Every Friday evening, a couple of my friends and I get together to watch a couple episodes of some show. Lately, it’s been Orange is the New Black (sidenote: if you aren’t watching this, it’s pretty darn good!). We do dinner potluck style to a different theme every week and use the time not only to catch up on some good old fashioned television, but on each other’s lives.
We meet up late in the evening – 8pm – so that everyone has time to get off work and gather together.
The other mom in the group, a friend of mine from long ago, recently made a comment that’s been stuck in my head ever since she said it.
She told me that I was “so lucky to get to stay home with Fox.”
She had just gotten off a very busy shift at her job and was, rightfully, exhausted. Her, her kiddo, and her husband ended up leaving early so she could get to her early Saturday shift at work, as well.
It’s Not Luck
I am absolutely fortunate and blessed to get to stay home with my daughter.
But, she’s wrong. I’m not lucky to stay home with our kid. Luck has very little to do with it.
When I was pregnant, the Husbeast and I sat down and figured out exactly what it would take for us to be able to live on one income. We have worked very hard together to make it all work.
I am able to be a stay at home mom because of meticulous planning, careful budgeting, and lots of sacrifice.
We didn’t end up where we are by accident. I don’t stay home because I don’t feel like working – we planned it to be this way.
While I was still pregnant, we spent many nights going over budgets, working out plans, and choosing what would be the best way to make this work for our family. We had thrown around a variety of options – him staying home, choosing a daycare, getting help from family and friends for child care – but ultimately we decided that this set up, where I am a stay at home mother, would be the best for us.
Then, we tightened up our budgeting, because I was making about 60% of our income.
I’ve briefly mentioned it before, but it’s worth mentioning again: we’re Dave Ramsey people (grab a free Dave Ramsey Baby Steps printable here). We believe in paying down our debt, avoiding new debts, and being prepared for the unexpected with a robust savings account instead of a credit card with a high limit.
Every dollar is accounted for. We know where our money should go before it comes in. We have a meager allowance that we each use on personal items, but most everything else goes towards necessities, bills, and debts. The random, unexpected expense (such as additional books for Husbeast’s schooling, a medical bill, etc) gets shuffled in and money is reallocated for that from other categories.
When I feed the family, I choose healthy foods that are affordable. This means that we don’t eat only organic, grassfed meats and veggies, but we do eat whole foods that are mostly prepared by me.
We have sacrificed a lot to be where we are.
We sacrificed our own space. We moved in with my parents just days before Fox was born, knowing that it would eventually be temporary, and I could use the help once the Husbeast left for Army basic training. What we didn’t know is that we would be here much longer than we thought because of a few obstacles thrown our way before my husband could leave our family to serve our country.
We sacrificed our cars. My husband had managed to acquire one of his dream cars before we started dating, but not before acquiring a ton of debt to roll over on it. We were upside down pretty badly in his car, though I owned my Beetle outright – my dream car. Together, we gave up our cars and got a good deal on an older minivan that would be a more appropriate choice for our growing family. We sold the Beetle and used the money to help bring our debt to a more reasonable level. Now, we’re a one-car family, which carries its own challenges, but saves us a considerable amount of money on upkeep, insurance, maintenance, and more.
We sacrificed our time. My husband enlisted in the United States Army. He’s been gone for 7 months now, missing a large chunk of our young daughter’s life. He’ll be back soon, but he will likely have to go again before long on a deployment to another part of the world. My husband doesn’t come home every night. I don’t get to talk to him every night. And when our daughter asks for “dada” every time she sees my phone, I have to tell her, “No, not right now. Maybe dada will call later.” It breaks my heart, but I’m forever grateful for the sacrifices he’s making for our family and our country.
Making Our Own Luck
This – this here – this is just a sampling of what has gone into my being “lucky” to stay home.
It hasn’t been luck at all.
And that’s okay. Every stay-at-home-mom is very fortunate and blessed to get to be with her children during the day, but I don’t know a single one who is just plain “lucky.” It’s not as simple as that. Us stay-at-home-moms work hard, albeit differently, to provide for our families, just like every working mom out there.
We’ve made our own luck, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!
Do you stay at home or work outside the home? Or even work from home? Do you hear about how “lucky” you are? Tell me about it in the comments!