Something about sending the kids off to school can trigger career dreams in the hearts of many SAHMs.
Jobs for Stay At Home Moms (and Dads) may seem hard to come by. With these three tools, you’ll be able to find a project that’s right for you and fits with your schedule at home.
That’s what Army wife Saychelle did. “When that school bus rolled away with my daughter on it, I walked back inside and thought, What now?”
With her youngest child finally enrolled in full-day kindergarten, the many hours a day she had spent coloring, playing Candyland, fixing snacks and enforcing naptime suddenly disappeared.
She stared at an empty house, thinking, “What am I supposed to do all day?”
When it came to finding a mom job (the kind of job that you can do during the hours your kids are at school), Saychelle had no idea where to start.
She had spent her whole life dreaming about being a stay-at-home mom, after all. And as a SAHM, she was happy and fulfilled.
Deep inside, she always wondered what she would do afterward, and as soon as she turned back to the empty house, that question was suddenly in front of her, standing in the place of her daughter.
Has the same thing happened to you? Have you dropped the kids off at school only to wonder what happens now for you?
Figuring out what to do next can be so troubling it even stumps the experts. That’s what happened to Rachele Parente, a life coach in North Carolina and a Marine Corps wife.
“My plan was to stay at home until the kids went into elementary school before I went back into the workforce,” Rachele said.
As the heart and brains behind RP Coaching & Consulting, Rachele helps women navigate relationships, careers and self-image challenges on the road to happy, fulfilled lives.
She knows that for many stay-at-home moms, that means finding a job, too. Other people are looking for a project or activity that’s all theirs -- something that’s just for them.
With the birth of her own second child, Rachele knew she needed something more, but still something that let her be home with her children.
She tried a few different hats on for size before she found the right one for her. When it came to figuring out what that next step would be, she started with doing what she loved.
She suggests you do the same thing. “Definitely find your passion,” she urges. “If you don’t know what that is, take the time to explore and figure it out.”
Find your passion in the normal routine
A great way to start is to think about your daily routine. Is there a special time with your children that makes you happy? Maybe craft time, or play time outside? Do you love being together in the kitchen?
These little things can seem like just happy moments together, but they can be the building blocks of figuring out what you want to do.
“For me it was painting,” Saychelle says. She had taken art classes before she was married and she always loved coloring with her daughter, but she had never considered it a viable job.
Faced with that empty house, she decided a trip to the art store was in order. Armed with some watercolors and a tablet, she began to carve out some time every day to explore her craft without feeling guilty.
“The laundry can wait for thirty minutes,” she says. And for the last few years it has.
“I now sell my art at a craft fair all summer long,” she says, proudly. “I take home more than enough to cover my expenses, and I use the rest to treat myself. I only do it while the kids are at school, and I love it.”
Plug into your community
If your usual day-to-day doesn’t offer you something calling your name, look into opportunities on base to get to know both yourself and your community better. From team building classes to volunteer opportunities, your post can be a great resource.
For Kristy, a Navy wife in California, the seminars and workshops offered on base were what helped her find her calling.
“I took a home-buying class,” she says. Once she learned the ins and outs of buying a home, she finally had the opportunity to do what she’d always dreamed of: fixing up an older house.
“We were looking for a home, and I got really into it. It’s very creative. I’ve now fixed and re-sold two houses, and I love it. The kids help me out sometimes, and it’s something that’s all mine. “
Without that one class, she doesn’t know what she’d have done. “I’d probably be sitting at home trying not to go crazy,” she laughs. “It’s so worth it.”
Test your strengths and skill-sets
Base employment offices also offer a lot of resources that can help you find your passion if there are no workshops, seminars or community events that appeal to you. Tests like Strength Finder and the Myers-Briggs personality tests can match what you are innately good at with jobs that put those skills to use.
Marine Corps wife Carly relied on these tests to help her figure out what to do with her free time once her children were in middle school.
“It helped me zero in on what I’m good at,” Carly said.
Carly is known around her home as the organization queen, and with the help of the skills inventory, she decided to lend her talent to a local school where she volunteers during the school day.
“My kids are right there, and I’m there helping out. It’s the best of all worlds as a stay-at-home mom. You know, I stay at home when the kids are there too.”
If getting away from the house is difficult for you (as it can be for many moms balancing the family needs), many of these tests can be found in variation online, often for free.
They are a good place to get started, and once you get the ball rolling, you’ll be thinking about what your strengths and favorite things are and will be able to focus on those.
Like the old saying goes, if you want to know where your heart is, look where your mind goes when it wanders.
The passion that will see you through the childless hours as a stay-at-home mom might be right there. Even when being there with your kids is your true passion and your highest priority, looking for a little something for you -- either now or down the road -- can be the project that makes your mom job complete.
“When you start thinking and acting like who you want to be or what you want to achieve, the opportunities present themselves,” Rachele reminds us. “Don’t get caught up in what isn’t and focus on being the part you wish and what you want to achieve.”
Editor’s Note: This article is part of our series on the 10 kinds of military spouse jobseekers. This one is aimed at Momjobbers, SAHMs and Creatives. If you are looking for a different kind of job, let us know in the comments box below.