In a nutshell, I got laid off. Thankfully my husband has a steady job with a decent salary that, with some creativity and planning, can support our family of 4. This blog is about my journey from a fast-paced, results oriented corporate world (for just short of 9 years) to Stay At Home Mom of 2. Let’s just say it’s really different.
A little more about me… I was raised by a single mom who had to work, sometimes 3-4 jobs, to make ends meet. I grew up thinking I would work when I had kids, as my Mom had. Heck, I liked day care when I was a kid! I often forgot that I did not have to start going until I was 3 and my parents divorced. When I got pregnant, my husband and I toured child care centers and selected the best for our son. Honestly, I never even thought of staying home. I went back to work after 12 weeks and our lives kept moving along – we were successful at the *balance* and nothing really suffered in our world of 3.
Then came my daughter. I was optimistic enough to interview for a new job in the same company weeks prior to her birth – I had always wanted direct reports and was excited about the new challenges, so why not now? I was offered the position 3 days before my induction and accepted 3 days after her birth.
With two under 2, those first few weeks were hard but we knew they would be. When 12 weeks came in early November 2008, we had someone take care of her at home before the spot in her brother’s school opened up. We hoped this arrangement would be an easier transition for me at first and it was. However, it just postponed the inevitable.
I had two weeks at home for the holidays before she officially started day care. It was a much needed break. Home and work life had quickly gotten crazy in the 6 weeks I had been back at work. In our life with 2 kids and 2 working parents, we had no time for anything – we actually ran out of toilet paper at one point because there was no time to make a grocery list, let alone shop! With time off, I started exploring the idea of staying home with the kids. I found budget calculators but did not think it would be an easy transition for us. We could do it, but we’d be cutting our income in half. I could not get my head around it as much as I tried. Plus, I liked to work. I just felt overwhelmed with both of my new roles – at work and as mother of 2. After much thought and talks with my husband, I decided to spend more time getting better organized for work and go back to work in January ready to face the job head on.
Oh January. It stunk. I worked easily 60-70 hours a week all month, if not more. I cried constantly, and I am not a crier. I was miserable. I kept looking for ways to be more efficient at work, yet home was falling apart. I hardly saw my kids, my husband, my friends, and was lucky to exercise once a week. We talked more and more about me staying home but I could not pull the trigger.
By February, I was hanging on by a thread everywhere. As fate would have it, a co-worker introduced me to some couponing websites. I started to think cutting our household budget might be more possible than I previously thought. I had little time to focus on the possibility but I was turned on.
At the end of February, I was given the pink slip. I was in shock. I had heard layoffs were coming but really thought it would not be me. I was wrong. A decent package cushioned the blow. My initial response: I can be home with the kids!
My delayed response: I must have failed somewhere.
I went back and forth for weeks: networking for jobs and building my SAHM art supply closet, browsing corporate websites and reorganzing the basement for art projects & playtime. Then one day, I packed up my work clothes with my maternity clothes and began the purge. I decided to give the SAHM world at least 6-12 months and see if we could swing it on one salary.
It’s June. We’re doing great on a significantly reduced budget thanks to some amazing blogs and taming the shopping beast within. My husband and kids are glad I am home…everyone has been able to slow down and smell the roses more. I am grateful to exercise 5-6 days a week and it helps me be a better mom and wife. Sometimes I can’t shake the need to cross things off a list, like I used to be able to at work… but being home is not like that but I am finding ways to streamline whenever possible. Being home with kids has longer term goals and I know this because there are many days I can’t seem to accomplish a single tangible thing! However, I get lots of giggles and grins and my kids make me enormously happy (in between the occasional toddler meltdown)!
I am learning more every day about navigating this new world in an organized, efficient and fun way! This blog shares my thoughts and ideas along my journey as I go from corporate sprinter to life marathoner.