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Stay at home mom is a term that is familiar to us. This is a threshold that every mother has lingered around for a bit, before deciding to enter it or not.
SAHM (Stay at Home Mom): A word that you use for a profession that requires you to work full time, with no holidays and vacations, with no pay checks, but abundant rewards that fill your heart and soul!
Are you a SAHM, or planning to be one? Here’s a little extract from my life that helped me take the life-changing decision to be a SAHM. To quit your career, to be a SAHM is never an easy option from the point of view of finances, career and a lot more. Let’s get practical and ask these questions to ourself before jumping into a decision.
Of course, the first major question for everyone is about the finances. Can your family survive on a single income for a year or two or forever, depending on how long you plan to be a SAHM. Would it be practically possible to manage? Make a budget for the coming years including the daily grocery, car and home loans, vacations to everything you might possibly face. Never forget to give way for the unexpected health and emergency funds too.
From my life: As for now, my husband earns enough to keep our small family happy and sound. But as for the long term goals, I do realize I need to get back to work in less than 2 to 3 years time.
If you have had a successful career until then, with a positive graph, how would it be affected after opting to be a stay at home mom? Let’s face it. It’s not going to be just a dip in the graph, but a long gap that touches the zero line. What you need to consider is, once you decide to return to work, would you be able to start from where you left of? It’s not practically possible. But would you be required to start from scratch all over again? The answer to this question depends on the profession you are in.
From my life: I had worked till the last day before I had my bundle of joy in my hands. And after a period of four months of maternity leave I joined back at work. Thank god, I had my mother who had come over to help us and take care of my little one. But since that was not a permanent option for us, I decided to quit after working for 3 months. And moreover, once my little boy started moving around, I couldn’t afford to miss a single moment from the first beautiful years of his life.
As for my career, I had a positive and ever growing graph until then. I do realize, it’s a big gap that lies ahead. Though I still keep getting good offers, it is not going to be the same once I decide to return to work. But I am trying my level best to keep track of the industry and the daily changing trends.
We have all had those career goals. Being a SAHM for a certain period does not mean you are dropping all those goals you had. Although, it’s a fact that, when you join back, you have to compete with people who are much younger than you with fresh industry knowledge and skills.
From my Life: This may well not be the solution to it, but make use of the time you stay at home. Join a Distance Education program to complete your Masters or a course that would offer you an upper hand in the job market. That’s my plan as of now. Finding time to study during your stay-at-home period would be more challenging than you think it is.
Going to work is not just a part of our career and finance requirements; it is also a way to know the world, mingle and socialize. Once you decide to stay home with kids, it becomes more difficult to meet your old colleagues and friends as most of your time gets tied up managing home.
From my life: I was never a smart phone person, until I quit my job. Now, I am more active on my Facebook, FB groups and forums, blogger networks and lots more of networking that I could manage to do through my phone. I would never have thought of returning to my life as a blogger, if I hadn’t quit my job. Blogging is what liberates me and my window to the world.
If you were to be a working mom, you would have needed a maid, baby sitter, care taker or your parents to take care of your home and kids. But when you are left to being a SAHM, would you still be able to afford it? Most of the time you decide to manage it yourself. But how difficult would it be?
From my life: I decided to do it all myself.
Many a times, a major emotional set back to being a SAHM is women tend to compromise on their level of self-confidence. While at a family gathering, or a party, when someone asks, what you do, you end up answering, ‘I am a housewife!’ Does this question ever bother you or your self esteem?
From my life: I face this question every other day. To add to it, I am also given advice on how miserable my life would get later on when I decide to get back to work and I do not find one! Some of them ask me, Why don’t you send him to a play school or hire a baby sitter? The only answer I have for myself is, I didn’t do it for him. I did it for myself.
One of the most important considerations, once you decide to be SAHM and your family converts itself to be a single income family, is how would the daddy of the home be affected? The most important person who is going to affect your decision to be a SAHM, both financially and emotionally is your husband.
From my life: He’s my biggest support and the pillar of strength for all my dreams and aspirations. He’s the one who keeps the spirit alive inside me.
Yes. Is this decision to be a SAHM, forever? Or how many years do you plan to be on the career break?
From my life: As for now, I want my boy to grow up to be able to tell me anything that happens in his life. I am waiting for him to reach the age when he would be able to communicate with us about anything good or bad that happens when we are not around!
If you decide to be a SAHM when your first bundle of joy arrives, when do you plan your next kid? Do you have such a plan? If you want to get back to work after your first kid grows up, what about the second one? Do you plan another career break? How would your career be affected in that case?
From my life: On a very frank note, I haven’t given it a thought!
With all the above questions in mind before you jump to a conclusion, make sure you don’t have a single regret about it.
From my life: Almost an year into being a SAHM, I don’t have even the slightest pang of regret about it.
I am lucky to be a Stay at Home Mom!
First published at author’s blog
Image of a mother and child via Shutterstock
Bilna Sandeep is a Civil Engineer by profession who is currently on a career break
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