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Everything You Should Know About Transitioning From a Full-Time Career to a Stay-at-Home Mom (SAHM)

June 7, 2021

While transitioning from a full-time career to a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) is the right choice for many women, it requires practical considerations about household management and finances. It might be a good idea to fit in a freelance or part-time job with your new role as a SAHM to aid your family’s finances and keep your resume current. Understanding time management and implementing a workable schedule will be very important in that case. In this article, we will discuss what a SAHM is, how to become one and what jobs they can do to help you decide if transitioning is the right choice for you.

What is a SAHM?

A stay-at-home mom (SAHM) is someone who has left the workforce to look after a new baby, small children or older children that need more of their time and attention. Many SAHMs have had thriving professional careers in a range of industries but have voluntarily decided on a different path that puts their family first.

Unlike a regular office routine, being a SAHM entails coping with constant variations and surprises every day. Here are some duties that make up the role:

  • Cleaning the house
  • Paying the bills
  • Drawing up a household budget
  • Shopping for groceries and other essentials
  • Cooking meals
  • Washing the dishes
  • Doing the laundry
  • Mending and sorting clothes
  • Rearranging and cleaning cupboards
  • Running errands
  • Getting your children to school on time
  • Overseeing your children’s activities
  • Driving your children to and from extracurricular activities
  • Helping your children with their schoolwork
  • Meeting with other SAHMs to arrange playtime and other activities
  • Tending to sick children
  • Tending to scrapes, cuts and bruises
  • Handling emergencies
  • Breaking up fights and arguments
  • Trimming the garden
  • Walking the dog or taking care of other pets, if you have them
  • Fixing the plumbing
  • Changing light bulbs

As you can see, being a SAHM takes a lot of work. Managing a household takes as much time and energy as a full-time job, but you do not receive a salary. However, it is rewarding work, and it is worth the effort to watch your children grow.

Related: Time Management Skills: Definition and Examples

How to transition to being a SAHM

Once you have made the transition to being a SAHM, prepare well in advance of making the change. Here are some steps you can take to effectively transition with ease.

  1. Prepare during maternity leave.
  2. Try part-time or remote work.
  3. Take extended parental leave.
  4. Build a supportive network.
  5. Discuss everything with your partner.

1. Prepare during maternity leave

Being at home during maternity leave should give you a good idea of what you can look forward to as a SAHM. It can be very helpful to plan out a long-term routine that covers everything you will do from the moment you wake up to when you go to bed at night. List your new baby’s needs down to the smallest detail. List all the household tasks. Once you have completed those steps, create a to-do list by order of importance and do a trial run to see how you cope.

2. Try part-time or remote work

Although you are giving up a full-time position, you don’t have to give up your career entirely. There are many part-time and remote jobs that you can do while still keeping up with your SAHM duties, such as writing or tutoring. The work experience will look good on your resume if you return to full-time employment. Even if you remain a SAHM, working on the side can help you stay knowledgeable in your field and give you a needed break from your household responsibilities.

Related: 10 Best Skills To Include on a Resume

3. Take extended parental leave

Being around your children all day and catering to their needs will take some adjustment. Try taking an extended parental leave from your job to see how you can manage it. If you feel overwhelmed at first, take a deep breath and try to relax. It will get easier as you gain more experience, and you will soon adapt and grow accustomed to the unpredictable nature of being a SAHM. Set yourself up for efficiency and functionality rather than perfection.

Related: Q&A: What Is a Sabbatical?

4. Build a supportive network

It is important to surround yourself with friends and family as you transition to being a SAHM, but it is also beneficial to build a support network. This can be an online network and an offline one. There are many online resources—websites, social media, blogs, groups—to inspire and help you. However, offline networks may be better to get some real interaction with people. Look up stay-at-home mom groups in your city and go to their weekly meetings. You will make new friends and pick up many useful tips. It may surprise you how similar your situation is to other moms in your area.

5. Discuss everything with your partner

Don’t leave your full-time career until you have discussed it with your partner. The transition will involve many life and household changes that will impact them. When you both work and earn salaries, it is normal to split up the domestic and child-rearing tasks. As a stay-at-home mom, you may have to shoulder more of these responsibilities. Define what each of you will handle. Plan so you are both better prepared to manage the transition and your mutual expectations. 

Jobs for SAHMs

Here are some part-time and remote jobs to consider once you have transitioned to being a SAHM:

National average salary: $17.56 per hour

Primary duties: A graphic designer works for an art director, company or client to create print and digital visual content. By incorporating images, colors, fonts and text, they design logos, create illustrations and prepare layouts. They transform data and ideas into graphic designs for advertisements, publications, films, packaging, websites, apps, newsletters and more.

Requirements: A graphic designer must be creative and computer literate. They must have a strong portfolio of specialized or wide-ranging graphic design work. Many graphic designers have a bachelor’s degree, a certification or informal training in graphic design.

National average salary: $21.43 per hour

Primary duties: An online tutor works one-on-one over the Internet with school or college-level students to advance their academic learning. They personalize the lessons to make them easy to grasp for the individual student and counsel them on developing better study habits. They also help them review class study materials and assignments.

Requirements: An online tutor must be computer literate, well-organized and have excellent communication skills. They must also possess a high level of emotional intelligence to understand and motivate their students. Online tutors may have a high school diploma, an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree or certification. They may have specialized in languages, science, social sciences, engineering, business or various other subjects.

National average salary: $22.38 per hour

Primary duties: A web designer designs and builds user-friendly websites for businesses, government agencies and individuals for a range of purposes. They usually know several programming languages, have a good sense of design and can incorporate diverse and specialized elements to create a cohesive, functional website. They also test finalized websites on different browsers and optimize them for mobile usage.

Requirements: A web designer may have a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s degree or a certification in web design, graphic design or computer programming. Some web designers are self-taught. Since computer technology keeps evolving, web designers have to update their skills periodically.

National average salary: $48,354 per year

Primary duties: A marketing specialist plans, develops and executes marketing campaigns for businesses, organizations and individual customers. They usually collaborate with a marketing team to promote a brand, increase sales and win projects. They complete marketing research and competitive analysis, work on ensuring consistent branding and lead generation and manage promotions on websites and social media. They may also handle press releases and press interactions.

Requirements: A marketing specialist must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. They must also have a strong capacity for data analysis. Many of them have a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree in marketing, communications, journalism, advertising, public relations or graphic design.

National average salary: $24.00 per hour

Primary duties: A writer works for individuals, businesses, organizations, institutes, publications, publishing houses, news media, government agencies and various other clients. They research and write articles, blogs, web content, advertisements, slogans, technical documents, manuals, guides, brochures, books, screenplays, reviews and more. Some writers also do editing and proofreading work.

Requirements: A writer must have excellent writing, research and editing skills. They must be creative, well-organized and computer literate, and they must be able to manage their time well. Since they usually work with diverse people, it is essential to have decent communication skills. Writers come from many fields and may have a high school diploma, an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree or certification. For specialized work like medical or technical writing, it may be necessary to have a degree or certification in that specialization.

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