Archive for September 27th, 2007

Sep 27 2007

On Staying Home…

I loved staying at home with my kids.  I gave notice the same day I dropped my baby off for her first day at a sitter’s home.  She was 5 months old and I cried the entire day.  I had called my husband crying several times that morning and we agreed to meet at noon in a parking lot not far from his office.  We were both in tears.  I told him that I could not let someone else take care of our child; I wanted it to be me.   So we both decided that I would give up my job and I would stay at home. 

I was already working from home, my boss was 3,000 miles away and I would have a conference call with the home office once a week.  The only downfall was the weekly overnight travel schedule.  I was still nursing with not much success pumping.  My heart was not in my existing job; my new passion became our new baby. So I gave notice that day.  My company allowed me to work out my notice around my child’s schedule and our family started to make some changes to our lifestyle for me to be a full-time mommy.  Here are some things that worked for our family:

  1. Crunch the numbers.  In our situation, we were in a higher tax bracket with two salaries, so without my salary, we dropped down to a lesser tax bracket and found most of my salary was going to Uncle Sam rather than in our pocket anyway.
  2. Make sure both of you are on the same page for one of you to stay at home.  Set the ground rules with responsibilities on both sides:  not because one goes to work all day, the other has to do everything else.  That is never a fair arrangement!
  3. Trust your gut.  Being a 24/7 at home parent is hard work.  It’s not for everyone.  Be honest with each other to determine if it is the right decision for your family.  If you decide that working gives you a release and makes you happier, for goodness sakes, don’t let guilt get in the way.  Instead embrace your outside opportunities with the positives and stay focused on the benefits!
  4. Run your household like a corporation: upper management needs to have meetings to discuss human resources, operations, engineering, delegation, maintenance and scheduling. 
  5. Set a schedule.  Plan exercise time, snack time, reading time, playtime, nap/quiet time and clean-up time and act accordingly.  When it’s nap/quiet time you can be starting dinner, folding laundry, reading a book or mediating.  Exercise time means everyone needs to get up and burn calories, walking around the yard, dancing to a favorite tune, doing jumping jacks or hopping on one foot.  Moving is exercise!
  6. Have fun!  They grow up so fast, before you know it they don’t want to take naps cuddled together on the sofa, play puzzles with you or help set the table for dinner. 
  7. Make it a point to have your children get into the habit of welcoming home both parents from work or shopping.  Everyone likes a welcoming committee complete with the sound of running feet after a quick trip to the grocery store or when Daddy comes in from a day at work.
  8. Make your own special rituals.  If my children are awake when Daddy leaves for work, we do group hugs.  My husband and I each put a child in our arms and we all hug together.   A family that hugs together stays together!

Copyright 2007, Stacey Kannenberg, Cedar Valley Publishing, Author of Let’s Get Ready For Kindergarten! and Let’s Get Ready For First Grade! 

Are you considering becoming a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM)?  If you’re on the fence, get out the paper and pencil and get busy.  Make a list of pros and cons, crunch the household numbers, and most importantly consider what is really right for both you and your family. 

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