I quit my job last week. Now I am officially a stay at home mom.
Dan and I came to this decision after considering day care options, part time work options, and various other schedules. All of those options seemed…much less than ideal. So, I asked Dan what his “perfect” scenario would look like, and I, too, offered up what I thought would be ideal for our family. Turns out, we both agreed that our perfect situation would be for me to stay home and make our family my job. And the fact of the matter was at the end of the day such a large portion of my salary would be directed at day care costs, so seeing those numbers on paper made the decision perfectly clear.
At the beginning of my pregnancy, we never thought I would be able to quit my job and stay home. Actually, the thought never crossed our minds. We always assumed that I would just take off the requisite 12 weeks and then begrudgingly return to work after dropping off my sweet baby at day care. As we got closer to my due date and the day care I hoped to get into could not accommodate any more babies, we started to consider other options. And the best option for us was to change our lifestyle, so I could stay home and care for our daughter.
Now, I went to day care, and Dan also went to day care, so we know that for some day care is a must and for whatever reasons, babies must go to day care. But for us, it simply was not the best option since we could make changes to our life to accommodate me as a stay at home mom. In my heart, I know no one could love my baby like I love her and no one can take better care of her than me.
Of course sacrifices are needed to make this new life style work, but the funny thing is, these changes do not feel like sacrifices at all. It is amazing to me how being a mom changes how I feel about what is essential to my life. If I need to give up getting my hair colored at a salon, buying clothes full price, and purchasing the newest hardback books, I can without thinking twice. So now I ask my mom to color my hair from a drugstore kit, go to the library, always buy on sale, and, in reality, do without or get creative.
After having Kate, I see my life as fuller than I have ever seen my life before. And caring for my family is the best job I have ever had. Yes, the hours are long, clean up can seem never ending, it can be isolating at times, and I would be lying if I said I never thought about how our life was easier when it was just Dan and me. But in the same vein, I feel happier than I have felt in a long time. Like I am finally doing what I am meant to be doing – being a mom and a wife and a daughter and a sister and a daughter-in-law, and a granddaughter. I am finding myself taking on roles within my family that mean so much more than 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. cubicle work. I feel surprised at how naturally being a mom has come to me over the past couple of weeks – and how much I have changed. Now I take the time to just be because, well, I can. No worries about work or deadlines. Just time for me to spend with the important people in my life.