how to be a stay at home mom

How to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom in 5 Simple Steps [2024]

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So, you’ve decided to stay home and take on the challenge of being a stay-at-home mom. Congratulations!

Your days will be filled with laughter, tears, and everything in between as you shape the lives of your little ones and juggle a new way of life. Rest assured, this roller coaster ride called stay-at-home motherhood is going to be a fulfilling and enjoyable experience.

As a dedicated stay-at-home mom, the general idea is that you’ll have a lot of time and opportunity to create a loving and nurturing environment for your partner and children while managing the household. You might be wondering how to juggle it all – don’t worry, I’ll provide you with some helpful tips and tricks to make this journey as smooth as possible!

how to be a stay at home mom - tips

Keep your sense of humor handy, because laughter is truly the best medicine when navigating the ups and downs of stay-at-home parenthood!

Try to remember: you’re not alone. In the USA approximately 18% of parents (including dads) consider themselves stay-at-home parents. There’s a whole community of stay-at-home moms out there, ready to support and guide you through the ups and downs of this exciting new chapter in your life.

How to be a stay-at-home mom – before we begin …

mother playing with her toddler

Try to come to terms with the main reason you have decided to become a stay-at-home mom.

In other words your ‘WHY’.

Being a stay-at-home mom is not always the easy route – it can place more financial stress on one income for the family, a change in identity, or a steep learning curve as you tackle new household schedules.

Moms choose this life for their families for a multitude of different reasons.

It may be that you were a working mom with a stressful career and burned out, or you resented spending too much time away from your children. Perhaps this was always a dream – being a homemaker and mom was your vision all along. Some women have a baby and discover that childcare costs skyrocket and actually, one parent working and the other staying at home to care for children is a savvy financial decision for their families.

Whatever your why, keep it in the back of your head as you approach this exciting new chapter in your life.

1. Set the stage for success

Think about your family’s finances

Before taking this leap, you will need to assess whether your family can transition to a single income. This involves careful planning and understanding the financial implications of one of you not earning income while still managing a household full of duties.

Start by reviewing your current expenses and income to create a comprehensive budget. Here’s a simplified breakdown to help you visualize what costs you might expect to pay when adding a little one to your family:

Baby essentialsEstimated cost
Formula (if not breastfeeding)$70-150/month
Childcare (if part-time needed)$400-1000/month
Miscellaneous (toys, books, etc.)$20-40/month

Keep in mind that these are just estimates and can vary based on location, school, lifestyle, and personal circumstances.

As you plan your finances, consider all aspects of your current spending and look for areas where adjustments can be made. Perhaps there are subscriptions you can do without, or maybe switching to bulk buying can reduce monthly expenses? Every little bit helps make managing a single income a bit easier.

Create an emergency fund

In order to give yourself the best chance at success, make sure you have a healthy emergency fund before you try living off a single income.

Even if your partner works, life has a way of hitting us when we are down, so an emergency money fund can protect you and your family from the unexpected expensive life issues that arise.

Master time management

You’ve probably heard this one before, but time management is crucial for stay-at-home moms. Start by prioritizing your tasks and establishing a daily schedule and routine. Follow a morning routine that sets the tone for the day, like saying positive affirmations, or enjoying breakfast with your husband and the kids.

While it may be tempting to tackle everything at once, don’t be afraid to delegate or postpone chores. In the wise words of Scarlett O’Hara, “Tomorrow is another day!”

Focus on balancing your time between household tasks, your children’s needs, your own schedule, financial goals, and maintaining your sanity.

You may find a household planner comes in handy here – check out my Home management folder for busy moms packed with everything a stay at home mom needs to manage her household!

Image of a book called Plan, Save Eat - a meal planner for busy moms.

Likewise, a meal planner can be a huge help when planning the week. My book Plan Save Eat: A 6 month family meal planning notebook for busy mums on a budget helps plan go-to meals, grocery shopping, after school snacks and much more.

Find your funny bone

Laughter really is the best medicine, and for many parents sometimes this is the only sane option!

All moms know only too well what sleep deprivation can do to our fraying nerves but my little tip is to try to see the humour in everything where possible.

Don’t forget: we never get those early years back, and they are gone in a flash. Embrace the humor in the pure chaos – kids say the funniest things and their antics can be hilariously entertaining.

2. Think about your parenting style

A mother sitting on a bench talking to her school ages boy while holding her young baby daughter.

Develop a playful parenting style

As a stay-at-home mom, mastering a playful parenting style can help you build a bond with your little ones while also making everyday tasks more enjoyable. Don’t be afraid to get down on their level and engage your kids in games or silly antics. Remember, you are their favorite audience and playmate.

You will spend a lot of time with your children so really embrace being a huge part of their lives. trust me – knowing you can make your children laugh is just awesome!

