Becoming A Stay-At-Home Mom — One Woman's Experience
/ CBS DFW
The moment I saw that little positive sign on the pregnancy test, I knew my whole life was about to change… and I was excited. I was one of those little girls who, when asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, always answered "a mommy." Even through all my years of hard work earning a bachelors degree, I always knew that when I got pregnant, I would put my career on hold for several years. Despite trading in my diploma for my carpool license, I still use my education. It has proved invaluable as I mold the little minds and hearts of my children.
Leaving the workforce to become a stay-at-home mom fulfilled my dreams in many ways, but it certainly presented many challenges, tears and burdens too. The first few months after my first son was born, I found myself feeling lonely and isolated. This was — and continues to be — my biggest struggle since leaving the workforce. The problem is not the lack of people around (there is almost always someone pulling at your leg, sneezing in your hair or screaming for toilet-related assistance). What I miss is the adult interaction and camaraderie that comes with working alongside your peers and friends. Thankfully the tech-savvy mom with a smartphone is only a finger swipe away from Facebook or a mom blog. Given the technology lifeline, it's no surprise that the mommy blogger phenomenon has made such a profound footprint on the Internet.
Aside from the often unfulfilled need of daily adult interaction, there are also plenty of financial strains that come with being a single-income household. We gave up simple luxuries like Target shopping sprees and eating out. But the constant budget manipulation to make ends meet sometimes takes its toll.
Although we bring in less money than we would had I continued working, we also save thousands of dollars elsewhere. We don't have to worry about childcare expenses or all the hidden costs that come with working (gas, car repairs, business clothes). Staying home also lets me devote time to money-saving practices, such as cloth diapering and making my own baby food. Overall, we are happy to live on a tighter budget in order to make our situation work.
Staying home gives me such a freedom in all my roles as a wife, mom, friend, etc. Without the fatigue and stress from long work days, I feel more mentally and physically able to be creative in how I spend days with my sons and evenings with my husband. This is totally a personality thing of course, because I have several friends who can work 40+ hours a week at work and be super mom, all before bedtime. But that's just not me.
The most rewarding aspect of staying home with my kids is the unique effect I have on their lives. I love being their primary caretaker and influencer, being there for every first. I get to enlighten each curiosity and temper each misbehavior. It get to mold them. It is just so precious to see their little characters, brains and hearts take shape. I love my full-time job as stay-at-home mom. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
What has been your experience as a stay-at-home mom? Sound off in the comment section below.
Lauren Kimmel is the Founder of Dallas Moms Blog, a great resource for moms looking to connect to other moms, learn and laugh about motherhood, and discover all that Dallas has to offer families. She finds joy in her roles as a wife to a musician and mother to two little boys.