When I was pregnant with Caleb in 2004, I had no doubt that I wanted to resign from my position at work and stay home with him after he arrived. When people would ask me about it, I would tell them, "My plan is to stay at home!"
After crunching the numbers, even after the hypothetical numbers I would make up where we didn't have cable, internet, "extras" on phone, anything else you can think of, even selling one of our vehicles, it wasn't going to happen. My dreams of being a stay-at-home mom were not going to come to pass at that time. With my husband being a new teacher, in a rural school district, bringing home (at the time) $1600 a month, it just wasn't going to work for us.
I was sad. That's putting it mildly.
But I accepted where I was in life at that time. I made a conscious decision to find a childcare provider that I felt comfortable with (and I did, they were wonderful), I decided to be the best employee that I could be, and I wanted to keep a positive attitude about my circumstances. It was that frame of mind that I believe allowed me to eventually receive a promotion.
I did not complain on a daily basis about how much I wanted to stay home because I knew it wasn't going to happen at that time. There was no point in being doom and gloom about it.
In the mean time, even before I was introduced to Dave Ramsey, I took steps to change our circumstances. If a woman knows she wants to stay home, and the numbers aren't working, she has to make changes. That's all there is to it. I knew we had to pay off debts. I knew we couldn't take vacations, buy new/pre-owned vehicles that would require payments...I knew I couldn't get manicures and pedicures, new highlights every month, professional pictures of my child whenever I felt like it, or dine out every week.
When someone says they can't afford to stay home, I sympathize. Really, I do. Being the blog hopper that I am, I see it all the time. And then I see over-the-top birthday parties or read about financial decisions that are not consistent with someone who truly has a desire to stay home. It takes sacrifice. It takes an intentional mind set. It takes a plan of action.
What it doesn't take is complaining. It also doesn't take apathy.
This month marks four years since I worked my last day outside the home. When I had Sarah in August of 2006, I had to work one last day after her birth for insurance purposes in September. I can't remember who came over to watch her (and Caleb), but I worked it out to be there from 8:00 to noon to tie up loose ends and say my goodbyes.
It took two years for this to happen. In those two years we made changes.
If change is what you want, change is what it takes.
In the mean time, it's best to keep a positive attitude and be the best employee that you can be. The time at work will be far more pleasant when you realize you're there for a season in your life. And if God has placed you there, He has a reason for you to cross the paths of others you see each day.
"For every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1
For a glimpse into our budget, you can read this post.