My SAHM Story

Tuesday, November 3, 2009 by Jen · 4 comments

Over the past few months, I especially enjoyed reading Amy's series Mommy Come Home. For that reason, I thought I would take a little time here on CITC to tell you about my stay at home mom story.

I never thought I would be a SAHM. In college, because of my talents, strengths, and interests, I decided to major in English and education and become a high school English teacher. I thought it would be the perfect kind of job for raising a family--summers off and everything.

During our first few years of marriage I taught in the classroom, and I have to say, I wasn't very happy, I think because I put too much pressure on myself to be perfect at the job (that's another story).

So after moving to Michigan with my husband's job, teaching for a year there, I decided to leave my current job and go back to school to become a librarian. Though I looked at other options, my heart was still in education and I decided to focus on a library media program for K-12 education!

And I loved, loved, loved being a library media specialist. I loved talking books and reading with kids! I loved sharing the latest technology, teaching, and information resources with teachers--teaching teachers, if you will. I loved teaching information skills and sharing information resources in and out of the classroom! I was energized by the job and felt I was pretty good at managing it all.

When I had my first child, managing it all became harder. Even though I loved my job, I often felt like I gave my best energy to my job, and I had little left for her at the end of the day. The other challenge was connecting with my husband. He is an air traffic controller and works shifts and weekends. We found that we rarely saw each other and were rarely together as an entire family--we wanted more time together!

So after lots of discussions and budget crunching, we decided that with the birth of my second child, I was going to take a year long leave of absence from my job (I was fortunate to have that option). We never were able to make the budget numbers balance, but we decided to take a leap of faith and give it a try.

So five years and three babies later (ages 7, 5, and 3 months), I'm still going at it, and I really has been a blessing in our life! I will very likely return to teaching some day; but then again, maybe not. I'm trying to enjoy the moment I am in right now.

What Works for Us
Because my husband's work hours are not typical (works shifts, evenings, and weekends), it really helps our family that my time is not so scheduled. On the days that he works in the afternoon/evening, I love that we can have our main "family" meal at lunch time. And we often have one "date afternoon" a week when my DS is in preschool (no paying a babysitter). I love that we get to spend lots of time together at home!

His schedule also allows me some perks--I can go to the grocery store with out kids. Getting the kids off to school is a breeze with him here. And because often it's just me and the kids in the evenings, we don't really have that crazy dinner hour that a lot of families talk about.

And of course I love having time with my babes. I love being able to spend one-on-one with my 5 year old--playing legos is a major mom/son activity. My DD doesn't get home until 4 PM, and I love doing homework with her, reading, and playing a game or two. And there's nothing like taking a break with sleeping baby on your shoulder and playing on the floor. I love being able to nurse exclusively. I'm definitely not against bottles or pumping--it's just easier for me to nurse.
The Challenges
It's not a perfect system. I often feel like my time is never my own, and I would just like to go to the bathroom by myself every once in a while. Or take a nap whenever I want. But I know that someday I will have those luxuries again.

I find it a challenge getting everything done that needs to get done--balancing the parenting and the household responsibilities. I try to be aware of this and diligently give my kids some dedicated time. If I don't, I feel as if my kid's baby years will just slip through my fingers, even though I'm dedicating my time to them right now.

I also miss having a creative outlet for myself--hence CITC. When I don't have a newborn, I sing with my church choir and for weddings, play piano and guitar, and I love reading! These things often are after thoughts in a busy family life--but they are still there for me when I need them. I also know that it will be a challenge returning the the "work force." I feel out of the loop with my job, and I don't really like that feeling. Oh well, it's just part of the process.

And as I talk about often, balancing the budget is a continuing challenge! That means we are not the family going to Disney World--or even on a vacation this year. We have a fairly small house for our family of five. I clip coupons, shop at garage sales, and cut my family's hair. But I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the life I have. Yes, I would like to buy new clothes or get my hair cut at the salon more often. But right now, I'm OK with the choices we are making.

What I've Learned
The main thing I've learned through this process is that you have to do what works for you. My family isn't necessarily like your family, and you have to make the choices that seem right for your family. Some of those are easy; some are hard, and some I know we're still trying to figure out. But I know that we are trying to do the best we can for our kids and our family -- and right now, what we are doing is working. We are pretty OK--it feels good!

Thanks for reading!


4 comments to "My SAHM Story"
  1. Thank you so much for sharing! Each family is definitely different and have to do what works for you. :D

  2. Thank you for this! I am in my 3rd week of being a SAHM. I feel very blessed that we are able to swing it so I can stay home, I know so many Mom's that would love to-and the budget just won't allow for it. I am a tad nervous at what our budget will look like in a few weeks after my past paychecks are gone...but we too are taking that leap of faith.

  3. Jen:
    Thanks for sharing your story. I have really enjoyed Amy's series. I too felt like I had no time with my family when I worked. I have been home 7 years now and love it! Thanks.

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed this series... and I hope to get my story pulled together one of these days!

    Wonderful to read where your career has taken you and the benefits that you share with your family. Like you, we've made some sacrifices to make it happen, but the benefits have been so rewarding!!

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