Friday, June 30, 2006

My Story: How I Came To Be A Stay-At-Home Wife

One year ago, I quit my job as a 2 year-old teacher at an upscale child development center. The original plan was for me to take a 2 month break and then find a part-time job closer to home. Being newly married, having just made an address and job change plus being gone to work 55-60 hours per week were leaving me overwhelmed and exhausted both mentally and physically. A 40 hour work week, an hour commute each way in rush hour traffic, plus required overtime hours meant that I was rarely home! I left for work at 8 am each morning and didn't return home until around 7 pm at night. Saturdays were stressful and overcrowded as I struggled to push five days of errands,cleaning and homemaking into one.

My husband and I talked it over at length and prayed much over our decision. He simply wanted me home more! He also longed to see me more relaxed and less overwhelmed. I thought that if I just had a break and was able to get my home and life organized, then I would be fine when I went back to work.

Our financial situation kept us from making a long-term decision for me to stay at home. There was no way that we would be able to live on my husband's small salary. We had been able to save a good portion of my wages up to that point, sow e were using that as a cushion while I took some time off.

It wasn't that our spending was out of control. It wasn't. I already cooked dinner every night, had a reasonably small grocery budget and we rarely ate out. We both took our lunches of leftovers to lunch each day. Sure, I could save gas money and wear and tear on my car. But, otherwise, I couldn't see how I could trim the budget any further. We had no unnecessary frills and luxuries to cut out.

Of course, it was considered odd for me- a wife and not a mother-to quit my job and stay home. "You will be bored to tears," my coworkers said. Also overheard was the comment, "Her husband has such a good job that she doesn't have to work!" I have no idea where they got that idea!

So I came home and began to fit into my new role. At first, I felt as though I was playing house. It was so much fun! I took great care in cleaning my house, organizing each room and cooking ahead for the freezer. I loved being home , but I knew it wouldn't last so I was hesitant to get too settled in.

My husband absolutely loved having me at home and I wished I could stay at home permanently. But after six weeks at home, I knew it was time to start looking for a part-time job. We were praying about the right job for me when a friend and neighbor called me and asked if I would be interested in caring for her four month old several days a week. I started taking care of the baby and soon I had two more little ones to care for as well. The money is not a lot as all these kids are part-timers, but is enough to comfortably meet our needs while still allowing me some flexibility in being a homemaker.

In February, we became debt-free and hope to remain that way until we take on a mortgage when we buy our first home. Being debt-free has also freed up a little more cash each month.

As I said before, we couldn't live on on my husband's small salary. This was true. I was wrong, however, in thinking that I couldn't trim our budget any further. As I continually pray, learn and experiment, I am slowly finding more ways to cut costs. There is an advantage to having more time than money! My grocery budget is still the same but I have been able to stretch it more and still have more of a pantry stash at the end of each month. This is possible by cooking more from scratch, careful planning and creative use of leftovers. I also am able to make more of my gifts, I am starting to experiment with making my own cleaners and many other little things around my home that are small but add up in the long run. Maybe eventually, I will have our budget trimmed way down! :-) (Where there's a will, there's a way!)

I know that not everyone who wishes to be home full-time is able to quit their job as I was able to. I don't know if I will always stay home either. None of us knows the future. But I do know that this is definitely where God has me right now and I am so happy with it! (Sure, there are some days when it would be really nice to leave my messy home and go to work! We all have those days!:-)

So this is my story. I can't believe that a whole year has gone by already! God has been so faithful and has provided so abundantly for us, way above whatever we thought would be possible!


Neighbor Jane Payne said...

I'm so proud of sounds like you've found a very peaceful and productive way to enjoy life. Hooray. Thanks for the post.

thehomespunheart said...

I loved reading your story...I also was a stay-at-home wife before we had any children. People treated me the same way, with wonder and questions like "What do you DO all day?" Good grief. It is a testimony to God's provisions for you and to you and your husband's commitment to follow God ~ He wants you to be at home if at all possible and He is making it possible! :) Thanks for sharing this!

Anonymous said...

What a lovely testimony. :o)

tea said...

I was just looking through your blog and happened to see this post and I had to read it. I was a stay-at-home-wife too and I love it! People seemed to think it was pretty weird (and I know in today's society, it is), but it was so fulfilling to me and my husband has loved having me home too. Thanks for sharing this!

Here's a link to my story of staying at home, if you're interested..