Something about this whole stay-at-home mom deal rubbed me the wrong way recently. What could possibly be a problem with being a SAHM? After all, it must be so easy. Well, that is just it. It is the number of times this comment is made: “Must be nice, but I have to work. Wish we could do that.”
You can. Yes, everyone is in their unique situation, but more than likely, you can. The big house, the new car, multiple vacations are not the key to happiness. Staying home is about sacrifice. We have sacrificed more than meets the eye so that I can simply BE THERE. How did we make it happen? Blood, sweat, and tears. This is how we did it:
Living on one income
Ten years ago, we began putting away my paycheck, which was the bulk of our income. For several months, my pay went solely to chipping away at our debt and to an emergency fund.
In the very beginning, we did accept my grandmother’s offer to pay off one of our smaller loans. It meant a lot to her to help us in this worthy endeavor and we were so grateful. We have also had plenty of toys, clothing, shoes, and more given to our children by their grandparents….we have asked for less, but we are appreciative.
Many days have been spent hanging out laundry, thawing out portions of our “cow”, collecting eggs, hoeing weeds, blanching veggies, baking bread, organizing for consignment and yard sales, hunting down freebies and rock-bottom prices, working on ebay, content writing, and all the while parenting. It is not glamorous or easy street. It is also not for everyone. But there is a sense of accomplishment working with children in tow- not to mention getting to sleep like a rock!
Yeah, we are “that” family at times. Grow food, shovel chicken mess, make gifts, bring homemade sandwiches and coupons everywhere….and there is even a giant antenna on the roof for TV. We have not gone to one car or driving a clunker- yet- but I am not opposed to it. It was tough, but I gave up a fashion industry career for this. It is OK to live the simple life, in fact this is our preference.
There is no denying it: social media envy exists. Drooling over big open floor plans in magazines? Guilty. And we have often talked ourselves out of restaurant food, seeing as how I could make dinner for five for less than $5, easy. But we are only human, and we pray and life goes on. After years of working like mad on debt and savings, there is a little spending money- you just have to hang on.
I am there for my children. And so are working mothers, of course. But I haven’t missed a special event for a child while sitting on a plane, as I know would have happened had I stayed in my career. We are glad we chose to take this path. We did not get to do it. We did it.
An inspirational resource I read, not once, but twice before leaving my career was Women Leaving the Workplace by Larry Burkett. And this book, The Complete Financial Guide for Young Couples has practical financial advice for living on one income.
And please do tell in the comments your thoughts on choosing the SAHM lifestyle.