February 22, 2010

My Messy, Loud, Funny, Crazy Life

When I asked readers for blog fodder, Kristen obliged by encouraging me to write about how I chose to become a SAHM. I know this can be a controversial topic for many people. I have readers who are SAHMs as well as those who work outside the home. So when I write about this, keep in mind that I'm writing about myself. I don't presume to know anyone else's situation.
For me, the decision to become a SAHM was simple. I had always envisioned my future as either having a career or having children. I knew that if I had children, I wouldn't want to allow someone else the privilege of caring for them. I am very fortunate to have a husband who not only supports my staying home, but who also has a job that allows me to do so. I know that there are many moms who truly need to work even though they want to be home.
Despite my strong belief that I should stay home, there was some trepidation when it actually came time to stay home. Even now, nearly 4 years later, I occasionally have some panic over my decision. I worry that my brain will turn to mush. I worry that my son will spend too much time with only me and grow up to either hate me or have mommy issues. I worry that come 2024, I will be completely lost. On days when I do have those fears, I thank God for the internet friendships that I have developed.
There is an irritating feminist voice that occasionally shrieks in my head that I am wasting my education. Which just goes to show how irrational this voice is, since my degree is in education! I have days when I am struck with guilt over the job that I am doing as a SAHM. I struggle with feeling that since I am staying home, I should cook dinner from scratch every night, have a spotless house, and constantly enrich BB's life. I fall pretty short of that on a regular basis.
My decision to be a SAHM was made even easier due to the fact that teachers don't make much. For me, continuing to teach would take me away from home all day and would hardly pay much more than the cost of daycare and working expenses. In my area, by the time daycare, work-related expenses, and taxes are subtracted, I would bring home around $12,000. Not an insubstantial amount, but I'm not ready to miss out on much of BB's development for $12,000 a year.
When I made my decision to stay home, I also thought about how teaching is more than a full-time job. If I had continued to teach, I would be bringing work home with me nearly every night. Yet I would still have to find the time to cook, clean, shop, and interact with BB and DH. My family wouldn't be getting my best; they would be getting the leftovers. I would know this, and it would only add to my stress. That type of stress isn't worth $12,000 to me. I could definitely think of some great ways to spend that money. But how much of that would be spent on something to make the loss to my family worthwhile? I would rather learn more self-control and live on DH's salary alone than to one day realize that BB is grown and I've missed out.
Plus, let's be honest - there are a lot of teachers out there. Education is a popular field. If I were to take a job teaching just because I wanted to work, I could very well be taking a job from someone who needs to work. And I don't want to do that.
As a parent, all I can do is my best. While I fall short of that, I keep trying and I pray that God will fill in the rest.


  1. Thanks Heather! I needed to hear that today. I struggle with my decision to be a "sort of" SAHM on a continual basis. I am a full-time student and work seasonally doing taxes, but the rest of the time I am a SAHM that doesn't always have the house clean or dinner made from scratch. I have to continuously remind myself that I am not working a job that pays $50K a year so that I can further my education and get a job I truly love and will also be able to spend these formative years with my children.

    It's good to hear that other moms have to make these decisions too (and that they don't have immaculate homes and dinner from scratch every night either!)...

  2. Hi Heather,
    Those sound like good reasons that led you to make the choice to stay home. I did just want to mention that not all teachers make small salaries. It must depend on the area in which you live. I have been teaching for 15 years and make $60,000 plus benefits.


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