How Long Can I Be A Stay At Home Mom If We're Not Wealthy?

    Every now and then this question hits me

    And... "I wonder when I'll start working again and how I'll handle that transition?" isn't merely a passing thought... the subject tends to provoke somewhat a sense of panic for me.

    When I think about going back to work I think of our mornings, Sam and I, being able to lay in my bed for an hour or so- he nurses, we snuggle and he watches videos on the ipad while I fully wake up... I know, it sounds like we're spoiled right?

    Well, anyone that has raised a child knows it's not all fun and games and sweet moments! The day gets pretty chaotic pretty quickly with a 21 month old in tow. -Sam loves making messes. He challenges me on most issues. He throws tantrums. All of that "fun stuff" is part of being a stay-at-home mom too.

    That being said I wouldn't trade it for the world... or to drive a newer car, or to feel more financially secure, or to be more on track to meet my own professional goals. These are all factors a non-wealthy stay-at-home mom must consider; they're pressures that try to creep up on you every now and then!

    Be Proud of the Decision You've Made

    All that being said, I am proud to raise my child myself and, for us as a family unit, it works.
    Some moms cannot 'stay at home with the kids all day'- they prefer to not be stuck at home with the crazy little monkeys without any real break- that's respectable and understandable. This isn't a blog for those mothers since they don't need this information.
    And some moms cannot stay at home with the kids all day because they're single and must work to pay the bills- that's equally respectable and understandable. This blog doesn't apply to those mothers either (unless they're fortunate enough to live with a family member until they opt to work).

    This particular blog is for the stay-at-home-mother that isn't well-off financially and is, from time to time, faced with the notion of, "Oh shit, I'm going to have to go back to work at some point and that's scary and exciting to me."

That last statement brings up a question in itself: 
What is 'well-off financially?'

    The answer is completely relative. Some people can't imagine living on less than $75,000/yr., although $50,000/yr. is a common threshhold for many. Personally I'd be thrilled to have $50,000 coming into our household every year... I'd be bouncing off the walls (initially). We live on less than $35,000/yr. and it's a tight budget but we're used to it.
    You may ask... and one of my neighbors did ask... "How on earth can a family of 3 survive on $33,000/year?" and the answer to the question will be found in another blog, soon, I promise. ;)
    Sometimes I wonder myself how we're making it, how long we'll be able to make it living on the edge financially? Then I figure, "Oh, you'll feel better tomorrow. You won't be worrying then," and typically, thankfully, that's usually the case.

    There are so many families living on less than what we live on; there's always someone wishing they had what you already have... no matter how little that may be. Recently someone put it so well saying, "While you're praying for XYZ that someone else may have, someone else is praying for QRS that you already have." 
    We have our HEALTH and that is first and foremost... AMEN.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can help you have more faith in life

    It has let me see firsthand: things really do typically work out one way or another. When I worked full time I never had less than $150 or so in my checking account; now it goes down to $20 or so weekly, again, it's all relative and I'm used to it. And... I pride myself on having been able to make this adjustment to do what I feel is best for my child and our family.

Enough about money (for now)...

    During the course of a day I can help my toddler learn to twist on or off a top to a juice container. I listen to him, word for word, and if I don't understand something he says I take a minute to kneel down and listen again, until I can figure out what he's saying. 
    I sit on the floor with him to play and am able to constantly remind him to share, that playing is more fun when we share. 
    I feed and encourage him to eat on his own as he grows. I ask him what he wants to drink, "Leche, agua, jugo..." he has choices here at home. I offer him water and snacks often. When he gets frustrated or angry (I'm learning 2 years olds get that way a lot!) I can practice being patient with him. Everything I've read says he will gradually grow out of throwing tantrums, etc and I believe that.     

    We sing songs. We play in the dirt and it's ok if he gets dirty. We can 'ir de paseo' (go on a ride) somewhere exciting like, to the park or visit great-grandma. -I know right when he poops so he doesn't typically have diaper rash. I can hug my baby boy whenever I want, or he wants or needs a hug
    I can cook dinner nearly every night for my family.
    It's not always easy, don't get me wrong. By Wednesday I'm typically stressed and frazzled from dealing with meltdown after meltdown. But, like I said, I feel I'm doing what's best for my child in staying home with him and, in order to do what (I believe) is best for my child I will sacrifice- time and time again.

    To be clear: I do not think kids that attend daycare or that have 2 working parents are worse off in any way, shape or form. I've met several children that attended daycare since 3 months on, that are perfectly happy, well-balanced, smart, fun little people! I notice zero difference in their disposition or intelligence when compared to Sam's- I don't believe kids that stay home are smarter or 'better off' than their daycare counterparts -I think it's a personal decision the family has to make and, not an easy one.

So, what provoked me to write this blog in the first place?

    Recently my dog has been sick. I've spent $200+ in a few months and, being a stay at home mom these 'emergency expenses' come out of my savings. 

    Savings can dwindle pretty quickly. 
    No more savings = mommy may back to work before long!
    It's scary to me when I think about what's at stake... life as I know it is at stake! 
    I love working in animal welfare and am eager to get back in the game but... not just yet. Please, not just yet.

    Finally, is this the feeling a stay-at-home-mom experiences whenever contemplating going back to work? ... not just yet.

Footnote: Author, Jessica Pita, does work approximately 10 hours a week, as an independent dog walker, so she's not 'totally' a stay at home mom but does consider herself primarily to be a stay at home mom.

Footnote 2: This post was revised on 3-16-18 and, a lot has happened in 2 and 1/2 yrs., which is when I initially wrote this! My husband has earned a little raise each year and been promoted so we're bringing in more money that way. And, I've added banquet work to my repertoire! Working banquets is seasonal, weekend only work and pays well. And it's something I enjoy so . we're still truckin'!
                   Doubt still looms some about 'what's next' since Sam should start preschool in the fall and we truly don't know how we'll comfortably afford that. But, I'm sure we will. I have faith in God, Us and the Universe that everything will work out... and so should you!