"But... aren't you a stay-at-home mom?" you may be thinking. Well, yes. Kinda. I don't really "stay home" much these days though.
But I do have the blessing of staying home, going to the grocery store, visiting family & friends, going to the gym, taking walks and just enjoying every little moment with my little boy each and every day. It's a blessing that I don't take for granted... AT ALL.
But did you know that 80 million moms do not get to enjoy this? Only 6% of all mothers (in 2010) were stay-at-home moms.
Micah just turned 3 months. He's no longer considered a "newborn" by traditional standards. But I still feel like he needs me. I don't think I could be away from him for 8 hours, without one of us having a nervous breakdown. Most likely both. But truth is, most moms have returned to work by now - the average is 10 weeks.
Do I blame them? No. I understand that it is very difficult in our society to thrive under one income. Um, most of America is having a difficult time surviving with two. So I get that work is needed. And for some women, their job is a sense of who they are. They need a creative outlet or freedom to exercise their gifts and abilities. I get that too.
But here are two ways that I have found help in both of those areas.
1) Staying-at-home allows me to save money.
I now have more time to cook, which saves money eating out. I have more time to cut coupons, which saves on groceries. I can nurse Micah, which saves on formula. I don't waste gas driving to work. I don't pay for childcare. These are just the ones that come to the top of my head. Another task that I am going to be taking on soon, is the budget. In the past, Josh has always managed this for us - but with a full-time job and other ministry activities, not as much detail is always given to it. Hopefully I can help find a way to save us more money by taking on this responsibility.
2) Staying-at-home allows me to be creative.
I have more time to devote to playing guitar and writing music at home - instead of writing ideas down on a piece of paper on a desk (only to end up in the trash later). I can blog more - which for me is definitely a creative outlet. I have also taken a new interest in actually decorating my home. Of course this doesn't save on the money part, but that's where DIY projects come in. :)
These are just a few things that have been true for me lately. I know every circumstance is different and I don't want to come across insensitive about that. But, realizing this makes me challenge the idea that more women can't do it! I have so many friends that have shared how sad they are to work long days - only to come home to children for a couple hours before they are back in bed and doing it all over again.
Micah is only 3 months old. And tonight Josh was holding him and he started to cry. I looked at the clock and knew it was around feeding time, so I asked Josh to hand him to me. When he passed him over, Micah saw my face and flashed a huge smile. He knew he was getting his mommy (and that I would meet his needs!) Nothing could describe the feeling that came over me. That was better than any job promotion, or raise.
And this blog post has gone somewhere completely different than what I was intending.
I started this post by saying, "Maternity leave is over." Because in my heart, it is. I may not be physically leaving Micah for long hours, but I am going to start working harder at my new job here at home. By continuing to save money and finding creative ways to supplement our income. I will definitely be letting you guys know of any tips and discoveries I make in the process!
I'd love to hear from you too! If you stay-at-home please feel free to share how you are making this work for your family. And if you work, please share how you balance it all when you get home. :)