This is part 2 of my 3 part Thankful Thursday series. Instead of sharing one quick thing each day in November that I’m thankful for, I’m taking some extended time to share some amazing stories of thankfulness from my own life. See part one HERE.
Should I be a working mom or a stay at home mom?
Have you ever asked yourself this question? I’ve asked myself this question at least a thousand times.
I’ve been on every side of this issue. So many parents struggle trying to find out the right thing to do. I always envisioned myself being a stay at home mom….if we could afford it.
To Be A Working Mom
We were so thrilled to learn we were pregnant with our first child in 2008. In the beginning of my pregnancy, I investigated how our money situation would be if I decided to be a working mom.
I looked at the money my hubby and I made & compared it to the cost of childcare and our bills. After paying for childcare, the paycheck I’d bring home wouldn’t be that big.
It was really disheartening. Was it worth it to work if I wasn’t making as much?
To Be A Stay At Home Mom
Then I looked at the financial situation if I stayed at home. The childcare bill would be eliminated but we would only have 1 source of income to cover all the expenses.
My hubby is a teacher. We are very thankful for his income but let’s face it…teachers don’t make a ton of money. According to the numbers, we couldn’t afford for me to be a stay at home mom.
As I was nearing the end of my first pregnancy, I still didn’t know for certain what I was supposed to do. I applied for a 12 week maternity leave from my job intending to come back to work afterwards.
After all, we couldn’t afford for me to stay home.
Or at least that’s what I thought.
I remember having two conversations with some lovely friends that really encouraged me that we could afford for me to stay home and raise the kids. They said things like “I know the numbers don’t add up but somehow God provides and you’ll be able to make it.”
My hubby always felt in his heart that I would end up becoming a stay at home mom but I wasn’t so sure. All along the way my hubby gently encouraged me to really think about staying home.
In 2009 I gave birth to my daughter and enjoyed my 12 weeks of maternity leave.
Yes–I was at the end of my maternity leave and still hadn’t made up my mind.
The Answer Becomes Clear
I took a lot of time and prayed asking God what He wanted me to do. After praying about it for awhile, I felt like God was showing me that He made me to be a stay at home mom. This isn’t the right answer for every family but it was for mine. It was His plan for me to stay home and He asked me to leave my job.
I was scared. It was hard to leave my job. I worked in the medical field for seven years working up to a job I really enjoyed.
Part of me was sick at the thought of all that hard work going down the drain. If I stopped working to raise my kids, when I get back into the workforce I’ll have to start at the bottom again.
Then there was the financial side of the problem. Our budget was still going through my head and all I could see was our accounts going into the red.
How are we going to make it if the numbers don’t add up?
The Deciding Factor
When God asks me to do something and I obey, He will provide. He’s done it before. He provided a down payment for our home out of nowhere (click HERE to see that story) That doesn’t mean everything will be easy but He does promise to walk me through it.
So four and a half years ago, I quit my job and became a full-time stay at home mom.
This Thursday I’m thankful God has made it work financially for me to stay at home with my kids. I realize it was a sacrifice to give up my job but the rewards I’ve gotten in seeing my kids grow up in the little years has been so worth it.
I’ll have the rest of my life to work. My kids will only be young once.
In my case, affording to be a stay at home mom is possible for a couple of reasons:
- God’s amazing provision
- Trying to save money where I can
- Making some smart money decisions
1. God’s Amazing Provision
To this day I honestly don’t know how we’ve been able to afford it but for the grace of God. When He asks me to do something, He provides what I need in order to do it. He has helped stretch our money out to cover the bills. Right now we’re in a time where money is tight but I might go back to working in some way down the road.
He asked me to stay home and I obeyed. He’s keeping his end of the deal by providing.
2. Trying To Save Money Where I Can
- We downgrade as many “luxuries” as we can like our TV satellite package
- My hubby will do as much work on the house as he can so we don’t have to hire someone
- I make my own laundry detergent (click HERE to see how I do it)
- We don’t have smart phones since the monthly fee for “dumb” phones is much less expensive
- I make my own dishwasher detergent (HERE‘s the recipe)
- I try to buy only what we need
- I keep a list of inexpensive meals to make on Pinterest so I’m not spending too much on food. (Click HERE for some meal ideas)
3. Making Smart Money Decisions
- We’ve refinanced our home to a lower rate several times. These efforts have saved us over $100,000!
- We buy used cars (mainly from family) to keep the cost down & pay them off as soon as we can. Not having a car payment has been one MAJOR reason why I can afford to stay home. If we had a car payment I don’t think it would be possible.
Want more money-saving tips? Click here to see where I added a couple more money-saving tips that have been very helpful for us.
I’d love to know:
Are you a working mom? A stay at home parent?
What’s the best money saving advice you’d give someone else?