Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Making The Decision To Come Home

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.

12 comments:

JanMary 3:36 AM  

This is very similar to my story.

I was working part time, with a 5 year old and 3 year old, and a husband working away from home a lot!

Our childminder (babysitter) was ill, my parents were away, my dh was leaving for a conference....aaarrgghh!

I did my sums, realised how little I was actually earning when all costs were deducted....and talked to my dh. After his initial shock, he supported the decision 100%.

Within 3 weeks I had stopped. Since had a third child, and now as he starts school, am starting a wahm business creating jewelery.

It has been a wonderful journey and my only regret is that I did not do it sooner.

Kristen@nosmallthing 5:35 AM  

This is a great journey...I think some women are afraid to admit that they want to stay home. I think we have been taught that it is not valuable...that a woman needs to earn a salary and compete with other wage earners. Why?

It seems to me the times are changing. Women are realizing just how much is available to them--how many choices they have.

Good for you, following your heart. Your children have no idea how lucky they are!!!

Stephanie 6:31 AM  

Wow you have me in tears! What a beautiful story. Being a homemaker never occurred to me until I had children also. I think that happens to a lot of women! Thank you for sharing your story!

Amy Lynne 8:36 AM  

Teary eyed here! Your story is really inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing!

Sharon 8:56 AM  

This was wonderful! What a great story.

I found myself in a similar position -- Isn't it neat how God let you use the business skills you learned at work to realize that home is where your heart is? And now you can leverage those skills to manage your budget, teach your kids and make "staying home" the best job in the world!

Thanks for sharing your story.

{ L } 10:39 AM  

Way to go Mom! I really enjoyed your story. <3

The Mangerchine's 11:32 AM  

I love your story, thanks for sharing!!!!

I definitely wouldn't call your cooking simple meals though... it seems like you do a great job cooking wonderful meals on a budget!

My husband and I are eager to have children, but just don't think that we can quite make it on just his income yet and we both feel strongly about me staying at home. We're fairly frugal already and are praying that God will provide.

Shannon

steadymom 2:10 PM  

I love hearing the stories of other moms who chose to stay home! It can be a challenge, but it is SO worth it to me.

Jamie

Jennifer 9:49 PM  

I think a lot of women realize they aren't making any money working outside the home after factoring in daycare costs and slowly realize that the stress of it all, with little pay isn't worth it. I always wanted to be at home, but we really couldn't afford it for the first 20 months of my sons life. I tried working from home after I had him, but it quickly became apparant that dh needed to find a new job if he were going to support us. Within a few months he has increased his salary by 40% at a new job and I was able to come home for good. Before taking that final leap I did the math too, and found I was only netting $100 a month after all costs. It made the decision that much easier. Glad you are enjoying your time at home.

Sherry 8:01 AM  

What a blessing to hear how God allowed you to be at home! :D

Sue 11:28 AM  

I love reading/hearing about courageous women of faith and you, my friend, are one of them! I'm so glad that God has blessed you and your family through your sacrifice of staying home. I can tell it's blessed you & each of your kids (and your hubby too!)

Hugs

Karen 7:10 PM  

I totally needed to read this today. I am newly staying home with my 3 kids after running my own business for the past 8 years. Although I worked out of the home and I loved what I did - I was constantly feeling like my heart was elsewhere. Since making the leap- my marriage has strengthened in so many ways and my home is a more peaceful place and I am just a happier person. Thanks to all of you moms for sharing- it helps me know I made the right decision for me- AND my family.

Karen

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I've been trying to break this habit, unsuccessfully, for years, so now I just accept that as my writing style, and since I'm not writing for grades anymore, I embrace it. (Again, see?)

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