It’s Going To Cost You: The Price of Stay At Home Motherhood
My bank account was laughing at me. No, it wasn’t laughing–it was scoffing. At least that’s what it felt like. I remembered the days when trips, shopping and spa time were the norm. I just went to my trusty personal checking account fattened by my good full-time job, and voila – the luxurious life was mine! Then I became a stay at home mom, and everything changed.
Don’t get me wrong – stay at home motherhood was my brainchild. After years of being a busy nonprofit management executive juggling work, after work meetings, the responsibilities of being a wife and the never-ending job of motherhood, I was burnt out. I dreamed of having the freedom to truly focus on my family. So I started a full-fledged campaign and lobbied my husband for months until he agreed to be the sole bread winner for our family. I rationalized to him that our life would be less stressful if I devoted all of my time to homemaking and being available for our child.
And I was right. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for more than two years, and our home life has flourished just like I thought it would. My daughter’s grades have soared because I have more time help her with homework. My husband has the comfort of knowing that he can leave all the household errands in my hands while he focuses on his demanding career. I’ve even been able to devote more time to volunteering in the community like I’d always dreamed of. And amazingly, my husband has been able to more than make up for my income because he’s able to take on more hours on the job with me holding the family down at home.
There is just one problem – my little personal spending account (you know the one that every mama has just for her extra little purchases) stays as dry as the Sahara. Being a stay-at-home mom gives me all the freedom that I want, but absolutely none of the money for the extras. Now every extra purchase requires financial planning and saving. And financial planning and saving are not what I’m use to or what I like.
So after two years of domestic bliss, I gave serious thought to going back to work. I even lined up a few interviews. The first round of interviews went well, and I quickly received phone calls from the employers to schedule second interviews. As excited as I was to get back to having “money of my own,” my little internal voice wouldn’t stop talking. It kept telling me that a full-time job would mean more money but less time with my family, the end of being available as class parent and field trip chaperone, and less time assisting my daughter with her homework. The voice reminded me that it would mean going back to having my daughter in after school care instead of in my care. It meant back to dinner on the run instead of home-cooked meals by mama. It meant back to the grindstone, back to the rat race and back to mommy-guilt.
I declined the second interviews. I realized that while being a stay-at-home mom costs me a few material things, being a working mom would cost me too.
The reality is whether you’re a working mom or a stay-at-home mom, motherhood comes with a cost and requires a sacrifice. And only you can decide what cost you’re willing to pay. I’m thankful that I can pay the price.
Yolanda Darville is a wife, mom and freelance writer focusing on issues that make a difference. To read more of her writings connect with her on Twitter at @YolandaDarville.