One of the most heart wrenching moments for most working moms is that day when you have to return to your job after maternity, leaving your baby at a daycare. Ugh! (insert scream here). It does not matter if it is your first baby or your fifth baby, going back to work at that moment can be downright agonizing. Besides, being home healing from the delivery process and caring for your newborn baby can provide a much needed escape from your work environment. Who could not get use to 6-8 weeks at home (hopefully WITH pay)? Nice, right? That is a BIG DEAL in itself, but the bigger deal is that you get to be THERE for your child. THERE to take them to their doctors’ appointments, THERE to feed them, THERE to rock them to sleep, THERE to watch them laugh, etc. You get my point, right?
Deciding whether or not to work outside the home is a huge decision. In fact, it’s one of the most challenging decisions you may ever have to make. I have once before gone through the difficult process of making the decision to stay at home, and have also counseled with several women as they have toiled over making the same decision. I’m not naive. I know that this is a touchy issue among women. I am not here to debate either side. As a mom, I have both stayed at home and worked outside the home full-time. I can tell you that neither is easy. I choose not to judge either woman by their decision as to whether or not they work outside their home. I know great moms that stay at home and great moms that don’t. Ok, now that we have that cleared up, here are some factors to look at when determining if you will stay home.
Choice– I heard a great quote that says, “Life is choice driven. You live and die by the choices you make.” So true! Life is full of choices. Every choice has a price that you should evaluate upfront, and determine if you are willing to pay it. What price will you pay if you work inside the home full-time? Will it cost you a lessened household income that you feel would be financially detrimental right now? If so, are you willing to pay the price to restructure your budget, cut out some two income luxuries, and set new financial priorities? Are you willing to pay the price of discipline to pay down debt? NOTE: Deciding to stay home does NOT mean you have to take an oath of poverty. Remember, YOUR thinking determines YOUR living. Who says you will have to struggle to stay afloat just because you are not working outside the home full-time? Even if someone else experienced at financial struggle when they left their job doesn’t mean that you will. Sure, challenges will come, but challenges come when you work outside the home, too! You have to trust God and walk by faith either way. Put a comprehensive financial plan in place and work the plan.
Agreement– Does your spouse agree that you being home is the right thing to do right now? If he doesn’t agree, don’t do it! Coming home without his agreement will only irritate him and put you in a position to have to constantly prove yourself to him. Agreement gives you creative power! You can accomplish more if you are on the same team than if you are fighting against each other. If your spouse does not agree right now, WAIT prayerfully and abstain from constant nagging and complaining about it. Search for creative ways to demonstrate to him how much more enhanced your lives would be if you were home.
Prepare– Make a plan for a smooth transition. Maybe the time isn’t right for you to be home right now, but it is more advantageous to do it in the near future. Create a plan that you can work towards. Will you transition into part time work before coming home full-time? Will you run a home based business? If so, what steps can you take now to get that set up so that the transition home will be easy? In most cases, coming home isn’t something you want to do suddenly. You must prepare. Preparation days are never wasted days!
Purpose– What will be your purpose for being home? Defining your purpose or compelling reason why you are home will help you stick it out for the long haul. How long will you be home? Is it until the kids get a certain age or grade? What are your spouse’s expectations of you? Have a REAL talk about this one. There are lots of myths about being at home. Read my blog on the Top 4 Myths About Stay at Home Moms. It will help you set some realistic goals and expectations.
Supermom Tip– Are you thinking about making the transition to become a stay at home mom? Don’t make an emotional decision. When the emotion wears off, you will still have to live with your decision. Pray about it. Talk about it. Research it. Decisions like this take time. Don’t rush into it.
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