Friday, February 25, 2011

It's Been a Year

The Unworking Mom

It's hard to believe that I've been an "Unworking" Mom for (just over) a year.  As I reflected on this past year I thought I would share the top 10 things I've learned on this journey.

10. We can survive on one income - we've learned this twice over.  First, when I quit work, my husband took on a second job to help cover costs.  Than, we REALLY moved to one income when he lost his job in December but was able to go full time at this second job for the time being.  I've learned to cut my spending habits, price match, cut coupons, and, did I mention cut my spending ? ;-)  (I'm still working on that - as a matter of fact, I'm working on a very detailed March budget to force myself not to spend anything that isn't planned . . .. we'll see how that goes!)

9. Our Consumers Energy Bill is higher - duh!!  Last summer, in the midst of the heat wave we were SURE we were being over charged.  I mean - how in the world could our bill have jumped so much in one year.  I started comparing usage on bills from a year ago when both my husband and I went - DUH!!! I'm home all day with kids!!!  Which means - more lights, more TV/stereo, more laundry, ect ect ect.  We are slowly replacing appliances out of necessity (like the fridge that died - kinda had to replace it LOL)  which is supposed to help our bill but, I must admit, I've yet to see it! 

8. Muffin Tin Monday, Funky Food Friday, snack time and the special treats of M& M's and Chocolate Chips are better than business lunches any day!  Why, you might ask?  No one cares if my make-up is done, my hair is in a pony tail or, quite honestly, if I (we) have chocolate on our faces LOL  Nothing is better than a smile from a two year old who has chocolate lips ;-) 

7. Playing in the park, Walks in the sunshine and blowing bubbles in the yard are the best kind of business meetings - need I say more?

6. Plans seldom work out - even when they are written in the planner.  Everything takes longer with kids and nothing goes as planned!!  We were laughing recently as I showed my husband the 2-3 things I had planned in January/February where either I would get a day out or we would  do something as a family and not one thing worked out for various reasons.  I always say I'm going to stop planning but I never do :-)

5. Yes, I do "earn" money even though I don't work - Cutting the grocery bill "earns" us money because I spend less; Not driving somewhere every day "earns" us money because gas is less; Cooking meals at home "earns" us money because we aren't spending $20-30 a day eating out.  My husband may bring the money home but I work to keep it in our pockets helping us in the long run.

4. My house is never clean - you would think that being home all day, I'd have a clean house - but wait, I'm home all day with two (actually three!) little boys . .. it is never clean.  It is actually dirtier/messier because we are home to mess it up!  My dishwasher is always full, the laundry is always going, and - if I'm lucky, the vacuum gets run twice a week.  So don't look in the corners or do a white glove test when you come here - just smile and watch the kids have fun LOL 

3. I never have enough time - I used to think I was busy, until I stayed home.  Now - I'm REALLY busy.  Sometimes I tell my husband on Wednesday that I am still on Monday because I'm that far behind. hahaha  I make my list, check it twice, and than look at it on Friday and realize that life happened in between all of those things I did not get done. 

2. I work harder now than I did before - I experienced both sides of the working/not working mom thing.  When Josh was born, I went back to work.  Everyone wonders how you work and have time for the family - I found it wasn't that hard.  I dropped my child off, went to work.  That meant, the house was clean all day; no dishes were used, no toys messed up, no clothes thrown on the floor.  At work, I did my job and, often had time to work on things that I needed for home - grocery lists, menus, party planning, etc.  When I got home, we only had an hour or so to play before the little guy was to tired to stay awake.  Than, I would scrapbook, read, watch TV or anything else I felt like doing.  I didn't cut coupons - we both worked; I didn't keep a budget - I didn't need to.  Since the house was "clean" all week, we did our cleaning on Saturday morning and were done.  Now that I'm home all day - there is a TON of work and not that many hours to do it!  Between cleaning, planning meals and grocery lists, laundry, and keeping kids happy, most days, I'm exhausted by 8:00.  Crazy, I know - but it is so true!

1.  This is the best job in the world - I would not trade being a stay-at-home mom for anything.  I get to see the smiles of new discovery and watch eyes open in wonder as they figure something out for the first time; I get to kiss the bumps and bruises and tickle until they giggle.  I get to see new expressions, hear new words, and watch personalities devolop.  I get to see them at their best (and sometimes their worst!) and watch as the learn something new each day.  I'm blessed to be able to teach them, read to them, and play with them daily.  Not to mention the sloppy kisses, the quick hugs, and the Iuveu's (I love you!) that come out at random times.  Sure there are days when I hear others talk of pay raises, promotions, new jobs and going back to school - it makes me wonder what I'm accomplishing - is it really worth what they are doing? I traded business trips, lunches, meetings, promotions for this??   Than I see that chocolate covered face smiling up at me and I realize that I'm doing something far greater than any of that - I'm building lives; shaping minds; and nurturing hearts of two boys that will grow into fine young men.  Than, I can say - "Job well done" and know that I had the best job in the world. 

So, that is what I've learned in the past year.  When I mentioned this to Darryl, his words were - "And to think, we are still making it" LOL  All Ihave to say is that I love my crazy, good life with all three of my boys!! (Darryl is just as much of a kid as they are!!)


Mrs. Whary said...

GREAT post! I feel the same way!
PS - My house is NEVER neat either - no matter how much I try.......who can keep a clean house with 2 little ones??? :-)

Shannon said...

Definitely a great post! I'm struggling right now with what I'm going to do after the baby comes. I'm only working (a whole) 12 hours per week right now, but it's 3 mornings. I really hate being gone three mornings. I love reading all of the great things about being home all the time (even if it IS more work!) it's just convincing the hubbs that it'll all be ok if I do! :)

Thanks for sharing!

Diane Dobson said...

Beautifully written, Jackie! So thankful for you to be able to share this time with your boys! ~Diane