I’m not a mom. The closest I’ve ever been to seeing the early days of a newborn’s life is babysitting my sister’s kids for a couple of hours. A couple of hours! That’s it. Needless to say, I have no room to speak on whether having a child is a breeze or a lot of work and adjustment.
But I have heard from many a woman though that the early days, weeks, and months are work and full of all kinds of adjustments. Learning to care 24/7 for a child. Getting up in the middle of the night. Learning how to breastfeed. Learning how to bottlefeed. Helping baby figure out that 3:00 p.m., not 3:00 a.m., is the time to be awake. My own sister has said that it gets easier with each subsequent child (she has 3 so far). Yes, each child is different, but she knows loads more today than she did 5 years ago when her first was born. Start with what you know worked for the first and hope that it works for the third. Hard work, yes. But great work!
So I’ve pulled from different women who have made the transition from working to staying-at-home. I’ll let their words speak. I know you’re not there yet (in the position to make this decision). My goal isn’t to make you long for the thing you can’t yet have. My goals are:
- Help those of you that aren’t convinced that being a stay-at-home is a good thing for you (if you have children).
- If not convincing you, then to at least be more open to it, given the experience of other moms who have walked before you. (That many women can’t be wrong!)
- Inspire you to put a plan in place in case that’s in your future.
Crown Financial Ministries says it really well:
More and more married women are beginning to accept the pressures of a job as normal. That is unfortunate, because wives provide a good family balance for their husbands, who generally have a tendency to work too much and too long. If wives begin to adjust similarly, ultimately the family will suffer. Since many women are the primary organizers and planners in the home, these gifts may be lost to their families if they become burdened by the daily work routine.
Because there are negative side effects of working wives/mothers does not mean that it is scripturally wrong for them to work outside of the home. The fact that many women choose to work outside the home is not the problem. The fact that so many women feel that they have to work outside of the home to maintain the family’s finances is the real problem. If the family is so overextended that the wife/mother has to work, the family has too much debt and changes have to be made.
Let’s let some real life women speak to you. (I’ve only pasted part of their story. Click their links to read more.)
A Simple Walk says:
One day, I was folding laundry while Alex [her son] lay on the bed sleeping. I realized that my 4 weeks was going to be over soon and I really needed to find a day care for him. But there was something holding me back. I don’t think I was willing to admit that my loyalty to my job was swiftly being replaced by the love of my kids. After all, I had this wonderful job! It “fulfilled” me.
Except it didn’t anymore.
So I made a few cursory phone calls, but my heart wasn’t in it. I didn’t get excited when I heard that the day care of my choice had openings for Alex and after school care availability for Isabelle. I was sad instead.
I felt like my heart was breaking. On top of the sadness, I was confused at this new desire to stay home. As I stared at the sheet where I had written down the prices for the various day cares, I started to cry. Read more here…
Oikology 101 (great name!) says:
I was not the kind of mom I’d always wanted to be. Midget was spending 11 hours in daycare Monday-Friday. I could only sneak in one pumping session a day, if I was lucky, and I wouldn’t be able to continue doing that much longer. When I was at work, all I could think about was how I was neglecting my daughter. When I was at home, all I could think about was how much stuff I had to do at work.
I remember how terrified I was when we first starting talking about me staying at home. Terrified I would go stir-crazy at home. Terrified I wouldn’t have any friends. Terrified we were going to be broke. Terrified that I was going to be the one cleaning the house, not the cleaning lady. Terrified that my life was never going to be the same. Read more here…
Amy’s Finer Things says:
I remember sitting down in my principal’s office (Oh, dear… now I’m tearing up. I really loved that school and the people I worked with!) a few months into my pregnancy, prepared (but not really) to tell her what she already knew: I was unwilling to leave my baby with a sitter all day. “Amy, would you consider job-sharing?” The opportunity I wouldn’t dare ask for, and she offered!
In a great whirlwind of events, Lance and I discussed it and prayed about it, my aunt offered to watch the baby in the mornings, and I wouldn’t have to go back to work until the baby was over 3 months old. Done!