Some ideas for playful parenting include:

  • Develop your own little signals or phrases that only you and your kids know.

  • Make a game out of chores (e.g., see who can pick up toys faster). Use a chore chart so everyone is sharing their tasks.

  • Use funny voices when reading to or teaching your child.

  • Join in on their imaginative playtime.

Prevent sibling squabbles

Sibling rivalry between children is inevitable, but you can curb the frequency and intensity by taking a proactive approach.

Establish clear and fair rules for all children, and help them develop empathy towards each other’s feelings. Encourage them to find collaborative solutions to conflicts rather than stepping in immediately.

Here are some great tips for preventing sibling squabbles:

  • Provide each child with one-on-one time with you.

  • Encourage them to share their feelings and listen to each other.

  • Set specific consequences for arguing and fighting.

Handle toddler meltdowns by staying calm

a mother comforting her baby as he has a tantrum by holding him close and embracing

No one enjoys witnessing a toddler tantrum, but as a stay-at-home mom, you’re bound to experience more than your fair share!

Instead of getting frustrated, consider the following strategy (source: Mayo Clinic) :

  • Stay calm and present during the tantrum.

  • Remember that tantrums are a normal part of a child’s development and that they are expressing frustration or anger about their limitations or inability to get their way.

  • The best way to calm a toddler having a tantrum is to stay calm yourself.

  • Remind yourself that the tantrum will end, and that this is a normal part of growing up and learning to deal with difficult emotions.

As a mom, dealing with tantrums is a very complex issue – how do you not validate the behavior but on the flip side not get angry too?

I find the best thing to do is to allow my toddler to calm themselves somewhere quiet at home (not as a punishment) and then, when they are ready, come to me for cuddles so they know I am their safe place to express themselves.

3. Mommy maintenance and self-care

Make time for fitness

You’d think it would be easy to find time to exercise as a stay-at-home mom!

But when you factor in a busy schedule filled with household chores, from taking kids to clubs, school events and play dates, planning and cooking meals, plus all of the other expectations of a stay-at-home mom, self-care often finds itself at the bottom of the list.

One of the best tips I can give you is to find a friend to be accountable to, or even better attend a gym or workout class with. This will add structure to your week plus combine social and physical wellness.

Prioritize mental health

Your mental well-being is just as vital as your physical health. Set aside some time every day for a little self-care—think meditation, journaling, or simply enjoying a cup of tea in peace.

Writing every day in a simple gratitude journal can be extremely therapeutic plus it is good practice to take the time to think about all the aspects of our lives we can be grateful for.

Book cover: Find the courage to be anxiety free - coping skills and tips for busy moms and women wanting a positive mindset

Likewise, women who struggle with anxiety can find journalling very productive – ‘Find the Courage to be Anxiety Free‘ is packed with coping skills and tips for women for a positive mindset plus a 365-day anxiety and mental health action planner journal.

Meditating for just 5-10 minutes can help calm your mind and take you away from those everyday stressors for a while. Remember that a happy, healthy mom makes for a happy, healthy family!

Find your tribe

Connecting with other stay-at-home moms can be an excellent way to find support, share experiences, and even develop new friends.

Join playgroups, attend local community events, or even connect with other moms online through social media or mom groups. Laughter and camaraderie can go a long way toward brightening up your day!

Always remember that taking time for yourself, enjoying a good laugh, and nurturing meaningful relationships are essential for maintaining your overall well-being as a stay-at-home mom.

Consider your work options

A woman's hands typing on a laptop

Being a stay-at-home mom doesn’t mean that you can’t be a working mom too and earn supplemental income. If it suits your family’s circumstances and you want extra income then consider becoming a mompreneur!

There are plenty of pros and cons to owning your own business but many moms are embracing entrepreneurship:

  • Flexible schedule

  • Creative freedom

  • Personal growth

  • Two incomes in the household

how to balance work and family as a mom

Stuck for ideas? Check out my post: 27 Business Ideas For Stay-at-Home Moms for ideas such as online jobs, face-to-face businesses, and teaching roles.

4. Fun family activities and bonding

A mother sits on the floor surrounded by 4 children listening to her reading aloud a book to them.

As a stay-at-home mom, realize you might sometimes feel overwhelmed with daily household chores and responsibilities. Don’t worry! I’ve got some fantastic ideas to spice up your family life and nurture strong bonds with your loved ones while staying home.

Create fun home traditions

One way to make your family bonds stronger is by establishing your own unique, fun-filled traditions. Let your creative juices flow as you embarrass the kids (in a good way) with silly annual events. Just imagine the delight on their faces as you:

  • Organize an indoor Olympics with games like sock basketball and pillowcase races

  • Throw a yearly summer water-balloon battle in your backyard

  • Create a special family theme night, like a costume dinner or a home movie marathon

Remember that the key to creating unforgettable traditions is to involve every family member, no matter how old or young they are!

