Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Why I Stayed Home

 Cordelia and I

Recently my friend Amber, a new mother, asked me if I had ever blogged about my choice to be a stay at home mother. I don't believe that I have ever discussed that tough choice here and now seems like as good a time as any. So let's dive in shall we?

When Eric and I decided it was time to start a family  we had to address some major issues.
1) Would we both work?
2) Would someone stay home wih our hold/children? If so who?
3) How did we feel about day care?

Well, after lots of conversation we decided that we really wanted one of us to stay home with our kids. For us it was important to be present, to raise our children ourselves. We didn't really care who stayed home with the kids, could've been either of us, but Eric was presented with the most promising job opportunity at just the right time, so I became the stay at home.

Now before I continue I must take a moment to say that I mean no disrespect to people who have made different choices. I know many amazing parents who chose or needed daycare. 

Eric and I decided that we were willing to sacrifice a lot in order to stay home for a few formative years. I am a degree holder and I have the ability to pull in a pretty nice income. The sacrifice of a second income is hard. When I was pregnant with our first child Eric took a job in a different community and when we first started out things were extremely tight. We budgeted. My weekly grocery run was less than $75, including diapers (no I didn't coupon). We had one car and tried to fill up as infrequently as possible. We didn't pay for haircuts or new clothes. We shopped second hand. We made it work, barely.

Eric quickly raised in the ranks at his work and his salary increased enough that we didn't have a panic attack with each new bill that arrived. We have, over time, learned to live quite simply---but that is probably for another post.

Yes, we have opted out of a second income for a few years, but the benefit is that we have gotten is the gift of being present for our girls. A true gift to be sure. I have been with them all day every day. Yes, sometimes it is totally crazy and so challenging, but the rewards, for us at least, far outweigh any negatives. I have gotten to be there for first words, steps, laughs, all of it. I get to wipe their tears, snuggle them, put them to sleep. We are able to consistently parent in the manner that Eric and I feel is best for our children.

With that said I have kept a foot in the professional world. I don't want to let myself become totally irrelevant as a professional. I also don't want my brain to shrivel up and rattle around in my skull. So I have found ways to continue to work. I teach. I do some freelance writing. I make and sell art. I This helps me to feel like I am contributing financially, like I am not entirely dependent on my husband, etc. I also want to be a role model for my girls. I want them to see that I work, that I am not helpless, or only a mother. I take motherhood very seriously, but part of that is showing my children how to be strong and independent.

Ultimately it is a totally personal choice. For us it seemed a small sacrifice in the grand scheme of things.


Emily said...

Well said! It is so rewarding to be home with my kiddos, but I do find that I long for ways to still be "me" and not get lost in all the diapers and nap times and play dates. It is a balancing act, but one I wouldn't trade!

Marie Roxanne said...

I wished I could have stayed home, but as a single mother I couldn't. I worked part time so I could be home after school. (I dropped him off at school and picked him up after) I applaud all those who stay home with their children.

Mom said...

I'm so glad you were able to find a way to make it work. You aren't just there, either. You are actively involved with them, planning adventures and making great memories. I couldn't be more proud of both you and Eric for the way you are raising our beautiful granddaughters.

Amber Robbins said...

Thank you soooo much for sharing your experience. I am having a hard time working full-time and seeing how it is affecting Olivia (and me). Change is in the works. I'm not sure what that change will be yet, but I will let you know.

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