What To Consider If You Want To Become A SAHM

“Should I leave the workforce and be a stay at home parent?”  I believe, ultimately, you already know the answer to this question.  BUT, there are some things you may not have considered as part of the equation.  A lot of parents focus on finances when trying to decide whether one parent will be staying at home.  Then there are a lot of hidden considerations that can go overlooked.  While I can’t give you the answer, I can give a little insight to some factors to be considered if a parent should ditch the 9-5 to become a stay at home parent. It’s a big decision and should be heavily weighed before handing over your resignation letter.  Where do you start?  

Resentment

Will there be resentment from the working parent towards the non-working parent?  Will the stay at home parent resent that the working parent gets “a break” from the kids, adult interaction, a further identity than just Mom or Dad?  Will there be resentment because of how long the working parent is gone for the day?  It might seem sweet and sunshiny to be with the baby all day long, but the sleepy newborn days end and by 4:45 you could be at your END.  When Dad is 10 minutes later than normal, he is almost guaranteed to walk into a shit show.  The working parent has to be able to take on kid duty as soon as they walk through the door.  

Loneliness

How will you connect with others? How will it feel to be without adult interaction day after day? Unless you have a lot of friends that live nearby who have kids that are at least somewhat close in age to yours, you might be pretty lonely only talking to someone who can’t communicate all day every day.  Signing up for multiple activities does not guarantee a Best Mom Friend, at least not immediately.  All mom’s are very busy and their babies/kids have their own schedules so trying to make the leap from acquaintances to friends outside of a class/activity can be a hurdle since the best way to make a friendship grow is constant interaction.  Gaining mom friends is a constant hustle.     

Loss of Identity

Leaving the workforce, even if it’s only for a couple years, can leave you feeling like your identity slipping away from you.  Being at home all day with the kids turns into an identity as Mom.  I can’t even recall how many parents I know simply as ‘so and so’s’ mom.  You remember the children’s names but it’s always so hectic so mom and dad’s name gets lost in the shuffle.  Sometimes it’s hard to separate from mom duty in order to attend to your own hobbies and interests. 

How will you “refresh?”

Getting space away parenting to attend to your own hobbies and interests is vital not only for your identity.  Don’t feel guilty about this one!  Treat yourself to some self care.  Wether it is once a week, month or few times a year, make it a priority to have some time away from your baby/babies.  Everyone needs a break from Mom Mode. Being burnt out constantly means the entire family suffers.  Schedule a date night or a Mom’s Nite Out or just go for a run.

Think beyond newborn phase

Try to think beyond the sleepy newborn phase where you’re cuddling, napping, or walking in the stroller all day.  At some point your baby is going to start to sit up and roll.  Then comes the crawling, the walking, and the talk talk talking!  Beyond that, there’s regressions, behavior issues, power struggles and boundary pushing.  As a parent you have to roll with this no matter what, but when you’re home ALL day, every day, it’s a whole other animal!

What will you be doing all day?  

Being home all day can make you stir crazy fast.  Draw out a tentative schedule of activities.  Maybe it’s lunch with a friend or family once a week or a mommy and me class.  The eat, sleep, play cycle gets boring fast.  Look up what’s available in your community.

Budget For Activities

There are free and cheap things to do with baby besides going for walks and the playground, but there are so many cool things to do, even the less expensive activities will add up.

Consider what you experiences you might want to have with your baby and price it out with a liberal guess at how much and  how often you will go.  Will you want to do dance or art classes? How much is the indoor playground? If you live somewhere with tough winters take into account that you might want to go frequently in the winter when you’re unable to play outside.

Finances

Think beyond income vs. daycare costs.  Additional costs of working would be commute (time/gas), health insurance costs, take out food costs.  Keep the income loss amount in perspective.  Take home salary is usually about a third less than your actual salary (in the US at least).

When and how and/or if you will reenter the workforce?

I have probably edited my plan several dozen times, but even if it changes, there should be a plan.  Think about when you would go back, after the youngest is in elementary school?  Only a year?  Then, think about how to reenter the workforce.  Keep your resume updated, if possible, do volunteer or part time work in your field, and keep up with networking connections.

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Me trying to work with my ‘napping’ newborn.

After all these different factors have been thought out, which are you leaning towards?  If you are leaning even slightly towards one or the other, you know your answer.  It’s never easy, but often times the decision is simple after working it out.  What will it be for you?

