Becoming a Stay at Home Mom in Midlife (WHY and HOW)

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Last Updated on December 8, 2023 by Erin

Have you ever considered becoming a stay-at-home mom? What about in midlife after your children have started school? Read to find out why and how I chose to become a part-time stay-at-home parent as I approached 40.

becoming a stay at home mom in midlife
Photo by Sebastian Pandelache on Unsplash

It feels so weird to even type out the headline for this blog post. Becoming a stay-at-home mom was never something I planned for nor was it a goal of mine.

Even from a young age, I was determined to be a very successful working parent. I pushed myself in school and earned a graduate degree. My mother and grandmothers had all been full-time working moms. I really didn’t know any different.

Fast-forward to my mid-30s. I had been in a rewarding, yet high-stress work environment for over a decade and now had three young children I absolutely adored. Life was hard. The dream of “having it all” wasn’t panning out like I thought it would. Burnout and exhaustion ruled my days.

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Leaving My Career

I worked in public education providing special education services for over a decade and although it had its ups there have been a lot more downs recently. Unless you live under a rock, you know what I’m talking about. The demands increase while the pay doesn’t.

I loved my students dearly and I felt immense guilt for making the decision to leave them, but the demands had become so high. By the time I rounded up my own kids after school, I was completely checked out. It didn’t feel healthy and definitely not sustainable.

It was not fair to my family at all. The thought of being a cranky and overwhelmed mom for another 20 years was depressing to me. I started to wonder, if something happens to me, how will my kids remember me?

It took YEARS of wrestling with this decision to finally come to the conclusion that what is best for me, and my family was to leave my full-time job in education and spend more time at home.

Advocating for My Children

My youngest will have two years at home while my oldest and middle child will both be in elementary school next year. My middle child is neurodivergent and will likely need some supports at school. I hope to be his biggest advocate. I want to be available for him, whatever that looks like. It will be incredible to have our morning and afternoon transitions less rushed because there will be fewer stops.

If you’re curious what my schedule looked like as a full-time working parent, you can check out this post.

No More Childcare Expenses

It will honestly feel so incredible to no longer give up huge chunks of my paycheck to daycare and before/after school care. The rates are constantly increasing. Daycare workers ABSOLUTELY need to be paid more (they’re saints and rockstars) but I struggle with making the huge payments when my own paycheck isn’t grand. Becoming a stay at home mom means not giving up most of my paycheck for childcare.

Even though two of my kids will be in elementary school next year, I would still be paying for before/after school care. I didn’t even get a discount as an employee of the same district! The absurdity…

How Can We Afford a Loss of Income?

My husband and I both work in education, so you might be wondering, “How in the heck can a family of 5 afford to live on one teacher’s income?”

After examining our finances and going through it with a fine-tooth comb, we decided I needed to work at least 2 days in a week in some capacity. Right now, the plan is to work in a contracting role. The back-up plan is to be a substitute teacher.

Honestly, the only reason we can even make this type of adjustment is because my husband and I have made incredibly wise financial decisions over the course of our marriage. Both of us were raised by parents who impressed the importance of frugality on us. My husband also got a bachelor’s degree in business before he became a high school teacher, and he happens to teach personal finance. We both understood the importance of saving wisely and investing by the time we started a family.

Good Financial Habits Make It Possible

When my daughter was an infant, we bought our first rental investment property. We put a little work into it and sold it a year later, earning enough to pay off our primary residence. A few years later we bought a new house and rented out the old one instead of selling it. Recently, we ended up selling that rental to buy two more rental properties. We are slowly trying to increase our investments and add to our net worth.

It has taken a LOT of research and hard work outside of our jobs, but it has been so worth it. Does our rental income replace my previous income? Not yet. I hope we can still save enough after the school year to continue buying properties. We are going to be taking a good hard look at our budget.

Real estate investment is something I hope to share more about in future posts. I think it’s something more people should definitely look in to and it has made this huge life change possible. I also look at it as an investment in my children’s future and I hope to pass these properties along to them one day.

One way I’m helping save and make money is buy using cash back programs to earn gift cards. I’m stocking up on gift cards to Target, Walmart, and Amazon to help purchase gifts and necessities down the road.

Helpful tip here: We use Empower to track all of our finances. It’s free to use and lets you see EVERYTHING all in one place- your budget, your spending, your investments, your assets, your net worth, etc. It’s amazing!

Midlife Adventure

Is this a midlife crisis? Maybe. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. I’m looking at it as a midlife adventure. Never did I ever imagine becoming a stay-at-home mom, but here I am! I have no idea what the future holds but I’m looking forward to spending more time with my children and being both physically and mentally available for them.

The sky is the limit when it comes to your midlife journey, and I can’t wait to share mine with you!


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