Before this post starts I want to say that I hope this doesn't offend anyone, make sure to read it all the way through to understand what I'm trying to say. I'd never want to offend someone.
I recently revealed on my blog that I would become a SAHM very soon (actually before Little Bit arrives) and now that I'm revealing the news to even more people it is very interesting the response I get. Back in the old days it was odd for a mother to work and daycares weren't really the norm. It was probably quite shocking to say to someone that you was going to work and leave your child in the care of a stranger or a family member. But that was then.
Now that I'm telling people, often times acquaintances or inquiring strangers, that I'm staying home with my baby for a long time, I've learned that being a stay at home mom is no longer the norm. It is interesting the responses I get; mostly that I am very lucky or that they wish they could do that too. Some even make me feel slightly awkward--as if I'm doing something unheard of.
Hearing that "I'm lucky" makes me realize that yes I am indeed lucky; but in my opinion it is not just about luck. Being a SAHM isn't always about luck and your income, it is often about sacrifice, sense and determination. We've known since high school that this was something we wanted, but like many plans you never know how things will turn out. We've always "planned" for it in the sense of saving and not having to have the best of everything, but we knew that not all plans always happen.
There are indeed sacrifices that I can already see. I will no longer be able to just go on a shopping spree and feel guilt free about spending money. I am getting a newer car, but just because we can afford an even newer/fancier model it doesn't mean that I will be getting that. In addition, we currently rent right now and it isn't for sake of not wanting to buy a house it is simply because we don't expect to be in that location for longer than another year. So, my sacrifice is that unfortunately I can't paint the nursery any color I want or even own a big, fancy home. Our house is nothing to brag about, but it provides a roof over my head and feels like a "home;" so for now that is good enough for me. I envy the nurseries that I see, but then I realize that in a way that makes me materialistic and I try to slap my own hand for that. But that is one thing that bums me is that my dream nursery really can't happen right now.
I'm not fond of hearing people say that they wish they could stay home with their children but that they "can't" and then I realize that they have a fancy, new car and that they buy more cars and clothes than anyone needs. I'll never forget the Facebook status I saw from a friend that one day read "wish I could stay home with my baby instead of going back to work" and then a couple of days later read "just bought a new Mercedes." Ummmm...that just didn't make sense.
Please know that I know some people really have no choice. There are many single mothers or couples with a disabled spouse where working is really the only option. There are even cases where incomes are just not enough to take the chance of having one quit. I also know that many women work hard for high ranking jobs and spend a lot of money on their education, so their career is more of a priority to them. I do have a college degree but luckily I haven't found my dream job so the idea of quitting was a lot easier to do. So I know that not all women have the option to stay home and I respect those that work hard to have a good lifestyle for their family and children.
In my heart though, I believe there are many women who likely could stay home if they really wanted. It's all about sacrifice and determination. You have to make cutbacks and choose what's more important. A closet full of Coach bags or a life at home with your baby? I think if many women really wanted to make it happen they could. Trade in your car with a note for a car you can pay cash for and develop a budget for your family to see how you can survive on much less. There are endless ways to cutback and take a break from the finer things in life. Sometimes I think we just all become accustomed to the extra income and don't want to live without it.
We all make sacrifices no matter what path we choose, but sometimes it's about which sacrifices we are willing to make. I've even noticed the vibe from some people that they think I'm choosing the easy or lazy way out--that I simply don't want to work. Although I haven't done it before, I know that staying at home is going to be a full time job. And as I said before, it comes with sacrifices. But I am willing to take those for now to try what I believe is best for my Little Bug.
So until I can have my dream nursery, I will make-do with what I have. I'll always be grateful for my husband who works 12 hour days and sometimes goes weeks without a day off (another sacrifice). I appreciate him more than he knows and I am not lucky, but blessed to have such a hard working and understanding husband. I may not get my dream nursery, but so far, my dreams are coming true.
What's your thoughts on SAHMs?
P.S. I think eventually I will say I am a SAHM, a dance teacher,
and a writer. Because I am all of those and it makes me sound so much cooler. ;)