Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Why I quit my "real job" for the "mom job" (and you should too!)

Becoming a mom is the most life changing experience any woman can go through. You find out things about yourself that you never knew. We all have a different story, a different experience, different opinions, and different situations, but the one consistent thing is the desire to give our children the best. This is my story, and why staying home with my children was the best decision I ever made.

When Dustin and I met, I had a very well paying job with room for growth, my own apartment, no credit card debt and a great credit score. I enjoyed my freedom and independence, but I always knew that I would want to raise my own kids, and not send them to daycare. After we got married, and got knocked up with baby number one, Dustin and I both agreed that it would be best for me to stay home with the baby. I made more money than he did, so this was a big deal, people!

The first year was hard. Lots of sacrifices, some credit card debt, and a big adjustment to our lifestyle. I often hear women say "I can't afford to quit my job, we wouldn't be able to pay our bills." I am a living testament that you can do it. If you have one income, that is enough. We have never lost a car, our home, or not been able to feed our children. Yes, my credit score suffered on some default credit card payments.Yes, there were (and still are) months that really test my faith, but I will pick my kid over the money any day of the week.

 Let's break down the hours in the work day to get some perspective.

Let's say you get 7 hours of sleep (haha, I don't even remember what 7 solid hours feels like)
Work including commute/dropping off and picking up from daycare, 9 hours (I am being generous here because I think it is prob more like 10 or 11)
Getting yourself and children ready, 2 hours
Preparing and eating meals, 2 hours

That is 20 hours when you add it all up.

Children go to bed several hours before their parents (usually) so after it is all said and done you get to spend 2 hours a day with your child.

There are 120 hours in a work week and you are spending 10 of those hours with that little person who might not be able to express it in words, but wants to spend all 120 with you. It breaks my heart.

I am not trying to condemn anyone, but I want to tell you that you are missing out. Missing a lot of firsts, and a lot of lasts. The worst part is that not only are you missing out, but your child is missing out. Their loss is worse than yours. There is nothing more that a child wants than your time. Nothing. You can make lots of money at your job, trying to "better their future" but it is a waste. The best investment you can make in their future is your time. They just want you. They need you. No day care worker, parent or friend can love and take care of them like you can.

I am not trying to say that if you have children you should not work. I have a part time job. Very part time, about 5 hours a week, but my home is the first priority, and if it suffers, I would quit in a heart beat. My husband stays with the kids, and if he is on shift my mom will watch them (thanks Mom!) I think it is important to have an outlet, and a career is great, but I can guarantee you that when I am breathing my last breath I will not have any regrets about putting a career on hold to raise my children.

I will not regret spending my mornings drinking coffee trying to have a moment of sanity while they destroy my living room. I will not regret the funny, silly conversations in the car. I will not regret being home for them when they get back from school. I will not regret seeing all their "firsts" and the millions of pictures I have snapped on my phone. I will not remember the financial sacrifices, and I will not regret a short season of a bad credit score. You only get one chance to mold them into the person they will be the rest of their lives, don't waste it.

I have had people tell me "You are so lucky you get to stay at home with your kids." I will tell you that luck has nothing to do with it. All it took was decision and determination to make it work. I wear it as a badge of honor that I work hard for, no luck involved.

There will be a time when the kids are gone, and I will have all the time in the world for a career and it will be wonderful! For now they need me, and because of that, there is nowhere else I would rather be <3


Saturday, May 24, 2014

10 Outings for Kids Under $5!

As a stay at home mom on a budget, there are not very many options for getting the kids out of the house without spending a bunch of money! I am also not the type of person who can sit in the house all day long. I try to get out with the kids at least once a day, even if its just a quick outing. I have had to get creative finding inexpensive ways to get out, without blowing up the bank account. Here are some ideas for you to try that won't hurt your wallet!

1. Frozen Yogurt! I am not big on sugar for my kids, so this outing is a special treat, and since you pay by the ounce, I always spend less than $5 because they certainly aren't going to fill up those big cups! If you have one that you can walk to, even better! Makes the outing last longer and gives everyone some exercise!

2. Coffee date! The drink I get at Starbucks(doppio espresso over ice with 2 pumps white mocha mmmm) is only $2.71 including tax, add a couple cake pops for the kids and you are right at your $5 mark!

3. Dollar store craft day! When we want to get our creative juices flowing, I will go look at my crafty pinterest boards, and make a trip to the dollar store! I make sure to find crafts that are 5 "ingredients" or less and not only does it get you out, but gives them something to do when you get home!

4. Story time at the library! Find your local library for a free membership and fun story time! Check out a few books while you are there!

5. Splash pads. We have a splash pad and playground near our house for $2 a kid. This is a great way to have some fun in the sun without worrying about the littler ones drowning!

6. Dollar movie days in the summer! Regal cinemas puts on their dollar movie days during the summer, check out their website for showtimes

7. Farmers Markets. Today we checked out a local Farmers Market that has a petting zoo, food trucks, and live music. They charge $2 a person to get in, but under 3 is free! We had lots of fun! Save some of your grocery money, and shop local and fresh produce while you are there. If you live in the Orlando area here is the website for the one we went to today

8. Visit your local feed store. We have chickens, and when we go to get feed we also make an event out of it and see the animals. They have bunnies, baby chicks, baby ducks, rats, mice, fish and birds. They let the kids hold and pet.

9. Pedicure party! This one is good for those of you with girlie girls! We like to go to the store, pick out a new nail polish and come home to do pedicures! If you are feeling brave, let your little ones give you a pedicure! Simple but fun :)

10. Last but not least, check out your local fire station! We love going to visit daddy at the fire station, but anyone can go! You can call ahead to make sure they are there, then go tour the fire truck and station!

Tell me, what are your favorite budget friendly outings? I would love to hear from you!!!


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Why I don't deserve a Mother's Day

Being a mom does not deserve an award. It doesn't even deserve a special day. Being a mom is enough of a privilege in itself. A privilege many women never get to experience. Instead, I want to recognize another group of women. The woman who tried for years to get pregnant and couldn't. What about the woman who had several miscarriages and no baby? What about the woman who had a still born baby? What about the step mom who gets no recognition in helping raise a child that is not fully her own? What about the foster mom who has to part with a baby after getting attached? What about the single mom struggling to put food on the table? They deserve to be recognized more than I do. My rewards already arrived in the form of  two little humans. That is all I ever needed.

Mother's Day is not a day we should expect to be served, but instead a day we should be thankful. I am so thankful that after being a step mom and then having a miscarriage, that I now have two beautiful babies who are perfect and healthy. Nobody owes me anything for being their mom. I am honored that God blessed me with children, every day is Mother's Day for me, because I have them.

If you, reader, are a person who desires to be a mommy, is a step mommy, foster mom, godmother, spiritual mom, mother of a child who has passed away, single mother, or any other type of nurturer, I want to recognize you. You deserve to have your own day, because the journey is not always easy.

Spread love this Mother's Day. Encourage, uplift and recognize those women around you who are not traditional "mothers".... because they need it more than anyone.

And to the more traditional mommies of the world, be proud and thankful. After all, we have the hardest but best job ever.