Select Page

Stay-at-Home Mom: A Simple Beginner’s Guide to Becoming a SAHM

Sep 25, 2020 | Motherhood

Share with a mama friend!

Do you want to be a stay-at-home mom?

You do? Read on!

Hey Mama Friend!

I’ll be honest. Becoming a stay-at-home mom was never really on my radar until I had my son. When I looked into the cost of daycare, I quickly realized that almost all the income from the job I had at the time would go towards childcare.

To me, that didn’t make sense for our family. Why pay someone else to watch my child if I wasn’t even going to make a significant income? After much consideration and support from my husband, we decided to make a plan to make it work living off of one income so that I could stay home.

For me, being a stay-at-home mom was a great choice. I enjoy being at home with my kids. I won’t lie, some days are just plain exhausting and the kids give me a run for my money. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

But as I say here at Hey Mama Friend, do what works best for your family.

A simple guide to becoming a stay-at-home mom

Here’s what I have learned as a stay-at-home mom to help you thrive at home.

What is a stay-at-home mom?

The basic definition of a stay-at-home mom is someone who stays home to raise her children and manage her household. She may have one child or many children, and they can range in ages from newborn all the way up to teenagers in high school.

While a stay-at-home mom doesn’t have a full time job outside the home, she still has full-time work managing her family’s schedule and household.

What does a stay-at-home mom do all day?

I think there’s a common misconception that stay-at-home moms sit around and twiddle their thumbs all day. That could not be further from the truth, especially if you have small children.

My typical daily routine looks like this:

  • Wake up
  • Husband wakes the toddler and gets him ready for the day
  • Breakfast for two-year-old & myself
  • Entertain/play/read to the toddler
  • Feed toddler a snack
  • Entertain/play/read/run errand with the toddler
  • Feed toddler lunch
  • Put toddler down for a nap
  • Stay-at-home mom “free time” – do laundry, eat lunch, attend to matters that need full attention
  • Get toddler up from a nap
  • Feed toddler a snack
  • Entertain/play/read with the toddler until dinner
  • Make dinner while the toddler plays with dad
  • Sit down for dinner with the family
  • Entertain/play/read with the toddler until bedtime
  • Give the toddler a bath
  • Put toddler down to sleep for the night
  • Catch up with husband, clean up the kitchen, fold clothes, etc

For me, everything during the daytime is part of my daily routine. My husband is at the office or working from home, so a lot of this is all me until he’s done with work.

Now, I do have to say that I have a wonderful husband who definitely helps me and splits tasks with me. We do divide and conquer. I am aware that not all relationships are like that. Many times, the entire list from sun up to sundown is the mom’s responsibility.

If you think about it, stay-at-home moms do a lot. It’s a full-time job with no pay or days off.

How to get started as a stay-at-home mom

First and foremost, it’s important to talk to your spouse or partner. Before you can become a stay-at-home mom, you have to determine if you can live off of one income comfortably. What changes need to be made to your budget? What lifestyle adjustments need to be made to make it work?

You may have been working, but your entire income was “extra” to the family budget. Or, you may have been working and your income was necessary to the family budget to build the lifestyle you live. It really depends on your personal situation.

One of the best ways to determine if staying at home is a feasible option for you is to make a budget. I know, budgets can sound scary or nerdy or lame, but they are so important to running a successful household.

I remember when we didn’t really do a budget. We would find ourselves unknowingly overspending and feeling like we ran out of money for the month. As soon as we implemented a monthly budget (on paper), we could give our income “jobs” whether that was bills, savings, or debt payments.

If you’re just getting started with budgeting, I highly recommend taking Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey, checking out his book Total Money Makeover, or checking out The Budget Mom.

Tips for success as a stay-at-home mom

One of the ways that I stay sane, I mean successful, as a stay-at-home mom is having a schedule and daily routine. I wish I could say that I’m one of those people who loves to clean and does it naturally, but I’m definitely not. I’m one of those “I’ll get to it when it needs tending” types of people.

Schedule and Structure

By nature, I’m the type of person who likes having a plan. Whether that plan is running three errands and going to an activity or the plan is a lazy day at home. I like knowing what to expect. For me, it helps me keep my week in order and have things to look forward to.

Having a schedule and daily routine helps me to remember what’s next and what’s coming up. Having structure is key! I believe this is important to establish from the beginning of your child’s life. Kids thrive on routine and structure.

If you’re not the schedule or structure type, there’s a good chance that you still have a running to-do list in the back of your mind. You may not have to do it at a set time or day, but you know that you have to get it done at some point. (That’s still a form of structure!)

