Working Mom to SAHM, Moving On

monument filters rome basilica
Photo by Pierre Sudre on

“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” it’s one of my favorite sayings that Doris, my mentor, once told me.  I can’t remember exactly what I was whining to her about…could’ve been anything.  (I’m a reforming hot mess and pessimist, remember???)  This short and powerful piece of advice would be repeated in my life and it something I can pass on to those whom I have the privilege of speaking love and truth to as well.

I have chatted with three ladies this week and I’m noticing a theme…brace yourself, it’s a doozy:  When times are good, we’d like it to last forever but when times are tough, we want resolution NOW!  It’s easy to have patience and endurance when things are going well–to smile and wave as you let a person take your turn at the four-way stop, not complain when the kid behind you in line runs into your ankle with the cart thereby inducing the excruciating pain that only having your skin torn from your very body can bring, or to even “pay it back” to the person behind you in the Starbuck’s drive thru.

But what about when difficult times hit you like a cast iron skillet to the face?  What about when you feel so much pressure that even an Instant Pot can’t hold a candle to what you are going through?  It’s so easy to lose patience when going through the muck and myre.  I have been there, done that, gotten the tank top and now I’m working on the cap and sandals too!  (Remember, I live in the desert so, to translate:  cap and sandals = beanie and snowboots)

Today was one of those impactful conversations with a sweet friend, I shall call her…Allie. Allie has transitioned from full-time working Mom to full-time SAHM (Stay-At-Home-Mom).  We’ve talked about the financial aspect of this move and we continue to do so in little bite sized chunks.  But Allie is finding out, as many of us do, that it isn’t as simple as one would think.  So, so, soooo many changes are taking place in her life as well as her household.  Not only is she now a SAHM but she is also homeschooling her 7-year-old daughter.  These are all good things as she feels that this is the right move for her family and I applaud this.  Way to go, Allie!

At first, it was easy to be excited because she was embarking on a new adventure and it’s easy to have patience because the future is hopeful, mysterious, and the sky is the limit.  But what about now that the house is minus one income?  What about after the realization they would have to tighten the belt on spending and possibly even eliminate past times of running through the drive thru whenever bellies rumbled and coffee was craved?  Oh my!  These are the moments we usually don’t foresee…it seems like we should just be able to kiss that working-mom life goodbye and bask in the glory of yoga pants til noon-or-longer-ish with a latte in hand, right? (Not that I’m guilty of this or anything…)

Allie and I have talked almost weekly about this transition and the demeanor of this wonderful lady has changed.  She went from excitement to questioning to downright discouraged.  I hate when I see this happen.  Not everyone goes through this situation the same and that’s okay, but I’m here to offer a little encouragement to those who need it.

The first thing I told Allie is that she is a great mom!  Doesn’t matter if that means that she is employed outside her home or if she is the Chief Home-Economizer of her family’s empire.  She is who she is and SHE IS THE ONE CHOSEN TO RAISE HER DAUGHTER.  Period.  Full stop.  Drop the mic.  End of story.

The second thing I told her is that famous saying recited to me however long ago it was:  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  She’s got A LOT going on right about now and she needs to give herself allowance to grieve all the while celebrating her decision to stay home.  I’d love to have a talk with anyone who minimizes going from working full time, earning an income, and being in frequent presence of other adults to focusing on home economics, home-educating, and spending less time in the presence of other adults.  It’s a total life change that requires time to practice and patience with others AND OURSELF.

The last thing I shared with Allie is that no one is perfect at SAHM-ing so endurance is an absolute necessity.  I feel that this is an all-encompassing life lesson.  She and I discussed this in the context of finances but my hope is that everyone reading this can apply it in at least one area of their life.  Here is the peptalk I give myself when I get into the funk, discouraged, and feel like maybe I should give up:  Time is going to pass no matter what but I get to decide how I’m going to use that time and what my attitude will be meanwhile.  I can go in the same circle over and over again with the same self-sabotaging attitude and behaviors, (figuratively speaking) traveling around the same mountain with the same scenery and inevitably finish at the same starting point.  Or I can decide to choose hope in my attitude and move forward with empowering behaviors.   I can decide that I’m sick of the scenery of this old mountain and that I’m not going to spend ONE.MORE.MINUTE than necessary on it.  I’m going to see hope in the future, even if I’m not sure what that looks like.  I’m going to be thankful for this life I’ve been given and the tiny (or not so tiny) humans that I’ve been chosen to pour into and send off.  I’m going to make the conscious decision that when discouraging times come, AND THEY WILL, I’m going to allow myself to feel…and then move along.  Cuz honey, ain’t nobody got time fo dat!

I don’t have any How-To blogposts on how to endure major life changes, practicing patience with yourself as well as others, or even how to embrace grief and excitement at the same time.  (Remember my post on Why Are How To’s So Hard?) The only thing I can do is offer a supportive ear and prayers for peace, comfort, and endurance along the way.  Oh, and if you’re discouraged about finances, feel free to head to my YouTube channel and watch some of my Fabulously Frugal Friday videos to help get some tips on saving money, especially in the kitchen.

What about you?  Have you worked through, or are you working through a major life change?  How did/are you handling that and how did/are you empowering yourself for a hopeful future?  I’d love to hear from you.

Until we talk next time, God bless you all and stay safe!


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