So what does it mean to be a Stay at home mom (SAHM)? How does one arrive at the decision to leave their career behind them and buckle down with the kids 24 hours per day? Allow me to tell you- the choice is far from simple, it requires plenty of thought, and a whole lot of faith. For me, the decision didn’t come until after our third child was born.
During my career years, I balanced full time job (working nights in that) and being a mother throughout the day. I saw my husband for about an hourbefore I headed into the office. This was routine, daily for five decades. I’d work late, get home around 1a. M., go to bed about 2 a.m., and wake up early to have the children in school the following day. Exhausting? Of course it was. But it was what I believed, I needed to do.
While at work, driving to catch a bite to eat, on my so-called lunch hour (8 pm I’d see families walking around the neighborhoods throughout the summer months. I envied that life and knew I wouldn’t have the ability to partake in these activities for several years. I had no idea how many years I’d be working nights. It was the only way my husband and I could work full time, and keep our kids out of daycare.
I settled for upgrades from my husband, about how our kids were doing, via phone or pictures sent via email. I knew the children were enjoying themselves, but I was not there. I wasn’t there for dinners, for assignments, for bathrooms, for play time, story time, bed time, and everything in between.
Sure it bothered me, but hey, this is exactly what we had to do. As time went on, we decided to have an additional child. Our third child was born in April 2010, and she had been the life-changing kid. I don’t know what happened, but at some point our thought process changed. I couldn’t bring myself to go back to work, I couldn’t fathom the concept of leaving her and the rest of my children again. It killed me! I was thankful, this time around, I took off 8-months of maternity leave, some paid, some unpaid.
We did it!
My husband and I lived the months using a fraction of the income we normally yielded. The time came to go back to work and it was hard, so I flew. This is the time when my faith became stronger, and I became closer to God. As I said, our third child was a life-changer. I chased my maternity leave by yet another month, then another month- it was eventually December 2010 and I couldn’t keep doing this. I was told I had to return in January 2011, no more extensions.
So after many weeks and days of praying, hashing it out with my husband, reviewing financing and looking at my kids, I decided to write that letter of resignation. A letter of resignation, from a terrific career that I loved- a department which I respected and supervisors whom I’d miss. I was to give any promotional lists I was on and income, to stay home with my kids and never to miss another step in their lives.
The pressure was overwhelming. It was really hard! It wasn’t hard because I didn’t want to try it, but hard since, this was all I knew- work, money, work. However, something changed this time around, and I just couldn’t leave my kids. So the letter was written and filed and I had resigned from a excellent place in December 2010. At a time, when so many wanted a profession or job, I gave mine up.
Do I regret this choice? No, not for a moment. I’ve now been home for two-years, and I look back on my career and miss it at times. There’s absolutely not any comparison, between staying home and working. Staying home means you’re busy 24 hours a day, with hardly any breaks. While I worked, I managed to have a rest, because I went to the office. I could breathe and have adult interaction. The differences are vast. But I will always remember what I read someplace.
Loosely put ‘Work will always be there but your children’s formative years won’t. ‘And it’s so very correct. I won’t ever get back my children’s formative years, their firsts, sporting events, dinners, homework, baths, narrative time, you name it, if you blink, it’s gone! Being a stay at home mother, means sacrifice. If you wish to live on one income- you must forfeit and I mean a lot! You have to cut corners, tighten up and give up plenty of things that you really don’t need.
I’ve found, many families aren’t ready to do this. Many families would rather make plenty of income, take the yearly holiday trips, spend their money on whatever they want in lieu of sacrifice, to have one stay at home parent. Yet, I hear them say ” I wish I could be home.” You can, if you make that conscious effort to forfeit. It isn’t easy by any means. I do believe you will need to have faith in God, your partner likely ought to have a good paying, steady job and you want to be ready to sacrifice.
Perhaps you have not said it enough? Sacrifice. But it’s all for the sake of the kids! I really don’t envy working moms, because I’ve been there and know just what it resembles. I like being home with my kids and seeing them grow, not overlooking anything. My career will still be there. We’re expecting our 4th child today, and I am excited. We’re more financially secure than we were when I worked and had double incomes!
We could purchase a house on one income! Something I never thought would have been possible when working. We’ve addressed financing and realized that frivolous spending was actually what we did back when. Now we inspect our finances and we have learned so much! I thank God for this chance to be home, to stay afloat, to still enjoy life and get involved in my children’s lives. One day I’ll go back to work, but until then, I’m here for my kids and am not missing any portion of their formative years!