How Do I Prepare Myself and My Family As I Become a Stay-at-Home Mom?
I’m about to leave my job and career in order to become a stay-at-home mom. What can I do to make this transition as smooth as possible for the entire family?
We want to begin by affirming you in your choice. As you may know, Focus on the Family has always taken pains to express and provide support for mothers who choose to stay home with their young children. That’s because we believe that devoting time and energy to molding little lives during their period of greatest vulnerability is a calling of great worth.
We would go so far as to argue that stay-at-home mothers have an unparalleled opportunity to contribute to the well-being of society as a whole. The best social science research indicates that young children often suffer negative effects when they are separated from their mothers and placed in day care facilities for many hours each week. Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers need their mothers in order to thrive and become emotionally healthy. It’s also worth noting that the positive effects of this mother-child bond aren’t just limited to the early childhood years. In fact, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in 1997 showed that 7th through 12th graders with strong emotional attachment to parents and teachers were much less likely to use drugs and alcohol, attempt suicide, engage in violence or become sexually active.
Now that you’re convinced of the importance of the step you’re taking, there are several things you can do to ease the transition from the workplace to the home. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
• Prepare, prepare, prepare. Read as much as you can on child development and the relationship between mothers and children. This is particularly important for women who may have had a difficult childhood or a strained relationship with their own mother.
• Talk to other women who have made the transition from full-time work to full-time mom. There are women out there who need you as much as you need them. You can find each other with a little effort. Get to know them and ask them about their struggles and their successes. You’ll be surprised at the wisdom you can glean from the experiences of others who have walked this path before you.
• Develop a social support network. Meet other new moms in your neighborhood or at your church. Bible study groups and church-based mother-child programs can give stay-at-home moms the support they need. Join a “Mommy and Me” group or a local chapter of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers).
• Communicate clearly with your spouse about roles and expectations. Husbands of stay-at-home mothers play a crucial role in addition to that of being the sole breadwinner in the family. Sit down with your husband and discuss how the situation in your home is likely to change once you stop working. Make sure that the two of you are on the same page. And take time to nurture your “couple relationship” and keep the flame of romance alive.
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