Choosing to be a stay at home wife (with or without children) doesn’t mean you’re signing up for a life of wearing pajamas all day and eating ice cream while you spend 5 hours binge-watching your favorite soap operas then quickly getting up and throwing a ready-made meal in the oven before your husband gets home from work.
Being a stay at home wife isn’t living in pajamas and eating chocolate with rollers in your hair. It’s choosing to create a haven for your husband and family, it’s managing the tasks of the household so your husband can come home and shake off his long day at work. It’s making a choice to do the dirty work, the unappreciated work, and the work that no one else wants to do (I’m talking about you, toilets…).
And even though there are many people who just don’t “get it”, people who believe the stereotype and will shame your decision to stay home, your role isn’t defined by someone’s opinions.
(And it’s not your job to get in their face and prove them wrong, it’s your job to quietly and respectfully do your job – be a homemaker – and hope that one day they’ll see that not all stay at home wives are the way they’re portrayed in movies.)
Ready to learn how to be a good stay at home wife? Let’s get right to it.
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Shortly after getting married I went back to work after having a few months off. It wasn’t until I went back to work that both my husband and I realized how much we had both loved having me be a stay at home wife. So, after some discussions and vigorously working out a budget, I quit my job and never looked back.
And now here we are, and I want to share with you everything I’ve learned about being the best stay at home wife you can be and how to use your role to bless those around you.
Want to make your home a haven?
As a stay at home wife, you have the opportunity to take life slower. Rather than jumping out of bed, quickly making breakfast and a cup of coffee then running out the door so you’re not late for work, you can wake up with your husband and help make his work morning just a bit more relaxed and easier. Then after he leaves for work, you can focus on the work laid out for you at home.
But before we get to that, let’s look at some of the advantages of being a stay at home wife…
- You get to focus, learn, and grow in your role as a homemaker
- If your husband has time off work you can escape for a few days together without having to ask your boss for time off
- You learn how to be happy with less
- You learn the value of money and how to thrive on a budget
- You gain a greater appreciation for the things you do have
- Impulse buying becomes a thing of the past
- You’ll learn how to become creative with date night
- The value of quality time will be far greater than fleeting gifts
- You’ll learn how to focus on the blessings of life rather than the challenges
“All this from choosing to quit my job and stay home?” YES – being a stay at home wife is so much more than just a title.
But, it’s also not for the faint of heart. There are plenty of challenges, whether financial, relational or others altogether that will come your way.
How to know if being a stay at home wife is right for you
As much as I love hearing about wives who are full-time homemakers, I know this calling isn’t for everyone. So, how do you know if it’s right for you? Here are a couple of different reasons why being a stay at home wife might not be the right fit for you (right now):
- Your husband isn’t on board. The very first thing you need to do when deciding whether to be a stay at home wife is talk it over with your husband. Going from two incomes down to one is a big decision and shouldn’t be made on a whim. If your husband isn’t on board with the thought of you becoming a full-time homemaker right now, give it time and try discussing it again in a few months if it is something that is really important to you.
- You’re not ready to make some lifestyle changes. As mentioned above, when you become a stay at home wife you’ll likely be leaving one income in the dust. Going from two incomes down to one certainly isn’t impossible, but it is something that should be thought about beforehand… and you’ll need to be ready to make some lifestyle changes. You can’t expect to drop an income without changing your spending habits, so to get you started I would STRONGLY, STRONGLY suggest that both you and your husband take some time to read this book before making any major decisions.
- Spending too much time at home drives you crazy. When you become a stay at home wife there will most likely be days (quite often) when you don’t even leave your house. (I know… Gasp!) So, if you can’t stand the thought of spending an entire without leaving your house then becoming a stay at home wife may not be the best move for you – right now. Of course, you can – and should – get out of the house on a daily basis and go for a walk, but if you need to constantly be doing something away from home the adjustment to staying home will be tough.
- You aren’t a self-motivator. If you struggle to get stuff done without having someone above you telling you what to do or setting deadlines, then you can bet you’ll struggle to get anything done at home.
Being a homemaker is a wonderful, rewarding job and you can bless many people with the role you have, but while you’re deciding what YOU should do, remember that it’s not for everybody.
➡️ Do you desire to stay home with your kids? Learn how you can stay home with your kids on a tight budget, here!
Stay at home wife duties
“What do stay at home wives do all day?” is a very common question that gets asked. Many people believe all we do is sleep in and watch movies. While other people think we’re always out with our friends. And other people yet think that we spend hours on end ironing our husband’s underwear.
While it would be possible for stay at home wives to waste their days doing nothing, for most, it’s not a reality. As a stay at home wife you have to be intentional with your days and make sure they don’t slip through your fingers. You have to be a self-starter and get things done in time and on time, which can be hard when there’s no “boss” telling you what to do and when to do it.
You’re your own boss, and though it sounds appealing, it’s not always as easy as you may think.
