Before I became a mom, I sold real estate. I had a great career, had my own company was my own boss. I made my own hours, made fantastic money and was completely capable of being independent. I loved my life and I live in a storybook town. I lived in my dream home.
When I first found out I was pregnant I didn’t think anything needed to change. I had a plan, I worked out of the house so I could hire a nanny. The nanny would be upstairs with the baby and I would be downstairs in my office making my calls, running my business and I could pop up and see my child anytime I wanted.
Then, something changed
When I went to my eight week ultrasound, I didn’t know hundred percent what to expect.
My only guideline was what they show in the movies a black-and-white picture of a tiny little being and they say that your baby. For me, it wasn’t like that instead it was a video of my son with this giant head, little body and tiny little hands and legs poking out from it, wiggling all over.
In that moment, when I saw him, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
To say that I fell in love instantly would be an understatement. I remember laying there staring at him gripping my husband’s hand unable to talk, tears rolling down my face. When asked if we wanted pictures I said I want them all! Every single one! I never wanted to forget that moment.
And like monumental moments in our life there are some that you never need a picture of to remember perfectly and that is one of those moments. For the rest of my life, I can close my eyes and go back to that place and be that girl meeting my baby for the first time.
As we walked out to her car my husband said how do you feel? It was a simple question, one he probably expected a simple answer to. What he got was a shock of both of our lives and it was me saying I’m done.
I’m going to be a stay at home mom now.
Turning our lives upside down
Much to his credit he simply nodded and drove us home. I began researching, reading, running numbers, re-doing a nursery and closing my business up. The very next day he came home from work to find contractors taking measurements, me canceling appointments and our life changing dramatically.
After months of research, I remember calling him and telling him we can’t afford to stay where were live. I remember him asking to try to make cuts first. So we cut and cut and cut, but the fact of the matter remained 50% of our salary was going to the house if you took out my income. And while we tried to squeak by it became more more obvious that unless my husband doubled his income, staying was not an option.
So five months after my son was born we put our house on the market. As silly as it sounds, selling that house was the biggest sacrifice I had ever made for anyone.
Hardest decision we ever made
We had made many hard decisions in our life in order to be in a position where we could live in the neighborhood, the town and in that home. My father, mother and I had poured our sweat and tears into that home.
So for me leaving it was traumatic. From my husband perhaps even more so. He had spent his entire life in that area, his family and everything was there.
He took a transfer to Baltimore and we bought a house in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It meant an hour commute for him, which was already what he was used to, but the commute meant a similar style home in a similar in neighborhood for half the price. It meant a tiny mortgage and it meant that I could stay at home worry free.
Now that sounds great, but a smaller mortgage does not mean you live worry free. We still live on a tight budget because of all the extras the kids bring to the table. If I’m completely honest, I will never love this other home the way I loved my first.
I will never connect to my new town the way I connected to my old town. But the truth is, none of those things matter.
A new outlook for everyone
What matters is I am home with my babies every day. I don’t miss their first words, the first roll, the first step. It was because we made years of hard decisions, not having a wedding, saving, fixing up a house, it was those decisions that make it possible for my son to take music, art, swimming, gymnastics and my daughter will have all the same opportunities. T
hey are growing up with a solid family structure and freedom to be kids and go at their and pace in life. Despite, the tears and the stress that every day brings, it was the best thing I could’ve done for my marriage as well.
My husband became the breadwinner, took his spot as the leader of the family, both financially and physically you could say. This did tremendous good for his ego and brought him a sense of purpose. In our quiet time together we often talk about what a happier man he is because he is where God wants him to be as a leader of the family.
There’s also significantly less stress in our life, we don’t try to cram house cleaning, grocery grocery shopping ,and every day life in our weekend.
Finally, there’s no resentment or bitterness in me about my child bonding with another adult versus me or anger that I can’t be home,bitterness that I’m missing out. Instead, the last almost 3 years of my life have been filled with peace. And that is a miracle.
So for those of you moms who are struggling with the thought of not being able to stay at home, who in your heart feel like it’s just the wrong choice for you to work outside the home for your family, look into and pursue every option before giving up. Staying at home is not for everyone, and for some it’s not an option that can ever be on the table.
We’re doing the best we can
But for many of us, if we are willing to make big sacrifices, give up the bigger home, the nicer cars, the expensive towns. If our husbands are willing to take the added responsibility, maybe commute a little further, perhaps move away from family, we can have the opportunity to give our children the life we believe they deserve.
At the end of the day, every mom is doing her very best. And every mom’s goal is to give her child the best whether she’s working to pay for the best schooling or whether she’s home playing in the backyard. So respect to all the moms out there that make hard decisions every day.
But since this article is for the ones that have taken the road less traveled, and have stayed home.
Stay strong mamma. You made a wonderful decision.