Hold game nights

Now, don’t get us wrong: playing video games together can be great fun. But why not take the bonding experience up a notch? Bring on the good old board games, card games or even:

Good old-fashioned charades.

Make game nights a regular family activity: stay home and watch as friendly rivalry brings everyone closer together. A bonus is that problem-solving games are fantastic for young developing brains!

Laughing at Dad as he flounders through a game of Twister or watching the kids try to outsmart one another in Scrabble will undoubtedly leave everyone with cherished memories – and sore tummies from laughter!

Weekend getaways

Spontaneous weekend excursions can add to your family experience. Plan surprise trips to places you’ve never been before or:

Visit a local quirky or unconventional attraction like a “haunted” house or a pancake-making museum.

These little adventures will break up daily home life, creating unforgettable memories along the way. Plus, you’ll all return home brimming with fun stories to share!

Incorporating these entertaining ideas and quality time into your family’s routine will undoubtedly lead to stronger connections and enriched experiences for everyone.

5. Deal with outside negativity

A group of moms and their toddlers sitting in a circle engaged in an activity lead by the group leader.

Coping with judgment and criticism

Some people, including working moms, might share their unwanted opinions about your decision to be a stay-at-home mom. (These are the same people who criticize stay at home dads too!) Let’s break down how to tackle these judgy folks.

Connect with other moms, whether in-person or through online support groups. These supportive communities of parents can provide a safe space for venting, sharing experiences, and seeking advice.

When it comes to handling criticism from others, try responding with a sense of humor.

Often people, including other moms, criticize mothers’ choices because they don’t understand them or are jealous. Either way, it’s not your problem, it’s theirs!

Combatting stay-at-home mom stereotypes

I love debunking parenting myths!

3 mums look happy as they cradle their newborns

Let’s tackle some common stereotypes:

Myth #1: Stay-at-home moms have it easy.

Bust this misconception with reality: managing a household, caring for children, and juggling personal responsibilities is a full-time job. Remind them that parenting is not a vacation—all while winking and sipping that coffee, of course.

Myth #2: All stay-at-home moms are the same.

Challenge this stereotype by highlighting your unique skills and interests. Share your hobbies, educational background, or work experiences that make you one-of-a-kind. Parenting is not one-size-fits-all; every stay-at-home mom’s journey is different!

Myth #3: Stay-at-home moms don’t contribute to their family’s income.

Showcase your economic savvy by explaining the costs you save on childcare, transportation, and other work-related expenses. Don’t forget to mention any side hustles or part-time work you might do from home!

Being a stay-at-home mom is awesome!

Well, my fellow stay-at-home parent, we’ve reached the end of our informational journey! After reading this article, you should be armed with all the tips and tricks necessary to conquer the SAHM battlefield.

So, let’s have a quick recap:

  • When it comes to juggling childcare, housework, and those rare moments of “me time,” remember to prioritize and set realistic expectations. Know that it’s okay if you can’t do everything.
  • Embrace your organizational skills, and don’t be afraid to rely on your trusty calendar, lists, or even an online SAHM community for support.
  • Keep the communication channels open and establish a solid partnership with your child, partner (or significant other) because, after all, you’re in this together.
  • Your social life is still alive, so don’t hesitate to seek out and nurture friendships with other like-minded stay-at-home parents.
  • Take a moment to celebrate your decision to become a stay-at-home mom (or parent), and remember this gig comes with its own perks and challenges, just like your day job or any other job.

So, grasp that hard-earned title, and wear it proudly!

Final thoughts

I went from working a grueling shift working pattern to suddenly finding myself a stay-at-home mom. Sure there are huge benefits – I am always available to support my husband and children (and vice versa) and I feel so lucky to be able to spend so much time with them.

But I certainly needed something just for me which is why I chose to become a mompreneur! It’s the best decision I ever made and I love the life we have made!

How to be a SAHM FAQ’s

There is no set income requirement for being a stay-at-home mom as it depends on various factors such as your lifestyle, expenses, and financial goals.

To start being a stay-at-home mom, you can begin by evaluating your finances, setting a budget, and creating a routine that works for you and your family. You may also need to consider adjusting your career goals and communicating with your partner or spouse about your decision.

A stay-at-home mom typically does not receive a salary or income, as they are not working outside of the home. However, they may be eligible for certain tax credits and deductions based on their household income and expenses.

As a stay-at-home mom, you may be eligible for benefits such as child tax credits, child benefit payments, and other forms of financial assistance. It is important to check with your local government and social services to determine your eligibility and to learn more about the available benefits.

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