Before I had our daughter two years ago, I was happily working away at my 9-5 job. When we found out we were pregnant, we decided that I would become a stay-at-home mom because it didn’t make financial sense for me to work outside the home. I know it’s different for every family, but honestly, I would have barely made enough to cover child care so our choice was pretty easy.
When the time came to quit my job and stay at home with our little girl, let’s just say it was a shock to my system. I was prepared for the physical act of staying home – we had prepped our finances and gotten the house ready for the baby. What I wasn’t prepared for? The emotional toll it takes to be a stay at home mom.
I was a good worker for a great employee, so I received regular validation. Now that was completely gone. Instead my “employer” would respond to even my best efforts with screaming and crying. The friendship and companionship with my co-workers? Also out the door! Now I had to work hard to find time to meet with even a single friend during the week.
Looking back, here are three things that made transitioning into a stay-at-home mom a lot easier:
Find Your Tribe
I’ve mentioned how important it is to find a tribe before, but it is worth repeating. You can’t raise kids on your own…you will go insane! If you can find a community of people to surround you and support you in motherhood, your life will be so much easier. Your tribe might include some fellow mommy friends you can meet with in the middle of the day, some women with older children who can cook you a meal or hold your kiddo while you shower, or some couple friends without kids who can come over for a game night after the little one is in bed for the night. (If finding these people sounds overwhelming, check out Finding Your Village When Family’s Far Away) All of these people will play an integral role in your emotional health as a new mom.
I was reminded of the importance of my tribe just this month when my husband got mono. I am prone to anxiety, 6 months pregnant, and our little girl is now a toddler. By the fourth day of my husband being so sick he couldn’t move and my toddler destroying our house like a category 4 hurricane, I had a breakdown. My husband knew he could send a text to a few of my closest friends and I immediately had offers to make dinner and take my daughter for a morning of play time. One friend even got mad that I hadn’t texted to ask for help sooner. It made my heart feel so full just to know that I wasn’t alone.
Get a Hobby
Now that you’re not working full time, it might feel like your whole life revolves around your baby. While that may be true for the first month or so, eventually you will need to make time for mom. If you don’t have a hobby, that ‘mom time’ will inevitably turn into daily Netflix binges. Now I love a good Netflix binge as much as the next mom, but it’s so important to find something that gives you a sense of purpose outside of keeping your little one alive.
I started blogging when my daughter was 3 months old and it was a total game changer for me. I had something to focus on, think about, and talk to my husband about that didn’t involve spit up and diaper changes.
Set Attainable Goals
When my mother-in-law came to help after my daughter was born, she gave me a piece of advice that became my mantra for the next three months. She told me to focus on three things I needed to get done each day. Those things could be as simple as taking a shower, doing a load of laundry, or taking a walk around the block. When you first become a stay-at-home mom, it can be hard to focus either because every task feels so overwhelming or because you feel like you need to have everything on your list done by noon. Because you’re not reporting to anyone, there’s not a good measure of ‘pass’ or ‘fail’. If you set some attainable goals, you will begin to feel confident in your abilities again.
I have come to love staying at home with our daughter, but it was definitely not easy to transition from working full time to being a stay-at-home mom. I know these aren’t the only things that can make that transition easier, so if you found something that works for you will you share it with other moms in the comments below?