Do You Have a Support Network?
I totally thought I did until I was playing Star Wars Pirate for the fiftieth time and caught myself trying to use my Jedi mind tricks to make my phone vibrate with some sign of human adult life. I went back to work after my first and never cultivated the mom friends I had heard so many others raving about. I needed a support network and stat. I used my son as my matchmaker, leveraging his friends to find my own. It was a process but it worked. So contrary to popular belief you don’t need to have a baby to make mom friends, toddlers work well too. And mom friends aren’t a nice to have, they are a must!
How Important is Your Financial Independence?
When the your-account-has-dropped-below-your-financial-threshold email showed up in my inbox I nearly had a nervous breakdown. If my mom drilled anything into my head it was to always remain a financially independent woman. I had planned to when I left my job two years ago, banking on growing my freelance business while taking care of a toddler and being miserably pregnant with number two. I guess overly ambitious can be both a positive and negative trait. Well that didn’t go as planned (obviously) and now I was totally dependent on my husband’s paycheck for everything. It was a terrible feeling. To save my sanity we came up with an “allowance” system – direct depositing the same small amount of money in both mine and my husband’s personal bank accounts to use at our own discretion. We each did this with our own paychecks pre-SAHM status and while I knew it wasn’t my own money going into the account, it gave me back a little bit of that freedom I so desperately needed.
How Will You Make Time for You?
I know, I know – you made a plan to stay home with the kids what are you talking about time for you. Here’s the thing when you are working full time you always get time for you. Whether it’s being able to go to the bathroom by yourself, grab a lunch or coffee break, check your personal email or even use your commute to listen to your music, read a book or catch up with a friend. When you are home with two that NEVER happens. Ok maybe it does if you can time the naps just right but then you are busy cleaning the house, doing the dishes, the laundry or whatever else happens to go awry that day. I recently heard a saying that couldn’t ring more true – if your cup is empty you will have nothing to give to others. We need to make time for ourselves to refill that cup. You need to think about what is going to make you feel fulfilled (other than taking care of your littles) and prioritize making time for you!
Is it Permanent or Temporary?
The answer to this has never really changed for me. My SAHM status was always meant to be temporary but the timeline for which it will remain temporary keeps expanding. If you can, I would recommend figuring this out before you take the leap. Talk it over with your partner and make sure you are both on the same page. I thought I would be at this for a few months and then start my freelance business but life changed and so I adjusted. This past January I decided to try to look for a new job but it was too soon and, frankly, I had no time to network, apply and interview. So I bravely called it quits and I have a new timeline in place when I know I will definitely have the time I need. Until then I am spending the small time I do have, thinking about what I really do want to do next and the rest enjoying my time with my kids.
Why Do You Want to Do It?
The million-dollar question. For me, I needed a change. I hated that I was spending two hours in a car everyday commuting to and from a job that I no longer loved rather than with my kids. When I went back to work I told friends, working made me a better mom. And it did, for a bit, but my priorities changed, my job changed and what used to make me happy was literally turning me into a curmudgeon. I didn’t know what I wanted to do next but I did know that I wanted more balance in my life and for my family. I wasn’t planning on being a SAHM but it just kind of worked out that way and I feel so lucky that it did. I know it’s not my end all be all and that’s ok. It’s what makes me a better mom for now.