Those first few months are bleary. I awoke at 4:30 to get myself and my baby girl ready for the day. Left the house at 6:30. Arrived at school at 7:15. Taught and planned and graded and refereed from 7:30-11:30. Raced back to get my baby girl. Got home by 12:15. Nursed her. Ate my lunch (sometimes). And crashed. I was absolutely worthless by 1:00. Baby and I napped together almost every day.
For two years this was our routine (minus the nursing in year two). I still enjoyed my job, but it increasingly became a job and not a passion. And it ever-so-slowly dawned on me that I was unable to give myself 100% to my husband, my girl, and my students. Something had to give. Read more here…
Life as Mom says:
Remember Who You Are
It’s easy to feel that you’ve lost your identity when you leave a full-time job to come home. Keep in mind that it’s not what you do that defines you. It’s who you are.
Our culture wrongly places emphasis on paychecks and status. You have to fight this thinking. My identity is in Christ. I am a wife to an amazing man and a mother to amazing children. What I do with my days comes second to that, whether I’m presenting a law brief or changing a diaper.
Be the Best You Can Be
As Jim Elliot said, “”Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.” If you feel called to be home, then do it the best that you can. I’m not kidding about that celebration I want when I hit 30 years of service. Not that I want to be feted and extolled, but I want to know that I’ve done a good job teaching, encouraging, loving, and caring for my family. For me, “the best” starts with my being home. Read more here…
My Life on Planet Mom says:
Then my next hurdle was just getting over guilt… the guilt of not being wonder woman. I mean, I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t get it all done, keep it all together, be suzy homemaker in the evenings and weekends plus hold my 40 hour a week job too!!! Other woman do and do it well, at least that is how it appears. Honestly, I even went to the dr. thinking that maybe I was ADD – I mean there has to be a reason why I couldn’t do it all, right? Guess what, I am not ADD. His diagnosis? I have IthinkIcandoitallwonderwoman”itis”.
In laymans terms.. I have too much on my plate, working full time, trying maintain an orderly household, while raising four young children, on top of the fact that my husband and I work opposite shifts, (some days we only communicate over the phone – not good for a marriage). He actually suggested that I find a way to cut down on my time away from home. Him telling me that, really helped me get over the guilt of not being able to do it all – I mean afterall, he did go to school for at least eight years, he has to know what he is talking about….right? Read more here…
The Christian Frugal Mama says:
It was easy to stay at home because I always knew that when I had children, I would stay at home with them. Even before I became a Christian, I knew I would want to homeschool my children. I fell in love with my baby (and now my second baby!) and when my husband gave me the option of going back to work recently, I struggled very hard mentally and emotionally for a while before deciding I couldn’t leave them. I kept picturing myself sitting at a desk missing them while they were somewhere else growing up and learning things I wanted to teach them.
The decision to stay home was also very difficult. I hadn’t read or heard of Dave Ramsey or Money Matters before I finished college and I ended up getting close to $16,000 in school loans. I figured that I could easily repay them once I graduated and worked for a while as an engineer. What I hadn’t figured in was that I would meet my wonderful hubby and soon afterward have a wonderful baby.
So, every day since deciding to stay at home I’ve had to grapple with the fact that our family was $16,000 in debt because of me and I have the ability to go to work and probably make double my husband’s salary as a Carpenter. It’s often felt like a big waste and can be very frustrating. … Has it all been in vain?
Of course not. It just feels that way at times. When I get compliments on how well behaved and smart my kids are, I realize a lot of it has to do with all the one on one time I can give them and train them with. I’ve learned so much about how to handle money. If I were working, I might make more money, but I bet a lot of that would be wasted in my lack of time for coupons, freebies and just general time to learn. I learned about Dave Ramsey and budgeting because I HAD to. If we weren’t tight financially, I probably wouldn’t be as good at money management and would waste a lot more. I’m sure this will pay off someday. I’m trading the pleasures of more money now for benefits later. Read more here…
That’s the emotional benefit to being a stay-at-home mom instead of a working mom. But there are other benefits – financial and spiritual. Stay tuned for those!
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