I have met MANY women who say they’re jealous of me and that I get to stay home all day (“and do nothing” are the words they leave unspoken, but we both know are there). They tell me that they’d give anything to be able to leave their job and stay home, to what I answer, “why don’t you?” and their answer is usually – without fail – “well, we just can’t make it work financially,”. But if you’re willing to lay down your wants and focus on your needs, it’s amazing how much stuff you can magically make work… things that you never thought were possible. (But seriously, if you’re serious about being a stay at home wife, please read this first. It changed the way my husband and I handled our finances.)
Each woman is different, so each woman’s tasks and responsibilities will be different. But, here are some general stay at home housewife duties –
- Meal planning & prepping (I started running out of time, so now I use this)
- Grocery shopping
- Paying bills
- Making & packing lunches
- Making meals
- (Or all at once)
- Other house cleaning & organizing tasks
- Running errands
- Scheduling appointments
When you look at a stay at home mom’s daily schedule, it’s easy to think that their job really isn’t that hard. Heck, you could do all that AND work outside the home.
While you may be able to do it all and work a full-time job outside the house, think of what you’re doing at home. Then think of how much more in depth you could be going if being a full-time homemaker was your job. (Looking at the schedule of a homemaker and thinking, “I could do that”, and actually doing it are two different things altogether.)
It’s like the old saying goes:
Never judge a book by its cover. (There is more to the daily duties of a stay at home wife than meets the eye.)
Ultimately, being a stay at home wife can change your marriage and your life for the better, but you have to be willing to make sacrifices along the way.
Being a full-time homemaker is awesome, but there are some downsides:
- You never leave your job (while people who work outside the home can “clock out” from their job when they get home in the evenings, your job continues through morning, afternoon, and evening)
- If you don’t get yourself moving, nothing gets done (it’s up to YOU to be productive and get things done)
- No one picks up after you (you spend all day picking up after the people who live in your house… and what do you get in return? A messy house.)
- People will judge (so it’s important to learn how to ignore those who judge and cling to the relationships that speak goodness into your life)
But it also means that…
- You and your husband get more time together
- You can make healthy, homemade meals for your family
- You can give your husband the best of yourself
- You learn how to work hard and are careful with money
- You have the freedom to do things on your own time
Stay at home wives (and moms) have a calling in life that is often overlooked or forgotten about but it’s one that should never be forgotten. That calling is to be a homemaker.
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. – Proverbs 31:27
But with choosing to be a stay at home wife comes an important decision. You need to decide if you are going to use your days for good and be productive, or if you will be lazy, idle, and let your days slip by.
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. – Proverbs 31:10
11 ways to be a good stay at home wife
1. START YOUR DAY OFF WITH GOD’S WORD
If you only take ONE THING away from this entire post on how to be a good stay at home wife, let this be the thing you take away: spending time in God’s word regenerates, energizes, and equips you with what you need to face your day.
And let’s face it… it just makes you a nicer person.
Starting every day in the Word of God (don’t have a good Bible yet? I use this study Bible and LOVE the way it explains things) will help you start your day on the right foot and with your head screwed on straight. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes in your productivity, attitude, and the total outcome of your day. (I also use this every day to pray over my husband.)
2. GET DRESSED
“WOAH – we don’t get to wear our cozy jammies all day?” Nope. It’s time to march back to the bedroom and get into some “big girl” clothes. Stat.
Getting dressed doesn’t only make you ready for unexpected company to show up (because no one wants to be the person answering the door in their hello-kitty pajamas…), but it also helps you be more productive, keep your house cleaner, and motivates you to get work done.
3. MAKE A LIST
Whether you’re a person of routine (me, me, me!) or you prefer to fly by the seat of your pants, using a list to organize your days will ensure that you get the most important tasks done first, then work your way down each and every thing that needs to be done throughout the day.
If you’re famous for making lists and forgetting about them (also me), this to do list formula is GENIUS and will help you make lists that you follow through with.
4. THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING TO BE DONE
Finished washing the dishes and don’t know what to do next? The floor could use a good sweep.
Done running errands and tempted to sit down and scroll through Facebook for half an hour? Meals could be getting prepped.
Standing around with nothing to do? Have you checked the laundry pile lately?
You get the point – there’s always something that can be done. Even when you think you’ve finished everything, there’s always more.
You could organize a drawer (or just use this so you never have to organize a drawer again), sweep the floor, throw in a load of laundry (with some homemade detergent), wipe out the cupboards, make next week’s meal plan (or do what I do and just use this).
(If you have yet to start meal planning, there’s no better time than now. This is what my husband and I did to go from spending $1,000 on groceries a month to $300!)
5. FIND A CLEANING ROUTINE THAT WORKS FOR YOU
Keeping the house clean is just a normal part of being a wife – no matter how much you wish it wasn’t. And I’ll be the first to admit, it can get very exhausting and boring. And sometimes it’s just plain hard to find the motivation to clean. (Some days my cleaning motivation grows legs and walks off, leaving me sitting in a messy room with heaping piles on every side.)
But as much as you may despise it, cleaning is just a part of life – and there’s no way around it (unless you hire someone to clean for you… in which case, I’m willing to bet you wouldn’t be here. Reading this post.).
