So this free-for-all can seem scary. But there's an opportunity here. You can establish your personal work style. Below are important questions to ask yourself as a new SAHM. Following your instincts on these questions (as opposed to answering what sounds "right," "good," "hip," or "popular") will get you going in the right direction in the SAHMlifestyle.
Are you more of a home body or social butterfly?
Where you fall on this spectrum will tell you how much you will want to plan for little outings with your little one. If you know ahead of time that you need to be around people to be happy, then join little play groups or MOPS or regularly attend library story hour. Have errands planned out (i.e., Groceries on Tuesday mornings or a walk in the park every afternoon) so that you have something to look forward to. If you are more of a homebody, then make sure you have hobbies, books, and activities that you can do at home to keep your personal life interesting.
Do you want advice from others on parenting? If you don't, then don't ask. Once you open this box, it is hard to close. Sure, you're a new mom and have a lot to learn, but beware of unwelcome advice from family, friends, and strangers. Come up with a simple canned response like, "Thanks for your opinion." or just give a blank stare.
More Type A or Type B? If you need a schedule, then make one. If you don't, then avoid it. If you're not sure what you are, try both and see what happens! Consider it Research & Development.
Are you an early bird or a night owl? Your natural body clock will help you decide when your best time to have personal time and do chores that you prefer to do without kiddos underfoot. Some SAHMs stay up all night to get personal time and regret it the next day because they're exhausted and little Johnny is up at the butt-crack of dawn because that's what 2-year olds do.
What do you expect of your husband? How much apart of everyday life (diaper changing, play time, dishes, laundry, etc.) do you expect your husband to participate in? It's wise to be honest and work this out ahead of time. Many husbands resent being left out as much as they do having chores dumped on them. Find a balance. P.S. If you say nothing, much can be interpreted.
What's your personal care regime? If you are a prissy girl and need lots of primping time every morning, plan on getting up early and finding fasionable machine-washable clothes. You can make it work, but you'll have to put in the extra effort. If you don't require more than a ponytail with your jeans and t-shirt, that's fine, too. Just know where you're comfortable with your appearance and stick with it instead of falling down the frumpy SAHM black hole.
These are just some questions I wish I would have considered when I first became a SAHM. It would have saved me a lot of grief to know myself better from the start. But we all learn, don't we. What do you wish you would have known about yourself that would have made your life as a new SAHM easier?