A Decision to Stay Home


By: Monica Resinger

There has been a question directed to Creative Home ezine readers that comes near and dear to my heart and I have a lot to say about the subject. The question is from a working mother that desperately wants to be home raising her child. She would like to know of work at home opportunities so she can be able to stay home and raise her child. Each time I read her question I get a little choked up because I know exactly how she feels. I'd like to tell you my story in hopes that it will help someone.

Before I start, I would like to say that I realize all mothers have a personal decision to make about whether to work or not to work and that no one decision is right for everyone. This is just my story and I don't think one way is more right than the other. So now that everyone knows I respect any decision made about whether to work or not to work, here's my story.

I worked at an office job up until my son was two struggling with the guilt and yearning of wanting to be home to raise him full time. I was lucky enough to have my grandmother watching him, but I still would rather be home raising him myself. I felt my son and I were both missing out on things that would never happen again such as his first step or mommy kissing boo-boos.

My grandmother knew that I desperately wanted to be home raising him and at one point she told me she couldn't watch him anymore because she couldn't keep up with him. She was getting older and he was just about two, so this did make sense. This is the point a decision had to be made. Did I want to continue to have someone else raise my child during the day or did I want to follow my heart and raise my son myself? I knew all along that raising my boy was the most important thing to me, but I was afraid to quit my job because we wouldn't have enough money to live on. My husband didn't make enough for us to get by on, or did he?

It seemed my husband didn't make enough money for us to live on because of our spending habits at that time. Not so much his, but mine. I would go out to lunch daily at work and freely spend the money I earned on cosmetics, things for the house or other unnecessary items, rarely looking at prices. I was a spendthrift that wasn't sure if I could change. I tried to think of ways to make money from home and thought of a lot of ways, but they all seemed out-of-reach for me at the time. Finally, even though I was still afraid of not having enough money to live on, I made the decision to quit my job on the good faith of my abilities to cut back or drop my spending habits, and to save money in every possible situation I could. It turns out that it was the best decision I ever made.

I had it all planned out. I'd save coupons, shop only sales and cut dollars at every angle I could. I would consider this my new ‘job'. I did do a good job at saving money every way I could and we did get by, but it wasn't easy. We got behind on our rent for a couple of months, but we were lucky enough to have an understanding landlord who let us catch up slowly but surely. We didn't have the money to go do the things we used to do like go to the movies or order a pizza. This may sound bleak and boring, but the rewards were worth more than I can say. It was a new way of life for me and I'm so glad it happened. I was no longer torn inside and felt I was where I wanted to be. I found that nothing was more important to me than being home raising my son. I learned how to be a good homemaker and money-saver.

As time passed, my husband started making a little more money, which offered a little more freedom in spending. Soon, we were planning our second child and she was born and I got to stay home and raise her too! These were treasured times for me and I'm still home even though the kids are in full-time school now. It's nice to be here when they get home so they don't have to come home to an empty house. When they get days off, I'm here and we don't have to worry who's going to watch them.

If you're a working mother that yearns to be home raising your children, here are some valuable lessons I learned from my experience. I hope they help you in some way.

The biggest thing I learned is to not be afraid of change. Sometimes we have to take what seems to be a huge step to be able to get what we want. I took that step and made it, so can you.

First, sit down with a piece of paper and pen and add up how much it is costing you to work. The first and biggest place to look is daycare and transportation costs. Also write down what you spend on lunches. Try and think about ‘hidden' costs such as ordering pizza because you worked and don't have time to cook a meal or your wardrobe. Add these and any other working costs up and subtract it from your income. For me, I was spending as much as, or more than I was making.

Take another piece of paper and write down ways in which you can save money and estimate how much. For example, by using coupons and shopping sales you may be able to save $100 a month. Write it down along with other ways such as ‘close doors of rooms not in use to save electricity', or, instead of going to the movies 4 times a month, go once and write in the amount saved. You have to think of everything you currently spend money on and figure out ways to cut back. You'll find you can get very creative when you need to be.

Now add your lists together and see if you can ‘make' as much as your job. Most of the time you can, but if you can't, don't fret because where there's a will, there's a way. If you haven't met your income by the above savings methods, consider other ways to make money.

The first thing to do is ask yourself what you're good at and what you enjoy doing. Everyone has a special talent. For some people it may be a craft, for others, it may be writing, grooming pets or planning trips among many other possibilities. Whatever you do well, find a way to make money with it. Someone who's good at crocheting afghans may make up a website about crocheting and selling these afghans or take the finished afghans to a craft bazaar to sell. Someone who's good at writing may begin writing in their preferred subject and start submitting to magazines or look on the internet for other ways to make money writing.

Another idea to find a good way for you to make money is to do a search on the Internet for your talent and see what others are doing to make money with that talent. For example, someone who is interested in a crochet business can do a search on the Internet for crochet and visit the sites that come up. You might find some people are selling their own patterns or creations. Others may be offering free patterns but charging people to advertise on their website. You can get a lot of ideas by doing this.

The most important thing I can say about all of this is to follow your heart. Do what makes you thrive; not what someone else thinks is right for you. If being home is what you want, then pursue it with all your heart. If you want a career and a family, pursue it with all your heart. Whatever you want, do it, I know you can.

Copyright ©, 2000, Monica Resinger

Monica Resinger publishes an e-mail newsletter for homemakers that poses fun questions to readers about organizing, crafting, gardening, frugal living and other homemaking subjects; readers can respond to the questions and receive the resulting, very informative 'tip sheet'. If you'd like to join the fun, send a blank e-mail to: HomemakersJournal-subscribe@yahoogroups.com to subscribe.

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