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why i chose to be a stay-at-home mom

Aside from my semester student teaching this spring, I have been a stay-at-home mom since Eleanor was born in June 2013. I get questions quite often about why I chose to put a career outside the house on hold and when I plan to return to the classroom, so I thought I’d address a few of those points today.

First and foremost, I absolutely LOVE being a stay-at-home mom. It is exactly where I’m meant to be at this moment, it fills me with purpose, and is by far the most challenging/rewarding job in the world to me. No, it’s not glamourous… I end most days sweaty and stained, but it comes with a lot of perks :)

why I chose to be a stay-at-home mom
Being a stay-at-home mom isn’t right for everybody, and it has no bearing on whether someone is a good mother or not. It’s what works for me, and today I thought I’d share some insight into my thoughts, feelings and decision-making on being a stay-at-home mom. Come step into my office… ;)

why I chose to be a stay-at-home mom
Why did I become a stay-at-home mom?

I didn’t spend my entire life thinking I’d be a stay-at-home mom. I went off to college at Creighton dreaming of a killer career in marketing. Before I even graduated, I realized that something was missing in my career ambitions. I missed working with kids and wanted to make a change. It took me 2 years (and a job I despised) to decide to go back to school to get my teaching license. Ah – now this felt right!

During this time, Jeff and I got engaged and we began talking about our dreams and plans for our family. It became clear very early that we both valued having me stay home while our children were young. Our thought was that kids are young once, but a career (my career) could happen any time. Personally, I also loved having my mom around while I was little and I still remember those special days with her. We started planning from that moment to make living on one income feasible for our family. We tightened up spending, took on a modest mortgage, and did everything we could to keep fixed expenses low.

The rest is history! I had just finished my coursework when Eleanor was born, so I immediately transitioned into full-time mommy. It was tough, there was a huge learning curve, but I had some pretty great mentors (thanks mom) to help get me started! Overall, it all felt very natural!

why I chose to be a stay-at-home mom
But what about student teaching?

I student taught from January 2014 – May 2014 and it was an incredible experience! I learned a great deal and thoroughly enjoyed my time in the classroom. My students were bright, eager, and energetic, and I LOVED being their teacher. However, I had a giant hole in my heart those five months. It was extremely difficult dropping off Eleanor at daycare to PAY someone else to do the job I wanted to do. I was thrilled with the care she received at Montessori, but it just wasn’t the same.

She didn’t nap well, she came home exhausted, and my sweet baby would fall asleep right after dinner every night. I felt like I hardly ever REALLY saw her and it broke my heart. Teaching was great, but being home as Eleanor’s mama was where I needed to be.

So when will I go back to work?
Good question, haha! It will probably make the most sense for me to go back to work when our youngest (whenever that may be) goes to school. Maybe it will be part-time; maybe it will be full-time – who knows! Jeff and I are both really flexible with this point, and I love that I have his support. The teaching field offers a lot of flexibility with potential work arrangements which I’m really grateful for. I also know that I’ll have a lot to learn again whenever I do make it back to the classroom (yes, a bit daunting).

What about money?
Ah yes, this point is very important. Like I said, we planned for over 2 years to live off a single income. Jeff and I have a very open relationship when it comes to finances. There is no his or hers – it’s ours. I didn’t contribute to our household income last year, but I know I contributed in a million other ways. We have both had to make sacrifices though. No big vacations. No dream house renovations. And little things too – I no longer color my hair or use salon products. It’s been about finding small ways to save.

why I chose to be a stay-at-home mom
So what do I do as a stay-at-home mom?

Just about what anyone imagines I suppose! My time is almost all focused on Eleanor. I try to provide her with enriching experiences both in and outside the house. I look for opportunities for social interaction as often as I can. I run errands for our household, and try to keep things “livable” (No, no spotless. I’m not awesome at staying on top of dishes and laundry). Lately it’s been like following around a mini-tornado all day ;)

How does it feel being a stay-at-home mom?
As I’ve said before, I love my job. Does it mean I love every moment of every day? No. Some days are harder than others, but it’s always worth it! I’m not going to lie, sometimes it is difficult hearing about amazing opportunities my peers have with their careers. Yeah, I get jealous. And sometimes it’s hard to ignore the looks I get when people hear I’m a stay-at-home mom.

I recently joined the Recent Alumni board at my alma mater, and we did intros around the room by stating our name, graduation year, degree, and job. As I expected, I was the ONLY person in the room who was a stay-at-home parent. Not surprising at all, but I was surprised by the apprehension I felt announcing my career as a “mom”  to the room. I carry a ladybug backpack instead of a laptop bag. I wear cotton not cashmere. My “business trips” are to the park not Vegas. And a lot of my job involves diapers, boogers, and spit-up. But it’s not a position I was forced into. It’s one I love and feel blessed to have.

why I chose to be a stay-at-home mom
So that’s it for today! I guess for me, being a stay-at-home mom isn’t about one BIG thing; it’s about all the little things – everyday moments that I have the joy to experience with my sweet baby girl! :)

Your turn:

Have you ever taken time to be a stay-at-home parent?
If you don’t have kids yet, have you thought about your plan?
Do you have any more questions for me?

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