After a lot of trial and error, I have found that using a cleaning routine or schedule works the best to keep me on track. That way I don’t need to batch all my big cleaning tasks into one day – I can spread them out over a number of days to make the workload lighter. I like to use a cleaning schedule just like this one.
6. MANAGE YOUR TIME
Time management is crucial for stay at home moms. Maybe you start your day off slowly, get a couple of chores done around the house, then before you know it it’s 6pm and you haven’t even started supper yet and you’re left wondering what on earth you did all day.
One thing I found when I became a stay at home mom was that I constantly felt busy, but I was never getting anything done.
Kind of like spinning my wheels but getting nowhere. I was wasting energy on things that weren’t important and forgetting about the things that were. That was until I started to learn how to manage my time better. Now that I have a time management system in place I am able to be productive and get more things done now than I ever was able to get done before; despite the fact that I’m far busier now than I ever was before.
(My time management system is simple. I write everything I have to do for the day down on this list then work on completing the tasks in a timely matter so I can get them all done in the morning/afternoon – if possible – and still have some time to relax. The biggest thing I did for my time management was focus on getting my tasks done FIRST, then doing “fun stuff” last. If I didn’t get around to the “fun stuff” it wasn’t as big of a deal as if I didn’t get all my tasks done.)
7. CREATE A MONEY MANAGEMENT PLAN
If you’re becoming a stay at home wife chances are finances are going to get a bit tight until you can figure out how to balance life on one income. The good news is that living on one income IS very possible – my husband and I have been doing it for years – it just requires some lifestyle adjustments.
Creating a plan for your money is the starting point. You’ll want to create a budget that is tailored exactly to your family’s needs so you can ensure you’ll be able to live comfortably on one income without going into debt. If you feel like you’re constantly falling behind with your finances, this will help you get on track to a debt-free life even when you’re living on very little.
8. TURN OFF THE ELECTRONICS
If you want to be a good, productive stay at home wife, electronics are NOT your friend. It is convenient to be able to catch up with people in just a couple of seconds, but it’s far too easy to get sucked into the endless Facebook scroll or texting with a friend when you should be doing household chores.
If you really need to focus in on something that you’re doing, turning your phone, computer, and TV off will help you focus and get the task done without getting distracted. You could start getting things done in half the time simply by focusing all your energy on the task until it’s done.
9. make your home a haven
Spend some time each day making your home a haven for your husband to come home to every evening after work. Make it a welcoming, cozy, and safe place – a place that people feel comfortable in when they visit. Make it a place where your friends aren’t worried if their kids run around or color; but somewhere that is still cozy enough to sit on the couch with a steaming cup of coffee and visit with a friend for hours.
Getting back to the relationship that matters the most… it’s especially important to focus on making your home somewhere that your husband is excited to come home to.
Does he want a certain piece of furniture, picture, or decoration but hasn’t gotten around to getting it? Surprise him one day by having it at home for him (if finances are tight, buying online through Rakuten will give you cash back and you can check for any available discounts. Use Rakuten for free here & get a $10 bonus through this link).
Maybe there’s a meal he’s been craving for weeks. Have it hot and ready for him when he gets home from work.
If a clean and organized home is important to your husband, try to do little things every day that keep your home clean and tidy.
10. get up early
Just because you can sleep in doesn’t mean you should. Waking up early and starting your day before the rush sets in will help you feel more relaxed and at ease for the rest of the day. You could even get into the habit of waking up with your husband (or before) and making him a nice breakfast before he sets off to work.
11. Take care of yourself
Stay at home wives work in the house. Homemaking is their job. The catch? They don’t get to leave work at the end of the day. This means that day in and day out, all day they are at work, which could result in burning out.
To avoid burning out and continue loving your role as a homemaker and stay at home wife, you need to make sure you take time for yourself. Spoil yourself every once in a while. Make yourself look good and don’t just wear sweats with bedhead all day. Putting effort into the way you look and taking time to pamper yourself (with an at-home spa kit) – or just do something you enjoy – each day will keep you refreshed and ready to face each new day.
The stay at home wife schedule
Each and every homemaker’s schedule will look different from the next, but it’s important to make a schedule that keeps you busy throughout the day but not so busy that you become overwhelmed with your role. You still need to make time for you.
One of the most important things I’ve learned when making my stay at home wife schedule is to schedule time for lunch. I get so wrapped up in all the tasks I have to do throughout the day that I often end up forgetting to eat, or I’ll just graze on snacks throughout the day.
And that’s not healthy.
Whatever your stay at home wife schedule looks like, schedule in at least half an hour to sit down and eat a healthy lunch, go for a walk, or read a book every day.
Use this schedule to create your daily stay at home wife schedule.
Do you ever just wonder how to be a good homemaker or what stay at home wives do all day? Maybe you are a stay at home wife and you feel lost and like you’re not getting anything productive done with your days. I’ve been there! The biggest change was when I started using a daily list (like this one) and took a bit of time each morning to write down everything that needed to get done during the day. This way my list would keep me on track and keep me accountable.
What are some of your tips from one stay at home wife to another? Maybe you have a favorite stay at home wife schedule! I’d love to hear your stay at home wife tips.