I’ve shared that I’ve been talking recently to young women who aspire to be in my shoes a decade from now. While most of our readers are already in this life stage, I thought it would be helpful to share the advice I’ve given to young women who are not here yet. Today and tomorrow, I have a few brief thoughts on preparation to be a stay-at-home mom.
- Be around kids. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to love everything about children to be a sahm. Many sahms I know actually don’t enjoy children in the abstract; their choice to stay home with their own stems from their convictions on motherhood, not because they’d be a kindergarten teacher in an alternate life. If, like me, you love children and naturally have a way with them, you are probably already doing what I recommend—babysitting, volunteering in the church nursery, helping teach preschool Sunday School. If you know you’re not a kid person, it’s still good practice to be around little kids and understand them better. You may never be the church’s go-to babysitter, but you can still practice. Even spending a day with a young mom can be an eye-opening experience. I recently took one of my younger friends to the grocery store with us. She said she never realized how much more time it took with kids in tow!
- The benefits of practicing on other people’s kids are manifold. You will be a more confident mother of a colicky newborn if you have already changed a multitude of diapers and rocked many other crying babies to sleep. If you’ve spent time around toddlers having temper tantrums, you’ll realize your own baby’s shrill-to-you cries are not, in fact, the loudest screams in the history of the world. If you’ve observed many different families, you’ll see how various parenting philosophies play out, and you’ll already have some tried-and-true ideas about discipline, routines, bedtimes, tv use, toys, and activities. Experience is not essential, but it certainly made the adjustment to motherhood easier for me!
What experiences were most helpful in preparing your expectations for motherhood?