Recently, I celebrated my first year anniversary as a stay-at-home mom. Wow! It’s been a year since I turned my back on the corporate world. It seems like yesterday! Memories of my last day in the office are still fresh. Time flew by so quickly that I didn’t notice a year had passed.
Do I miss working? Do I miss the adrenaline rush when I manage and launch nationwide projects? Do I miss dressing up and fixing myself up to go to the business district of the metro? Do I miss my co-workers? Do I miss being busy and having a routine? To be honest, no (except for very few friends I made during my working years). If there’s one I truly miss, it’s having a regular salary with attractive benefits I used to receive twice a month.
Do I regret my decision and miss having a regular and stable job? No. I don’t regret leaving corporate at all. Some people I know who tried to be a SAHM and weren’t successful or dreaded staying at home told me, “Louise, in a few months, maybe weeks pa lang, you’re going to miss working, your corporate life. Baka malosyang ka, sige!“
I could choose to be offended by that statement or just let it pass and prove that being a SAHM does not mean letting go of myself and getting lost in the pile of dirty dishes or mountains of laundry. I understand where they are coming from—why they thought I would feel the way they felt and urgently come back to the workforce. But that is their story, not mine. Perhaps the SAHM life is not for everyone.
Let me share with you how I prepared to become a SAHM. This path is my obedience to God’s design for the family—to become a submissive wife to my husband, take care of my children, and manage the household. You don’t wake up one day and decide, “I want to be a stay-at-home mom,” just because your work sucks or your boss is a slave driver or your colleagues are gossips or judgmental. If you plan to leave your job and be a SAHM, you have to prepare yourself spiritually, psychologically, physically, and even financially.
Every major decision affecting your family should not only be discussed with your husband, but should also be prayed about intently, wholeheartedly, and obeyed. Having prayed for a year, my husband and me decide that it was finally time for me to leave my corporate life behind. There were many triggers to my resignation: we lost a number of yayas, I was exclusively breastfeeding, my second son’s behavior wasn’t great. After much prayer, when God’s message became very clear, obedience was in order. I passed my resignation letter, knowing I was ready and that my decision was rock-solid.
Being a stay-at-home-mom is not easy, as others might think. I never knew how much more exhausting and draining being a SAHM can be. Work at home is non-stop. Keeping the home environment neat is lots of work, especially without a helper. From coming to a clean office desk daily, now I am left with a mess whenever my husband and kids leave me and my toddler for work and school every morning. But I made adjustments and adapted to the new normal.
There are no more regular meetings to attend, team huddles to discuss my ideas in or report my accomplishments to, and no colleagues I could ask to join me for coffee. It’s hard. I am all by myself, with no adult around to converse with—except for my husband when he comes home from work. All the work and exhaustion use up the energy and positive vibes in me. I go crazy at times having no one to express my bottled-up frustrations, weariness, worries, loneliness, and occasional self-pity.
Whenever I reach this point, I seek help from my husband and take a day off, often on Saturdays. I get support from other SAHM friends, and seek prayers from my friends at church. I connect with my fellow mom blogger friends online.
Self-care is definitely a MUST to cope with all these negative feelings. I cry it all out privately and pray. Prayers work all the time.
Staying at home could affect a mom’s mental health. There’s even a condition now called stay-at-home mom depression. It’s real. The lack of recognition and appreciation, overfatigue, and having no income could trigger this.
Want to stay at home? You have to prepare for this big leap of faith. But know that there’s a greater God who will keep you sane, safe, motivated, hopeful, and energized so you could give your best to the best people in your life.
There was so much to do in the house when I became a SAHM. When the last yaya left, we intentionally didn’t get a replacement anymore. I did everything from laundry to dishes to mopping, cooking, throwing out the trash, and taking care of the kids and my husband.
Being a SAHM is a tough job! With everything that needs to be done at home, a SAHM has to make sure she’s in tip-top health to endure the daily draining tasks. I also have to possess high levels of immunity because if I get sick, nobody else will care for my kids.