Transitioning from a full-time job to full-time mom

If you’re transitioning to becoming a stay-at-home mom from having a full-time job, it can take a little bit of getting used to. You’ll be trading meetings with colleagues for “meetings” with your little one. You’ll have a daily “working lunch” with your CEO (aka your kiddo). It’s different, but it will be worth it if you’re the type that desires to be a stay-at-home mom.

I’ll also acknowledge that not every mom is cut out to stay at home. Some moms were built to work outside the home and thrive in the workplace. To each their own – there is no “right” way to be a mom. We’re all doing the best for our kids. Please don’t feel mom guilt if you want to work – that’s awesome! And it’s an awesome model for your child(ren) to know that they have a smart, strong, dedicated mom who takes care of her family.

Common Questions SAHM

How can a stay-at-home mom stay active?

Stay-at-home moms can stay active in a variety of ways. You can go for a walk with your kids, play with your kids, subscribe to an online workout platform like Beachbody on Demand, or use an exercise bike with online workouts.

One of my favorite ways to stay active is with Burn Bootcamp. Burn Bootcamp locations are around the country and as part of the membership includes FREE child watch. This was such a game-changer for me. I was able to work out and my son got to have some social time. I started working out again after my son turned 1 and Burn Bootcamp changed my life!

How does a stay-at-home mom make friends?

This may be one of the big challenges of being a stay-at-home mom, especially if you are an introvert (like me!). However, I have found that having friends who are also moms makes a big difference in navigating motherhood.

Two of my best mom friends became moms before me and we did not become close until I joined that club. We made a point to set “mom dates” to get together and hang out without our kids.

I have met other mom friends through my gym, Burn Bootcamp, since its main target market is moms. Another place I have met other moms is through my son’s activities, like his swimming lessons. I have also met moms through joining MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers).

“Stay-at-home mom” doesn’t mean you become a recluse! If you insert yourself in the right places, you can meet other moms to set playdates with your kids or have book club or wine night without the kids!

How does a stay-at-home mom save money?

If you’re transitioning from a two-income household to just one income, saving money is a huge deal!

First, I recommend doing a budget each month with your spouse or partner. Write out all your expenses, debts, and income sources. Create a zero-based budget meaning that you give every dollar that comes in a “job” whether it goes toward expenses, savings, or debt.

If you’re used to swiping your card at Target or checking out with a saved card on Amazon, and need to pull back the reigns a bit, try using cash for a month. You’d be surprised how much harder it may feel to spend cash over swiping a credit card.

I would also recommend creating a line item in your budget for “fun money”. Money that is just for you, the mom. I know that I have no problem spending money on my kids, but when it comes to spending money on myself, I tend to feel guilt creep in. By having a “fun money” budget, you can grab that latte or book a pedicure guilt free because you budgeted for it!

The last thing you need to know about becoming a stay-at-home mom

The last thing you need to know about becoming a stay-at-home mom is that you should do what works best for you and your family.

Not every mom is meant to stay-at-home. Some moms go back to work after their maternity leave is over. Some moms stay at home while their children are little and before they start full-time school and then rejoin the workforce. Other moms stay at home until their kids graduate from high school. While other moms try staying at home and realize that it’s not their jam. All these options are okay!

Do what works best for your family. Basically all I’ll ever keep repeating around this blog.

Thank you for stopping by and reading about becoming a stay-at-home mom. I’d love it if you shared this post with a fellow mama friend!

If you have any other tips or advice for stay-a-home moms, please leave a comment!

Beginner's Guide to Becoming a Stay-a-Home Mom, stay at home mom tips

If you are pregnant, check out these posts to help you through your pregnancy:

The Best Pregnancy Products for New Moms

8 Mom Bloggers to Follow


You might also like

The Best Thing I Did For My Second Pregnancy

When I found out that we would be expecting a second time, I knew there would be some things that I wanted to do differently that in my first pregnancy. There's so much uncharted territory when you're pregnant the first time. Not to mention that every pregnancy is...

Simple and Easy Maternity Capsule Wardrobe Ideas

Simple and Easy Maternity Capsule Wardrobe Ideas

When your shirts stop fitting over your growing bump and you can't fasten your jeans anymore, it's time to think about maternity clothes. Here are some maternity capsule wardrobe ideas for new moms. I'm definitely not what you would call "gifted" in the fashion...

The Best Free Advice for a First-Time Mom

The Best Free Advice for a First-Time Mom

Are you a first-time mom? There's this special bliss that comes with being a first-time mom. So much excitement and anticipation. So much to think about and wonder about. But here's the truth: your mama instincts kick in once your baby arrives. While advice usually...