“It must be nice to stay home all day and do nothing,” my working mom would say of stay-at-home moms. That short-sighted philosophy coupled with my own financial fears made it difficult to choose: Do I quit my job or become a full-time homemaker? My job in commercial insurance had the great base pay and monthly bonuses plus commission. Quitting my job meant we were going to live on my husband’s stagnant teaching salary. The following are thoughts that finalized my ultimate decision:
1) When it comes to quality child care, you get what you pay for.
Our tax person helped us with this decision. She told us her clients sent their kids to the best day care centers in the area, and the costs were enormous. She said that at those prices, her client’s paychecks were just paying for child care. Why would I work so hard just to pay someone else to raise my child?
2) I can only be one place at a time.
My job and commute took me from home a minimum of 11 hours a day. With my infant son, that would mean leaving home before he woke up and getting home after he had been put down for the night. It would also mean unhealthy fast food for dinners and weekends spent on marathon-style errand running. And what of quality family time? Two words: Non-existent.
3) I remembered all the times I needed my mom…
who could not be there because she was working. I understood we could not live without Mom’s paycheck. But on days when there were violent fights on the bus trip home, or the days I went home sick, I wanted my mom. After school, I’d come home to no one.
4) I asked my employer to leave the door open for a work-from-home opportunity.
Ultimately, I decided against this. I had ongoing complications from my C-section which left me unable to work for a few months. But it was nice to know that I had a back-up plan just in case our finances started heading south.
5) I’m only human. I still need “me” time.
A demanding career and home life would have left no time for me. I was morbidly obese while I was working outside the home. I had no time to cook healthy meals. Leaving my job helped me get my priorities in order. I take care of me first. A healthy mom paves the way for a healthy family.
6) I get one shot at raising my son.
I knew leaving my job would create a financial strain. I still use a six-year-old flip phone because I can’t afford a phone with a data plan. We live in a small home in an older neighborhood. But six years later, I have the healthy, thriving little boy I envisioned when he was growing inside of me. Those career opportunities? They can wait. I’m a little busy right now, shaping the future.