Monday, August 4, 2014

8 Satisfying Things About Being The Stay At Home Parent

I love being a stay-at-home mom, but it was definitely a big transition. My husband and I have both been working and in school since we met. There were times one of us worked more or had a brief lapse between jobs, but for the most part we've split the financial support. When we got pregnant we discussed our options, which for us was two: Daycare and me working full time, or me staying home. We can not afford a nanny and don't have a relative around to babysit full time. We even briefly discussed my husband staying home, but he makes more money than me (and frankly, has a better career plan), and he can't breastfeed. Daycare turned out to be more than we expected, and at my job at the time I would have to work 40 hours a week to only net $100 dollars a month. I feel for the single parents who don't have as many options and I know I am so lucky to have the support to make this decision. I was ready and excited to give it a try. We decided if I hated it then I would be honest with my husband and we would figure something else out. Lucky for me I truly do love being at home, but like any job, there are times I don't enjoy it. I was raised to be independent, and I still sometimes get that little voice in my head that tells me I should be working on my career. 
Now that I've graduated college everyone asks me what I will do with my degree? I hate this question because my answer is "...well we are planning on having more kids, so nothing for now." I'm happy with our choice, but the look on the persons face is like they are meeting a sad woman from the 1950's. I feel so lucky to live in a time and place where this is actually a decision that is up to me. Look, I know some woman have a career and kids, and they do a damn good job at juggling both, but ask those women if they haven't made a lot of sacrifices? You can not have it all. I see the struggle my husband goes through being at work all the time, and how hard he works in the evenings and off days to make up time with our son. I see all the things he misses. He is still the greatest dad, but I'd pick being home any day. So today I made a list for when I need a little reminder of why being the stay-at-home parent is totally great. If you are considering staying home I hope this list gives you some insight, and if you already stay home I hope this reminds you of how satisfying your job can be!

1) Moving Slow

Playing in the yard, picking dandelions
The biggest thing I've noticed about being home is my reduced stress level. If I'm driving and I get behind someone slow, so what? I'm not in a hurry to get everywhere. I ran an errand to the bank and they took a little while to get to me and the teller was so apologetic about the wait; I got to to tell her "don't worry, I'm not in a rush." She was startled by this and instantly relaxed. This happens to me all the time now. I'm not saying I'm not ever running late to something or need to get somewhere before they close but in general my schedule is pretty fluid these days. I spend the first part of most of my days walking my son around in his buggy and literally stopping to smell the roses. 

2) Working A Little

Our son loves "helping" me blog.
I did actually go back to work for 5-10 hours a week. I hate leaving my son, but it is good for him to have alone time with my husband and it makes me feel like I am contributing. I know a lot of stay at home moms that work part-time, from home, or have a side business; so there is definitely a way to contribute to the finances.

3) DIY-ing

A game I threw together to entertain my son. 
Speaking of contributing to the finances, since I am home I have a lot more time to make household and toiletry items. I make our own toothpaste, hairspray, cleaning products, cloth wipes solution, bug sprays, and about anything else I can figure out. I do this because I enjoy crafting and I can make items without toxins, but it also saves us a lot of money. If this sounds fun to you then check out Wellness Mama, she has a ton of recipes for homemade items for free.

4) Eating Healthier

Sautéed liver over lettuce with homemade dressing
I love having time to plan and prepare healthier meals. My son loves hanging out in the kitchen with me, and we spend a lot of our day in there working on new recipes or tinkering. You can definitely eat healthy when you are busy and working but it is a lot less stressful when you can go to the grocery store in the middle of the day and actually have dinner made before 9pm. I also save us more money because I have time to look for sales or compare prices, and I tend a garden now that has given us a lot of free food.

5) Appreciating My Spouse More

I should also add to this that I feel more appreciated too. I realize that my husband has made the sacrifice to be away from his family in order to provide for us. I also realize how happy I am to be home with our son and it is because of his hard work. I appreciate him on a new level because of this. He is also so thankful to come home to a semi-clean home and an almost ready dinner. He gets to just spend time with our son when he is home and he knows it is because of how hard I work during the day to get everything done. Splitting the duties in this way has made us feel more like a team. Yes I still work sometimes and he still cooks and cleans sometimes but we have way more respect for the difficulty of each others duties.

6) Waking Up Slow
This is not a flattering photo of me
but I love the morning snuggle!
Before I tell you this and every parent on the face of the earth hates me, let me preface it by saying that my 18month old does NOT sleep through the night yet; he does however sleep until 10am most days. Instead of jumping out of bed and rushing to get ready and eating a granola bar as I run out the door, I get to lay in bed with my son and cuddle and nurse. We lay there for an hour sometimes while he snuggles and talks (toddler babbles) and points at things in the room. These moments will stick with me forever, our sweet quiet time that is irreplaceable. Now I'm not saying I sleep in that late. I try to get up with my husband and have breakfast with him, sometimes I work on my blog or do some chores, but most of the time I go back to bed until our son gets up. 

7) Making New Friends

At the Zoo for a meet-up!
One of the best things about being a stay-at-home-parent, is meeting other SAHP's. There are many online groups where you can find meet-ups or try going to the library for story time or to the park during the day. I have met some great and funny moms that have helped me learn a lot about being a mom. Other parents are so understanding of the daily struggle of child raising and it is nice to commiserate with other women who understand. I love seeing my son interact with other adults, make friends, and play with kids his own age

8) Feeling Empowered

Even though I have my degree now I feel prouder of my life skills. On a daily basis I take full time care of a toddler, run our household, and bust some serious dance moves. If we had to employ someone to do everything I do then we would need a nanny, an engineer, a chef, a maid, an accountant, a handy man, a chauffeur, a nutritionist, a personal trainer, an animal specialist, a gardener, a therapist, a teacher, and a stripper. I love all my jobs, especially that last one, but it is a lot of work. When I lay my head down at the end of the day I feel so proud of all that I've accomplished and realize that my self worth is found in growing my family in the best way possible.

I hope my list helps you get a sense of what being a stay-at-home-parent might be like or at least makes you shake your head 'yes' a couple times. I know everyone doesn't have this opportunity and I know some parents do all of the things I listed and still work full-time; to that I say you are obviously super-human and above us mere mortals (mom!).

Are you thinking about staying home? 
What do you fine satisfying about being the stay-at-home-parent?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comments! If you are having trouble posting a comment please make sure you are accepting cookies from this site or it may not work.