I have attempted to write and failed to write this post approximately 6 times. Plus the countless times I’ve started it in my head but never got the chance to put it down in writing. As with anything, when you add a new baby to the mix, life gets crazy for at least a few months.
I was going to be a big shot. I was on the fast track. Graduating a semester early with my 4 year Bachelor’s degree, I was going to go straight into an MBA program, work a full time job and add babies in there as well.
I didn’t think sending my kids to daycare would be a problem for me – I didn’t have much experience with children and after all, millions of women do that very thing every day. But then I graduated, we moved, my husband got a great job, I got my first full time job, and at 7 weeks postpartum we put my baby girl in daycare full time. Our provider was amazing,she had flexible hours, as well as great education program.
As the months wore on, we decided it would be better for me to wait to go to business school for a few years. We began to plan for Baby #2 and I again fell pregnant.
THE CALL BEGINS
The farther into my second pregnancy I got, the more I cherished each and every moment with my oldest. I dreaded dropping her off at daycare (even though I trusted our provider completely). I cried on my way to work in my empty car.
Work became a nuisance, an obstacle in the way of my family time. Not because I didn’t like my job, but because my priorities had shifted.
I was crabby all the time. My house was always messy. We never ate at home because cooking was too much work. Laundry piled up. I began daydreaming about what life would be like as a stay at home mom. My kids were only gonna be little once and I didnt want to hear from my daycare about all of the firsts I was missing out on by being at work.
THE CALL BECAME LOUDER
Daydreaming turned into crunching numbers, manipulating our family budget to extremes in order to see if it could actually work. I told my employer, an amazing growing church in the country, that I was thinking about becoming a stay at home mom. Luckily, they supported me wholeheartedly, so i no longer had to worry about upsetting them about my decision.
Now it was all down to the numbers.
MAKING THE NEW DREAM REALITY
I knew if I ran the numbers enough, juggled our expenses and made a few minor changes to our lifestyle, I could be a stay at home mom. Here are a few simple things we did in order to prepare for me staying home and taking a significant pay cut.
1. Work out the Budget
Firstly we needed to know exactly how much money our family requires to survive each month. I started by watching what we spent money on, tracking every transaction, and finally, we began making subtle changes to what we spend on in order to shave down the budget as we needed.
2. Pay off debt
Minimum debt payments, such as on credit cards, are the easiest way to waste your money. Try to make extra payments on your debts while you are still working. The faster you pay it off, the less payments you’ll have to make as a stay at home parent, which frees up your budget! We only had one debt payment, so we started hacking away at that as soon as I decided I wanted to stay home.
3. Minimize excessive recurring payments
Every finance blogger will tell you to cut out simple things like cable, subscriptions, the gym, etc. I agree, but I also think some items are non-negotiable for all families. If your hubby is a sports nut and needs all 7 ESPN channels, then make that a priority, but cut out other things to compensate for that expense.
There also are budget-friendly swaps you can make each month. For example, babysitters can cost a lot if you utilize them often, but a budget-friendly swap would be to use Komae, a monthly subscription that enables you to get cheap or free babysitting when you need it!
4. Start a side hustle
If you can’t cut your budget down enough to survive from month to month, try increasing your income! Could any of your hobbies be made profitable? Do you knit, bake, cook, DIY, etc? There are tons of ways to make a little income from home so you can make ends meet while you cuddle your littles.
Maybe you work as a server at an Olive Garden one night a week while your spouse watches the kids. Maybe you watch the neighbor kids before and after school.
Regardless, if you want to be a stay at home parent, rest assured that there are many ways you can make it work!
Personally, I blog, transcribe audio files, work as a freelance writer, and attempt to sell items around the house that we don’t use anymore.
The call to be a stay at home parent can come out of nowhere. I never thought I would ever want to be a stay at home mom. I thought I’d be a big shot, directing the HR department of some multinational company. But when I had kids, the siren call of motherhood got to me. I yearned to spend as much time with them as possible. At that point, knew I could never be happy until I made that dream reality.
And while I’m not a “big shot” MBA in the corporate world, to my babies, I am the entire world.
Author : Sarah Terpstra
Stay at home mom of 2 under 2, I help those struggling to manage their finances make smart money moves to help them reach their short and long term financial goals such as traveling, saving, and enjoying life! I am passionate about spending time with my children and my husband.