, and be assured that you will save a lot of money by not having to have your baby in daycare. That is where you will save.

You can always go out with your friends during the weekend. Just because you have a baby it doesn't mean the end of your social life.

And just wait a few more months... you will not want to go back to work!

Good luck.

Kelly - posted on 03/05/2012

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Once you choose this path you just find new activities and new groups of friends! I am so over volunteered out right now that I need to learn to say "no". You also have not had that child yet and have no clue whats soon to be tired and long days. You might just change your tune on returning! Join MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) Find some jobs that replace that need to be in charge of something. You will always love your child far better than any other childcare worker that would be a substitute for you if you return. Once you become a parent there is a little less self and a new focus HOWEVER I see it as more rewarding than suffering!

Karen - posted on 03/05/2012

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You will find it a lot easier when you baby comes I have been a SAHM for the last 23 years. I would suggest getting into a routine and talk walks etc with your new born as for the cheque book take your time and live within your means but always remember you can never love a child to much.

I wish there was a law stating that one parent should stay home to raise the children then we wouldn't have so many troubled kids

Kelli - posted on 03/05/2012

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I have the best of both worlds - I work part-time, three days a week. This might be something to consider. I was a bit of a workaholic pre-kids and was really worried about taking twelve months maternity leave. In the end though, I was just too busy with my son and it was actually hard going back to work. With my second son, I would have happily gone back to work one or two days a week when he was 6 months old. (Unfortunately, he got sick and I didn't return until he was fourteen months.) I'd wait until you have you bub in June. Just enjoy the time with your little one. If you decide later on to return to work, it's no biggie. Most kids do fine in daycare. (Well mine have!)

Jennifer - posted on 03/05/2012

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I am a SAHM, Currently Pregnant with #5, I have been a SAHM since my oldest was 6 months old. I was in the military and whn my time was up, I felt I could not continue in that profession and raise a child, so I did not Re-Up and Began my SAHM-Hood. There are times where I miss Defending our country but I know Raising productive members of society provides far more blessing. I am so busy every day with my kiddos that I can barely find time for much else, BUT, I too felt I needed my own income so I didn't feel guilty every time I had my $4 starbucks!! My husband spoils me rotten but I handle the finances and see how much better we could be doing if I wasn't so spoiled, so I started an ebay business, I sell Clothing and handmade baby scrapbooks and handmade Wool Diaper Covers. It Gives me the extra money I want each week to spoil my kiddos at the zoo and enjoy my starbucks with no guilt!! As Far as missing friends, I have several sets of friends and we get together 1 night a month for girls night out, so I have about 3 girl dates a month, plus friends who come by for coffee in the AM. It is hard when all your friends work, because they are not available during the day to hang out, search out mommy groups in your area, make some new mommy friends whose schedules can coincide with yours. Once your baby gets here, although I agree, our identities should not be in work or our children, you will feel your need for your work identity will change and you will identify more with being a mom.

Krystal - posted on 03/05/2012

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I left work about 3 months before my first child was due, and have been a SAHM for almost 4 years. It does make this harder, having to keep a closer eye on the budget, and losing the adult contact you get from work. Just remember: you are still a working mom, your job has just changed. It helped me a lot to think of being a SAHM that way: keeping the budget balanced became part of the job. And I would say you DEFINETELY want to find some way to keep adult connections: church, play groups, keep up with friends from work. Especially after your day narrows to a baby's level all day, you will want that! The way you identify yourself does change (you become "so-and-so"'s mom pretty quickly), but that isn't a bad thing. Self-identity changes our whole life--through GROWTH. It's usually considered a good thing. Just remember you MADE this decision, so it's a good thing if you embrace it, and it changes you. That's life!

Abby - posted on 03/05/2012

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I definitely know the feeling. About 5 months ago, my husband and I decided paying for daycare for our 3 year old daughter was getting too expensive with both of us working. So I quit the job I had and decided that I would just stay home because he made enough money to pay for what we needed. It was really hard at first suddenly not have all this extra money to do things that we would like to do. But I just started getting together with my friends from work that had kids and it is a lot of fun getting to spend time with my daughter on a daily basis. It isn't even a matter of budgeting if you just say this is how much I want to save out of every paycheck and do that then use whatever money is leftover for whatever you need. That's how I have managed to still save money with only one income. Just don't worry and have fun with the new little one! Hope I could be of some help!

Lisa - posted on 03/05/2012

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I felt like I could have written your post! I worked the first year of my first daughter's life and I was miserable! She had an awesome babysitter but it was so hard to be away from her. My husband had a job opportunity that afforded us the opportunity for me stay home with her. I have another baby now. I still struggle sometimes with missing my old identity and career, friendships and coworkers. It's like you have a new identity that you have to map out for yourself. Almost like you're starting from an entry level position again. You'll meet other mommies at library story time or at the park. Instead of talking about getting margaritas after work, you'll talk about planning a monthly night out without the kids with the other mommies at the local Panera and you'll all be going home at 9:30 PM because you'll be too tired to stay up any longer.



And a few more years down the line when your kids are more independent and going to school, you'll start another whole new chapter/identity of your life....



Good luck and know that you are not alone!!!:)

Deanna - posted on 03/05/2012

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I went back to work after my daughter was born. I loved the job, getting out of the house. And my daughter loved daycare. I ended up leaving the job and went back to being at home. I did realize I preferred staying at home. But, not every woman is like me.

research has shown a great thing about working Mom's. Their children are well adjusted. They do better going to school because they don't get separation anxiety (my daughter won't either cause she loves people and wants to go to school). They don't suffer like SAHM think. They are well-adjusted and more rounded really.

Christina - posted on 03/05/2012

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I've been on both sides. I went back to work after my maternity leave and had my son in daycare and then after about a year we decided that I would try staying home with him. I did that for 2 years. I am not cut out for it. I felt like you feel and the feeling never went away for me. Now that my son is 3, I find that he does so well being back with children his own age. Everyone is different and you have to do what is right for you--that's not being selfish--that's making sure that you are the best person you can be, so that you can be the best mom you can be. I cherish the 2 years that I spent with my son and I wouldn't do anything different. I thank God though that I went back to work as my husband just lost his job. I cannot imagine what it would be like if I had not already gone back to work. Everything happens for a reason and you just need to do what you feel is right and follow your heart.

Vicki - posted on 03/04/2012

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I've been there too, and trust me you need to enjoy this time (sleep, sleep, sleep)! The best advice I can give is to join a mom's group NOW and start getting to know the other moms. You can find groups on meetup.com and lets of other places. Socializing will help you ease into this transition and get you out of the house! Best of luck!

Wendy - posted on 03/04/2012

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It is tough getting used to a budget. Being a SAHM is awesome though! I quit working when I was pregnant with my firstborn. Although my pregnancy wouldn't allow me to work. You are going to be soo busy being a mom, and loving it! I am still a SAHM, now with three kids. Best thing we ever did, and soo much better for your kids. I definately have not lost my identity, I think I found it actually!

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