I never really thought I’d be the stay-at-home mom type. I think I always pictured myself working full-time and having a husband and kids and “making it” somehow…but I didn’t put much thought into the logistics of all that.
It seems that for a lot of young families I know (including mine), to have one of the parents stay home makes the most sense, financially. Which, thinking about it, seems backward since most of us were raised thinking that both parents bringing in income keeps the family afloat. But, for example, if both my husband and I worked full-time, a big chunk of that money would go toward child care (unless I was able to find a job that paid significantly more than I’m making now OR we were able to get a live-in nanny for dirt cheap, either of which aren’t likely).
We’ve been lucky so far with the amount of child care we’ve needed and the caregivers we’ve had. At this point in my life and my career, part-time work is all I can get. I’d have to get a job that paid a lot more for it to be worth me going back to work full-time. When I did have a full-time job when our daughter was little, my schedule was all weekends and one overnight a week. Hardly the most optimal schedule if I wanted to spend any time with my friends and family on the weekends. Looking back on it, though, it worked well for us financially and we had child care that worked out perfectly, as we needed babysitters for only two full days, one of which Grandma took so it was “free.” My current and previous positions only require(d) us to have child care about 2 full days a week, one of which Grandma takes.
The whole stay-at-home-parent thing kind of scared the crap out of me for several reasons. When our daughter was a wee thing, my husband stayed home with her for that first year. I panicked, thinking we wouldn’t have enough money to live on. Well, we made it. We squeaked by, living with not a lot of “extras,” but we made it. And when it came to be my turn to stay at home (if only part-time) I wondered if I could do it without going crazy. That is still at this very moment debatable. But considering, we have been BLESSED with the ability to have us raise our own children instead of a day care center. Our daughter is a freaking genius and we have been able to foster that, teaching her and exposing her to things she wouldn’t be apart of if she was plopped in a day care center. She is not pasting pictures to construction paper or some other crappy “curriculum.” Our son gets one-to-one attention (as much as I can give it) and is able to learn and grow at his own pace.
Now that I’m home 3 days a week, I’ve been placed back in the caregiver/dishwasher/launderer/keeper-of-the-house extraordinaire role. I love it. I go a little bit crazy some days when the kids are wild, when there is more work around to be done around the house than I can actually complete, and when we struggle to make ends meet, but I love it.