Going from a WAHM to a SAHM


It’s hard to believe it’s already been three weeks since I quit my job. Sometimes my mind still plays tricks on me, and I have a split-second of panic because I’ve overslept or I haven’t checked my work email yet. Old habits die hard. They may be slowly dying, but I’m quickly becoming more accustomed to life as a non-working (ha!) mom. Here’s how our little family of three has been adjusting the last couple of weeks:


Even though I’m not working, I feel antsy to get stuff done. When Sally goes down for her nap, I write a post for OFB or do some other freelance writing. When Sally’s awake, we “Go, go go!” (as she says it) a lot more. For the first time in months, I did some menu planning, and I’ve been able to get started on some much-needed maintenance around the house. Mostly, I’ve been shocked by how little extra time I have. When Sally’s awake, I’m giving her my attention. While my days with her are more fulfilling, I still haven’t organized the housework, laundry, and cooking like I’d like to.

I think many moms fear that staying home means a lack of interaction with other adults, and they worry about losing their identity by becoming a SAHM. For me, though, my job was always just a job, and I didn’t really connect much of my identity with it. I make a point to hang out with other moms a few times a week, and I’m continuing to pursue my own hobbies and freelance work. The point is, I still set aside time that I’m not just a mom thinking about mom things. And Johnny and I make a point of having kid-free dinners and outings with other couples, where we can socialize and not think about whether our child just bit into a crayon. In short, I’m really enjoying the transition.

Sally and Johnny

First, Sally. She’s been noticeably more content since I stopped working. She just wasn’t receiving enough quality time over the past few months. Now at the end of the day, she’s exhausted, which is a good thing. And I’ve had the energy to tackle little things like weaning her from her paci and being more consistent with discipline.

Although my quitting hasn’t been a huge adjustment for Johnny, I think he feels like he can focus more on his job now. I’m taking care of most of the stuff around the house, and I’m not stressed out about work each night, which makes our evenings more relaxing and pleasant. On the flip side, he feels a little more pressure to succeed at his career now that I’m no longer bringing in a steady income. But overall, I think my quitting has been a positive change for both Sally and Johnny.

Our Budget

We’ve kept our budget the same for the month of May since our income is pretty much the same this month. I’d built up a few weeks of vacation at my job, which I got a check for just last week. Next month will be the clincher. My goal is to make up my income with freelance writing and editing. Fingers crossed I can make it happen, or at least get close. The nice thing is that I’ll be doing that work on my time, not on Sally’s time. Still, we’ll be trying to cut back some in certain areas of the budget. It will be tough to save extra next month since we have Johnny’s birthday, Father’s Day, my birthday, and our anniversary to celebrate. But we’ll do what we can!

Joanna and Sally

I can honestly say I haven’t looked back once! I’ll give another update in a few weeks! Any specific questions I can answer? I’m happy to share!

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  • Reply Brian May 27, 2014 at 7:57 am

    That’s great the transition has been going so well. My only question would be, did you consider pretending your income was zero and live like that for a month or two as a trial to see a “worst case scenario”?

    • Reply Joanna May 27, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      Good idea! We have considered that, and I think that’s what we’ll be doing in June! Our budget is already pretty tight, and even without my income, our spending is still well under Johnny’s monthly income. That said, our savings will definitely take a hit, so we’re going to see where we can cut down in June, relying solely on Johnny’s take-home pay.

  • Reply Amanda @ Passionately Simple Life May 27, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Awesome to hear that things have been going so well! Only since I’ve started working have I realized how taxing a job and home responsibilities can be. Then add kids!

    Can’t wait to see a post on how you find that outside interaction. That definitely seems to be a challenge for a lot of SAHM these days.

    • Reply Joanna May 27, 2014 at 2:09 pm

      Thanks, Amanda! I will try to do an update soon on how I keep my identity while staying at home!

  • Reply MomofTwoPreciousGirls May 27, 2014 at 9:07 am

    Glad it’s going so well…I wish I could find the bravery to take the plunge. I’ve been working in corporate life since I was 16! I have also always been the one whose job was steady and provided the insurance. I know I probably could translate my skills to a wahm life but I’m chicken! I’ll be watching you closely!

    There are a couple of resources I find helpful (would be more so if I was at home…but all our housework is crammed into weekends) to keep up with the house stuff. Cleanmama.net has tasks broken down daily. There are a couple of things to do every day but then the deeper cleaning is broken down to just a couple of tasks each day.

    • Reply Joanna May 27, 2014 at 2:18 pm

      Oooh, thanks for sharing! I’d never heard of CleanMama. I’ll be putting that resource to good use for sure!

      I wanted to take the plunge for over a year now, and it just now finally felt right. You’ll know if and when you should make the transition. In the meantime, you’re doing a great job providing that stability for your family, and that is worth so very much!

  • Reply Little House May 27, 2014 at 9:51 am

    That’s awesome to hear that things are going so well and Sally has been more content. From a teacher perspective (since I’m not a mom) I think it’s very important for children to get a lot of time with a parent, it just makes a huge difference. It also sounds like you’re working out the budget stuff. Keep up the great work!

