Quitting work to stay home with young children can be a decision filled with a huge range of emotions. Feelings of guilt about leaving your employment, disappointment, excitement, nervousness, and joy.
Transitioning into parenthood (or adding to your family) is a big transition in and of itself, add on top deciding to become a stay at home parent and it’s a recipe for major upheaval.
I began staying at home with my children after my 2nd child was born. I found these tips through my own experience, and others I wish we had done to make the transition to becoming a stay at home parent easier for both my husband and I.
Date Your Spouse
Transitions can cause emotions to run high, especially when you add lack of sleep, babies crying, whining toddlers, or financial stress. Make sure you take time for one another. While getting out of the house may not be an option I’ve shared some fun and frugal at-home date night ideas as well. The key is to just make time to be together without any distractions. Date day during naptime with an infant can be a great way to connect without missing out on much needed sleep.
Set Boundaries for Both Parents
Make sure you discuss with your spouse what their expectations are when you begin staying home, as well as what your needs and expectations are. When you were working full time you may have had take out or split dinner duties, but now your spouse thinks since your home it will be easier for you to cook dinner. This may be a source of tension if not understood beforehand, talk about the roles you’ll each take on and know that the baby and kids usually come first (that’s the whole reason you are staying at home after all!)
Make sure to re-evaluate your roles every once in awhile (maybe every 3 months) because as the kids grow older, and your needs shift you may find you can take on more household duties, but need a break once a week from the dinner and bedtime routine.
Take Time Out for Yourself
If you are with the kids all day some days you need to take a time out for yourself, whether that is an evening walk around the block, a trip to the grocery store, or an evening out with a girlfriend. Make sure to take time to nourish yourself and replenish yourself so that you can be more centered and balanced parent. This also gives the parent who is working a chance to be fully in the role of caregiver. Make sure you the working spouse gets some time off too so they can hang out with friends or pursue their hobbies.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of becoming a stay at home parent where we’ll tackle the cents and dollars of being a one income family.
Brittany is a staff writer at The Centsible Life. She is a stay at home mom to 4 kids under 6 (can you say busy?), and Kelly’s sister. Prior to her career as a mom, Brittany worked in the banking industry.