After 11 years as a stay at home mother, I am returning to full time employment! Hence, the lack of any new posts here.
I am both nervous and excited. Excited for me and my family having extra money in our savings, but nervous for how my time out of the house will change the dynamics. I set up my paycheck to be direct deposited into an account we don't have any online access to, don't have a debit card for, and the only way to access the money is to go to the bank branch and take money out.
Many people often assume that my days at a stay at home mom were spent watching television and engaging in "me" activities. I know this, because many working moms have felt free over the past 11 years to say this to me (usually as they are asking me to do a favor for them!) However, they were wrong. While at home, it became my job, my career, to make sure everything having to do with the house and my children were handled. And I took this role very seriously. I did all the budgeting, menu planning, house cleaning, bill paying, lawn mowing, repairs to home, and repairs to vehicles very seriously. This allowed the time that we were all home together to be sacred and not spent on the household.
3 kids, each with an activity means that I had two separate parts to my day. I spent the morning getting everyone off to school and then concentrating on the house. I would usually find an hour to walk the dog, getting some exercise for both of us done. Then I would clean and take care of any errands that needed being done. At 2:30, when my oldest stepped off the bus, I switched into my afternoon role of taxi driving, soccer/martial arts/football mom. I got after school snacks together to be eaten, while we loaded the van with uniforms, gear, water bottles, dog crate, leash, and between activity snacks. And when the second two got off the bus, after a brief bathroom pit stop and drop off of back packs, we headed out to get everyone where they needed to be. We did one kid's homework on the sidelines while the other practiced. We dropped off one sibling at the dojo and went back over to pick another one up at the soccer field. Basically, it was organized chaos.
And we will continue to have that chaos, but without the added benefit of me being home during the day to take care of all the other tasks that need to be done. Including making dinner. While a fan of the crock pot, I have found that even that has its limitations. And even if the meat is cooked in there, sides still have to be prepared. So, I am going to have to figure that aspect of this out. Uniforms will need to be washed at night and hung to dry before headed to bed so that they are ready to go the next day. Cleaning is going to need to be done in short spurts as I find the time. Thankfully, there isn't a lot of clutter, which keeps things a little easier.
Big changes, but with college looming on the horizon, a change that needs to take place. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to have been able to stay home for as long as I have. And I wouldn't trade a nicer car, a nicer kitchen or more exotic vacations for the time I had with my kids. While we had to make some financial sacrifices in order for me to stay home, I don't feel we are all that far behind where we would be if I had worked. We were forced to budget and knew where every dollar was going each month and as such, did not take on any debt while I was home. (Thank you Dave Ramsey!)
I wish I could stop the clock and keep things how they have been for the past 11 years. But I know that is impossible. Kids grow. Time marches on. Mommy's role changes. Yikes!