1. Without my paycheck, things I considered necessities became occasional luxuries. In order to survive on my husband's paycheck alone I had to eliminate (or dramatically reduce) the following "necessities":
* Professional manicures, pedicures and facials.
* Expensive high maintenance hairdo's
* Eating out 4 or 5 times a week
* Microwaveable meals
* Shopping sprees for designer clothes, shoes and handbags (my weakness)
* A new car every 2-3 years
* Luxury vacations (We took lots of camping trips until I discovered how to go on fabulous vacations on a tight budget)
Shockingly enough, I soon realized that I didn't need any of these things to make me happy!
2. My kids also had to adjust. Whilst my kids loved having me home they didn't take so kindly to having less toys and material possessions. It took them a while to realize that they couldn't always buy a new pair of brand name sneakers, latest electronic gadget or ultra-cool toy just because their friends had them. The benefit to this, though, was that my kids became more responsible about money and my son even took on a part time job and started saving money for the things he wanted. my kids have learned to delay gratification, which is another vitally important life lesson.
3. I loved the unstructured days and no boss looking over my shoulder telling me what to do all the time. The freedom was wonderful, but I soon realized that it could be a double edged sword. There were more days than I care to remember that just drifted purposelessly away, because they didn't have any sort of structure to them.
4. I had more housework to do than ever. Who would have thought? Because the kids and I were home all day the house became messier and needed more cleaning. I didn't like housework when I was working and I certainly didn't like it any better after I started staying home. My solution was to get my kids involved. After all, they were responsible for most of the mess. And they learned valuable life skills and a sense of responsibility into the bargain.
5. My husband began to feel more pressure because he was now the sole breadwinner. Watching our spending habits and cutting expenses whenever I could helped to ease the pressure on him somewhat.
If you plan on returning to work again when the kids are older you may be limiting your prospects to some degree. To make this re-entry into the job market a bit easier, you may have to retain your membership in professional societies, continue networking and perhaps even continue to study at your own expense. But it's quite possible that you may never want to go back. Many moms have used the skills they gained through their training and jobs to open up successful home based businesses. This certainly proved to be the case with me. I started my own Internet based business and I haven't looked back!
The routine day to day life of a stay at home mom can be a lonely and thankless job. I found that I didn't have much in common with my working friends anymore and that I needed to cultivate friendships with other stay at home moms. But to my dismay I found that I didn't have too much in common with these ladies either! Most of them barely know how to turn on a computer, hadn't heard of Twitter and certainly didn't share my passion for online marketing. But thanks to the Internet, I've found many wonderful women from all over the world that I can connect and cultivate wonderful friendships with.
Knowing these things in advance would have made the transition from working mom to stay at home mom so much easier. But even with all it's challenges I wouldn't give up being a stay at home mom for the world.