For the majority of moms, deciding whether or not to stay at home with their children while they’re young is a decision that weighs on their conscious.
Not only do women evaluate their financial ability to stay at home, but I believe a lot of women nowadays look at what society expects of us. Most women are settled into their career before they are having children and that makes it even harder to decide to stay at home when you have invested in your education and worked so hard to get where you are in your career.
Here’s what to consider when deciding whether or not to stay home: Are you going to regret your decision in the future? Is your heart agreeing with your decision?
If you answer that you can’t go back to work because it doesn’t feel right, that is okay. And if you feel that you will lose your sanity if you stay at home with your kids and you need to work financially, that is okay too!
As long as you are confident with your decision and know that what you decide is in your family’s best interest.
There is so much mom shaming in every decision that there is to be made in parenting. But none of us have the right to judge another mama, we don’t know what season of life they are going through right now. Some mom’s do not have a choice in whether or not they can stay home with their babies. And we are all learning as we go! No one has this whole mom thing figured out.
There is nothing wrong with your children attending daycare or entrusting someone else to take care of your children. In fact, sometimes, it is very beneficial for children to have some time away to grow as a person themselves.
To be honest, my decision about being a stay at home mom was based more off of what I was comfortable with. My daughter would have thrived going to a daycare and playing with all the children. She is a social butterfly. However, I just wasn’t ready to give that time up just yet.
Here’s our story on deciding what was right for our family.
My husband and I had our daughter fairly young, at 22. Neither of us was done with college and were still trying to figure out exactly what our path was. I had a feeling when I was pregnant that I would not be returning to a professional job anytime soon.
I worked as an accounting assistant for almost a year and then the plague of morning sickness hit me. I was unable to continue to work during my first trimester and half of second due to having Hyperemesis Gravidarum. I literally felt like I was dying!!
After I had my daughter, I knew for sure that I was not going back until she was closer to nursery or preschool age. Since I did not have a career that was well established, I was able to make that decision based on what my heart was telling me.
I knew that it was my opportunity to soak up all of this time that I will never have again. I felt that everything aligned in our lives for that reason. And I was so grateful for it.
I remember any time a stranger stopped my daughter and me, the one thing they would all say is “Enjoy these moments, they go by so fast.” And every time someone spoke those words to me, my stomach would drop. Because I know our time with her is not guaranteed.
I know life can happen to us at any given moment. So while I have it, I am going to steal every moment with her that I possibly can.
It is what feels right in my heart.
You may be wondering how we handled our finances. I can tell you that we made changes in our lifestyle for sure. I no longer compulsively shopped for myself or the home, which I always did when I needed some retail therapy. (Goodbye target! Well maybe I see you every few weeks now instead of every couple days!)
In fact, I hardly ever buy anything for myself unless it is on clearance. And I mean more than 50%. In order to prepare for our daughter, we bought clothes and items second hand and continue to do so today. Along with tons of generous gifts from our friends and family.
My husband picked up overtime hours when needed. For our housing, we were lucky to have a situation where we did not have to worry about rent for a year and a half which was a tremendous help.
While I chose to spend most of my time with my daughter, I still wanted to bring home some money for our family. After about 3 months of exclusively staying home, I was getting a bit stir crazy in the house, to be honest! I needed something else to do. I needed another purpose.
I previously worked as a staff for a special needs young woman who is very close to my heart. Really I do not view her as a job, but a sister to spend time with. Her family was sweet enough to allow my daughter to come with me when I returned back to work.
About 5 months after working part-time as a staff, my Uncle and Aunt needed a nanny for their two children. So I jumped to the opportunity to work for them. They have a son that is about a year and a half older than my daughter and a daughter that is about 8 months younger. This job has been the ultimate opportunity for our family.
Not only do I continue to be with my daughter, but she is also enjoying the benefits of socialization with children her age! We are so very fortunate to have this experience.
When I first fell pregnant, I wasn’t sure of our plan. But my husband always reminds me that everything will work out. No matter what, we will be okay. And so far he is right.
It is not going to be perfect, our situation sure isn’t. I drive 2.5 hours round trip to my Uncle’s 3 times a week. But that 2.5 hour drive time is worth the 30 hours I spend with my daughter instead of being away.
I am not sure what the other season’s of our life look like.
Will we always continue down this path long term? Probably not. But I will continue to look for opportunities that fit our values at each season of our life.
If you are in a situation where you have no choice to work, make sure you’re able to spend your time doing something that you find meaningful. It is so important that we find value where we are spending our time. Especially when it is time away from our children.
It is the key to being happy with one’s life; spending our time according to our values.
So my advice to you mama is to do what you feel is right in your heart. Do not worry so much about the money. You will always figure that out.
Where there is a will, there is a way. You just have to be willing to fight for it.