After our second child was born I decided to quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom. Since then several women have told me they have hopes of being a Stay-At-Home mom one day and wanted to know how we were able to make it work financially. In hopes of empowering other families with the freedom to make this choice I am sharing some of the steps we took.
So here it is! Four steps to consider that will help you prepare for being a stay-at-home mom one day. There are certainly many ways to make this happen but here are the steps we took. I hope it helps!
1. Keep your options open.
Motherhood is such a wonderful and exhausting experience. As much as you try to anticipate what it will be like, there is no way to predict how you will feel once you become a mother. Keeping this in mind, the best thing you can do is give yourself options. Continue working full time, working part time, or be a stay-at-home mom…it is hard to predict what the right balance will be for your family until you are living it! My best advice is to put yourself in a position that will make all three a realistic option. This will give you freedom to be the type of mother you want to be and not feel trapped.
Two years before getting pregnant with our first child I intentionally took a job with a small company and planned on making myself a valuable employee to later ask for a more flexible schedule. After having our first son I was able to go back three days a week. Options!
2. Don’t increase your lifestyle with your increased income.
Hopefully as the years pass you and your spouse are in careers that will continue to grow in opportunity and pay. Most people who make more money, spend more money. It’s hard to fight that natural inclination. This vicious cycle stops you from getting ahead or creating a buffer for a lifestyle change later on such as cutting back on hours or going down to one income.
When we were shopping for our first home we mocked up a budget based on my husbands salary only and bought a house we could afford on his salary. We did this to leave room in our finances for me to stop working if I wanted to and if not we would get ahead on paying off our mortgage. That’s a win-win! We also made the commitment to not have car payments. We have an ongoing savings account for a car because we plan to always buy our vehicles with cash. When it was time to buy a kid friendly vehicle we bought a used SUV and paid cash. Our second vehicle is a 2006 Chevy cobalt that has been paid off for like 8 years.
3. Pay off debt ASAP!
It is hard to reach any level of financial freedom until you pay off your debt. The best thing you can do to reach financial freedom for your family is to pay off debt as quickly as possible. We paid off over $100k in debt in 5 years. Before we had children we had two full time incomes and we put every extra penny down on debt. We held our expenses steady for 5 years as our salaries increased. We kept only the bare minimum in the bank for emergencies. Crush that debt immediately and everything will be easier sooner. If you don’t have kids yet you should use this time to pay off credit cards, student loans, car loans etc. This will give you options later. If you already have kids, start now!
4. Get on the same page and stay there.
Obviously, it is important for you and your spouse to be on the same page when it comes to planning for your future. There needs to be a commitment and dedication from both spouses to create a plan and stick to it. This is not something you can do on your own or figure out when you get there. If you want to have a smooth transition that will not send your family into financial distress, now is the time to get on the same page. It would also be unfair to blindside your partner down the road with your desire to be a stay-at-home mom when your lifestyle is not set up for it. Stress city!
Jordan and I always hoped this would be an option one day. We made it a part of our plan every step of the way. BUT I always told him that we would do the best we could and if it didn’t work I would gladly do what was best for our family. Keep in mind that you need to be gracious towards each other without placing blame or pressure on each other.
People often ask me if I miss working, especially because I loved my job and I was really nervous to give it up. Surprisingly, I do not miss it at all. I feel so free to make my family my first priority and I don’t have to worry about checking my email or stressing over an upcoming meeting. Every now and then when I’m taking my kids to the park or to the museum in the middle of the week I feel guilty like I am playing hooky!
Being a stay-at-home mom is challenging because it forces me to be more selfless and humble. I serve others all day with my needs coming last. It isn’t easy but I consider it a great blessing. It is yet another way that God is molding me and shaping me to be more like Him.
And guys, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that my husband has been planning for this long before I was. When he was studying in school and choosing his career path, he didn’t base it on his personal interests, but on a steady career path that would provide for his future wife and kids. He has been putting us above himself before he even knew us. Thank you God for this selfless man!
Staying home with our kids has been a huge blessing for our family and if you desire to be a stay-at-home mom I hope you are able to do it one day too!