Going back to work after being a stay at home mom forever


I have been a stay at home mom for 13 years. I have just accepted a position for a part time job. I will work in the mornings, and leave in time to pick the kiddos up from school. Pay isn’t great but mucho potential. I negotiated to have all school holidays off, including spring break, and a very lenient schedule in the summer.

Sounds ideal, but I am having trepidations about being away from home. I shouldn’t though, b/c my children are 11 and 13 and at school all day, dh is at work, AND I’ll be home when the kids are out of school.

My reasons for accepting the job are mostly financial: continuing private school education through their Senior year (Catholic school), preparing for the financial requirements college will bring, and being prepared for retirement down the road.

But my main reason for posting this thread is my reluctance to let go of my “stay at home” freedom during the day. I think I’m just spoiled.

Has anyone else recently faced such an adjustment?


Sort of. My biggest challenge is being sure not to overlook things - dental appts, shots for the dog, odds and ends.

I just don’t have as much time! —KCT


You are not spoiled by any stretch of the imagination; but oh yes, staying home feels SOOO good!!!

It’s not exactly the same, but I am back at work as a retread mom (grandma raising kids) after enjoying a (very) brief early retirement.

What helps me:

Pray early in the morning. Early. Before anybody gets up. Make a pot of coffee or whatever gets you awake, and sit down for a little chat with God and the Blessed Mother. It’s easier to meditate on the mysteries or contemplate without the “Mom…Mom…Mom” chorus.

Stay organized. It is a lot easier to stay organized than it is to find the mess at the end of the dark tunnel (I’m still learning this one). Make your plan, then work it, allowing for adjustments. This does not mean, “Be inflexible”.

TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME. If you think too far ahead, you can be blown to smithereens, mentally.

Use whatever helps you evaluate the whole situation. Mine is a journal. Just a few brief lines, esp. about the job (how did go, how’d you get along with so-and-so, etc.). The first three-to-six months of a new job are the hardest. But during those 3-6 months, it can seem dreadful just because it is a different routine, and people prematurely quit a decent job.

Cut yourself some slack. You do not need to be super-mom. You do not need to be super-employee.

Reward yourself, on a regular schedule, at the end of the day if need be. Insist on some quiet time (even 15 minutes), or put on your favorite CD, or take a bubble bath, or put on a timer and tell the kids not to bug you while you read, or eat chocolate.

Get rest. Go to bed early if you can.


Yes I worry about that too. I don’t start until next week and I’m already stressed about getting a bunch of stuff out of the way this week. Ugh.


That all sounds like good advice. Thanks!


I’ve also been a stay at home mom for 13 years, and started working part time about 3 months ago, a similar sounding schedule as yours. I’ve got to say…I love it. It makes me feel human again to be out of the house and working with grown ups. I’ve been off now for Christmas break and honestly, I can’t wait to be back at work.


lower your expectations on what housework needs to be done when
go through the house and streamline
put away knick knacks that need dusting
make bedding simple so it is easy and fast to make the bed
organize closets and storage so it is easy to clean up clutter and put things away
store get rid of clothes, shoes, magazines, catalogs, toys, sports stuff that is not in use now
if it will be used in the next year, pack it, label it and store it
if it will never be used, call Purple Heart or Salvation Army to pick it up

the kids should be keeping their own rooms and bathrooms clean and doing their own laundry by now, and handling kitchen clean-up after supper, even learning to cook simple meals
they can also survey the pantry and frig, help plan menus, make shopping lists, put groceries away (with training of course)

they should also be taking over some of the yard work, with dad or mom, whoever likes it more.


I totally agree! I made myself and my family crazy worrying about what might not get done next week.

I don’t have tomorrow’s grace yet, so how on earth did I think I could manage tomorrow today?



That’s exactly it - worrying about what might not get done next week!!


I can absolutely relate to you and to say, you’re not alone! I’ve been at home for the past 6 years. My youngest will be starting Kindergarten in September. My husband has been working two jobs and he is more than ready to have me go back to work. I used to love my job before I had kids, but I find myself dreading the very thought of having to leave home each day. I continually pray to God that He will lead me to where I am supposed to be. I know He won’t let me down and He won’t let you down. We just have to trust Him!!! Good luck and God bless.


Oh, how I can relate! I was a stay-at-home-mama (I’m from Texas–my kids call me “Mama.”, not “Mom” :wink: ) for 19 years. My son was in college (first year) and my daughter was a sophomore at her Catholic high school when my husband and I suffered a devastating financial crisis. Even though my children were nearly grown, it nearly killed me to have to go back to work. We left Tennessee and ran all the way home to Texas. That was January of 2003. I’ve been working now for 4 years. Because I had not worked since before my children were born, my skills were rusty, to say the least. I took an entry-level position, working 8-5 with an hour commute both ways. It was awful. Without the rosary to pray on my drives back-and-forth, I probably would not have survived it. I stuck that out for a little over a year, but am now teaching first grade at a Christian Academy (non-Catholic) on the strength of my having home-schooled my children for six years. At least I now have lots of holidays and summers off.
Jobs are scarce in this small town, and I don’t ever want to have to commute again. The downside is that the school is not Catholic, though I am not the only Catholic teacher (2nd and 6th grade teachers are, also.)

If you have holidays and summer breaks off with your children, you should be o.k.; however, in all honesty you will be busier than you ever dreamed possible. Also, I will warn you that time seems to accelerate very quickly when you are working outside the home. I confess I sometimes feel I have missed the transition of my children into adulthood. Still, it hasn’t been all bad. My family, if anything, is closer than ever, and we have learned to make do with a lot less financially. My husband keeps saying he wants me to be able to “stay home again,” and that would be nice, but I’ve gotten used to working now, and I actually enjoy it (sort of!)

