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When I was growing up I didn’t know too many kids who had a stay at home parent. Most of the families I knew needed to have two parents in the workforce in order to make ends meet. My house although I think had my Mom had a more reliable partner to raise a family with she may have opted to work less than she did. After a while she was the only parent in the house anyway so she didn’t even have a choice really, she had to work to support me and my brother.
When my husband and I first talked about having children we both agreed that we wanted one of us to stay home with the kids, at least until they were in school full time. But why did we choose this surprisingly unpopular option when it would make our lives so much easier to have both of us working? Why do we choose to miss out on the fancy vacations, expensive toys, and luxury vehicles in favour of having one of us home with the kids? Well there are actually several answers to those questions.
I am a stay at home Mom because we want our kids with us instead of with strangers
We are raising our kids far away from family and friends (at least those that would have the extra time to look after our kids regularly). On top of that I have a natural distrust of most people. There are just too many horrible things that happen in this world for me to trust just anyone to look after my children. I have anxiety issues; I’m on the verge of vomiting the entire time pretty much anyone looks after my kids. I have managed to find a regular babysitter who has been amazing for us, however, so we do go out on occasion 😀
( I am not saying there are not great caregivers out there either, before anyone jumps to that conclusion. I actually have spent a fair amount of time acting as a childcare provider myself, so I know just how much love a caregiver can have for someone else’s children.)
I am a stay at home Mom because we can (basically) afford it
While we are not well off by any means, we are able to get by on just one income. Are we saving a lot for the future? No, haha, not at all. Do we stress about money and bills? Of course. But to us the extra time our kids are with us is worth the possibility of having to retire a little later in life. And really, as long as we have a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, and food to eat we’re doing just fine. We have enough.
I am a stay at home Mom because I was not in love with my job
I loved the company, I loved the coworkers, I loved the atmosphere, but at its heart retail management is retail management wherever you are. I found it somewhat difficult marrying the need for hitting the bottom line with my genuine love and care for my coworkers. (However, from what I’ve learned in a recent, brief foray back into the company, they are changing and putting its people first, which I LOVE.)
I am a stay at home Mom because of the exorbitant cost of daycare
Have you seen most daycare costs lately? They are simply ridiculous. I would have brought home no money at all after factoring in the costs of daycare. Since we already knew our preference was to have one of us at home it just didn’t make sense for me to go to work just to pay for daycare. I did work part time in the mornings for a little while last year and my son attended a daycare near my workplace. It was part of a low cost daycare program but even at only $25 per day I still came home with next to no money. I was basically working so he could play for a couple of hours.
I stay at home because I want to be here for my kids after school
Right now only my daughter is in school but I’m so glad I get to be here when she gets off the bus. If she’s had a great day I get to be the first one she tells about it (minus her little brother, he usually gets first dibs because he waits at the door like a puppy). If it was a not so great day I get to hug her and listen until she’s all cried out and wants to talk it through. I expect it will be much the same with my son once he starts school. He’s a bit of a momma’s boy (and I can’t lie, I love it) and I’m sure he will have days where he needs to tell me all about his day in great detaill, whether it’s good or bad.
There are more than just lovey-dovey kid-centred reasons why I am a Stay at Home Mom
I love my kids, I really do, but they are not my only reason for being, and they are definitely not my only reason for staying home. My other reasons are so much more selfish but for the sake of transparency I will list them for you here.
I Stay at Home because I am such a shitty housekeeper
It takes me so much longer than anyone else to get any kind of cleaning done. I hate it and it hates me. Staying at home enables me to follow some sort of a routine so that my house isn’t a complete disaster. Is it always clean since I stay home? Ha! Of course not. I am easily overwhelmed by clutter and chaos and a house that is too messy causes me to retreat into myself and I tend to just ignore it entirely because I am frozen. A schedule at least helps me see that certain days are for certain chores and after that is done I can stop. I know where to start and when to stop, which helps keeps the overwhelm at bay.
I stay at home to work on my interests
I have never had a passion. As a kid, when someone asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I never had any idea. Because of this I have had many different jobs. I’ve worked in hospitality and retail; I’ve been a regular employee and management; I’ve even tried the optical industry and went to school to be an optician (I didn’t finish, soooooo stressful). None of those things spoke to me. So for now, while I stay home, I’m pursuing some interests. One of those is working on this blog. I’m far from where I’d like to be with it but I’m enjoying the process so far.
I stay at home because I like naps, like, a lot
This makes me sound terrible, that I would choose to stay home with the kids just so I can nap but it is what it is. And really, how many stay at home moms do you know that actually get to take naps regularly? I’m guessing not too many. Right now I do manage to nap on the couch when I’m sick or when I have a particularly terrible migraine and that is enough. And it’s all thanks to the fact that my kids are so great at playing mostly quietly and keeping themselves supplied with prepared snacks. And those naps can be lifesavers.
So that is all there is to it. I realise that just having the ability to choose to stay at home is an enormous privilege for which I am incredibly grateful. I am lucky that I’ve been able to do this and I hope to be able to continue to do so.
Until next time,
Chantal, the Secular Homemaker