stay at home mom

How to Handle a Big Change: on becoming a stay-at-home mom

Hi, I’m Bethany! As of today, I am a stay-at-home-mom.

Yesterday was my last day working as a chiropractor’s assistant–a job that I enjoyed for the past two and a half years. I saw my last patient, gave my last nutritional consult, and shut the computer down for the last time. I am trading in my scrubs for jeans, my paychecks for baby smiles, and my days off for days in.

I am working by myself currently, but my cute little coworker is scheduled to arrive in about a week and a half. Things are a bit quiet around the office, while I wait for my coworker to arrive. I know that this is the calm before the storm, because I’ve heard that this coworker has quite the personality, and will definitely keep me on my toes after he or she arrives. In the meantime, I am staying busy punching my time card by filling our office fridge with yummy treats, getting some cleaning done, and doing everything I can to prepare before we officially launch our joint business venture.

Until my coworker arrives, it is just gonna be me and the houseplants. How’s it going over there, Miss Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree? Want to grab a bite to eat over the lunch break? Oh, you are on an all-liquid-diet? That’s cool.

On my last day of work, my boss, and co-workers gave me a sweet send off, ordering a beautiful flower delivery for my last day, and gifting me chocolate and Amazon gift cards (thank you, Janell!!). stay at home mom

I am equal parts thrilled, and nervous about this new gig as a stay-at-home-mom. I have worked a job since I was fourteen-years old, and so not having a job outside of the home feels so different! This new job comes with a whole slew of new projects in the coming months, such as: recovering from a C-section, learning how to care for a newborn, getting that whole nursing thing down, continuing to grow my virtual assistant business, tightening up our budget, paying off our student loans, and keeping us well fed.

When we found out that I was pregnant, Hubs and I both agreed, unequivocally, that I would leave my job, and stay at home with baby. My dream is to be able to do some work from home, so I can contribute to the finances, but be able to stay home full-time. Thanks to a few virtual assistant jobs, I do have a part-time job that I will continue from home, and I hope to continue to build on that in the months after baby gets here.

Now that I have officially worked my last day, I am feeling the weight of this responsibility. Now it is not up to a boss to tell me what to do, a coworker to provide accountability, or a paycheck to motivate–but now it is up to me to create the life that I want. And that is just a bit scary! I have so many dreams for this little corner of the internet, so many plans for the upcoming year, and I know that it will all take elbow grease to accomplish!

Transitions have always scared me: my path from high school to college was rocky to say the least, as I mourned the end of my childhood days. The change from engaged to married scared me silly for awhile. My last few days as a college student were ripe with nostalgia.

Throughout college, I grappled with the shifting sands of change; for the first few years I always had this sudden urge to bolt at the beginning of the semester. After bolting a few times, I learned to nail my feet to the floor, and endure all the scariness of new classes, assignments, and such until everything became normal again.

Knowing this about myself, I try to prepare mentally before every major life change.

Here are some things i’ve done to ready myself for the transition from working gal to stay-at-home-mom, these are tips that I’ve started using in every major change in my life, no nailing of feet down required.

How to Handle a Big Change

Know the fear will always be there in the beginning.

I used to try to escape that fear, but now I know that it is just a part of the process. I would prefer things to stay the same, most of the time, but one thing you can count on in life is that there will always, always be change. I now know that I will always feel scared when something major in my life is shifting, and that most people experience that fear as well.

Use the opportunity of a clean break, to create a new routine.

After you feel the fear, realize that a huge change in your life comes with a special opportunity to change something major in your life.

It is so much easier to establish good habits, when your routine is already completely new, then it is when you are used to your old rhythms. When I finished up teaching my three college classes in May–I created a completely new routine for myself then I had been able to establish before I worked that job. Since I wasn’t used to having mornings off, and had no real routine established at home (since I was always away teaching classes) it was easy for me to start getting up early, and attacking my to-do list.

I saw this change as a limited opportunity to establish a new normal. The important thing about this tip is that you have to do it right away! You can’t slide by the first few weeks, because then you will already have some bad habits taking root. Decide what you want to change–whether that is fitting in exercise, crossing things off your to-do list, or blog work and be consistent the first few weeks. Pretty soon, this will just be a part of your day, and as an added bonus–when you are adding a new habit into your life, you have less time to feel the fear of all the huge life changes going on around you.

Know that nothing is ever lost

My relationships with the patients at the chiropractic office, all the things about health and wellness I learned there, and my contributions will always live on. Sometimes it feels like when you are going through a big change that everything you’ve done up to that point ceases to exist, but that is not true! Things might be changing, but everything you have created in high school, college, or your single life is still valid and a part of you that will continue to live long after you receive your diploma or start the new job.

Create a mantra

It was a pivotal thing in college that I learned was that mantras are extremely effective, and not just for the yogis out there. At one particularly stressful time in college, when my perfectionism was raging, and I felt like I wasn’t able to do everything perfectly, I repeated to myself that it was better to do something imperfectly, then to do nothing perfectly.

I repeated these words to myself over, and over again–and all the things that were stressing me out ended up being some of the best memories of my college career. I almost didn’t audition for shows, sign up for difficult classes, or say yes to choreographing a ballet dance to be performed at a choir performance because I was so overwhelmed by my perfectionism. Now, that mantra doesn’t apply to everyone’s life, but find a mantra that does work for you, and use it! The mind is a powerful thing, and needs guidance. Choose a mantra, a bible verse, or just a phrase that you can cling to when life gets particularly scary.

Get yourself outside

There is something so incredibly calming about nature. Whenever I am going through a big change in my life, I prioritize spending time outside. Whether that is just sitting on the patio, taking a walk on a bike trail or working in the garden–even spending ten minutes outside will help. Get a double dose of goodness, by exercising outside! You get the calm of the great outdoors, and the benefits of moving your body. Because endorphins are great things, am I right?

I’ve got only a short time to digest this huge change in my life, before Baby L gets here, and I have a feeling I won’t have time to mourn any changes or get too stressed out about the future after I become a mommy!

Do you have any tips for this new stay-at-home mom? Or any tips on handling a big change that you’ve learned in your life?

3 thoughts on “How to Handle a Big Change: on becoming a stay-at-home mom”

  1. Oh my, I love the way you played with words describing your new job as a stay-at-home-mom. I love the idea of baby being a co-worker and all the clever ways you spoke about working-from-home. When days get tough with baby I may have to come back and reread this post to remind myself how magical and important of a job being a stay-at-home-mom is.

    Also, helpful as a working mom because I’m switching grade levels this year (my choice and super excited) but still a little fear is involved. I will be keeping your advice in mind.

  2. Love this! My advice would be to get out if it makes you feel better. What I mean by that is to take your sweet baby out on a walk or to the store or to a friend’s house. As an introvert, it was easy for me to just want to hold up in the house with my little one. And there is no shame in just staying home and enjoying your baby. But it was good for my mental health to get out and about occasionally. Even if that was just for a short drive!

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