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  • 7 Bilins If You Want To Become A Stay-at-Home Mom: Know Your Value

    After 19 years, this mom quit her corporate job to become a SAHM. She shares what she has learned.
    by Mia D. Tioseco .
7 Bilins If You Want To Become A Stay-at-Home Mom: Know Your Value
PHOTO BY iStock
  • It has been five months since I left the corporate world after working for 19 years. It was a long journey to get here. There were risks, but at the end of the day, I knew my heart was in the right place.

    7 things to take care of and expect if you want to be a stay-at-home mom

    Based on my personal journey, I rounded up seven ‘bilins’ to those who are considering becoming a stay-at-home mom.

    1. Get your financials in order.

    Budget planning was one of the areas we made sure we had ironed out before we even considered living on a single income. Have an honest and transparent conversation about money with your spouse. Make sure both you and your husband declare all expenses — no secrets allowed! Aside from the regular monthly payments, do not forget the non-routine costs such as vehicle or home repairs or a modest budget for vacations. Include your self-care spend such as your makeup, skincare, girlfriend coffee dates, and whatever expenses you need.

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    For several months, we kept a spreadsheet of our budget and tracked our actual expenses. We also tried to simulate what it would be like if we were living on a single income household when I was still working. We also made sure that we were covered by health insurance because you don’t want to be hit with unplanned medical expenses. Since my husband is still employed, we get to enjoy HMO benefits.

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    2. Have a side hustle.

    My husband and I invested in real estate early on in our marriage. We wanted our investments to be income-generating, so we purchased mid-scale condominiums that we would rent out on a long-term lease. This was initially our plan for our retirement. I thought I would be working until I was 55 or 60 years old. But priorities change, and when we paid off the third and last loan, we knew that was the perfect time for me to leave my corporate job.

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    Before leaving my job, my husband and I clarified responsibilities. I was to manage our home and our little real estate business, so he can be a better manager in the office.

    The income we continue to get from real estate rentals is now the source of my monthly ‘allowance’ as a non-working spouse, a pool for unplanned expenses, and of course, savings.

    3. Know your priorities and understand the value of the work you do, even if it isn’t income generating.

    It’s tempting to get distracted by other things that might draw your attention away from why you wanted to become a stay-at-home mom in the first place. When I announced I was quitting my corporate job, well-meaning friends invited me to join their network of financial consultants. Some asked me to join other business opportunities.

    I had to say no, so I can say yes to investing time with my family. I wanted to be more involved in my son’s education and ensure that he builds healthy study habits. I let go of all his tutoring programs and became his sole tutor for all his subjects in third grade. I even volunteered to be part of the parent committee in his school. I can’t begin to describe how proud he is whenever I would show up in his school, where both his teachers and classmates know me.

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    4. Prepare for more magical moments with your children.

    I love that my son opens up to me about everything that matters in the world of an 8-year old. I sometimes get speechless at some questions like ‘Mommy, is it okay to find your teacher pretty?’ or, ‘Mommy, does God give you a baby sister or brother even if you don’t pray for one?’.

    It takes a few seconds to gather my thoughts before I can compose myself and think of a mature yet age-appropriate response to these types of questions. We process his thoughts and emotions, and then we hug each other afterward. Magical, isn’t it?

    5. Find a support group composed of other stay-at-home or work-at-home moms.

    Stay in touch with your friends who chose to leave the corporate world before you did. Ask your work-at-home mom friends their typical day, and find out their challenges. Perhaps you may realize that being a stay-at-home mom is not for you, after all. Or better yet, you may realize that being a stay-at-home mom is where you will be able to be your best self.

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    I’m lucky to be surrounded by a group of wonderful women who support and encourage each other. It is with this group of ladies where I can be honest about parenting, marriage, and faith.

    One of the most practical pieces of advice I got from them was how to make decisions when it comes to spending your husband’s money. For two decades, I got so used to spending my hard-earned money in whatever way I pleased. Now that I’m no longer earning, I wondered if I had to declare to my husband every little peso I take from our joint account?

    Most of my stay-at-home mom friends advised my husband and me that we should put aside a portion of our monthly budget just for me. It doesn’t have to be big, but it is a budget that I am free to use, no questions asked. Then if there is a purchase that goes above the threshold, that’s when my husband and I will discuss and agree. So far this strategy has worked well for us.

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    6. Don’t be intimidated by what others have to say.

    “Nako, baka ma-losyang ka” or “Mami-miss ng utak mo ang mag-isip” were words I heard from colleagues when I first made the announcement that I was retiring from the corporate world. Just ignore them. Period.

    7. Understand that there are no performance evaluations, awards, and accolades.

    Unlike in the corporate world where you have performance metrics, go through annual appraisals, and receive recognition for a job well done, chances are you’re not going to get any of these as a stay-at-home mom. In fact, you probably won’t see any significant and lasting results until the kids are done with school. But do know that the sacrifices you are doing and the investments you are making for your family will be measured in ways beyond what your corporate performance management process can cover.

    So be patient and stay the course even though at times it could be a struggle. In the end, it will be worth it. Because there is no one else better for the job than you, Mom!

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    Mia D. Tioseco has a 7-year-old son with her husband Mon.

    Having a corner office or a 9-to-5 job or is not the only measure of success in women. Read about the highs (and lows) being a SAHM or WAHM here.

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