There was never a doubt in my mind that I would be a stay-at-home mom. Oh, I prepared for a career, but once my babies arrived, I knew I wanted to be with them 24/7.
But our hopes and our dreams are not always reality. And when my first baby arrived in June 2008, staying at home was not a choice. My husband was in seminary at the time, and I was supporting our family.
It wasn’t that we could barely afford for me to stay at home. We couldn’t survive at all without me working.
I’ll never forget leaving my 6-week-old newborn in her swing the first morning I left for work. My friend Lexie had come over to watch her. And saying goodbye to my sweet little babe tore at my heart.
I ended up working until my baby was 6 months old. I then attended classes during a missionary training from the time she was 7-9 months old.
Even though we knew it would be short-term when I went back to work, it still wasn’t easy. I will never get those first few months of my little girl’s life back.
But I purposely chose to focus on the positives during that time. And I don’t look back with regret, but I think about all God taught me–and how He provided for our family.
Perhaps my situation will help you. Are you a working mom that would much rather stay at home? Do you know any friends or family that work outside the home that you can share this post with as an encouragement to them?
5 Blessings From My Time as a Working Mom Who Wanted to Stay at Home
1. When I was a working mom, God enriched my life with co-worker friendships.
Although I’d sometimes choke down tears while driving to the school where I taught ESL, once I arrived I would be greeted by some of the most amazing, godly co-workers. In fact, one morning per week a small group of us would gather before school and pray for each other, our families and our students.
It was really a sweet, sweet time, as the next year we would all scatter–some to other states and two to other parts of the world as missionaries. No, I’ll never get the time with my daughter back–but I’d also never trade that time I had with Rebecca E., Audie, Leigha, Susan, Mrs. Presly, Rebecca C., Alison and Amber.
These ladies were and are (although our communication now is minimal) dear, dear friends, and I learned so much from them as we’d encourage each other in God’s Word. I have not found friendships like these since.
The life of a stay-at-home mom can sometimes be lonely. I’m thankful God provided these friendships before I entered the sahm season of my life.
2. When I was a working mom, God provided an amazing babysitter–who became a dear friend.
My husband and I sought out an older woman from our church to keep our daughter. We say it was indeed God orchestrated because the woman–Mrs. Pat–had a granddaughter born the same day as our daughter, yet she lived hours away in another state.
Watching our daughter helped Mrs. Pat see in person the different stages her granddaughter was experiencing at the same time.
Mrs. Pat and I would often sit chatting for close to an hour when I picked up Little Girl. She quickly became a dear, dear friend–and I learned a lot from her unofficial mentorship during that season.
3. When I was a working mom, God allowed my husband to have some daddy-daughter bonding time.
Not many fathers ever get to be stay-at-home dads, but my husband did! He actually kept our daughter in the morning before his classes or part-time job at our church. Sure, I would have rather been with her myself, but I was excited for my husband to have that special time.
4. When I was a working mom and exclusively breastfeeding, God sharpened my will and determination.
One of my fears about going back to work would be that my breastfeeding would end. Not so! In fact, going back to work made me all the more determined to pump enough milk for our time apart and take advantage of breastfeeding as much as possible during our time together.
5. When I was a working mom, I learned that God provides.
Is it how I would have wanted the provision to come at the time? No, probably not. But because we were able to basically survive on my salary alone (which cut our income in half at the time), my husband and I realized later we could indeed make it on his teacher salary and that I could stay at home.
Maybe you’re currently a working mom who wants to stay at home–or will be once your baby arrives? The following tips might help make the transition you are dreading just a little bit smoother:
1. Seek out childcare you and your spouse are comfortable with.
We sought out an individual from our church. We knew we wanted someone who was a Christian and who was only caring for our daughter or 1-2 other children at a time.
Others are able to find a great in-home or even stand alone daycare facility. Some daycare centers are even located within the same building as companies. My husband once taught at a school that included a daycare center on site for teachers’ children.
When our daughter was 7 months old, my husband and I entered a missionary training center for 2 months. During that time, our daughter stayed at an on-site center while we attended classes. The added advantage to this was that I could slip out of class anytime I wanted to nurse or simply check on our baby.
Childcare choices will look different for every family, but it’s key to find one where you feel your child will be comfortable and loved.
2. If you are nursing, make sure you organize your schedule so that your baby has the maximum amount of breastfeeding while at home.
I would breastfeed my baby right before I left for work, and I would breastfeed her again as soon as I arrived at the sitter’s house to pick her up. Occasionally, my husband even brought her to me at work to nurse during my lunch break–on his way to take her to the sitter’s house.
3. Crunch some numbers and make a goal for coming home.
If you dread going to work each day and feel God is calling you to be a stay-at-home mom, pray about it and then sit down with your husband and express that desire. Develop a plan on how you can stay at home and then work toward that goal. You may think you can barely afford it, but often when there is a will, there is a way.
4. If you have a plan in place to come home, remind yourself that this season of being a working mom won’t last forever.
I reminded myself of that fact daily–and before I even knew it, I was a stay-at-home mom.
Are you a working mom who wants to stay at home? How have you coped with being a working mom who would rather be at home? What are some steps you can take–or encourage your friends to take–to become a stay at home mom?
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This book can help you lower your food budget–which can, in turn, help you afford to be a stay-at-home mom.
*Note: This post is not to put down working mothers. Some of my best friends are working moms. Rather, this post is to encourage working moms would desire to stay at home.
collage image of working mom by mirimcfly
Don’t miss a post in this series!
- Transitioning from Stay-at-Home Wife to Stay-at-Home Mom
- Being a Stay-at-Home Mom When You Can Barely Afford It
- I’m a SAHM Without a Soul to Call “Friend”