Ask any stay-at-home mom (SAHM) what her transition to becoming a SAHM was like, and she will probably tell you it was weird. Or maybe isolating. Perhaps it took a bit of time to fully adjust. Basically, it wasn’t easy.
I myself became a SAHM back in 2017, and have since met countless other SAHMs who echo the same sentiments — it’s a strange transition. One day you’re at a corporate job, setting up meetings and managing projects. The next day you’re changing diapers, having one-way conversations with a baby you recently birthed, managing playdates and a mile-long to-do list. It’s a weird change.
If you find yourself in the midst of the SAHM transition, I’m here to help. Here are five tips for a smooth SAHM transition.
Cut (some) ties with your corporate past.
My first tip for a smooth SAHM transition sounds really harsh, I know. I don’t mean that you should delete your former co-workers from your contact list. But, you won’t be able to be fully present if you’re dreaming about your corporate past.
This may be difficult if you are planning to return to the career you left. For now, silence the notifications for your work email so that it’s not going off all day long. Unsubscribe from that “Top Tip Tuesday” e-mail list. Remind yourself that you are where you are for a reason. Remember that it’s okay if everyone else moves on without you; you’ll catch up when the time is right.
Have flexible expectations.
My second tip for a smooth SAHM transition is to go with the flow. It’s okay to have high expectations of what you think you will accomplish on a given day. But don’t forget that it’s not just you at home; you aren’t alone. Your children are with you. And sometimes your children will need you more than you need to cross items off your to-do list.
So have expectations, but be flexible with them — and kind to yourself about them. There will be days when “nothing gets done.” But in reality, these are the days when a lot gets done when you look back on it. Remember that every day is a new day. And when all else fails, pile that mess you didn’t clean up into a room, close the door, and tackle it another day.
Speak up when you need help.
I used to think that because I was home, I needed to do all the things. Guess what? There’s no trophy for getting it all done by yourself. This doesn’t mean you have to have help on speed dial. My third tip for a smooth SAHM transition is just to speak up.
Having a day where the baby won’t nap and your toddler is clinging to you and your to-do list didn’t get touched? Let your partner know that you need some time to yourself. Gone are the days where the SAHM is in charge of 100% of the household. Chances are, your partner wants to help. Remember to speak up and delegate tasks if you need to.
That first official day where you don’t return to the career you left, do yourself a favor and find something to do. Your mind will continually wander to what could have been, what your colleagues are up to, and everything in between. So my fourth tip for a smooth SAHM transition is to keep yourself busy.
I was previously a teacher, so I scheduled a playdate with a new friend on the first day of school. It helped me take my mind off the things I thought I was “missing out” on. In reality, I was right where I needed to be.
Don’t necessarily overbook every day of the week. But on those days where you want to look back at the life you left behind, take a quick glance and then move forward. Find things to do, explore your city, or meet a new friend. Remember that you are right where you need to be.
Find others like you.
You. Are. Not. Alone. You are not the only SAHM in your area, even though it might feel like it. And honestly, it’s really nice to talk to another SAHM and know that they get where you’re coming from. My final tip for a smooth SAHM transition is to seek out support from other SAHMs like yourself.
This is going to involve stepping out of your comfort zone a little, depending on your personality type. An extrovert might see this as their next exciting challenge. An introvert might see this as quite terrifying. Either way — get out there! A quick search on Facebook can pull up groups based on your state or even the town you live in. We’ve got one for Detroit Mom — you can join it by clicking here.
The transition to the SAHM life is something that you just have to experience. There’s no guidebook or tutorial, but there is help — if you just seek it out. Remember you aren’t alone as a SAHM. Remind yourself you’re right where you need to be. Everything else will fall into place.