Cleaning Pooperwear – Potty Training Series

So you have a toddler in the underwears. Hurrah!  Sorta. Welcome to possibly the beginning of a lot of, literally, shitty days. Side note, these Gerber underwear are a little thicker and can hold things in a little better, which can be the difference between wet pants and a pool in your child’s shoes if it’s not a major accident. Check them out!  Here is my step by step guide to “easy” underwear poop cleaning.

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O.K. Step 1: Prepare for it to get messy. Invest in rubber gloves dedicated for potty training.

Step 2: Pull down pants, it’s probably gonna go down the legs. No matter what ya do.

Step 3:  Put clothing aside, wipe kid down.

Step 4: Now time to deal with the clothes.  So usually, it’s just in the underwear, sometimes it gets on the pants if your unlucky, hang in there.  You’ll get through this!  Bring it to the toilet (wear the special designated gloves!!) and reverse the underwear, letting what will, fall into the toilet. I use a wipe to get off anything that’s stuck but if toilet paper works (ours is to fragile) do that!

Step 5: Swish underwear around in the toilet, even crush it against the bowl, flush, repeat.  When it doesn’t completely want to make you die inside to put it in your washer, wring it out and do so.

Step 6: Use oxi and regular detergent in the washing machine ASAP.  If it’s been sitting (maybe this was a poop in public and had to be bagged), then spray some stain remover on the underwear.

You should come out with some clean clothing and be only slightly scarred.  Yay motherhood!

Why Moms Love Target

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Even this girly loves going to Target!

The other day I talked to my newly pregnant girlfriend.  I will be flying out to see her soon and told her I would show her the ropes of where to shop, research baby gear, and suggestions on what she might need/want for when baby arrives.  I told her I would be staying near Target, which will be great because it’s like a Moms second home.  Her response was, “Eh, I only go there a couple times a year, besides why would you go there when you have Amazon Prime.”  I remember being ambivalent about Target pre-baby also, could that really have been me only a few years ago?  It got me thinking though, what is it about this Red Red store that I, now, can’t live without?

  1. Target Red card and Cartwheel App: Discounts on top of discounts.  It feels like a rollercoaster of savings at this place!  Plus Up and Up Target brand items such as diapers, wipes, and diaper pail bags, cost less than brand name items, yes please!
  2. Tandem carts: There is a serious lack of thought in a lot of stores when it comes to pushing around more than one baby.  It drive me crazy, and crazier still when there’s only one baby in a multi-cart when there are thousands of normal carts and only 2 tandem carts, but that’s another rant for another day.  Bonus, if the babes are in a mood, the way Target carts are designed, they can even be separated so they can’t bite, hit, etc. etc. etc. each other.

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    Kickin it in the side by side cart
  3. Easy returns:  All you need is your RedCard and your item.  Or, if you have the receipt, they just scan the receipt and your card is refunded.  No need to fish around the diaper bag for your one or the other, whichever pops up first is all you need.  Easy, peasy.  
  4. It gets me out of the house:  Let’s face facts, when you’re a SAHM, you could go a long time without leaving the house thanks to Amazon and endless to-dos.  Especially in the newborn stages when it can be overwhelming schlepping the baby and gear out and about, but you can grab those diapers baby needs and it’s a very colorful venue for stimulating mom and baby alike.
  5. In-store Starbucks:  Making this store like a gigantic department store coffee shop, all the Targets I’ve been to have a Starbucks inside.  So grab a latte, sip and slurp as you stroll through the aisles.  A yummy treat while you work those coffee calories off by walking around the massive store.
  6. The all in one shop;  Diapers, hair clips, blenders, cell phone chargers, milk, oh my!  I go in for detergent, meander over to the in-store Starbucks for a little treat, stroll through the dresses and handbags “on my way” to my veiled reason for “swinging by” this magical wonderland of a store to begin with.  I know I can get all these things (that aren’t Target Brand) on Amazon, but there’s something about browsing and picking up these items in person that is better.  You know the size, you know the real color you are getting, and if that doesn’t convince you, refer back to some of my previous reasons.

I still love you Amazon Prime, you have helped me through thick and thin, but Target has been a hangout for me when I haven’t had a destination to go to but needed one.  BFF 4 Eva!  If you don’t believe me on the fun that ensues here, check out this video from WhatsUpMoms