10 Ways to Transition From Working Mom to Stay-at-Home Mom

A picture of a mom coming home to her kids
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You've turned in your notice to quit your job to become a stay-at-home mom. Make a smooth transition from working mom to stay-at-home mom with some easy tips to get you through those first days as an at-home parent.

1. Know What to Expect

When you start a new job, you get an employee handbook. Not so in the stay-at-home mom world.

You're now with the kids 24/7 and that can be a difficult adjustment, especially if you're used to answering to a boss, listening to water cooler buzz and working in a deadline-driven environment. Now your boss is a person under 3 feet tall, your water cooler buzz has been replaced with toddler talk and your deadlines include beating the clock before the diaper leaks and running through the store before your child has a public meltdown.

Know what to expect before your first day as an at-home parent. The demands will be different and so will the stress.

You can't predict what every day will be like now but preparing yourself ahead of time as much as possible will help you transition more smoothly.

2. Don't Leave Old Friends Behind

Cutting your ties with the working world doesn't mean you also have to cut ties with your former co-workers. Make a point to stay in touch with the people you used to work with.

Schedule a lunch date every now and then. Send a text just to say hi. Like Facebook posts just so your former co-workers know you still care. These connections will keep you from isolating yourself and there's nothing wrong with networking in case you ever decide to go back to work.

3. Make New Friends

Form new friendships as quickly as possible. Friendships with other at-home parents can be a lifesaver on those days you're questioning your decision to become a stay-at-home mom. They're also a valuable resource for you to visit with any time, especially since you're on the same schedule and you can relate to each other.

Make mom friends everywhere you go. That mom you're talking to on the diaper aisle can be your next BMFF (best mom friend forever).

4. Find Support Groups

It's easy to think you don't need backup. But a support group can give you some reinforcement no matter how long you've been a stay-at-home mom.

Surround yourself with been there/done that moms who understand everything you're going through. Not everything you encounter will be bad, of course, but you will face challenges just as any parent does and local support groups can help you celebrate your victories while pulling you through those difficult times too.

5. Set a Schedule

When you leave the 9-5 day, you'll feel somewhat relieved at first. You don't have to rush out the door or stay late to finish projects. Your days will feel refreshingly unscheduled.

Then you'll notice everything from the errands you need to run to the daily chores piling up. It can soon start to feel overwhelming because no two days as a stay-at-home mom are alike.

Set a schedule to free yourself from unneeded, self-inflicted pressure. By giving yourself certain days to do everything from housework to grocery shopping, you'll be better able to manage your days without the open-ended schedule making you feel like you never get anything accomplished.

6. Take Time for Yourself

When you're busy taking care of everyone else, it's easy to forget to take care of yourself. But you'll soon be headed toward mommy burnout if you're not taking time for yourself.

You don't have to jet off for a week, although you can. Even small breaks, like a standing appointment with yourself to take a bubble bath once a week or a night off from putting the kids to bed so you can curl up with your favorite book, make all the difference in your outlook.

Never skip time for yourself. You don't just deserve it. You need it.

7. Get Your Spouse Involved

You and your spouse likely worked as a team when you were working a regular job. That shouldn't change now that you've given up a paycheck.

Keep your spouse involved and make sure you're on the same page so you don't start feeling resentful. It's common to feel like every diaper change, meal prep and all laundry duties should fall on you because you're at home all day. But when your spouse comes home from a long day at work, he may be tempted to park on the couch and you may begin to feel guilty about asking for help. Don't let that happen.

Have the conversation about how your roles will change and how you can help each other out before you become a stay-at-home mom, if possible.

8. Find Child Care

Don't get caught in the trap of thinking you don't need childcare help because you're always home. Even stay-at-home moms need child care options.

You have plenty of resources available too. Find a mom's day out or a babysitting co-op for affordable and flexible childcare. You don't have to lock yourself into certain days or hours per week with these alternatives to daycare. They give you the convenience of having someone watch your children so you can go do what you need to do around town or at home.

9. Give Yourself Something Fun To Do

Just as you need time for yourself, you also need something fun to do. Pick up a new hobby or take a class to help fill the employment gap on your resume.

Yes, you need 100% free time to do absolutely nothing. But you also need a project with a goal, whether it's sewing a pair of pajama pants or finishing up a certificate program you can add to your resume. Having these goals and accomplishing them helps keep your attitude positive while also helping you avoid the at-home parent pitfall that all you do is 24/7 babysitting.

10. Look for Activities to Keep You and the Kids Busy

Sure, you can play with the kids at home. However, you will soon go stir crazy and so will your children if that's all you do.

Look for fun activities to keep all of you busy year round. Find a playgroup in your area. Take a day trip for fun field trips.

Being an at-home parent actually has very little to do with staying home. Break out of your four walls and go have fun together to ease and enjoy your transition from working mom to stay-at-home mom.

By Apryl Duncan
Apryl Duncan is a stay-at-home mom and internationally-published writer with years of experience providing advice to others like her.