I love being a stay-at-home mom. It’s been my dream ever since my husband and I decided to start our family, and I am beyond lucky that we are able to make it work.
However, as much as I love this time in my life, I know that it is going to pass all too soon. And then what? Can I realistically keep being a stay-at-home mom after my kids are all in school and try to pursue my dream of being a writer? What about our goal to someday build or fix up a bigger house? That’s probably going to require more than one income to accomplish.
You see my dilemma.
So, I figure the best way to think this through is to come up with some pros and cons for each option.
Option #1: Being a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom.
Pros: First of all, it’s my favorite option. That counts as a pro. There are a lot more, though. Once all the kids are in school, I can clean the house without having to redo something ten minutes later. I can always be available for field trips, sick days, sporting events, you name it. I can spend time volunteering, something I’d like to do more of one day. I can run errands during school hours by myself. Just picture it — a leisurely stroll down the grocery store aisle, with no crazy toddler trying to perform acrobatics out of the cart and no “but Mom, I want this!” screeching. And the biggie — I can devote a lot more time to writing (especially without distractions), which doesn’t currently happen too often.
Cons: We’re used to living within our means and sticking to a budget at this point, but our budget is going to change as our kids get older. For example, I am keenly aware from having a younger brother that picky little boys often grow into teenage boys that are capable of clearing a pantry in approximately ten seconds. Also, there is that whole hope of a bigger house someday, as our 900-square feet with one bathroom will start to feel a little cramped eventually. These hungry kids and house hopes of ours unfortunately require some extra moolah.
Option #2: Seeking employment outside of the home.
Pros: Well, right away, money. I’d like to say I don’t place much value on money, but it’s an unfortunate necessity to live. We get by pretty well right now because I am careful with our budget, but there isn’t a ton of wiggle room left. The necessary things, like insurance, utilities, groceries, etc., wouldn’t make as much of a dent in our wallet, leaving more money to save, donate, and, well, use for fun stuff, like vacations. Besides money, there’s the social aspect. I’ll probably never work with a better set of people than I did in my post-college/pre-children job. It’s been almost four years since I left to stay home and three since we moved to a different town, but we’re still friends. I’d be lying if I said I don’t miss the social interaction of a work environment at times.
Cons: I have absolutely no idea what I would want to do. I know it sounds idealistic and probably naive, but I don’t want a job just for the sake of having a job and making money. I’d do it in a heartbeat if it was what my family needed, but I’d much rather find something that gives me a sense of fulfillment, the way being a stay-at-home mom has. And that is…? I have no idea right now. I enjoyed my job as a copywriter after college, but I’d rather pursue my own writing now. Plus, I’ve been out of the workforce for four years at this point, so just the thought of starting over and job searching is super intimidating. There is also the lack of flexibility I could have with a job, and the possibility of missing out on important things as my kids grow. Are a little more financial security and a bigger house worth that? I don’t know.
Well, there we have it. I’m no closer to knowing what path I will take when the time comes, but fortunately, I likely still have some years as a stay-at-home mom ahead of me. Until the time to actually make the decision arrives, I’m going to try to stop stressing about what I want to do versus what I might have to do. Wish me luck!