The day has finally come!! Your baby is here. That sweet, precious bundle you waited for so long is staring up at you, and it hits you. You realize that in a few short weeks you will have to leave that angel in someone else’s arms because maternity leave is coming to an end. Your heart breaks. Why does it have to be this way?
Simple. It doesn’t.
The world may tell you that you have to have two incomes to survive today. You might look at the bottom line and agree. You might think that it’s great for the rich people out there, but you’re not one of them and you have to work. You might think these things, but you might be wrong.
The moms who are no longer working outside their homes are not all rich. In fact, most are not rich. They have just made some sacrifices to do what is most important to them.
Yes, you CAN be a stay-at-home mom. It might not be easy, but nothing that has true worth is. If you are worried about how to make it happen financially, read on. These are things to realize and to do to make the dream of being a stay-at-home mom become a reality.
Stuff isn’t all that great
First, to be able to cut back, you are going to have to change the way you look at the world. You have to realize that stuff isn’t all that great. Happiness doesn’t come from stuff. Stuff breaks and wears out. When you’re old and on your deathbed, you won’t look back and wish you had more stuff. You might (read: you will), however, wish you had spent more time with your kids.
We all have heard the stories of the millionaire who had all the stuff money could buy who committed suicide. Why does someone with everything decide there is nothing to live for? Because stuff isn’t fulfilling. WIthout relationships and love, what good is stuff?
This all seems so obvious, but how many people are giving up staying home with their kids in the pursuit of money to have stuff? How many moments are being handed to the grandparents or the daycare workers who are spending days with kids rather than the kids’ mom? There is nothing that is so great to have that it is worth missing out on these precious fleeting moments of childhood.
Don’t let the culture drive your decisions
If you decide to be a stay-at-home mom, be ready to be questioned and to be judged. What was once a normal choice (or maybe even the only choice) is now looked at as crazy or entitled. Women are expected to fight their inborn nature and go to work. If you go against that, you will be judged. Get over it. Who cares what others think? If you have decided this is best for you, put in the earplugs and move forward. There is a reason you feel haggard at the end of every day. You were never meant to have to do it all. You were meant to care for your home and raise your babies. God put that need and desire inside of you for a reason. Don’t let the culture of the day cause you to fight that.
Who cares about the Joneses? They’re broke.
Susie pulls up next to you in her brand new, shiny SUV. Johnny buzzes by in his fancy new sports car. Judy lives in a huge house on the nice side of town. It’s natural to feel a little jealous and to feel like those are the standards you must meet. What you don’t know is that Susie’s phone got cut off last month because she couldn’t pay the bill. Johnny and his wife fight every night over why they don’t have any money even though they make $150,000 between the two of them. Judy is “house poor” and has several rooms empty because she can’t afford to buy the furniture. Susie, Johnny, and Judy want you to think they’ve got it all together and they’re rolling in the dough. They’re not. They’re broke. The standard you are chasing is usually a farce. It has become even worse in this social media age where people can display only the best aspects of their life while the reality is hidden. Don’t be fooled.
Get out of debt – and stay out
It is next to impossible to be able to stay home when your income is already promised to someone else before you even get it. Life costs enough without debt. We have to pay for electricity, water, food, shelter (whether it be a rent or a mortgage), transportation, healthcare, and other things. You simply cannot expect to make any headway when you have debt payments on top of this.
Once your heart is set on staying home, you must realize that there is no car, no home, no vacation — no anything — that is worth more than the opportunity to raise your own children. Debt is normal today. You can have nearly anything now whether or not you actually have the cash to pay for it. But what is the price for that? Is it worth it?
If your debt is massive and seems insurmountable (or even if it’s small but you need to learn how to get it paid off), I would encourage you to visit Dave Ramsey’s website. My family lives on his principles and it makes all the difference. His system is common sense, but it’s not so common these days.
Make a written budget
Yeah, a budget. Yeah, written down. This is a big part of Dave Ramsey’s system. If you don’t tell your money what to do, you will blink and it will be gone, and you won’t know where it went. Every single dollar needs a name. If your husband makes $4,000 per month, you need to allocate every single one of those 4,000 dollars to go SOMEWHERE. Even if you tell it to be “blow money”, you need to purposefully decide how each dollar will be spent.
When I first started doing a budget, it felt like I got a raise. You will realize how much money you waste when you start paying attention. You will be able to stretch your pennies a little further which will help you meet your goal of staying home. Learn how to do that here. You can also find budgeting forms here.
Downsize and Find Ways to Cut Expenses
Drive used cars. Stop swiping your card for the latest gadget out on the market that you just must have. Shop at Ross or Bargain Hunt instead of the mall. Clip coupons and learn to use them to your best advantage. Get your groceries at Aldi instead of Kroger. Or better yet, grow a garden and make your own bread and get your food there. Make Christmas gifts instead of buying your family more junk they won’t use and don’t need. The list of things you can do to cut back is endless. Sit down and analyze where your money is going, and then brainstorm ways that you can make less of it go there.
There will be sacrifice involved. Sometimes in life, we have to give up nice things to have things that are more important to us. I can promise you there is nothing you will sacrifice materially that is worth more than the value of being present to raise your children yourself.
Practice living on one income
You may be nervous about biting the bullet and taking the jump to one income. I get it. If you can’t quite take that step, try practicing living on one income for 6 months. Take your entire income and put it in savings. Use your written budget and learn how well you can stretch one income for that period of time, and see how it goes. This will reveal what additional cuts you might need to make or what lifestyle changes may be necessary to make it work without the stress of actually only having one income.
The nice side effect of this is that you will have half a years’ salary in the bank, so you will have an excellent emergency fund ready should something unexpected come along. This will give you peace of mind when the time comes to take the big leap.
Just do it
Talk to your spouse. Pray about it. Seek wisdom and guidance from those who have made the leap themselves. Make a plan and then actually do it. I don’t know anyone who has made this decision that hasn’t been glad they did. Most only wish they had done it sooner.
Have you made the leap? Do you want to and have questions? Comment below and let’s talk about it! I want to hear from you!