“I am not cut out to be a stay-at-home momma!” I’m pretty sure I said that a lot in the first ten months my son was in childcare and I was working. I was convinced this was true – I didn’t even WANT kids until I was 30, much less want to stay home with them. TRUTH.
Then WHAT am I doing? WHY am I home with my two year old son? God gave us a huge opportunity and opened the door wide for us to be able to give this a try. I say US, because it really is a family affair.
Deciding for me to stay home was a decision my husband supported, even though it meant he was the sole contributor to the financial well-being of our family. It was something I knew my son would love – having his momma home, whether he realized it or not. It was something I wanted to at least try. I felt like I owed it to myself and my son.
My boss at the time (a pastor) encouraged me to give it a try for a year – a full year before I volunteered or got a job. I did. In a new city, where we didn’t know anyone, through the longest winter I’ve ever experienced (or so it felt). That first year was VERY, VERY long and CHALLENGING.
To this day, people ask me if I like being a stay-at-home momma. My answer is “sometimes.”
Only sometimes because some days are just hard. Only sometimes because I really just want a conversation with an adult. Only sometimes because I would like my main responsibility to not be whether my son ate and pooped. Only sometimes because I would like to let someone else deal with the tantrums and the tears. Only sometimes because I would like to feel needed by someone outside of my immediate household.
The days are long and hard. The tantrums are real and not always just my son throwing them (yes, I have days). The amount of laundry, dishes and food we go through while staying at home blows my mind. How can three people make this much of a mess – oh yeah, we are always at home.
Then there is the guilt. The guilt I feel for not contributing financially to our family. The guilt I feel if the house doesn’t get cleaned or dinner doesn’t get cooked because I am putting the owning of those areas on myself, since I stay home. The guilt I feel when I just don’t feel like being a stay-at-home momma today and take it out on my son. The guilt I feel when I didn’t attempt to teach my son one new thing today because I was just trying to make it to nap time.
Then there are the good days and sometimes, the days are great. Sometimes the smiles, the laughs, and the hugs after a skinned knee are healing. Sometimes being able to sit in the sunshine while my son digs in the sand and just “be” is exactly what God knew I needed. Sometimes the pace of making my own schedule and the choice to “just stay in today” is something I know I will miss one day.
So, I stick it out – through the tough days, because those good days are so so sweet. I know this phase of my life won’t last forever, so I am gripping onto it for dear life.
No, it’s not fun living paycheck to paycheck and making sacrifices of things we would love to be doing, but can’t financially swing it. Living on one income is hard. We have to remind ourselves when we look at him, it IS worth it. He will thank us for this one day – for that time when we seized the opportunity and made the sacrifices and put him first.
God knows I have so many friends that would give their right foot to be able to stay home and raise their children. I have some friends that wouldn’t stay home with their kids for anything.
So, are you “cut out” for being a stay-at-home momma? Sure, you are. You can do anything you put your mind to. Is it okay to choose not to? Of course! You know what is best for you, for your sanity! Maybe the best thing for you and your family is for you to be working. Maybe you don’t have a choice and have to work. Your children will look back on the sacrifices you made whether staying at home or working and know you did what was best for them. If not, they will understand it when they have children of their own.
There are lots of things to consider when making the decision to be a stay-at-home momma. Here’s a link that might help. It’s an article by Clare Gagne over at Today’s Parent called “Should You Quit Your Job To Be a Stay-at-Home Mom?”
My main recommendations for those considering becoming a stay-at-home momma:
- Pray about it, together.
- Have lots of conversations and crunch a lot of numbers.
- Consider it from all sides, including the areas mentioned in the article above.
- Pray some more.
- Talk to some mommas that have stayed home, worked, or worked part-time and get their feedback and take that into consideration.
- Follow your heart.