When I first learned about Amy's plans for the Mommy, Come Home series, I was so excited. I knew she'd handle the subject with wisdom, insight and compassion. And she has! I'm thrilled to add my story to her ongoing series. Make sure you check it out here.
I was 5 months pregnant with Alex when I was offered a promotion at the title insurance company where I was working. With the promotion came my own office and a company car. I was a driven worker bee and I swooned at the opportunity.
I accepted without hesitation, assuring my boss that once I had the baby, I would be back to work in 4 weeks. I also told him that I'd be available on-call at all times.
Then Alex was born. I was the mom of 2 and I loved it. Yet I was back in the office, Alex in tow, just a week after he was born. I felt obligated to be there if I wanted to keep my job. Eric worked at the same company and he'd bring work home for me on the days I didn't go in to the office. My being a stay-at-home mom had just never entered the picture.
One day, I was folding laundry while Alex lay on the bed sleeping. I realized that my 4 weeks was going to be over soon and I really needed to find a day care for him. But there was something holding me back. I don't think I was willing to admit that my loyalty to my job was swiftly being replaced by the love of my kids. After all, I had this wonderful job! It "fulfilled" me.
Except it didn't anymore.
So I made a few cursory phone calls, but my heart wasn't in it. I didn't get excited when I heard that the day care of my choice had openings for Alex and after school care availability for Isabelle. I was sad instead.
I felt like my heart was breaking. On top of the sadness, I was confused at this new desire to stay home. As I stared at the sheet where I had written down the prices for the various day cares, I started to cry.
As the numbers jumbled through my tear-filled eyes, I had a realization. I quickly dried my tears and grabbed the calculator.
After figuring in the costs of daycare and other work-related expenses, I would only be earning $300 per month. Seriously?
Now I was getting excited. Was there $300 worth of wiggle room in our budget if my income was gone completely? I spent a few hours figuring and refiguring. Then I rewrote everything so that it was legible to people other than just me. And I waited for Eric to get home.
That night, I told him I wanted to stay home for good. I wanted to quit my job and be a stay at home mom. He was surprised, but not shocked. He saw me with the kids and flourishing in the details of day to day life when I was at home. And even though he had never said this to me, he wanted me to stay at home too.
We looked over the amended budget I had come up with and we both agreed it was doable. We knew it would mean sacrificing a lot of things, but we felt we were doing the right thing. Did it matter how much we had to sacrifice financially to insure a thriving family?
- So what if we had to give up eating out and eating steak whenever we wanted? We'd nourish our family with simple foods and stretch our tastes and my abilities in the kitchen.
- So what if we had to give up date nights and going out to movies? We'd let our kids entertain us instead. It turns out they're naturals at that!
- So what if we had to give up my company car and the prospect of buying a new one any time soon? We'd go retro and make having just one car a fun adventure.
- So what if I had to give up my office, my title and those all important business cards? I'd make my home a beautiful and comfortable place to spend my days. My new title would be the best ever. And I wouldn't need a business card to tell anyone who I was. That would be obvious all on its own.
A mere 3 weeks after we made the decision for me to stay home, we decided to pull Isabelle out of kindergarten and begin homeschooling. And a mere 3 weeks after that, I found out I was pregnant again. Both of those things felt like a miraculous reward for making a difficult decision. We might not have known what we were doing or why we were doing it, but Someone sure did.
Don't forget to stop by We Are THAT Family for more Works For Me Wednesday.