How I made the decision to be a stay at home wife and mother

Me at almost 39 weeks preggo!
Photo credit: My husband
Dress: Motherhood Maternity

Happy Friday Loves💕! With the baby coming any day now, I’ve been thinking a lot about what the future holds, near and far. Right now the near future looks like Netflix and nursing, resting and pj’s, and just generally surviving being a mom to 5 children. I know there will be new learning curves, but best of all I’ll be able to fall back on my experience with my previous children, even though recalling the early years of mother hood hasn’t been easy to me. Many times I wondered how I even survived mentally, emotionally, even physically. I come from stock who says you survive because its what you do and you don’t have time to sit around asking why or how, you just do it. That comes from a time before me when it was necessary, but it’s how I’ve looked at life for as long as I can remember. I’m lucky I was also born with a mindset that constantly questions my beliefs, and wants to things to be done for the better as opposed to familiar. It’s one of the reasons I became a stay at home mother. Believe me this was not a popular decision. I got met with surprise and questioning every time I told someone I had decided I would not go back to work. “Really?? Why?? Well once the kids get a little older, you’ll go back…right?? Does your husband really want to support you? He won’t respect you if you don’t bring in your own money. What will your daughter think when she’s older? Don’t you want to do something with your life??” Oh sorry I didn’t realize raising the next generation wasn’t doing something. Now before you jump all over me about how much working mothers do, I was a working mother for most of the time I was a parent. So believe me I have only the utmost RESPECT for working mothers. Only when our fourth child was 2 did I decide to be a stay at home mother. And I’m not sure even my husband, though he remained supportive, understood. But since I think many women have conflict with this I’m going to share here. If you’re thinking about staying home or it’s even crossed your mind, here are 6 reasons I decided to be a stay at home mother that you may want to consider.

1. Daycare is expensive and/or unreliable. How blessed I feel that my husband and I have moved up financially since our early days. That also means we are responsible for everything without any assistance from the state, such as food stamps, some health care coverage (kids are still covered, I am not), and daycare assistance. Unfortunately for me, I make less of a salary than it would cost for daycare. If you have reliable family/friends to watch the kids for cheaper, that could possibly make things easier, but I’m not in that boat.

2. Even when I did have child care options available to me, my parenting/family beliefs or style were not being upheld. I happen to be a really picky mother, so I have a lot of rules for my children. Anything from “little” things (isn’t is the little things that are actually the big things??) like no watching t.v. while you eat, to big things like respecting adults, weren’t necessarily being enforced. This caused a lot of friction when I was home and the kids couldn’t understand the expectations I had. This wasn’t only about behavior but health. For example one of my children was given so much candy that she had to have dental surgery. Another became depressed as they weren’t getting enough attention.

3. My marriage was suffering. If you’ve read the rest of my blog, you know this isn’t the main reason it suffered. But it did cause quite a few, lets just call them, misunderstandings. My husband and I tend to take on very traditional roles in our marriage. So after I worked all day, I would then go right back to work caring for the home. I used to sit in my car at times DREADING walking through the door to be bombarded by hungry and unruly children, a messy home, and no dinner- to start cooking, cleaning, and calming the children as my husband angrily watched soccer. On top of the other issues present, this was too much. I needed to do LESS simply for my sanity. While my husband did try his best to help out, it just wasn’t his strong point. He also became depressed with the mess, the crappy dinners, and an unhappy wife and kids.

4. I never got the satisfaction I expected from having a career. It’s a strange thing to admit because I’m very goal oriented and started out my adult life full of ambitions. Though that hasn’t changed, in the beginning I assumed I would find purpose in a career. But even though I found plenty of things I enjoyed, and even felt passionate about in my working life, I never felt strongly enough about any of them to stick with it. This caused me to have numerous jobs that never really amounted to anything, I never contributed in any significant way and always quit before I could move up the ladder. The second part to this, and I think even more important part, is that, yes I DO get a sense of purpose by being a stay at home mother. Every woman is different and I know women who are the polar opposite of me who wanted to be stay at home mothers but got more satisfaction out of being a working mother, so it’s a very personal decision.

5. I had things to deal with internally. It’s probably not a popular thing to say. Many people deal with depression or physical illness on the daily and still hold full time jobs. I had depression, a panic disorder, and trauma, and I decided I needed the time off to work on it. This wasn’t just about me. I also wanted my children to see a healthy, vibrant mother, and not a depressed, prune hearted, old before her time, hag. Yes that’s how I felt about myself at my worst. I wrote a list about why I needed to stay home and most of it was about working on myself. I felt that if I could become a happy person, I would have happy kids. And so far, though nothing is perfect and I will always battle with depression, it’s been working.

6. I had the financial ability. To be clear, we are most definitely not rich and I can’t buy everything I want, but the bills are paid and we have food, clothing, and shelter. We go out to eat more often than I’d like to admit, (especially with baby coming any day now), and have taken a few vacations. That’s enough for me. My husband is driven financially and strives to make a better living every day, but I’m comfortable and so are my kids. I also contribute to our standard of living by doing the budgeting and I have my own personal financial goals and plans to pursue them when the time is right.

So those are the main reasons I made the decision to be a stay at home mother. It was not easy. I felt a lot of shame, disappointment in myself, and feeling like I had let others down. It was hard for me to give up the dream of having an exciting career. I was questioned a lot and my parents weren’t thrilled. They hold the belief that I should be able to depend on myself financially should my husband and I have a falling out or something happens to him. My husband had to take on the financial burden of supporting us all and that grows each time my womb does. But everyone is happier now. I don’t mean to say that this is the right decision for EVERY family, as I said, there are women who find purpose in their careers and it makes them who they are. I feel nothing but happiness for them. And there are families who financially cannot afford for one parent to stay home, I’ve been there. Where do you stand? Do you get purpose from your career or being a stay at home mom? Does being a working parent come easier to you than it did to me?  If you’ve always done one thing or the other, have you imagined what it would be like to be working or stay at home? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

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