The decision to quit your job and become a SAHM isn’t an easy one. (Ditto to every parenting decision you will have to make until the end of time.) But there are things you can do to ease the transition. We checked in with Jennifer Gefsky and Stacey Delo, the cofounder and CEO of mom-resource Après, respectively, and the authors of Your Turn: Careers, Kids, and Comebacks—a Working Mother’s Guide, for some tips. Here, five things they think are essential to-dos for all the stay-at-home moms out there.
1. Don’t Lose Sight of What Motivates You
Even though you aren’t working in an office right now, try to think of what appealed to you about your career in the first place, and try to find that elsewhere. Maybe you love setting budgets. Become PTA treasurer! Maybe you love discussing big ideas with intelligent people. Start a book club! “When you can stay connected with who you were before having kids—what drove you, what made you the happiest and most proud of yourself—it can help you build the life you want no matter if you stay in the workforce or step back,” Gefsky and Delo write.
2. Outsource Something
Some stay-at-home moms, Gefsky and Delo say, feel guilty about outsourcing household tasks without having a nine-to-five office job. But if you’re financially able, it can be a lifesaver, say the duo: “With the preposterous amount of mess children create on a daily basis, you can start to feel like your entire day is spent cleaning up and putting things away. And that weighs on you.” Whether it’s sending out your laundry or hiring a mother’s helper for a few hours a week, this can be a great opportunity to re-prioritize yourself and spend a little time on self-care.
3. Find a Squad
Yes, the whole “squad” thing is a little outdated, but have you ever tried to go from daily adult conversation to 24/7 Daniel Tiger and poop talk? Brutal. The solution? Mom friends you can lean on for support and commiseration. How do you find said squad? Gefsky and Delo suggest local, mom-focused Facebook groups, the Y, church groups or random conversations at the playground. “It feels awkward, but once you open up, you will be pleasantly surprised by how many other parents are looking for the same thing.”
4. Feed Your Brain
Though your main source of cultural content may again stem from Daniel Tiger, you shouldn’t give up on intellectual stimulation altogether. “When you’re feeling like you have nothing to talk about but your kids, change that,” Gesky and Delo stress. “You have the power to stay relevant.” How? If you don’t have time to read (fair), try swapping out the radio for podcasts while driving from errand to errand. Also look into classes, alumnae events and readings or panels.
5. Prepare Yourself for Career FOMO
This often happens, Gefsky and Delo say, when you hear that someone who used to be more junior than you gets a major promotion or find out about a friend’s awesome conference in Paris. Recognize that these feelings are valid, but don’t let them consume you; you have a whole other set of tasks on your plate.