There are many reasons some of us choose to be a stay at home mom or even choose to be a stay at home dad. Sometimes there isn’t any choice really. Sometimes one parent doesn’t have much of a choice but to stay at home. The latter was more my case. I didn’t really feel like I had much of a choice. In fact, I was really looking forward to joining the workforce after I graduated high school and getting some work experience while taking college courses in office and business. But that didn’t really turn out the way I wanted.
My husband and I got married when we were 19 and 20. He joined the Marine Corps after high school so after boot camp and after he got his first duty station, we got married and left home. After about 6 or 7 months we were married, I was pregnant. It was completely unexpected. Financially we were okay even if I didn’t work. Things were going to be tighter if I didn’t work though.
We weren’t sure what we were going to do. The extra income would be very helpful especially since we had a baby on the way but there was this little issue we had about childcare. We lived on base housing and let me tell you, it was tough getting to know anyone. I would make friends with some of the other wives that were there and 6 months later they were gone. Every time I finally felt like I was getting to know someone we lived near, they ended up moving. We looked into daycare even though we didn’t really want to leave her in daycare as an infant but we still looked into it.
We did the math and no matter how we tried to work daycare into our budget, it just wasn’t going to work. The cost was outrageous. My paycheck alone wouldn’t have even been enough to cover the cost. We would have been out more money having two incomes than just one. We found out later that it wouldn’t have worked very well anyway because my husband couldn’t always guarantee he would be home on time or be able to be family flexible all the time anyway.
We’ve been lucky that over the 16 years of my being a stay at home mom, one income has always worked for us. Yes, of course there has been some years that were tight and there was a period that we struggled for a couple years until about 10 years ago when my husband went to work for the company he still works for.
Why I Hate Being a Stay at Home Mom
I’ll start with the negatives first. Only because there really isn’t that many. At least for me and my family anyway. Most of the negatives just come from me. In the beginning I was looking forward to being a stay at home mom even though I had something else in mind for the first couple years of marriage. There came a period in our lives when we did struggle a little so I started worrying about living on just the one income. We still did well on the one income but I didn’t like it. We had very little room for unexpected’s and emergencies. We had the added stress of all that because of only having one income. I would lose sleep at night trying to figure out if we could work in the childcare expenses if I went back to work but every time we tried, it just didn’t work.
I enjoyed taking care of our daughter and I didn’t mind tending to the household chores either. Resentment started setting in though. I was up all hours of the night with the baby so my husband could sleep, I was the one that kept the house clean, I was the one that washed and folded the clothes, I was the one that cooked dinner. And do the dishes. I had to do all that while taking care of a baby and I’ll tell you what, with our daughter (our first) I didn’t get more than 4 hours of sleep every night until she was almost two. I wanted to work just so I could get out of the house. I didn’t even care about the money at that point.
It wasn’t until he left the Marine Corps and we moved back home that he started to get why I went through periods of being bummed about staying home. He was at one job for about two years and the company was laying people off. He was laid off. At that time I was working with my step-mom doing clean up work after my dad’s construction company was finished with a space. We were back home at that point so we had a sitter then until my sister went back to school. When he was at home in between jobs, it only took two weeks for him to say, “I don’t know how you did this all these years.” I even told him, “I’m not sure how you come home from work every day feeling so tired and not really be able to relax when you get home.” Eventually ours roles were reversed back to the way they were because the work I was doing with my step-mom was only temporary.
Why I Love Being a Stay at Home Mom
When our daughter was about four years old I was pregnant again. Now having two kids (eventually three kids) childcare would be even more expensive if I wanted to go back to work. It was weird because when our middle son was about three years old I was pregnant for the third time. It was like I was never meant to go back to work. Once one of them started school, I still had another at home. No more kids for us though. I made sure of it after my husband and I talked about it.
One thing that’s great about being at home instead of working is that I didn’t have stress from a job on top of raising kids, running a house and trying to find time to spend with just my husband. My husband and I still have a hard time trying to find time for ourselves. It’s bad enough not having enough time in the day as it is especially since our kids are older now and in sports and other activities.
One of the best things about being a stay at home mom was the fact that I didn’t get to miss out on all those milestones. One of my biggest fears was that I was going to miss the first time they sat up by themselves or the first time they walked. I didn’t get to miss any of my kids’ firsts. I did feel bad though because my husband was working and he didn’t get to stay home. But he was okay with it though. He has always liked working and hated it that time he was laid off work. He didn’t miss much though because most of our kids’ firsts have happened when he was home too.
Kids are only small for so long. They grow up quick. It’s been really rewarding being able to stay at home with my kids. Being with my kids everyday and doing things together means a lot to me. This is time I will never get back and I know it goes way to fast. Our youngest just turned eight and it’s so bittersweet. I am glad he’s growing into a great kid but at the same time, I want him to stay my wittle baby forever and ever. There has been so many learning experiences being a stay at home mom. Not just for my kids, but also for me as well.
I have time to do things with my kids that I probably wouldn’t have time for if I was working. There’s been countless crafts we’ve done together, there have been so many stories we cuddled together and read, so many walks and park trips. I’m happy I have been able to be always there if something happens or when they are sick so they can be home and not elsewhere with someone else.
When they started school I have been able to help out in the classroom at any time. I have helped with classroom parties. I have been able to go on field trips. Last year when our youngest was in the first grade, he was so excited that I was going with him and his class to the zoo. I may not have been able to do these things very often if I was working.
Overall I Really Do Love Being a Stay at Home Mom
Every once in a while those negative feelings about being a stay at home mom might start to creep in even after all these years. But overall, I really do love being able to be a stay at home mom even though that wasn’t the plan in the beginning. I may feel envious and even jealous sometimes of those moms out there who can work and have a career. I may have predominately been a stay at home mom all these years but there have been times I went to work even if it could only be temporary over the years. I know how tough it is working and raising kids so for you moms out there that work full time and raise a family, I salute you.
Being a stay at home may have been frustrating at times and I may have had some negatives about it but it has also been rewarding and I feel blessed that we have been lucky enough for me to be able to be a stay at home mom. And even if it wasn’t my plan in the beginning, I don’t think I would ever change it if I could.