Many people often say “I would never…” only to end up doing the very thing that they said they wouldn’t do. Well, I AM one of those people! All my life I knew that I wanted to have kids one day, I always dreamed about it. But I also knew that I wanted to keep working once I had them. Or so I thought…
Before I had kids, I was a supervisor at a health insurance company, and loved my job! I had been working in the company for about six years, and I felt like God had given me the skills that I needed to fulfill that job. I was very successful, scoring a promotion each year since I had started working there. I would go to work every day thinking to myself, “wow, I love what I am doing”! So when I found out I was pregnant, it was a no-brainer that I would return to work after my maternity leave was complete. So I decided to plan my maternity leave accordingly by putting money aside for me to be able to be home for the full three months.
Fast forward to when my first son was born in October of 2014. From the moment that he was born, my whole life changed. Once I laid eyes on him, all other responsibilities became secondary to motherhood. The first two months of maternity leave flew by! Next thing I knew, I was getting a phone call from the HR department at my job. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I received a call while my son was napping and I was cleaning the house. The HR department wanted to confirm that I would be returning to work. At that moment, it hit me that I was going to return to work and leave my baby. I advised them that I will be returning, and I burst out into tears as soon as I hung up the phone. My husband, who was in our bedroom, came out and asked me what was wrong. I replied to him,
please do not make me go back to work. I don't want to leave my baby...``
In a perfect world he would’ve responded, “It’s ok babe, you don’t have to go back to work. Just stay home”. But unfortunately, our financial situation did not allow me to quit my job. Going back was my only option, and I understood that. We hadn’t planned for this! I said I was never going to be a stay at home mom and that I wanted to be the CEO of the company one day. So I never imagined this was going to be something that I was going to desire once I had my son.
My husband and I had to make a decision regarding daycare. We were very blessed because my mother in law and cousin were able to work adjust their schedules and take care of my son during work hours.
Before I knew it, I had to return to work. And even though, I knew my son was in good hands, it was tough for me to leave him behind. There were many mornings that I spent crying during my drive to work. There were also times when I would receive a text message of a new milestone that my son had reached. And while I was happy my family was capturing those moments and sharing them with me, I was also sad that I wasn’t physically there to witness those special moments.
By the time January of 2016 came around, my mother-in-law and cousin were no longer able to care for my son. Luckily I found a church member that offered to take care of him during work hours. Once again, we were so relieved that a friend would be taking care of him. God continued to show us his faithfulness! Meanwhile, my husband and I planned how to get our finances in order so that I could finally stay home with him by the time he turned two. We also expected to have another baby in the future, and we both agreed that I should stay home with that baby from day one. Therefore, we started working towards meeting our financial goal on a daily basis.
In May of 2016, we received the news that our friend would no longer be able to care for our 18-month son starting in the summer. As you can imagine, I went home crying and afraid of the uncertainty regarding daycare for our son. A few days later, we decided that it was time to quit my job. We were determined to do anything for me to stay home, even though we had not achieved our financial goals. I couldn’t believe that the time had finally come!
When I returned to work that following Monday, I turned in my resignation. It was a bittersweet moment because even though this is what I wanted, I had to say goodbye to the work-family that I had for the past six years. I didn’t just see them as coworkers but as friends and family. So, it was sad to say goodbye. However, at the same time, I was so happy to start a new chapter in my life.
Immediately following my resignation, we had to make some financial adjustments to accommodate living on one income. One of the changes we made was to sell my car, which meant that we both had to share one car. Luckily, it worked out for us because the community where we lived had a tennis court, pool, playground, and walking trail. So every day I was able to go outside and enjoy different activities with my son without the need of a car. Some other adjustments we made were less obvious such as eating out, canceling monthly subscriptions and cable service, and lowering our cell phone bill.
It took us some time to adjust, but I am so happy that we made this decision at such a timely moment. If we hadn’t taken a risk, life would be very different today. A lot of times we fill ourselves with fear, telling ourselves that we cannot make our desires a reality. We are so used to living a certain way and are scared of trying something different. In a nutshell, we fear change. I can tell you this; the change was scary for us. We didn’t know how we were going to pay our bills every month. But we made a decision, we made the necessary adjustments, and God helped us. It worked!
If you desire to stay home with your children, I encourage you to set goals now! Sit down and look at your budget. Look for ways that you can cut costs and pay off any debt that you may have. Maybe it means taking a part-time job or working from home, or just making life changes so you can quit working altogether. Make a plan and do not give up on it.
But if being a stay at home mom is not for you, then don’t do it out of guilt. That will not benefit anyone. The truth is that being a stay at home mom is not for everyone. I know people who are less stressed and happier working full time. So, if being a full time working mom works for you, then keep doing that. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
Until next time.