My physical exhaustion resulted in three things: 1) I lost weight; 2) I felt stronger each day; and 3) I learned to delegate tasks to my husband and kids. The new normal sat pretty well with me and my boys. They were happy to see me at home, personally doing things for them which other people did in the past.
Speaking of the physical aspect, prettifying myself is no longer a priority for me anymore. I’d rather spend my time (and money) on my husband and kids. I rarely go to the salon to have my nails done nor the spa for a regular massage. Sa bahay pa lang kulang talaga ang oras and when you have a clingy and still exclusively breastfeeding toddler, you can’t be separated for that long. Now I understand where the notion that SAHMs become losyang came from.
Nevertheless , I make sure that even if I don’t get go out often, I don’t let myself go. I bathe everyday and smell good. I make an effort to dress up when going out and apply make-up (#kilayislife) too. Then when I have time on Saturdays, my day off, I do self-care.
Because my new world now revolves around my family, I’ve also become less consumed with the physical. Staying at home has taught me selflessness, simplicity, and contentment.
This may be a sensitive topic for some, but a major consideration should you plan to stay home. I dare say that all kids, given a choice, would want their moms to be home instead of working. But, of course, for many households, the reality is that this can prove challenging—as in the case of families whose parents’ combined incomes are still not enough to make ends meet, and in the case of single parent households that relies on a steady income from a sole breadwinner.
In our family’s case, from having two income generators, my husband is now the sole provider. I couldn’t thank him enough for all his hard work providing for us, for stepping up in his role as a husband and father. It wasn’t easy at first. Our family was living comfortably, with all our needs and wants met when I was still working.
But you see, it isn’t always about money. The kids needed me more than what we could materially give them. Our growing boys are the reason I resigned.
If you are preparing to make this big move, make sure you have savings and an emergency fund worth at least six months of your salary or household expenses. You could build this while you’re still working. Set aside 10% to 20% of your salary monthly for this fund to use for rainy days or when you quit your job and stay home.
List down all your monthly household expenses—bills, food and groceries, transportation and communication, and even leisure expenses. Do this religiously to find out if you’re still living within your means or going over your budget. When we assessed that we can live on one income with his monthly take-home pay, backed up by our emergency fund and savings and my part-time jobs, we decided that I could stay at home.
I realized that when I was still working, I had been spending too much on unnecessary expenses—daily coffee and doughnuts, lunch outs, and impulse shopping. I saved more staying at home, only spending for basics like regular groceries and food. I didn’t have to spend for daily parking fees, the weekly gas budget, yaya’s salary, eating out, and expensive coffee.
What’s important is that my husband and I never let financial challenges create misunderstandings or rifts between us. We prayed and decided that if anything goes wrong, we wouldn’t play the blame game. We are partners, and we’re both accountable in making this work.
We also have a strong conviction that God is our great provider. We wouldn’t have survived a year on just one regular income. God’s grace and provision paved the way for me to get extra income through blogging, save on expenses through surprise opportunities sent my way, and even to help others through some business transactions and glorify Him more. Trust in God’s plan—that’s what we do.
Staying at home is a big decision. It may or may not be for you. But definitely, being a stay-at-home mom shouldn’t be frowned on. It’s harder than a regular office job. Obeying what we feel would fulfill God’s design for every family, we are confident in His promise never to leave us nor forsake us.
So, if you are a stay-at-home mom, and you are asked what you do, never answer “Sa bahay LANG ako” or “Stay-at-home-mom LANG ako.” Be proud to be one.
Are you a stay-at-home-mom? Why did you decide to be one? How is it for you? How did it change you? What are your challenges so far?
This article was originally published at MommyPracticality.com.
Louise Antonette Fandiño-Santos, an ex-corporate marketing specialist from Manila, is a wife to Macky and a full-time mom to her three boys. She is a part-time acoustic band singer, event host, and a TV commercial and voice over talent.