Good luck to you, Dearie. You’ll be fine. If you must work, part-time is the way to go. :slight_smile:


Thanks all for all of these responses. They are giving me the boost I need. I’ve been dealing with this decision for about two years now and this one company here in town keeps popping up in my path. No sooner do I think I’m done with the business than my phone rings again…so, even though I’m not one to look for signs, I think right now God wants me to do this because it won’t go away!

Keep advice, experiences and time saving tips coming.

I did buy one of those Smart Pot crock pots that click to “warm” once the meal is cooked.



I went back to work after my youngest started school. Various part time jobs, some I really enjoyed, others I tolerated. I have an interview today for a full time warehouse job. I have mixed feelings about it. I am also a teacher, part time, working mostly with home school groups, but that is irregular/seasonal income. People keep saying they want me to teach more classes, but never find the time to sit with me and set them up. So they’ll be mad if I take this job…but I have bills to pay.

I have tried to be creative and piece together a way to teach, work partime and take care of my family for 16 years. I’m tired of the constant worry and stretching to make it all fit. I don’t know if this is the way or not, but I think I’ll try it and see how it feels.

I tend to get taken advantage of, and maybe a job where I go and put in my 8 hours and pick up my paycheck is just what I need. My last job took advantage of my good will and abused me horribly, to my families detriment. I am willing to work hard, but I am ready for some relief.


Although I’ve not ever been a fulltime stay at home mom, I have added to my workload recently. The job you’ve accepted sounds wonderful, Little Mary! If you don’t want it, can I check it out?LOL.
The key is organization! I do lots of crock pot dinners, have the kids clean rooms before going to school, clean each room as I “finish” with it (i.e. wipe down counters, swish out toilet, pick up all wet towels, etc. before I leave the bathroom). At night, I take out a meal to defrost, set up all the lunchmaking materials, make the kids lay out their clothes for the next day, sign all the paperwork/fieldtrip forms, etc. I leave myself plenty of notes on the frig to remind myself of deadlines, staff meetings, etc. Most of all, I leave work at work!!! I make sure I do everything I can before kids get home, and then I am just “Mom”. De-cluttering has been the best thing of all. I started that within this past year (some of you may remember my threads re: this!). It is wonderful. I am really starting to feel like my home is more organized and neat (closets, drawers, and cupboards, too!).
It’s difficult to fit in dr. appts. and all that. I try to do mine while kids are in school. If the kids have a 1/2 day, I try to look that up ahead of time and fit in their appts. on that day–all at the same time ( I have 3 kids).
My best advice is to leave the house clean and picked up BEFORE leaving in the am. That way, when you get home, you can just concentrate on the kids and your dh. Once in awhile, it’s okay to get pizza or take out chicken, too!:slight_smile:
Let us know how the new job goes!


Hey there G!!:wave:

I didnt’ know you worked part time!! What are your hours? What type of work do you do? (if you don’t mind divulging…)

You give great advice (a lot of posters did - thanks to all!!) -

I bought myself a crock pot Smart Pot so I can cook smaller meals and different types of meals and adjust the cooking time and temp; a full time working mom I know advised to do a “load a day” …start a load in the morning first thing, put it in the dryer before you leave, then fold it in the evening when you get home.

I know it will be an adjustment - and I have to admit I can see where it is all “do-able” …I’ll have to see how the next few weeks unfold.

As for the job, it’s only been two days, but I have already been questioned about the part time hours, got chuckled at when I said my 13 and 11 year olds were “young” and needed me home in the afternoon, and questioned about my arrival time which is 8:30 “why can’t you get here at 8?”

I have an appointment with the “boss” to re-clarify a few things.

Also, it is not the type of work I thought I would be doing - it is actually going to be much more involved. To the point that it might be very difficult to be gone on a school holiday if the file I am working on needs something done that day. (this is a mortgage company - would you want me to be off one day when you were trying to buy your house???)

Anyway, with that type of commitment, I think I want more money!!! That would also make leaving the house everyday a lot easier!!!



:slight_smile: bump :slight_smile:


Hmmmm…I hope things work out with your job. I hope you got all of your “pre-employment” negotiations in writing. It’s so stressful when work wants more of your time than you want to give. Keep us updated.
I’ve always wanted to be SAHM, but it never worked out that way for us. Luckily I have a flexible work schedule, and can set my work hours in line with my dh’s schedule. We’ve not had to hire outside help at all–even when the kids were younger–due to this. Since I have to work, I feel very blessed to have the job I do. I love my boss, too!
I need to find that “Smart Crock Pot”. That sounds great. Yesterday, I got take out chicken. The family said it was "the best dinner ever"lol.
What will you do in the summer, Little Mary? I only leave the kids for short periods of time( I work close by, so I can pop in unexpectantly during the day). I give them a huge list of chores and “schoolwork” to do. I give them an allowance for getting everything done while I’m gone.
BTW, I do the laundry thing that you described above. I just got home, and before dd gets out of school, I will switch loads and fold. I’ve got chili in the crock pot, and I’m going to whip up some cornbread. Better get going, and get things organized around here—it all starts again tomorrow!
Oh yeah. You need to limit CAF time----I take Wed, Fri, and Sundays off!:wink:


Thanks Giannawannabe. I survived the first week. I’ll take it a day at a time and see how it goes. If I grow to hate it, I’ll turn in my notice.


I am wondering how you all found jobs after staying home for all those years. I have not worked outside of the home for 21 years . I would like to go back to work part-time, but I have no idea where to begin to look. And honestly, I feel intimidated by the whole process.

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