For many, it’s a new type of midlife crisis, the kind that makes your fingers sweat and your stomach tighten. It’s that moment when, after decades of toilet bowl scrubbing and meatball rolling, you decide to toss your apron for a career.

If they’ll hire you.

And won’t fire you.

And your not-so-well adjusting family doesn’t drive you completely insane.

Um… Will this new job have mental health insurance?

Whether you’ve been out of the work-force for a few years or twenty, making this adjustment can lead to a great deal of insecurity and stress, but with prayer, forethought, flexibility, and increased communication, mothers can experience a fulfilling, guilt-free career.

But before you trade your vacuum for a word processor, make sure you…

Count the Costs

Consider Jesus’ words in Luke 14:28-30 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish’” (NLT).

Although this passage specifically speaks to our salvation, the premise is valid for every area of our lives. When we begin a new venture, we must do so with forethought, prayer, and planning.

I’m notorious for acting before thinking, and it’s gotten me in trouble more than a few times. When bills rise, stock markets crash, or kids return to school, leaving Mom with a sudden increase of free time, it’s easy to opt for a quick solution: returning to work. But sometimes such a drastic change can actually create more problems. Childcare is expensive, as is convenience food, and contrary to popular belief, those dust fairies don’t exist.

That doesn’t mean a housewife shouldn’t return to work. Rather, it means she and her spouse need to discuss this fully, weighing all the options. How much will childcare cost? Will we opt to eat out more? Is the financial gain worth the familial stress? Are family members willing to help out with housework once mom begins a career? Would it be best to hire a housekeeper? Who will put the kids to bed, get up with them in the middle of the night, and stay home when they become ill?

Do not try to be superwoman! You cannot maintain a full-time job and manage everything you did as at home. Therefore, it is important to recognize this, communicate this, and have a game plan in place before chaos hits.

Consider Starting Small

Going from housewife to career woman overnight might be too drastic of a change for you and your family. Instead, investigate part-time and job-sharing positions, even if they aren’t in your field of choice. This will allow you to build up the stamina necessary to manage a career and family and will give you and your loved ones opportunity to adjust. It will also allow you to evaluate your decision to work in an informed matter. After you’ve worked a part-time or temporary position for a while, once again discuss your career options and the costs and benefits of pursuing it with your husband before making any longterm decisions.

Recognize the Change will Affect the Entire Family

When Amy Pfortmiller, Second Grade Teacher at Cornerstone Christian decided to seek a career in education, she soon realized her decision impacted everyone. “My time had been my own for many years, and the adjustment was hard on everyone. There were some late night classes which meant I wasn’t the one putting the kids to bed, and that was really hard on all of us. I found they were jealous of the time I had to spend working on homework, and this led to feelings of guilt for me.”