Wednesday, April 6, 2011

SAHM, Part 2: How Circumstance, Choice, and Sacrifice Chose Me

In my previous post, SAHM, Part 1: This Wasn't By Choice, I left off being jobless, and hopelessly looking for a new place to rent. We had put down 2 deposits, on 2 seperate condos and were trying to get out of 1 contract. Luckily for us, we were able to get out of the contract for the more expensive rental without paying any penalties. We were the proud renters of a 2 bedroom, 845 sq ft condo with a sizeable backyard. That yard was a life saver!
Georgia enjoying the new backyard
@ our condo.
I had managed to get through the second stage of an interview process with Wells Fargo. Like all interviews, I dressed up and put on high heels, because 6ft isn't tall enough already. Wouldn't you know, the girl that I interviewed with was 4'11" WITH heels on? I felt like gigantor, and although I presented myself well, they were looking for someone who was happy being just a teller. Can you believe that? Doesn't striving for financial success equate to anything? I never knew not wanting to climb the ladder within a company could kill a job offer. I'm still blown away by this. That was the last interview I had. I found out I was pregnant with Houston 3 days later, we were ecstatic! Getting pregnant with Georgia had taken a year, and we almost gave up hope (that will be another post filled with dirty secrets!). Houston's arrival was truly a blessing, and changed the path we were on.

Rocky and I sat down and re-evaluated our financial situation. Rocky said, "What's the point of working now? We aren't going to pay for 2 in daycare. The car industry is dead, managing someone else's sewing store isn't going to pay as much as your mom's store, so you are going to have to start all over in a different field. Just stay home. We can afford this, we can do this." Rocky was pretty heavy into his addiction so I thought he was off his rocker!

But when I looked at the finances, I realized we COULD do this. I COULD stay at home. But there was going to be A LOT of sacrifices. From then, until now, all we have done is continue to sacrifice so that I can stay home. Sometimes I believe my job title should be described as "she who stretches the dollar and beyond." Even with purchasing a new home, and having not 1, but 2 children to feed, we have continued to spend less and stretch our money further. I look back and feel embarassed for all of the money that we threw away on 2 incomes, and had still managed to be broke.

Garage pantry. This is all of our back-ups and extras purchased on our
tiny budget. THIS makes me feel good about my job performance.
I use coupons for everything, and if we don't have a coupon, or it's not on sale, we don't buy it. Most of our clothes are purchased from thrift stores or clearance racks. I patch holes in clothes, and fix tears in seams. Our grocery bill (incl 3 gal of milk, 30lbs dog food, and all household supplies) is $150/week, and I still have a back-up pantry brimming with essentials. I cloth diaper, and just recently found recipes for homemade laundry detergent, degreaser, and baby wipes that I'm uber excited to try! We have no cable, no home phone, and we share 550 min/month on our family cell phone plan. And in the mean time, I still look for ways to make money; whether it's starting up my own businesses, or applying for a million part-time evening shifts. In some way or another, I'm earning my paycheck.

This is where I make Fresh 1 Blankies. The desk to the right was a freebie from when the
old man across the street died. One of Rocky's co-workers donated the armoire to us when he
heard I was trying to open a business.
Amazingly, I really LOVE LOVE LOVE my life. Staying at home has been one of the best gifts my husband ever gave me. As Georgia has gotten older, I am even happier I'm home. I am the one making sure she says her please, and thank you's, kisses her boo-boos when she falls down, and cheers her on when she learns something new. It's definetly not for everyone, and I am AMAZED at the mom's that go to work and come home to laundry, and cleaning, and dinner, and still have to kiss boo-boos, and cheer! Although living on one income is more of a financial strain, Rocky is happier without the burden of co-managing a home, and freely admits he doesn't want me working. For us, defining the roles of provider and SAHM has actually strengthened our marriage. I don't feel any less of a woman, or a provider. In fact I feel empowered and confident!

If it wasn't for the circumstance of losing my job during a broken economy, choosing to take a leap, and making daily sacrifices, I wouldn't be a stay at home mom. But I'm just one mom with a story, what's yours?

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  1. Jess- I love reading your stories and find it very inspiring. - Chris

  2. Thanks Christina! Although, I'm just a simple house wife doing my job. ;)

  3. It is a great story and you are a great writer! if I could learn how to thread a needle I could be a better SAHM too LOL! I've got the cooking down- never will be an expert cleaner and we're all ok with that now as for the seamstress... yeah I'd love too but am not exaggerating when I say I can't thread a needle. If something gets a loose string or loses a button its trash around here! Staying at home does require sacrifices but isn't it amazing how much it teaches you? matt and I are always talking about how much we squandered our money when we had 2 incomes! If only we could go back and teach ourselves, but at least we are doing good now.