I became a stay at home mom not in the way I thought I would. Before I even had children of my own, I wanted to be a stay at home mom. In retrospect, I guess I thought my husband had to find the perfect job in order for me to stay home. Now I know I could have been more proactive with our finances, but I am getting ahead of myself. My story sadly starts on the day I gave up.
The Money Argument
My husband and I were arguing about money, again. Our toddler was asleep in his room, and we were talking about trying to have another baby. We were still living in our starter home, and it was beginning to feel small. We were considering moving into a bigger home when I brought up again how I really wanted to be a stay at home mom. It morphed into a replay of the same argument we had countless times before. How would we live on one income? Would we have to make sacrifices, change our lifestyle, and miss out on vacations and traveling? My husband didn’t want to give up the lifestyle and the security of having two decent incomes. He didn’t think we could live on one income. We had been gridlocked on this issue for months, if not years.
The Moment I Gave Up
Suddenly, I just stopped fighting. In that moment, I gave up on my dream to be a stay at home mom. I didn’t know what else to do. We couldn’t resolve this disagreement. Life was passing us by, and we were stuck. Children only stay little for so long, and our son was growing up. We needed to decide what we wanted our life to look like together, and I was tired of arguing about this.
Thinking back on that moment, I can still feel the insidious emotions draining the life out of me: the defeat, the hurt, and the sadness. I am a person of strong will and determination, and I was extremely disappointed in myself for giving up.
So I resigned myself to continue to work full-time while my kids would go to childcare. We then started looking for a new, bigger house. We sold our starter home, and moved into our new house while I was pregnant with our daughter.
At this point, we were living the traditional American dream. We had a beautiful, spacious home with a fenced in yard, two healthy children, good jobs, nice vehicles, and we traveled. It seemed we had it all, except we didn’t really have it all.
We made the most money we had ever made in our lives, but we also spent it without really knowing where it went. Our vacations were nice, except I worried we were spending too much while I was supposed to be enjoying it. We still argued about money, and I often cried after dropping my children off at daycare. And I thought this is how my life had to be.
We were living the life we thought we were supposed to live, not the life we wanted to live.
How I Became a Stay at Home Mom
Then my husband convinced me to read a book on finances. I know. I didn’t want to read it at first, either. When I did, that’s when our life changed. (Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover is an easy read and has the potential to change your life, too. I highly recommend it!)
We decided to start getting our finances in order, and in less than one year we were completely debt free, except for the house. Then my husband received a promotion, and a bold idea popped into my head. Hmmm. What if we? Could we do that? Is that crazy?
What if we sell the house (the one we just bought a year before) and downsize to a more affordable house with smaller payments and smaller utility bills. If we did that, could I stay at home with my kids?
I broached this subject with my husband. At this point, we now had created a plan for our money together, so money was no longer a stress point in our relationship. My husband considered my suggestion. What our new budget told us was that I was working to pay for a big house that we were never home to enjoy anyway.
So we agreed to live off my husband’s salary for 6 months. My salary covered childcare, padded our 6 month emergency fund, and built up a down payment on a new house. If all went well, we would put our house on the market, and I would quit my job. After those 6 months were up, we went for it!
A Blog is Born
After I put in my notice at work, I kept thinking about how I would like to help other moms figure out how they could be home with their kids. And that is when the idea to start blogging formed. If only I had taken budgeting more seriously before I had children, I could have stayed home with my children from the day they were born. If I shared my experiences and knowledge, perhaps I could help others live out there dreams.
Years later, my children are growing up and it is time for me to move on to my next dream of being a work at home mom. Now I am blogging to help encourage women to take control of their lives and their finances so they can also pursue the life they want. (Here is my step by step guide to create your own budget.)