April 7, 2013

Why I'm glad I couldn't be a stay at home mom

I never wanted to be a stay at home mom.  I remember telling people when I was pregnant with Little Ripples that I wouldn't stay home.  I liked having two incomes.  My mom was a single mother for a long time so she had to work full time. But we were always going somewhere and doing something: museums, the zoo, surprise weekend getaways.  I have some great memories of being young and spending time with my mom.  I never felt deprived or ignored because she had to work.

After having Little Ripples that all changed.  I desperately wanted to stay home with her.  I tried everything I could think of. In fact, this is how I started reading blogs and learning some personal finance tricks like budgeting (gasp) and building an emergency fund (double gasp).  I put as much money as I could towards paying off everything that we could.  We made some great progress paying off debts. 

Unfortunately, the insurance coverage at my work is only for full-time employees and the insurance coverage at my husband's work is a joke.  I researched private insurance companies and really thought long and hard about going that route for insurance.  But my husband has some medical issues and I was worried about the cost and coverage for him.  Also, I knew I was going to want another baby and most private insurance doesn't cover pregnancy.

I was so sad and so upset with my work situation and I didn't know how to fix it.  When I got pregnant with Baby Ripples, I told my husband that he was just going to have to look for a job with better insurance.   My husband was offered a job that seemed too good to be true.  Decent insurance coverage, a pay raise, better hours.... And it was too good to be true.  After only a couple of months at the new job, they drastically raised his insurance premiums.  And my husband was miserable.  He didn't like the people he worked with or that he worked for.

After having Baby Ripples, I found out that having two young children is not the same as only having one.  I envisioned myself going on play dates and to mommy and me classes.  Having lunch with other friends that didn't work full time.  Reality was it would take me almost two hours to get the girls ready and out the door just to go to the store.  After my 3 months of maternity leave, I headed back to work and a weird thing happened.  I started looking forward to going to work.  I was able to get caught up on phone calls on breaks and at lunch.  At home, the kids are always loud and someone is always calling for me, its hard to talk on the phone.  I was able to go out at lunch and run quick errands that would take forever if I had the kids in tow.

I also started to really enjoy my job.  Some changes were happening where I worked and I was getting more involved with different aspects of the company.  It wasn't so mundane as it had been.   So when my husband wanted to go back to his old job,  I told him I was fine with it.  I knew it was the end of any chance I had of staying home and I was ok with it. 

Now I really like my job.  I like the people I work with.  I like the stability that having two incomes gives us.  The piece of mind that comes with having really good health insurance.  I like the sense of accomplishment I get when I complete a project at work.   I still get to spend tons of time with my kids.  They like to help me cook and bake.  We go to the zoo or just play at home.  We read books and watch movies. 

So I'm glad I never got the stay at home mom thing figured out.

***This post is not saying anything against being a stay at home mom.***  This is about how I struggled with wanting to stay home and am glad that I couldn't figure it out because now I'm happier than ever being a working mom of 2 great girls.  

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