I used to joke about being born in the wrong era. I would have done so much better in the 50’s – well, except for the whole being Black thing… My point is that I always secretly wanted be a stay at home mom. I wanted to bake pies and whistle while I vacuumed.
My mom worked and I missed her. It wasn’t just that I missed her while she was at work – I was at school, so I didn’t really notice. It was that when we were both home she was always so busy. I understand now that she was trying to run a house, have a marriage, raise a child AND work over 40 hours a week. I have no idea how she did it.
I started planning to work from home while I was still pregnant. I’m helping a friend create a web based business and I also manage a vacation property. This is work that I can do online and on my own schedule (or should I say on Tiny Tyrant’s schedule). I love that I can be home with him and still get to use my ‘adult’ brain at the same time. Best of both worlds.
Then there’s the money – right now there isn’t a lot. Both of my “jobs” are in the start-up phase and they will pay off, but I’m not really raking in the dough right now. Dork Dad is a software engineer – so it’s not like we’re hurting as a family, but I’m not contributing monetarily all that much.
I focus on our son. Every day we have tummy time and we sing songs and take a tour of the house and the gardens and we name all the things we can see. We talk about colors and numbers and letters. We dance and play and eat and nap. I am raising a happy and healthy baby.
I focus on the house. Something gets cleaned each day. This keeps me from getting overwhelmed and it keeps the house organized and clean. I do a menu for each week, clip coupons and read the circulars to get the best deals at the store. The laundry is done once a week and kitchen always sparkles. The house is becoming a home – inviting and lived in.
I focus on building my businesses. I work on marketing for the vacation home and ways to make our current renters more comfortable and happy. I create vacation plans for them and help with dinner reservations and golf outings. I work on the website – editing content and creating graphics.
What I don’t do anymore is work in my sister’s office. She couldn’t pay me enough to cover daycare costs so it wouldn’t make sense financially. Also, I was doing glorified secretarial work – it wasn’t something fulfilling enough for me to essentially pay for the privilege. I have offered to work for her on weekends when Dork Dad could watch Mr. Sir. She turned me down and this is part of the email that I got from her today:
I think you are making a major mistake by not going back to work even if every penny initially goes to daycare. Have you even looked for daycare? D W said to tell you her granddaughter is at the Orange Grove School daycare and they love it.
Every able bodied person needs to have their own money even if it is only a few pennies. They will be yours.
This is not the first time she has brought this up. The first time I got a lecture about how things seemed great now, but Dork Dad and I weren’t married and “you never know” so I needed to go back to work outside the home.
The point that she seems to be missing is that I CANNOT MAKE ENOUGH MONEY TO PAY FOR DAYCARE! I have looked at tons of them – not being an idiot – and the ones that aren’t scary are expensive. Prohibitively expensive. I have told her this before. Even if I could cover it – why would I want to? This is working for us. Right now we can afford for me to take these business risks and I enjoy being home with my child and keeping our house just the way I want it.
I feel like that’s the real sticking point. It isn’t really about the money because she has never once asked me how much I have in either checking or savings so she has no way of knowing what my financial standing is. The thing that actually seems to bother her – and not just her – is that I like it.
I like not having to say goodbye to my baby every morning. I like creating a marketing email for the rental house after his 2am feeding because I got a great idea. I like that Thursday is laundry day and our whole house smells great. I like that things are running so smoothly that Dork Dad and I have more time to spend with King of Poops over the weekends because we aren’t busy running errands.
I’m not judging anyone else. So many families don’t have the option to set up their lives the way they want. Plenty of others do and they decide to both work. Or the father stays home. Or they switch off. Whatever you need to do to keep your family happy and healthy – you do that.
The fact that I am ‘able bodied’ and am not working outside the home does not mean that I don’t have my own money or that I’m not contributing to my family.
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