Tuesday, August 9, 2016

How I Became a Stay at Home Mom

It felt like an ache that started deep in my gut and resonated through my chest cavity, nearly swallowing my heart. It was the ache of a mom feeling more than just a need –  feeling a compelling and unshakable draw – to leave the workplace and take a more active role in parenting her children.

In my last post, I wrote about that longing as well as the the benefits and blessing our family experienced as a result of my becoming a stay at home mom. You can read that post here. Today, I’ll share how – the logistics of actually making the transition from two incomes to one.


I can’t over emphasize the need for prayer in this matter. If you are a mom having trouble dismissing an almost obsessive idea to become a “professional parent,” I hope you’re doing more than imagining it. Take it to the Lord in prayer. Ask that God confirm that the tug on your heart is from him, that he show you tools to make it happen, and provide for your every need during the transition and beyond.

As the Lord brings his peace about staying home to raise your family, there are many things you can do to prepare for the transition:

The Tithe

Begin (or continue) financial giving to your church home.  When it comes to the tithe – giving of 10% of your income to the Lord – he tells us in his Word to test him on this (see Malachi 3:10). In fact, that verse reads, “‘Bring the full tenth into the storehouse so that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this way,’ says the LORD of Hosts. ‘See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure.’” That’s a powerful promise!

Before I left the workplace, Mike and I gave to the church often, but not regularly. However, as I felt the Lord’s call to transition home, I felt a counter-intuitive conviction. There was no way we were willing to walk through a significant reduction in our income without giving more to the Lord. For some, it might seem that we were trying to “bargain” with the Lord and “convince” him to grant our wish. That was not the case. Tithing felt like a natural way to express to the Lord that our faith was fully in him. We knew full well that our our transition looked like financial disaster on paper. Finances seemed even more askew when we subtracted a monthly tithe. But the tithe was a statement. We were telling the Lord, “We can’t do this, but we trust you are leading us to take a step of faith. We trust you and know that nothing is impossible with you.”  And so we began to tithe regularly to our local church. We never looked back.  

It wouldn’t be right to withhold the part of our story that involved very tight financial situations. Many months were difficult as we worked hard to make ends meet. We remember and retell one particular month where we had to choose between paying the mortgage and making the tithe. I recall asking Mike for direction thinking he’d advise in favor of the mortgage. Instead he said, “Write the check to the church.” So I took a deep breath and did so. That very month, Mike had opportunity to do some unexpected supplemental work, which provided money for the mortgage. That’s how it often goes in the adventure of tithing. The more we trust God, the more opportunity He has to show himself mighty.

Cut Costs

Evaluate current expenses.  When we have dual incomes, we often overspend on items or services that seem necessary. Those needs diminish when mom begins to stay at home and money is saved. For example, sizable savings can often be achieved by adjusting insurance policies. Household help like cleaning services can be eliminated. Clothing budgets diminish. It might be possible, depending on your family situation, to sell one of the cars. Clipping coupons has been known to save hundreds of dollars each month (I never adopted this practice so can’t provide advice). When we carefully examine our monthly expenses, we can see big reductions.

A Slower Transition

Consider a transition to part-time work before quitting your job cold turkey.  You’d be surprised how many employers are willing to provide a flexible work schedule to keep a valuable employee. I petitioned my boss who readily agreed to allow me to work part-time. My children were in school when I made the transition so I worked during their school hours and was home when they were. There are benefits to your employer:  less salary expense along with savings on benefits like retirement and health insurance.  Some employers also allow working from home, which is another way to transition into staying at home. I worked part time for about 18 months before transitioning completely out of work. 

Establish a Savings Account First 

As rapidly as possible, create a family emergency fund of at least $1,000 in a dedicated savings account. Things break. Medical situations arise. When we can draw from a personal emergency fund instead of going into debt on a credit card, it saves finance charges and monthly payments. Having the emergency fund in place before leaving the workplace is a valuable asset that brings great peace of mind. 

Make Money From Home

Research ways to make money from home. Stay at home businesses, selling on Etsy, or refinishing furniture come to mind. Pursue your passion. What are you good at? Teach classes to others and charge a fee. You can make money from home and it feels good to contribute to the family income.

A Thankful Heart

Practice gratitude and contentment.  Learning to be content with what we have, teaching our children that they don’t need every single gaming system or technology device, and thanking the Lord for all he provides are all practices that bring glory and honor to God.

Remember, if it’s truly the Lord who is calling you to leave the workplace, he has already set you up for success. You can do this with careful planning, frugal spending, and a heart to follow hard after God. He has prepared good works for us and we should walk in them.

For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (HCSB)

Your Turn:

Have you already transitioned from full time employment to a stay at home mom? What tips and advice can you share?

Is the Lord tugging on your heart to stay home with your kids?  What’s holding you back? Take an honest look at your objections and ask God for solutions.

Be Strengthened Today, by His Word


Psalm 119:28

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