Let me just preface this by saying I respect every mama’s choice to do what she feels is best for her family. I salute you, working mama, as you get up early every morning, after being woke up multiple times a night by a tiny baby, to provide for your family. I salute you, stay at home mama, as you work all day and all night meeting the demanding needs of your family.
Here’s a bit about my journey and how I went from working outside my home to choosing to be mama full time.
I thought I wanted to be a career mama! You know, the one that dresses in expensive clothes and drives a brand new car through the Starbucks drive through each morning on her way to the important business world? She works hard to climb the corporate america ladder and is well loved and respected at her place of employment. No one knows how she’s doing it so gracefully and beautifully as she rocks the balance of career and family. I wanted to be HER!
I wanted to be her until the first day I dropped baby off at the nanny’s after a 12 week maternity leave. I got up at 4:30am to make sure both baby and I would be perfectly dressed and out the door by 6:45am. I was looking forward to more order and a perfectly executed routine as maternity leave just felt like a day to day survival with absolutely no order and certainly no schedule. But as I drove to work, tears streaming down my face as I just kissed the newest love of my life goodbye for the next nine hours, I knew this life wasn’t for me.
That day I made a decision that would change my life. I told myself, my baby, and my hubby that I would do whatever it took to stay home and be mama. Not the beautiful career mama I had planned, but a mama that spent every single moment just being mama. I went home after a much-too-long day at the office, snuggled my baby, cried a lot, and started to make plans!
For the next three months, I got up at 4:30am, worked all day, came home, cooked dinner, fed and bathed the baby, got the babe and hubs in bed and worked again. This time though, I was working for myself. I was building a business that would quickly allow me to be home with my baby. I was exhausted, emotional, and MOTIVATED. The little sleep I got from 1:00am when I went to bed until 4:30am when I got up, with many baby wakings in between, was wearing on me, but I wasn’t about it let it stop me.
We cut back on all our expenses – stopped eating out completely, which was hard when our friends invited us constantly to go to dinner/movie/outing. Why does every American social gathering revolve around food!? We sold my beautiful new car and got an old Honda odyssey which we fondly call “Goldie”. We kept our home much warmer in the summer so our electricity bill would be as inexpensive as possible. We’ve never bought baby new clothes, always second hand from friends and yard sales. We stopped buying all organic produce from Whole Foods and chose the local farmers market instead. We changed. We changed a lot and we changed it fast. Our friends stopped inviting us to go out and poked fun at our frugalness. We were living a life completely different than they. Can I tell you a secret, mama? It is WORTH IT. Every single cutback is worth it.
I could quickly see that these lifestyle changes, stressful days, and long nights were paying off. In three months, I replaced my income, quit my job and started living my dream. I am home with baby and doing the job God called me to do – be mama. Of course there are days that I struggle with balancing my new business and taking care of this special little guy, but the worst days now are still so much sweeter than the best days back then.
Working-Mama-who-wants-to-be-home, my heart goes out to you. I know the pain you feel every morning you leave that little one. I know how it feels to think about your baby all day long, wondering what he or she is learning, if he’s eaten enough, if he’s pooped, if he’s had good naps today. I know the envy you feel knowing someone else is snuggling your baby. I know the anger that a simple facebook post from a stay at home mom noting how HARD it is to be home all day with the kiddos brings. I know. And I know the pressure society is putting on you to maintain that fancy lifestyle image, but let me tell you, it’s not worth it. Cutting back, starting your own business, ANYTHING that you need to do to be home is WORTH IT. I’m not telling you it’s easy, because it’s not. It’s so hard. But it’s so worth it.
Hugs to you, mama!