So you are ready to quit your day job and embrace the stay at home mom lifestyle? Great, congratulations! There is no other job as fulfilling and rewarding as this, but are you really, really ready to throw in the towel on your good old career? Are you privy to insider information on your new vocation and what your life will be like? Well, here’s a curtain raiser to your SAHM life and 10 questions that you must ask yourself before becoming a stay at home mom or parent (as the case may be). Read on and choose wisely 🙂
1. Have you done your budget calculations?
Let’s get the most obvious question out of the way, shall we? If you want to quit, you will need to calculate your income versus expenditure and know for sure that you can survive on a single income from your partner and that your salary is not going to be missed sorely at the end of every single month.
Of course, there are inherent benefits of staying at home like extra savings related to daycare, commuting, work attire (formal vs yoga pants 😉 ) and other such miscellaneous things, but you must be sure that the delta cushion between your family’s income and expenditure is thick enough to sustain and occasionally absorb a shock or two when it comes to the well-being of your family (For example – unforeseen medical bills, sudden travel costs etc.).
2. Have you factored in your personality and support system into the equation?
Getting the financial equation correct is important, but it would be meaningless if your personality does not suit the stay at home lifestyle. Are you outgoing and need constant adult interactions? Do you have a support system (a group of friends/family) who will be there to encourage and motivate you in your SAHM journey? Are you prepared for the alienation and occasional loneliness that is the hallmark of SAHM life?
For me, being at home all by myself came easy, because as an introvert, I live part of my life inside my head and don’t necessarily need too many adult interactions per day. Even then, I do have grown ups I talk to regularly and online mom groups I hang out at because without those adult interactions I will loose my mind. Some of my more outgoing friends are part of mommy-groups they interact with at the playground or have kitty-parties with.
So yeah, you must figure out where you stand personality-wise and in terms of a support system before you take the plunge if you are to retain your sanity as an SAHM.
3. What does your self-worth depend on?
Does your self-worth equal the paycheck you bring home or your designation at work? If you are stripped of your job identity, do you still have confidence in the person you are or does your self-esteem take a beating? Do you know who are you over and above your job description? You must answer these questions honestly if you are to do justice to this new role you are vying for.
Depression does not announce its arrival. Unless you see and appreciate your value past your career identity, you may quite easily spiral into an abyss of self-doubt and sadness which will not only chip away at the remnants of your identity and confidence bit by bit but will also be extremely detrimental to your family life.
4. Are you disciplined and self-motivated?
SAHM life is fraught with temptations 😉 – One more TV series, one more hour of sleep, one more tub of ice cream – the list is endless. So, the question that you need to ask yourself is – Are you disciplined enough? Are you self-motivated or do you need a boss threatening you with a deadline or a bad performance review to get off your couch and be productive?
Since you are your own boss (if we ignore the children for the time being that is!), you need truck-loads of self-drive to stick to a schedule and not get sucked into laziness and the many attractions of SAHM life. This is something I struggled with most in the beginning before realizing that it doesn’t matter whether you are working or not, you have to have a routine.
5. Do you enjoy being around your children 24X7?
This is a biggie. You may love your children to pieces, but are you comfortable sharing every second of your 24X7 life with little followers, who will refuse to leave you alone even for things which you thought were basic human rights like bathroom breaks? Is the lack of privacy and “me time” a deal breaker?
Children are known for being lousy, finicky, whimsical bosses (worse than your worst ex-boss), especially if they are the spirited, hyperactive kind. Are you okay with having almost non-existent downtime? More importantly, are you comfortable living with your child’s temperament 24X7 without losing patience often?
I am lucky in this regard because I get on very well with most children (sometimes better than adults, I have to admit!) and share many common interests with sonny (Pixar movies being an example in point) which makes our days interesting and well balanced despite the occasional battle of wills.
So yeah, you have to remember that loving your children and liking being with them the whole day are not one and the same thing and you have to be honest if the latter is something you are comfortable with.
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