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Friday, March 19, 2010

How to become a successful stay at home mom

Quitting our job to become a stay at home mom is a big decision for most of us. There is opportunity cost associated with giving up on our job in order to stay at home and raise our children. We will lose our income and other benefits such as medical insurance and retirement funds by giving up on our job. Our lifestyle will change. In addition, parenting is a challenging job that requires a lot of love, patience and knowledge. We can be both mentally and physically exhausted at the end of the day. Therefore, we have to be ready financially, mentally and physically before transforming ourselves into a stay at home mom.

The following steps will enable us to become a successful stay at home mom:

1. Start planning and savings early

We need to plan financially long before our first child is born. At the time when we are still earning two incomes, we have to set aside our income as much as possible as savings. We will be more financially ready when we quit our job.

2. Be ready to work from home

It is important to pursue interests or hobbies that can be transformed into work long before we plan to stay at home. There are many things that we can do from home that need very little capital and that will bring us income such as writing, designing website, crafting, translating, proofreading, painting, photographing, etc. To be financially more secured we can find ways to work from home. We can conduct work from home when our children are having their nap or while they are in school.

3. Be up to date with our job knowledge and skills

Though we are a stay at home mom, it is wise to find ways to maintain our job knowledge and skills on the career that we leave. By keeping in touch with our ex-colleague, we will be aware of the latest development in our career. We can find resources over the Internet that is useful to update our job knowledge. For professional such as accountants, lawyers, etc., remember to maintain professional membership. When there is a need such as loses of job of our spouse or death of our spouse or divorce, we will be able to return to our career easily. This provides us with safety net.

4. Be mentally ready by reading parenting books, resources, etc and taking parenting class

We have to take care our children by ourselves when our spouse is out for work. It can be hard without the help of our spouse because children can be unpredictable. In order to better equip ourselves for parenting and to help us stay motivated, it is necessary for us to read some materials on parenting. We can find useful parenting materials in bookstores and over the Internet. Through reading, we can get some knowledge on parenting and be more mentally prepared.

5. Be connected with society

Stay connected with society and be aware of what is happening around is very importance for stay at home mom. While staying in touch with your friends, also remember to make new friends. We can get to know other parents by attending school activities, etc. By talking to other parents, we can share parenting experience. By talking to teachers in school, we will know how well our children are doing in school. Do not confine ourselves to home only; we can reach out by doing some volunteer work in school and community. This will make our lives more complete and meaningful.

6. Be organised and set up routine

How to start our day as stay at home mom? We have to plan ahead and be organised. Start making a list or a schedule on the things that we want to do and have to do the night before or earlier. Be realistic and set priority. If we cannot accomplish all the things on our schedule within a day, do not feel disappointed and frustrated. Do not be too hard on ourselves and we have to be flexible in certain situation because our children will not always be listening and following. Therefore, it is importance to make some allowances for disruptions and emergency.

It is importance to introduce routine in order to be more organised. Set the time within a day for our children to play, read, do homework, have nap, etc. Start out small by introducing a routine every two or three weeks. Be simple, realistic, relevance and flexible in setting up routine. In addition, do not give up easily and believe that through our perseverance, we will be able to settling into routine.

7. Remember to ask for help and take rest

Do not try to be super mom or perfect mom, know our limits. Ask for help from our spouse when necessary and do not over stretched ourselves. Take some time off for ourselves during the day to do things that we like or simply take rest to relax our mind and body. During weekend, let our spouse spend more time with our children, this will give us time to rest and re-charged ourselves. It will also allow our spouse to bond with the children, to make up time lost during weekdays. Remember to pamper overselves once a while with luxuries such as massage, facial, spa, manicure, etc.

8. Live frugally

When we choose to stay at home, we are actually living on single income. Therefore, we have to adopt a frugal life style. Try to create a cost saving budget that suits the family. We can try to cut our grocery bills by coupon clipping, bulk purchasing, making meal from scratch, cutting out on junk food, eating left over, etc. We can also cut our utilities bills by using fan and limiting the use of air conditioning during summer time. If we have garden, we can grow our own vegetables. Embracing 'Hand-me-down' and passing down the clothing and toys from our older children to our younger children. Be willing to accept old clothing and toys from relatives and friends. There are many ways to live a frugal life and we have to be creative and persistent in pursuing it.

Being a stay at home mom may need sacrifices especially financially, however if we are well prepared financially, mentally, physically, it can be the most rewarding job for us.

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