Some women dream of being a stay-at-home mom long before a baby is conceived. Other women, like myself, determine that choice on the fly.
I personally never imagined I would be a stay-at-home mom. I was a nurse for seven years and loved the fulfillment it brought into my life. When my husband and I discussed expectations with our future marriage and family, I was adamant that I would work after having children. In my mind, my three day work week as a nurse was a perfect fit for balancing motherhood and a career. So why did I change my mind?
For my husband and me, the choice was simple logistics. After my first child, I continued to work on a limited basis, but on an opposite schedule as my husband. We did not have family nearby that could help on a regular basis and used babysitters when our work overlapped. My work schedule was never consistently on the same days or same shifts making childcare complicated.
When my second child was pending arrival, we lost trusted and flexible sitters due to their life changes. We struggled to find additional sitters that could help us juggle our schedule. The best solution we found for childcare was for me to work full time to pay for a full-time nanny or full-time daycare. We desired a simpler life and did not desire for me to work fulltime just to find suitable childcare.
Money is an important factor in staying home. My husband purchased the home we were living in prior to our marriage. Because he bought it without considering my contributing income, we knew we could afford life on his income alone. Because my husband made the bigger paycheck, it made the most sense that I became the parent to stay home with the kids. We figured we would try living off of one income for a year to see it worked.
We found in the first year that I did not work, we spent less. Childcare expenses were rare, we ate home more, and we were able to adhere to a strict budget. When I contributed income, we often spent money without a lot of consideration and thought.
Staying at home is not without financial sacrifices. For us, we do not buy expensive clothes, furniture, fancy cars or take lavish vacations. We make it work for the choices we have made.
Because I did not plan to stay home with our kids, I was adamant that I would go back to work once my kids were in school, but I am taking it year-by-year. As my kids grow older, I am finding their needs are changing, and it may be much longer before I return to work. We are on the go significantly more as they grow older, making our schedules complicated and busy. With one parent at home, we are able to reduce some stress in our daily lives.
Even though it was not my original plan, I am very grateful that I am able to be a stay-at-home mom. My choice to stay home has not always been easy and some of my struggles along the way can be read here.