I received a request from a few sweet mama’s to share some bits of advice for a newly SAHM and wanted to bless them (and maybe you, too!) with bits that have really helped me transition from the busy, on-the-go-ALL-DAY-LONG, 1st grade teacher life… to the SAHM (that’s also busy, on-the-go-ALL-DAY-LONG now) life.
This transition was fairly natural to me, but at times felt really slow (especially when C was really little and not super mobile), and when the comparison game would start to creep in, left me feeling like what I was doing at home wasn’t nearly as achieving compared to what everyone else seemed to be doing out in the working world. But- this lie, that the evil one tries to instill in each of us… the lie that we aren’t enough, aren’t measuring up, aren’t doing worthy tasks… couldn’t be further from the truth.
The place that God has you is exactly where you should be. Your work is worthy and what you’re doing where He has you, matters.
Read the truth scattered all across the pages… God’s word tells us that even though we are not enough, Christ IS. He is worthy of all of our praise and all that He has us doing in the season He’s given us. What we are doing, exactly where He has us, really does matter, AND He has a perfect plan for our lives already laid out. Nothing is a surprise to God.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. -Jeremiah 29:11
This verse from Jeremiah was one I held close to my heart after we’d decided I would be staying at home. At first I often had conflicted feelings of the joys of getting to stay home, yet leaving behind my teaching career I had worked so hard to achieve, and my place I had found within an amazing elementary school in an amazing school district that we were very invested in between my teaching and both of our coaching of high school sports. This verse helped me keep my eyes fixed vertically, when my eyes would wander horizontally.
So sweet friend, whether you’re reading this and you’re a working mom, a WFHM, a SAHM, or whatever the label may be… what you’re doing matters and is very important. If God has you there, you’re meant to do good work right where you’re at. Staying at home with our daughter has brought a smaller bank account, but far greater joy in my life than I ever would’ve imagined it bringing.
So with that, here are some ways that eased the transition. Whether you’re a new mom staying home, or a mom of multiples, but newly staying home, I hope these bless you in one way or another:
1. Get into a routine- even at HOME!
This can be difficult. For the working mom, routine was usually found inevitably based on your work schedule. So now, not having to be at X by a certain time or drop the kids off at daycare by that certain time…this can easily create a sense of having more time to get your day going. But, I think one of the greatest things I did was find a solid routine at home, even with a newborn baby. Obviously when their sleep schedules are all out of sorts at first this can be quite difficult. But, once you and your family have adjusted to a “decent” sleep schedule (whatever that means for parents, ha!), begin to form a routine to your day. Having a schedule/routine, like teaching 22 1st grade students, is SO IMPORTANT! Children thrive on routine… and even when they’re little little. It is amazing how they become consciously aware of “what comes next” and “if this happens, then that happens”. For example, when Collins would wake up, begin crying, she became conditioned to having her diaper changed and immediately me feeding her. At bedtime, even when she was a newborn, we created a routine of preparing for bedtime that we still stick to today. And she KNOWS. She knows what comes next. This not only allows her to thrive, but gives you sanity throughout your day that can feel chaotic at times with little ones, and also brings comfort to the child, because they have a sense of this routine and the awareness of what’s next! So- try to be consistent in your day. Schedule breakfast to be around a certain time, have a set time you like to be out and about with your little one(s) before nap times, etc. Of course, you’re going to have days that are slightly off the norm, and that’s okay, but even with those types of days sticking to same eating times or nap times if possible are helpful!
2. Find a community of other SAHM’s!
This was huge for me. Through our church, I was very blessed with a sense of community right away. Being at home can feel isolating at times if you aren’t proactive about it, so I think that it’s important (as hard as it is at times to get out of the house with littles) to get out of the house and do something…have a playdate or go to the park with other moms! Interacting with other adults, even with the interruptions and craziness of having little ones present, will still give you a sense of community in your life while you are at home with your babies. I would recommend joining a women’s bible study for stay-at-home women if your church offers one with childcare. This was amazing to have at our previous church. It was every Tuesday morning at our pastor’s home and a sweet older woman from our church with some teen (homeschooled) helpers would watch the children while the mothers were able to spend time studying God’s word and have adult conversation. The coffee and treats every week were a plus too! 😉 This was just another way that helped with my transition and allowed me to have a strong community of other moms in the same stage of life as I to meet with every week and on other days of the week for playdates and park dates, too! I am really missing that women’s study right now, and it’s a goal of mine this year to find a new bible study to be involved in through our new church. Aside from bible studies, there are other ways to get involved in your community and connect with other SAHM’s. Places like: MOPS, ECFE classes your local school district would offer, swimming lessons, gymnastics, open gyms, music classes, the PARK, other baby-to-toddler classes your local gym or community center might offer, or story time at your local library are all different places where you are sure to find SAHM’s looking to find a sense of community and get their children involved, too! One other place I’ve found a sense of community for SAHM’s is within the blogging world and on the little app, called Instagram. I have connected with so many amazing women who are at home with their babies, and I’ve been inspired and encouraged through many of the women I’ve been able to connect with that I wouldn’t have otherwise in person! This alone does not create a true sense of community, but it is another place where I’ve found fantastic ideas, bits of advice, and inspiration for SAHM’s, too!
3. Take a break!
Although this job looks entirely different than most other jobs, that doesn’t change how busy, exhausting, difficult, and down right just how bad a day can be, like any job. Some days are going to be a breeze. Your babies will be happy all day long, your routine and schedule feels good, and nap times aren’t a fight and last a long time. And then, some days will feel long. Your children won’t feel well (or you might not), they’ll be teething, fighting naps, and your routine feels off all day long. And if you’ve had several of these days in a row, it’s okay to ask for a break! Ask your husband to help out with the nighttime routine that evening, go to the gym during the day and let your kiddos be cared for in the daycare there while you invest in your health for an hour. Go grab a bite to eat with your husband while the grandparents take charge. Have a girls night out with some friends while your husband is on duty. It doesn’t have to be all the time, but take a break. Mom guilt is tough, but God didn’t call you to be a mom filled with guilt. God called you to be a mom who nurtures and loves her children and husband, but sometimes to do that at our very best ability requires us to recharge for an hour or two from time to time. And maybe for you, that daily time in prayer or reading God’s word before your day begins, that workout at home for 30 minutes during a nap time followed by a hot shower (maybe!), or the peaceful cooking and baking prep for dinner or lunch during a nap is all you need.
Whatever it is, find that out and be sure to ask for help and take a break when you need it. There is no time for guilt or shame. Do it for your family and for yourself, then jump back in, refreshed and ready to serve once again.
That’s it! At least these were my top ways that helped with my transition to staying at home. Routine, community, and a little self-care from time to time are important to me and has made staying at home become even more enjoyable and rewarding. I feel blessed to be able to stay at home with Collins, watch her grow, teach her, nurture her, disciple her, and love her. There is no dollar amount that could compare to this job that God has uniquely ordained for me. It is an honor I will cherish my whole life. I pray that these words have met you where you’re at and bless you in your transition, too.
Have a wonderful Tuesday, friend.