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Making the decision to stay-at-home

Part one of the story

· stress,sahm,family

Being a stay at home parent is not an easy decision to make unless you've been planning to do so all along. If you are like me, the thought isn't wrong, it doesn't necessarily say to you 1950s, but it doesn't scream life's mission. My mom wasn't a full-time stay-at-home mom, because financially, she needed to be working. After having her first child, she held a full-time job once, when I was in high school. She told me recently that she does regret not having a full career, not because of her children, but because she felt that things would have been better financially for the family if she went back to a full-time job. She had the help, which would have allowed her the freedom to work full-time, but I'm not 100 percent sure what happened. All I know is that the risks of doing what she wanted to do were too high, and my parents are conservative.

However, I appreciated the fact that my mom was always around and available. She was able to teach me how to take the bus when she picked me up from primary school. I appreciated that my mom was part of the PTA. I appreciate that my mom could drop everything to come to me when necessary. And while her availability was consistent, her drive to teach me to be independent was also there. She wanted me to be able to succeed as an individual and not be dependent on her. Such things like money management, transportation, and time management were lessons I learned before I turned 10.

One can only reminisce about things our conscious mind remembers. So, I'm clueless about myself before age 4. I know that I could read and write by age 3. I know that I didn't eat sweets until age 6. I loved vegetables. I sat in church quietly and carried my grandmother's bible. And at age 5, when my first sibling came along, I had to learn a lot about selflessness. All-in-all, I think my mom did a great job.

As I struggle to make "adult" decisions about my life, I have had the opportunity to hear what my mother struggled with, and I have an appreciation for the regrets that she has. I'm not sure "regret" is the right word because she doesn't want to change much. The things she's shared with me, aren't thoughts that keep her up at night. But there are a few decisions she says she would change if she could do it all over again. But don't we all. I know I do.

With these thoughts in mind, it was a hard decision for me to make to stay at home. Fiscally, it makes sense. When child-care costs approximately $2500 a month, I would be working to send my child to daycare. Furthermore, a full-time job doesn't leave me time to do anything else. And I want to finish my dissertation this year. I know that there are places that provide cheaper child-care, but I want my child to have the attention that I would give her if I were home. I looked into all sort of alternatives, but the costs were about the same, more than 1000 per month. And my husband and I could not afford that.

Then all the other concerns about putting my child into a daycare facility started to complicate the decision. The fact that my child could become ill on a regular basis because of other kids, given the nature of nurseries and daycare facilities. It would be improbable for me to take time off, having started a new job and spending the amount I'd be paying for child-care to be at home with my child. And my husband's schedule, although not as stringent, does not allow for the necessary flexibility to reduce the time my LO would spend in daycare.

Then there were the learning and development needs I have for my LO. What brought that home in my mind, was seeing toddlers who are old enough to be potty-trained, not potty-trained. Old-enough to know that you don't throw a tantrum in the supermarket, throwing tantrums in the supermarket.
These considerations only solidified in my mind, that what I wanted, I could not afford.

The finally contributing factor was the job hunt. It was during the third trimester of my pregnancy that I realized that I would be unable to make the commute. Still, I held out on making the decision not to return for another year. But alas it was not to be, and so I had to start looking for a job that I could begin after what would reasonably be called maternity leave. I sent out many resumes, went to interviews, made it to final rounds, and nothing viable came of this job hunt closer to home.

No new job meant that I would not be bringing in the extra we need to cover bills, loans, and savings.
Furthermore, this has left me unable to contribute financially, as an equal to my spouse. The last time I went for a period without a job was extremely stressful, and lead me to find employment in another city. I am no better prepared this time around than last, for unemployment. Letting go of this burden that I have laden on myself is a hard task, and it's one that I need to figure out before I can honestly be comfortable with the fact that I am a stay-at-home mom. All the other factors, I have managed to come to terms with except not being able to get the ideal job.

There are still a few things I need to figure out before my "this is why I'm a stay-at-home mom" story is complete. For now, I have decided to be a stay-at-home mom. I love my LO, and I love my husband, AND, I need to figure myself out.

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