My announcement …
For almost 10 months now, I have worn several different hats …
And instead of putting one cap back on, I traded it for a brand-new one …
Yes, it’s finally happening.
I’m going to be a
stay-at-home work-at-home mom!
I was due to return to my full-time job the first week of May, but now it’s all been officially decided — I’m not going back to my old job. My bosses were super-understanding about my desire to remain at home with Baby Boy, and the best part is that they still want me to keep writing for them from home.
I’ve been doing a bit of freelance writing since Baby Boy was about three or four months old. I started off slowly, as I adjusted to my hectic life with a baby and trying to juggle everything. I would work while he naps, and after he went to bed at night. I’ve been doing more lately, and I love being able to earn money — and use my brain! — without being away from Baby Boy for 50 hours a week.
This was definitely not an easy decision. I was desperate to be able to stay home with Baby Boy, but the financial side of things made it a less-than-clearcut decision. Darling Husband and I went back and forth endlessly over the budget. Could we do it?
We are not rich. We are not even well-off. This will mean mega sacrifices. I keep thinking back to when I was pregnant and trying to plan for life on maternity leave benefits. I was all, “How will we live with me bringing in only 55% of my income?!?!” Now I’m like, “Maternity leave benefits are AWWWWESOME! How will we live without those?!?!”
You always hear parents talk about mailing their paycheques directly to daycare. It’s true — childcare is expensive. But some parents are fiercely committed to their jobs and/or would simply go batty staying at home and/or love feeling like a capable, polished professional and interacting with people above the age of six. And even if a large portion of their income goes to daycare, it’s fine — it allows them to be happy parents, and that’s what matters.
In our situation, me going back to work full-time would mean paying for childcare and buying a second car (I would need to do 100% of the daycare shuttling, since Darling Husband’s work schedules are so erratic), which wouldn’t leave much left over.
That small chunk of extra income would not be worth me dropping Baby Boy off somewhere at 7:30 a.m., battling traffic, being at the office for 8:30 a.m., working until 5 or 5:30 p.m., battling traffic again, picking him up at 6 or 6:30 p.m., coming home, making dinner, giving him a bath, putting him to bed, doing laundry, etc. — all without the help of Darling Husband, who would be working as always. It actually sounded like a surefire recipe for a nervous breakdown. I know a lot of parents do this, and … wow … I applaud you.
I am lucky enough to have a skill-set that allows me to do some work from home. We are hopeful that I can continue to do this, to bring in income. We are also trying to reduce our expenses so we can live on less money. We are trying (hard) to sell our condo — which is located in a ritzy suburb — and move to a small, less-expensive home. When it comes to variable expenses (groceries, eating out, entertainment), we cut back when I was pregnant, and we cut back again once I was on maternity leave. Now we are cutting back yet again. I felt like there couldn’t possibly be anything to cut, but I have learned that there is always something.
I started this blog
more than two years ago to share my feelings about preparing for motherhood, and then it transitioned to documenting my pregnancy and exploring the transition of being a full-time career girl to mommy-on-maternity-leave. Now maternity leave is coming to an end, and I’m transitioning again. Even though I’ve been freelancing while on maternity leave, things feel different now. More permanent. There is not a government-issued end-date on this stage of life.
Since making this decision, I have battled twinges of guilt about what people will think. Everyone knows Darling Husband has two jobs. I don’t want people to think I am just lounging at home, and la-dee-da-aren’t-we-so-fortunate-that-I-don’t-need-to-work-full-time? I wish people could see the sacrifices we are making so this can work out. I wish they could see me, with my hands flying across the keyboard as I write during every single naptime and after every bedtime.
I am working.
Between caring for Baby Boy, doing all of the housework, doing all of the cooking, building up this blog
, and doing freelance work — and doing it all with a husband who is always working — I feel busier than I ever was when I was a full-time employee. And that is the irony of “staying home.”
Welcome to this new chapter in our lives …