Today I posed on facebook "I thought being a stay at home mom was supposed to be relaxing!" I was joking and others knew it. But one response I got was "You are so lucky that you can stay at home. It is a dream I have but I don't think it will happen."
I never really know how to respond when people tell me I am lucky to be a stay at home mom without sounding snarky, rude, or like I am better than others. But it isn't luck. It is hard work, sometimes very hard work, to be a stay at home mom. And I am not referring to my job as a stay at home mom. I am referring to what keeps me able to stay at home while my husband works a job he loves as a teacher.
It is saying no to yearly vacations.
It is saying no to the latest I-whatever that came out this week/month/year.
It is saying no to the huge cable package (and soon quite possibly saying no to cable completely).
It is me sitting with the grocery flyer each week noting what is one sale, what I have in the house, and making my meal plan based on that in order to get the most food for my money.
It is not going out to dinner more than once a month.
It is buying clothes secondhand when I can.
It is selling the clothes that we will not use as hand me downs at tag sales or to consignment stores.
It is Jon taking on teaching a night class.
It is Jon teaching summer school.
It is buying a new-to-us minivan that we could afford without loan payments.
It is staying in the smaller house so our mortgage payments are affordable.
It is me working some nights when Jon is home.
It is creating a budget that includes our needs and at the same time keeps us out of debt.
It is doing our best to stick to that budget.
It is many things, but I don't think luck is involved in anyway.
We are not poor. We try to be smart with our money. We make choices that allow me to be at home with our kids during these early years that go by so quickly. That is what is important to Jon and I, so we find a way to make it work.
I love being a stay at home mom. I love being at home with my kids. Jon loves that I am home with the kids and the fact that I am home lessens the stress on him when he comes home from working all day. I wouldn't trade our life for anything- not the big vacations to Disney or the islands, not the HUGE house in the gorgeous town, not to brand-new-with-all-the-bells-and-whistles-minivan.
Maybe I am lucky. I found a wonderful man who loves me. I have four beautiful children who are joys. I have a great life.
But it isn't luck that keeps me as a stay at home mom.