Transitioning from a working mother to a stay at home mom turned out to be a bit more difficult than I had anticipated. Maybe it’s because my expectations were so high and unrealistic, but you can learn from my experience.
Have you ever looked at a certain stay at home mom and you silently envied her? She is just tending to her home, taking care of her child (ren) and just loving on herself, how good is that life? No work pressure, just bliss.
That was me a couple of months back(the jealous one, that is).
I thought stay-at-home-mothers were the luckiest beings on earth. They have all the time in the world to do whatever they want. And they get to take care of their sweet babies at the same time.
Girl, was I wrong!
For a long time, I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom though I could hardly admit it.
The few times I mentioned it to people, they (especially the ladies) were quick to remind me of all the years I spent in school. Why would I want to waste all that knowledge sitting at home? After 5 years spent earning an Engineering degree, surely I could do better than being “just a mom”!
For some reason, being a stay at home mother is something that is frowned upon, especially in Kenya where I come from. It is seen as a preserve of the uneducated. Educated girls are supposed to go out and ‘kick-ass’ in the office. They should be working moms.
After all, isn’t that what feminism was supposed to achieve? Equal opportunities for us to get employed?
But what happens when what your heart really wants is not to be in an office, but to be available for every moment your family needs you. What if you would rather be successful at home and not necessarily at a corporate office?
I don’t think we provide room for this enough.
As a society, we are so focused on professional progression as a marker of success. So much so that we have devalued the role of motherhood and homemaking.
Staying home to take care of your family is often not celebrated yet this is a career in itself. And it is an important one. When you teach your daughter that she can become anything she wants, does that also include motherhood?
Can she be the mother she wants to be without being made to feel inferior? This is the part that feminism does not prepare us for. In fact, I could say feminism fails us terribly in this area.
It is no wonder many of us women are having a hard time juggling work and children. Because we have been conditioned that the only place we can make an impact is in the corporate circles.
The dreamy stay at home mom life was coming or was it?
Knowing all these, when the opportunity came for me to be a SAHM, it was not an easy decision to make. My husband had a career opportunity that would have us move from Kenya to the US.
After thinking long and hard, going back and forth a couple of times, I finally decided I was going to make the move with him. If for nothing else, I would finally get to experience the life I had always dreamed of as a SAHM.
As soon as I really set my mind to it, I started getting excited. I was going to enjoy this life as much as I could.
I dreamt of the many days I was just going to lay back and catch up on all the movies and TV series that I missed as a working mother.
Oh, the many recipes I was going to try out because I will finally have the time.
I had no idea what was coming.
The real-life experience transitioning from working mom to stay at home mom
I left my job, moved countries, settled into a house, and then what?
It was nothing like I imagined, I really didn’t know how to cope with my new life. It was just me and my son at home, all day every day.
No adult conversations, no break from the baby. You suddenly realize that you actually need a break from the very child you wanted to spend all your days with.
It did not help that hubby had a tight work schedule and was working late nights and weekends.
For the first month, my life was a mess. I just didn’t know how to run a home as a mother and a wife with no help.
While I was a working mom in Kenya, I had someone who took care of everything at home while I was away at work.
I would wake up to ready breakfast for everyone. My laundry was done, all I had to do was just take a shower, dress up, and show up to work, every weekday.
On weekends, I would sleep until mid-morning and then wake up to a well-fed child who is happy to play with mommy for the rest of the day. I was spoiled!
In this new phase, my son was waking up to tears some days because his breakfast was not ready. Everything was happening so fast and no time for all my fantasies.
By the time I’d be done cleaning up from breakfast it was already lunchtime.
Cook again, feed the baby- which takes forever, by the way, – clean the dishes again, entertain him, put him in for a nap which he will resist, and then spend the next hour fighting about it yet he is evidently sleepy.
What are we having for dinner by the way?
This life is exhausting. My goodness!
Being a stay at home mom is the hardest job I’ve ever had to do in my life, I won’t even try to lie about it.
You know, I used to think working an 8-5 was hard, it’s not. Taking care of a child all day is hard!
I have deep respect for my nanny who helped me raise my son for almost 2 years and made it look like it was a walk in the park. I am eternally grateful to her and many like her.
She did the very same things that I have been struggling with every single day and it never seemed like much work until I had to do them myself. I always came home to a happy baby, who was well-fed and entertained.
Here I was, struggling to keep up with all his energy and constant need for entertainment and be able to maintain a clean and peaceful home.
Becoming a stay at home mom is not anything like I had imagined. Thankfully, I’m slowly growing into it and enjoying the process.
It has been harder than I thought, but it has also come with some perks that I hadn’t expected.
Despite all the challenges, I have found peace and happiness in being at home.
Waking up to a little person who completely loves and trusts you even after you have failed him before is beyond description. And then I get to hang out with him all day.
We cuddle, we hug, we dance, we kiss and we say ‘I love you too’, over and over again throughout the day. That means the world to me.
I have found healing in this season.
By the time I was leaving my job I was mentally exhausted. I was carrying so much weight on my back, trying to be everything to everyone and it was not working. I had very little time for my family and even the little time we had wasn’t spent very well because of all the stress we carried around.
I am more fulfilled than ever and I have absolutely no regrets about making this decision.
This was meant to be a temporary season in our lives but it feels like we could do this forever. It is not easy, and I admit that there are many times I need help but it has been a wonderful experience for our family.
We are growing together in a conducive environment and we are thankful for that.
Will I ever go back to work? I don’t know. For now, the focus is on taking care of my family the best way I can and where possible find opportunities to work at home. So far, so good.
Would I recommend for you to transition from being a working mom to stay at home mom?
If you are thinking of transitioning from being a working mom to being a stay at home mom, I think it is worth considering. It is taking a leap of faith in many ways.
You might end up loving it, or you might hate it. Whichever way, you won’t know until you try.
A very important factor is that you need your partner to be on board, and be supportive of you (because – finances 🙂). If that is covered, don’t let other people’s opinions discourage you.
Here is a post I did that can help you determine if being a stay at home mom is the right choice for you: Should you be a stay at home mom?
Also, brace yourself for the transition from working mom life to the stay at home mom life. It is not easy. But you are a strong mama, and if I could do it, you can do it too!
And remember, if you try the stay at home life and feel like it is not working for you, you can always go back to work. Never allow yourself to feel stuck, keep your options open.
If having a source of income as a stay at home mother is your biggest worry, I cover a few ways you can make money from home in this post
You can be the kind of mom you want to be
We keep telling girls that they can be anything they want to be and mostly we are referring to professional advancements.
For me ‘anything you want to be’ includes being a stay at home mom, a work at home mom, a working mom in a corporate office or whatever you want to be.
I truly believe that we should encourage each other as women to be free to make whatever choice we want. Without feeling like one is inferior to the other.
If becoming a stay at home mother is what you and your family need, go for it. You don’t have to be in an office somewhere to make a difference, you can make a difference right inside your home.
Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think. If you like it, make sure you share it.