I was to begin on a Wednesday, so my DH took off Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I left a full fridge, no dirty laundry, and a sparkling clean home. I was gone 10 hours. I came home to dinner and a clean home, happy to see baby and daddy.
Thursday, same scenario, except the house was no longer sparkling.
Friday, I came home to no dinner and a messy house. I was exhausted, and as I hadn't made the mess, I went on strike. I wasn't going to do any dishes, laundry, or housework on my weekend. I did take over caring for baby.
For the next two weeks, daddy took baby to grandma and grandpa's house. Then he went to work. When he picked little one up, grandma had dinner ready and waiting for him.
I began working 12 hour days. As long as I was away from home, I might as well earn as much money as possible! Still on strike, I had my lunch and dinner out.
When my 2.5 weeks were up, and I stayed home on Monday while daddy went to work, I held baby close. He pulled back. In trepidation he asked, "Mama...work?"
"No baby, mama is never going to go back to work again." He asked me this every day for almost two months. I think he liked hearing me say I would never leave him again. He had fun at grandma and grandpa's, and he was well cared for and loved. But we both missed our special relationship.
Was it Worth it?
Was the money worth it? It paid an entire year of home and car insurance, and property taxes? NO.
Was the experience worth it? YES.
The experience helped me remember what my husband goes through daily to support us:
some late evenings,
watching the clock,
bumper to bumper traffic,
lack of sunlight,
lack of exercise,
lack of spontaneous fun.
The best hours of the day belong to someone else.
Having to do work that is no longer fun or challenging.
Only getting a few vacation days.
Not feeling a part of the family circle.
I was able to put myself in my husband's shoes, an experience I won't soon forget.
That helps me to:
- not complain;
- set a good mood in the home;
- keep up with laundry and dishes;
- make home cozy;
- keep decluttering.
- And it especially helps me to be thankful to him for working to keep me at home with baby.
It also was a great experience for him - he got a taste of how impossible it can be to care for a toddler and keep a clean home. He found out what I did all day, first hand! (If you have a child under five, you do not need to volunteer for anything at church, school or in the community. Caring for a toddler is enough!)
Will I do it again? Never. The severing of the emotional bond we experienced will never be worth any extra money.
I learned, with God's help, to instead cut our budget by 60%. I say with His help because I prayed over everything I bought, including groceries, and He brought me resources and books, free clothing, unexpected financial gifts, ways to make money from home like pet sitting and e-bay selling, and doing all the things I outlined in my Living on one income post.
One more thing. I think tithing is super important. All the people I know who have been successful staying home on one income, and not in debt (or are working out of it), are Christian tithers. Just begin, even if it is at 1%, and work your way up. I mention this more in my post On Being Debt-Free.
If you are a Christian and you WANT to stay home, God will help you find a way.
“Today’s wives and mothers have found their total freedom. Freedom from tyrannical bosses. Freedom from unfair wages and promotions. Freedom from dividing our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls between work and family. We’ve found our freedom by coming home. Here we are truly free: financially, emotionally, and creatively. Our hearts are free to love, free to give, free to be and become who we really are, free to get to know who we really are, and free with our schedules. We manage all of these freedoms with perhaps more skill, professionalism, and resourcefulness than ever, and it’s healing us, our families, and our nation.” ~ Mrs. Wayne Hunter from the Article “The New Women’s Movement: We’re Coming Home”