This didn’t really happen on purpose, me being a homemaker and whatnot. I had a job. Not a career by any means, but employment. When Mr. Man and I got married, we actually worked the same amount. But then my work environment started to turn hostile. I was crumbling under the constant stress of doing what I loved but being ostracized by those I worked with and under. That’s a story for another day, but needless to say I turned in my notice. As luck would have it we found out I was pregnant my last day of work.
When we lost that baby, “after the holidays” turned into “after I’ve had time to heal”, which turned into “after we move”, but then we found out I was pregnant again. There’s no way I could bring in enough to cover the cost of childcare. So, stay at home mom it is. This is what I’ve learned in the past 8 months:
#1 You can get lonely
This has really surprised me. I am by no means a social person. I definitely consider myself to be an introvert. Socializing can feel exhausting, arduous for me. Even so, I have been quite lonely some days. I typically don’t leave the house during Mr. Man’s work week, so it isn’t rare for him to be the only face to face communication I get in a day.
I deal with this by staying involved in a few online communities. Both talking online with other moms and networking with other bloggers helps me to still feel connected to the outside world.
#2 There’s a lot that goes into running a house
When Mr. Man and I made the decision (accepted the reality) that I wouldn’t be going back to work for quite some time, it was agreed that I would handle pretty much everything. Housework, finances, groceries, all that jazz. When you’re both working and splitting responsibilities in a 50/50 way, it’s easy to forget how much it actually takes to keep a household running.
I’ve found there’s also a higher standard for the condition of everything; from what meals you eat, to how the house looks. Albeit self-imposed, I feel like our house needs to be much tidier, much more Martha Stewart-esque, than when I was working too. It’s easy to overwhelm yourself with responsibilities, which is the next, and possibly most important thing I’ve learned.
#3 Don’t buy into “the dream”
It’s 5:30 in the afternoon, a man walks into his house. His loving wife, dressed up with hair and makeup done, greets him with a drink and smile. She takes his coat and hat and shoes, while he goes to sit in his spot in an immaculate living room…
You get the idea. Perfection. I’ve tried so many times to make this happen. On multiple occasions I’ve cried over feeling like because things weren’t perfect, I wasn’t doing enough. Don’t fall into this trap of thinking. Your value isn’t determined by a paycheck or lack thereof. Your worth can’t be calculated by looking at your house or your checking account. The love and support you deserve isn’t contingent on how well you stack up against June Cleaver.
#4 Living on one paycheck is rough
We make more money and pay less in bills that we did when we both worked. This has become somewhat of a joke between us. And for a while it was a legitimate concern, because it feels like we have less money now. Why? We actually have to be responsible. We no longer have a paycheck hit the bank every single week, which means more planning and less flying by the seat of our pants. It’s harder to make $100 last two weeks than it is to make $50 last you a week twice.
The bonus to this is I have learned so much about budgeting, keep food costs low, and planning ahead. Pinterest has definitely been my best friend in figuring all this out. There is so much great information out there. I have a post in the works explaining how we survive on one income, and compiling all the tips I’ve found and what actually helped us, so be on the lookout for that!
Let me know! Do you stay at home? What are some things you’ve learned?