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Why being a stay at home mom isn’t for everyone
In the same way dual income is not for everyone, single income may be a challenge to many in this day and age.
Still, for many years, I dreamt of the glories of being a stay at home mom. It just seemed like such a great gig in so many ways.
Staying home with my kids, driving them to school, making a hot meal for my family each day, and making sure all our errands and housework were being attended to.
Oh, what it would be like to leave my 9 to 5 to stay home. I always thought, “maybe one day”.
But, as the years go by, I’m beginning to feel like being a stay at home mom is not for me. So many reasons make me want to continue working and contributing to my dual-income home.
The more I think of it, the more I realize I’m actually content in my current situation. I’m pretty lucky.
I’m not going to tell you all the cons of being a stay at home mom (SAHM), since I’ve never been one. And I’m sure you may find pros/cons list on this subject from other blogs.
I want to tell you the pros of being a working mom, since this is what I know and I can be honest about my experience with you.
Here are some of my reasons why I’ve continued working and contributing to our Dual Income household.
Dual income means double our household income
I don’t take this lightly. Having two incomes makes a world of a difference when you’re budgeting and using the money wisely. We’re able to spend more and save more. We’ve been able to cash flow a lot of our home upgrades and bi-annual vacations.
We were able to pay off all of our debt, except our home. Being a two-income household means we have many more options on how we want to live. I love having that freedom.
Some of you may argue that money isn’t everything and that being with your children during their formative years is priceless and often times worth the sacrifice. I completely and wholeheartedly agree.
But, having more money does come with advantages. We rarely argue about money or wonder how we’ll make it through the month.
We don’t have the financial stress that some one-income families might experience. If one of us loses their job (God forbid), we have another income to fall back on. This peace of mind is priceless for our entire family.
My job defines me
I know, you read that and gasped. It may sound shallow that a job gives me my identity. Let me clarify. It’s not the job that defines me.
It’s my work ethic, credibility, the integrity in my effort, and my constant learning of new skill sets that give me my identity. Because of my job, I’ve learned who I am and what I want in life.
It’s knowing that my hard work and effort allowed me to move up the ladder. Because of this, I have a sense of accomplishment and empowerment that I enjoy.
My career is just mine. My professional accomplishments are directly linked to me and are separate from my family. Honestly, it feels good to have something that is solely my own
I’ve been lucky to find a great place to work, where my leaders mentor me and foster my growth with in the organization. It’s an absolute plus that I work with great colleagues. I would have never had the chance to have any of these connections within the home.
My kids learn from me
My kids look up to my accomplishments outside of the home. They look up to the career woman that is their mom. When they have a question about college or careers, they get advice from someone currently in the workforce.
It makes a difference in giving them the perspective of what it’s like to be a woman in today’s workplace. When I receive an award or bonus, I share my news with them and it indirectly it encourages them to work harder in school.
They also see how I balance my work and home life. I think this is so important. I want them to be successful in their own home when they have a family.
And there is no better way to teach them those values than to show them by example. My husband and I both work very hard to show them what a successful marriage and home should look like, financially and otherwise.
And of course, there are so many variations of what that success would look like. But, we’re showing them what has worked for our family.
We try to use our lifestyle to teach them as much about life as possible, from working hard to playing hard.
Working gives me my own set of friends
I’ve made some lifelong friendships working outside of the home. I would have never met these wonderful people if I’d been home. I enjoy adult intellectual conversations and discussions, and I get the opportunity to learn new perspectives.
Don’t get me wrong, I love having discussions with my kids, but adult conversation is something else. It makes me feel like I’ve got a voice beyond the home. It feels good.
Dual income changes expectations
Household chores and tasks would be solely on me if I were to stay at home. My husband would expect a hot meal at the end of each day and the house tidy, and I’d expect the same from myself.
There’d be no excuse to a messy house if I stayed home, since my kids are older and go to school for most of the day.
It’s only fair to have the home duties as my sole responsibility if the hubs is going to be the sole bread-winner.
But, since I work full-time, my husband and kids chip in with the housework and it’s expected that dinner won’t always be a hot meal ready at 5pm. My home responsibilities are definitely more relaxed than if I was a stay at home mom.
Dual Income means having my own retirement plan
I get to plan for my own retirement. I know this doesn’t sound very appealing, but for someone who is planning on retiring at 55, I’m excited to see my 403B and pension plan growing each month.
It’s nice to know that even when I retire, I will be living very comfortably. I won’t have to rely on Social Security or my kids. It’s great knowing that I will still be independent when I get older.
Having Dual Income because my kids are older
I imagine being a stay at home mom while your kids are young is ideal. I would have loved to have that option when my kids were pre-kindergarten age.
Unfortunately, our financial status at that point required two incomes to make ends meet.
Now that my kids are older and are actively going to school and outside activities, the home doesn’t need me as much. When I’m busy at work, they’re busy at school, so it works out perfectly.
Dual Income means we can afford our dreams, faster
For some, the dream may be to live on one income and enjoy the simple things in life. I love simplicity as well.
Early in our marriage, my husband and I had the talk about our plans for our future. We considered both of us working and just one of us working.
We looked at the pros and cons of each. In the end, we found that if we both worked hard in the early part of our lives, we can achieve our dreams much faster and live better in our later years.
Having two incomes also allows us to take more vacations with our family, something we look forward to every year.
I love traveling and it’s one of my dreams to show my kids the world and experience it with them. More income means we can save more to make our short term dreams a reality, much sooner.
Dual income means having a little more luxury
As you know, I am a proponent of living frugally and spending within your means, saving as much as you can while still enjoying life. But, having a higher household income means we have more options.
After budgeting and paying all of our necessities, there’s still money to enjoy additional perks.
We get our house professionally cleaned, we drive nice cars, we have our own house, and we vacation regularly. I’m not sure that we’d be where we are if I’d stopped working 10 years ago.
I don’t know that I’d be willing to give those things up to stay home. I’d rather work hard while I’m young so that I can rest easy when I get older. I wouldn’t change my life for anything.
It’s easy for society to make it look like leaving your 9-5 is the dream for everyone. Being on a beach somewhere, working from your laptop, and sipping on a cold beverage has somehow become the goal many millennials strive for.
While those things are amazing and I would love to have that lifestyle one day, my current reality is that working my 9-5 affords me a great work-life balance.
Maybe in the future, things will change and my options will be different. But for now, having the option between staying at home and working full-time, I choose the latter.
Until next time my frugal friends,