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Transitioning from SAHM to WOHM

755 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  ChristaN
I am hoping that some of you have made this transition as well & can give me your experience on how it went. I have mostly been a SAHM since my girls were born. I went to grad school in the nights when they were babies & have worked relief at our local hospital for the past few years (that usually amounts to a few days/month at most). It has worked well for the kids, but we are just sinking financially.

Ideally, I would love to work part-time, but finding a 20 hr/wk job (or something around that) in my field is extremely hard where we live. I honestly have been looking for close to two years. I have a job opportunity that sound very promising at another hospital in town, but it is full-time with somewhat odd hours (some very early mornings like 5:30am & some very late nights like 10pm). I am the only person with whom they are speaking (interviewing) at this point & I should know something more next week. It sounds like a really good fit for my background, but I am so torn about being away from home so much. Unfortunately, although it would likely pay more than my dh makes, it is not enough for us to afford him to be a SAHD.

So, for those of you who transitioned from SAHM to full-time WOHM, how did it go? Tell me that your kids survived & you all aren't miserable trying to put fast food dinners on the table at 6pm please! I am vegan & tend to cook a lot of gourmet meals from scratch at this point, grow a big garden & just do a lot around here that I am really worried will go away with me gone so much. I just don't want to totally compromise our quality of life even though I know that us being less financially stressed should technically improve our quality of life!

BTW, dds will be 5 & 7 in a few months & going into kindergarten & 2nd grade in the fall.
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I'm going to honestly tell you my story, but you're not going to like it. I hope you get good responses, because this is not.

My company let me have 3 years off (unpaid, of course) and I went back to work in April. I lasted 3 weeks. Dd (3 yo) was a mess, I was a mess. I couldn't do it. But...

I have a LOT of friends who were able to do it.

The key for me was that I didn't HAVE to work for us to financially make it. My salary (I was a computer systems analyst) would have allowed us to go back to visit family in Turkey twice a year and drive BMWs, but it wasn't worth it to see dd so torn up from me being gone. Still over a month later, she asks if I'm going to work and breaks down in tears over it. She is VERY, VERY high-needs. My mother (who lives with us) was taking care of her and dd loves her yaya, but it wasn't the same without mama. I bet, though, if I hadn't been so miserable, dd would have adjusted after a couple of months.

So, for us it was a disaster, but my dd is much younger than your kids. If she were older, I'm sure it would be a different situation, so take my experience with a grain of salt. Now, I am working on getting my CDL to be a school bus driver so I can earn a little money, but be with dd most of the time. She'll go to preschool full-time in the fall.
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I can't relate to going back to work after so much time as a SAHM, but I did want to just share a little. With your girls going to school the separation may not be as bad as you think... depending on the hours you get. I hope you're able to get mostly daytime hours so you're home when the girls are home.

When it comes to cooking & cleaning... spending time with my DD takes priority so we cook very little that's gourmet & from scratch, and our house is kind of a mess. We're actually thinking of hiring a maid service just to help us keep our lives from spiraling completely out of control. I have had some luck with recipes where I substitute some canned & premade ingredients but make the rest from scratch. For example when I make a lasagna I buy the tomato sauce instead of making it now. I'm not above buying pre-washed & cut veggies when I need to. It helps to have a couple of easy meals in the freezer for the nights that are pure mayhem (like Amy's pizza, homemade frozen burritos, etc). Have some pasta or sandwich fixins on hand for busy nights. Or on Sunday make a couple of casseroles and freeze them. Use your Sundays to get things together for the workweek. With a little planning ahead you can make your week go a lot easier.

Give a lot of extra time to your DD's when you first start... they'll probably be craving some cuddle or play time with mom, so during those first few weeks just plan for it.

I hope the transition goes easy for you guys. I wish I had more direct experience for you... I've been a WOHM since DD was 3 months old, and I can tell you that transition sucked
but your kids are so much more independent.
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I'm going to be following this thread with interest and hoping others will respond. I will also probably be returning to work in August after being a WAHM for 6 years. But I will be working at private school and my girls will be going with me to work every day, so I'm hoping it will work out ok.
I don't know how much help I'll be, but I'll post anyhow.

I recently went back to work and my son recently turned 1. (I've been home with him this whole time.) What helped us was to establish a routine and stick to it. It's been a little over a month now and things are starting to fall into place. Knock on wood, of course!

The most important thing is to find a childcare provider that you trust and that your children and you (and Dh) like. It will make your day better, it will make their transition better, and you probably won't feel as guilty (eventually!) when you drop them off and pick them up. Plus, they'll hopefully begin to look forward to certain things about the provider. (My son loves the babysitter's daughter's toy kitchen!)

If you can, start work on a Wed or Thurs so the week seems shorter to start out with.

And I agree, don't worry about the housework! Some weeks we have to get caught up on it all on the weekends. It's just more important during the week to squeeze as much time as we can out of being with our son.
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We're working on discussing what hours they would expect me to work. I have a meeting w/ the potential employer next week.

What my dh & are hoping we can do is have me work 7am-3pm most days & my dh go into work late every day (9am-5pm). That way he could take them into school & I could pick them up every day except the one 'early release day' at their school. Then, if I have a class to teach & need to go back in the evening, I can have a bbsitter come over & watch the girls until my dh gets home from work or he may already be home.

Hopefully this will work. Then again, dh may just resign & look for a pt job!
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