Wednesday, March 15, 2017

So You Want to be a Stay-at-Home Mom?

I am hugely blessed to be able to stay at home with my children every day.  But contrary to popular belief, it has not come without sacrifices.  I've heard many comments from people along the lines of, "Well, it must be so nice to have the luxury to do that." HA!  There is no luxury living here.  We live off of a small income. And though I know not everyone can stay at home with their kids, I believe that many people who want to transition to staying at home with their children can, as long as they make adjustments.  Sometimes painful adjustments, but in the end I feel it can be worth it.

Before I list some of the ways you can begin that transition, let me first say that this is not an article saying staying at home is the way every family should do things.  I have no desire to get into a debate on which is better because I truly believe what works for one family is not necessarily right for another family.  This article is just for people who are wanting to leave the workforce to stay at home with their children, to help them see that it CAN be possible.

So, with that in mind, here we go.  Here are some of the ways we make it possible for me to stay at home and live off of one income.

1.  We have a smaller house.  Have you considered downsizing to reduce housing costs? Not only is a bigger home a larger mortgage, it takes more money to heat and keep the electricity going.  All those housing costs really add up.  Can I let you in on a little secret? It is a well-known fact that Ontario has outrageous hydro costs.  But for us, our bill is pretty low.  Aside from the obvious energy saving tips we use, I am sure a big part of the reason is because we have a smaller home.  Downsizing may seem impossible and out of the question, but consider this:  I have seen families live in all different living spaces - from RVs on the road fulltime, to families of 7 in 900 square foot homes.  You don't necessarily have to go that extreme, but if you have a 3000 square foot home, maybe you could downsize to 1800 square feet?

2.  We drive one vehicle.  Most families are two vehicle families.  It definitely makes it easier with so much going on with families these days.  But for us to afford one income, we drive one vehicle.  It means that during the day while my husband is at work I do not have wheels.  If I need them for something I will drive him to work, but most of the time try to work around his schedule.  Not always convenient, but we are so used to it that it rarely bothers me.  I should also mention that we drive an OLD 2005 minivan.  And we drive our vehicles into the ground.

3.  Buy as much as possible secondhand.  Clothes, furniture, toys - you name it, we buy it secondhand.

4.  Cut back on eating out.  I feel like restaurants just keep getting more and more expensive.  For our family of 5 we can easily spend close to 70 dollars for a sitdown restaurant once meals, drinks, and a tip is added up.  We keep our restaurant excursions to a minimum, and when we do go we often get something cheap like pizza.  We still go out once in awhile, but it's a special treat now, not a weekly thing.

5.  Cut back on cell phone service.  I know this one is going to be controversial.  Cell phones have become a way of life, so I get it.  My husband has a cell phone as he is out every day and works at different locations so it is my only way to reach him.  I use his OLD cell phone, but it actually does not have any cell service on it.  I use it for wifi, and I have a free texting app on it that requires wifi to use.  I know the argument is safety on this one, an of course every situation is different, but for me I feel that we managed for so many years without cell phones, I should be able to leave my house without access to a phone at all times.

6.  Cut the cable or satellite. We have netflix and that is pretty much where we watch all our tv shows.  We have lived without cable or satellite for most of our marriage and have lived to tell about it.  The internet gives us so much access to just about anything these days.  If you have internet, you are set.

There is no question about it, if you decide to transition from working full-time to staying at home it is not going to be easy.  It will be an adjustment for your whole family.  But in my opinion if you really want to do it, I feel that it is worth it.  If the jump from full-time to staying at home seems too scary, you can always try to go from full-time to part-time first.  But if you really, really want to make that jump I encourage you to do it.  I do believe it is not something you will ever regret.

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