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Making Plans for Mom to Stay at Home

Aug 18, 2007
Having at least one parent stay at home is very important to many families, especially when the children are young. And most often it is the mother who chooses to stay at home, although stay at home dads are becoming more and more common. No matter which stays home, it requires planning to make the adjustment for everyone easier.

The one thing that immediately leaps to mind is that the family will have to do its best to live on a single income. This is true in most cases, although sometimes a stay at home mom or dad can earn enough from home to make the difference minimal... or even improve matters.

Financial matters can be tough. It is possible for a family to live on a single income in many cases, but it almost always requires significant sacrifice. No grand vacations. No keeping up with the latest tech toys. No shopping on a whim.

These may be replaced by coupon clipping, eating at home, and simple vacations. If you're going to have to make big lifestyle changes, it is best to start the financial ones before one parent starts staying at home. This gives the family the chance to understand some of the implications right away.

But stay at home moms and dads also have to deal with tremendous social isolation. It is incredibly difficult to find friends when you're at home. No more casual office gossip. Lunch out with friends becomes a rarity. It's tough.

Expectations must also be managed. Is a perfectly kept home expected? What will the balance of responsibilities be when both parents are at home? What about time off for each?

All of these factors are things which must be considered and discussed beforehand. Disagreeing about responsibilities once things get going can only add to the tensions.

One thing you can try that can help with expectations is to have the parent who will not be staying home with the kids try it for a day. The stay at home parent can go do something else for the day, while the other does something outside of the house for a day. While it's still not the same as doing the job seven days a week, it can help to give insight into how the day really goes for a stay at home parent.

Being a stay at home mom or dad is not for everyone or every family. Quite a bit depends on family dynamics and family income. But for those who can do it and enjoy it, few experiences are quite so rewarding on so many levels.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster blogs at http://www.homewiththekids.com/blog/ about being a stay at home mom. She offers more tips for stay at home moms at her site.
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