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!