Kids grow up fast. One minute they’re crawling and very dependent on you, the next they are already independent and have a life of their own.

Some parents don’t want to miss any of the developmental milestones of their children. As hard as it may seem, some give up their career to be a full-time parent. They believe that personally taking care of their kids are way more important that their jobs.

If you’re weighing on giving up your job to be a full-time parent, you should come fully prepared before making this decision. Being a stay-at-home parent is certainly not a walk in the park.
Before taking the big leap, here’s what you should do first:

Know Your Timeline and Make a Plan

Jumping into a stay-at-home parent is like going into a war; you should never go unprepared nor unarmed. Start by making a plan first.

How long will you be staying as a stay-at-home parent? Is it only for the meantime that your toddler is growing up or will you be a full-time parent forever? Consider your financial standing as well. Is the salary of your spouse enough to pay all the bills and make both ends meet? If you feel that your financial standing is not enough with only one of you working, you can consider on having home based job. You can also start an online business or teach kids online.

Make sure that you have everything planned out before handing your resignation letter.

Create an Emergency Fund

When only one of you is working, it’s hard to budget your finances. You would be having a hard time when you encounter unexpected bills or expenses. Avoid going through this dilemma by setting up an emergency fund. Allocate a certain amount to be deposited to this fund and only use this for emergency purposes only.

You can jumpstart your emergency fund by going through your stuff and selling those that are not being used. Use the money earned as your initial emergency fund. You can also start cutting down your expenses by limiting unnecessary purchases or dining out.

Clear Off Some of Your Debt

It will be a challenge managing one-income family expense especially if a chunk of this goes to paying off some debts. Some fall into the trap of taking on debts to pay another debt which could lead to filing for bankruptcy.

There’s no doubt having tons of debt can cause us stress and countless of sleepless nights worrying how to pay them off. While you still have an income of your own, allocate a portion to pay off some debts. You don’t have to pay them all at once. The idea is to start paying some of them so that they don’t compound and bury you alive in the future.

Make a New Budget, Then Test It

Put your plan into action by creating a budget around the working parent’s salary only.

In creating a budget, it’s important that you get your partner’s involvement as well. Have a sit with him and evaluate his monthly income. Then, based on your necessities such as food, transportation, etc, work around how much you need per category.

Now that you have agreed on the budget, it’s time to put this budget to a test before you resign. See if this budget is doable and can cover all expenses. If you think single-income would be much of a challenge, look into finding other options such as freelance home based jobs.

Practice Adequate Communication with your Partner

There’s always temptation for resentment and disappointment when one partner is working while the other is not. One may feel that he’s pressured to work too much to cover all of the expenses while the other may feel that she’s being taken advantage and can feel worthless at times.

To avoid this kind of tension from building up, make sure that you sit down with your partner and have an open conversation. List the things that you expect from each other and make rules for your roles and responsibilities. When there is a clear line of communication, all tensions and resentments will be easily addressed.

Build Social Outlets

It’s easy to lose your sanity when the only conversation you have to the entire day is that with a 2-year-old babbling toddler. Most stay-at-home parents feel isolated at times. They feel a sharp pain of envy whenever they see their friends posting epic night outs or getaways on social media.

Before becoming a stay-at-home parent, make sure that you have built a strong social connection. Having set of friends that you can ask for an occasional coffee date to unwind is helpful to keep your sanity at bay. You can also join communities for parents that are stay at home. There are a lot of groups or forums that you can join online.

Being a stay-at-home parent requires too much sacrifice. There are pros and cons. No matter how hard it is, nothing can still beat the feeling of seeing your kid grow up into a loving and kind individual.