    • Reply Joanna May 27, 2014 at 2:20 pm

      Thanks for the kind words! They mean a lot! 🙂

  • Reply Rob May 27, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    I think I mentioned some time back here that we did what you guys are doing when our two kids were just toddlers. My wife stopped working full time to stay at home to take care of them. The one thing Joanna that you have going for you (that my wife didn’t at the time) was the opportunity to earn some additional income through freelance work. So that’s sure to be a help to your budget, regardless of whatever income that results from it. We found that we coped quite well under those conditions. My wife had time, as to kids got bigger, to be their “chief chauffer”, taking them to friends’ b/day parties, to the library, to the park, to their health appointments, etc etc – all the things that other parents find hard to do when both mom and dad are away from home everyday at work. Not to mention, the savings that you are achieving by not getting needing to pay for kids’ daycare. Also not to mention the additional at home teaching and experiences that you, as a SAHM, can provide. So bottom line – it’s all good, despite the budget sacrifices that you are now making (before your dude hubby makes his first million!) 🙂

    • Reply Joanna May 30, 2014 at 3:06 pm

      Thanks, Rob! Your words of support mean a lot! I think in the end, the pros will outweigh the cons. And it just felt like the right decision, so we’re going with our gut on this one!

  • Reply Halsy May 27, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    It sounds like you all are much happier since the transition. Glad it is going well! I have been a stay at home mom for 2 years now (wow can’t believe my daughter just turned 2!) . I can honestly say I still don’t have the whole house cleaning, meal planning etc. Down all the time. Now I have a newborn too so just when I had a good routine going it now needs adjusted! I think asking others what they do/how they organize time etc is always helpful. We are fortunate that we truly haven’t had to live on “one income” in the since that my husband has had to work a lot of overtime and has received bonuses at work over the past two years that made up a good portion of my income. Before kids we always had funds for house projects, vacations etc without even worrying about money. Now we still haven’t had to worry to have funds for down payment on new house, or finally purchasing the double jogging stroller other baby stuff. However, we realized our house needs new windows sooner than expected ($5-10,000) and things like that are much harder to do now without really analyzing funds etc. I now see why some of my friends went back to work just because needing new roofs etc. I hope the transition continues to go well and look forward to hearing more about your transition. Even though this is more of a financial blog, it would be interesting to have a day in the life type post once you get a routine down.

    • Reply Joanna May 30, 2014 at 3:12 pm

      Thanks, Halsy! I love hearing other SAHM’s perspectives, like yours. With my income, things were definitely pretty comfortable financially, and now we will have to be more careful. Glad to hear things so far have been working out pretty great with you guys, and I hope you’re able to figure out the window situation.

      And I hope life with a newborn and a toddler is going smoothly!! I love your idea about doing a day-in-the-life post… stay tuned!

  • Reply Emily May 27, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    I loved that you shared you were surprised by how little extra time you have. I have literally been trying to clean just the kitchen and bathroom today. Thanks to lunch, snack, outside play, puzzles, marble track building – I’m only half way there! Simple tasks take for.ev.er. I wouldn’t have it any other way though!

    • Reply Joanna May 30, 2014 at 3:16 pm

      Couldn’t have said it better, Emily. Seriously, Sally is a tornado in my house. Where did my baby go?? She throws things in the toilet and climbs up on the table and pours milk all over the kitchen floor!! So yeah, extra time is a thing of the past (except when she’s napping, which is right now!).

  • Reply Sabrina @WorkItMsJackson May 27, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    I’m so glad to hear that you’re loving staying home with Sally. I loved every second I did it and would go back to it in a heartbeat. The hope, and goal, is for me to go back to staying at home after my husband graduates from college next year and gets settled into a job. I’d love to do a little freelancing on the side but since I’ve never really had a job that transitions well to that, that will be hard.

    Enjoy every second with Sally and then jump on those girl’s night outs or date nights when you can. You’ll appreciate them so much more. 😉

    • Reply Joanna May 30, 2014 at 3:18 pm

      Thanks, Sabrina! I hope you’re able to go back to staying home as planned! What you’re doing right now for your family is great, and I’m sure they (especially your husband) really appreciate it!

      And you are so right… I treasure my kid-free time so much now!

  • Reply Newlyweds on a Budget May 28, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    I so wish that I could stay at home when we have kids, but I just don’t see it being a possibility due to finances. I also know that I would want to return to work, and I would be afraid of the hit my career would take just so that I could stay home….on the other hand, I would want to be there for my children… hmm things to think about.

    • Reply Joanna May 30, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      When the time comes, I think you’ll know what you need to do! Being a SAHM isn’t the right choice for every woman, and some women are much happier in their careers. And a happy mom is a good mom, right?

  • Reply Kassandra May 29, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    So far it sounds like the transition to being at home full-time is a really positive move. The potential for you to earn your income while being at home is definitely a plus. I do believe that SAHM don’t have as much time as many would think!

    • Reply Joanna May 30, 2014 at 3:21 pm

      You’re spot on, Kassandra. If Sally is awake, she is demanding my attention, which is fine and dandy, but not much gets done! 🙂

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