I started staying home with our children 4 years ago when my daughter was 1 1/2. We had paid off a great deal of debt and were able to live in a single income. When I left my job, we also said goodbye to $47k/year, which meant a huge financial adjustment and a lot of fighting about money the first year I stayed home.
So while I wasn’t working a traditional job, I still felt obligated to continue some sort of money making opportunity on the side whether it was through direct sales, subbing in childcare at the Y, occasionally babysitting, doing odd jobs etc. I struggled with never feeling good enough about myself without bringing in a paycheck. I felt guilty spending money on myself for clothing and other basics. I was never made to feel guilty by my husband, but there was a great deal of negativity in my mind that came with spending money on myself when I wasn’t contributing any. I’m sure there are other stay-at-home-moms whom have had these feelings at one point. I felt uncomfortable being “just” a mom.
In July I was very privileged to take a trip to Nashville for my direct sales company’s big convention. I had an AMAZING time meeting people I’d only spoken with online, got to enjoy fun local food and a night out, and I was surrounded by fitness fanatics like me. It was truly an amazing trip and I have no regrets (except for losing my makeup bag, HUGE regret).
Throughout the opening and closing ceremonies I watched as everything I had been chasing for 4 years was right in front of me- the opportunity to earn vacations for our family, pay debt off faster, the ability to be RECOGNIZED on a stage applauded by thousands when there are days are spent not even getting a thank you. It was my deep longing to feel significance and acknowledged for my talents instead of feeling like I was wasting away changing diapers and wiping noses. The ability to say I did this. ME. I’m more than John’s wife. I’m more than a mom. It was all right there like a carrot (okay, a bar of chocolate in my case, carrots are gross) dangling in front of me, just waiting to be grabbed. It was very tempting.
Even with all of it handed to me on a silver platter, I left and realized that I didn’t want it. I didn’t care about being recognized for reaching goal XYZ in the company or having a social media following or retiring my husband and showing the world I was more than just a mom. The business has real potential, but I was no longer willing to spend my valuable time trying to grow a business or build relationships. I want to focus on what is right in front of me. My beautiful children. My aging parents. My marriage. I want to spend more time with my siblings and parents. To me it’s not worth it to chase the American Dream when the cost is high considering the payout- a bigger house? More money? Cooler vacations? Having a lifestyle? At what cost? In the end none of it matters. My American Dream is different.
So for the first time in 4 years the decision was made to be “just” a mom. But let’s be honest here- moms are AWESOME. We do it all whether or not we get thanks or recognized for it. But now I gotta go- my kids are fighting about something again and I need to heat up the same cup of coffee for the 4th time today. It’s time to be a mom.