Living the SAHM Life


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The Stay-at-Home-Mom Life

Hello! Johnny and I spent the weekend in Las Vegas with Sally and a few family members. It was a good trip for getting away from it all for a few days, but it wasn’t the best trip we’ve had as parents. I can’t count how many times Johnny said, “If we take a vacation this fall, Sally is not coming with us.” We love our girl, but she kind of hulks out when we’re not at home. It’s nice to be back to our normal routine to say the least.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost three months since I quit my full-time job! In some ways, it feels like it’s been forever since I quit my job, and in other ways, I feel like I’m on some weird, long vacation. I was looking through past months in my planner last night (since that’s a really normal thing to do), and seeing all my scribbled work notes made me so happy to no longer be working. In case you’re wondering how we’re coping on one income and how I’m coping with no longer being a paid contributing member of society, here’s a little update.

A Typical Day

I always like hearing about days in the life of other moms, but if stuff like that bores you to tears, feel free to skip ahead to the next paragraph.

Sally typically wakes up at around 6:30 a.m. or 7:00 a.m., and Johnny and I switch off getting up with her, so the other person can sleep in until 8:00 a.m. a few days a week. Oh boy do I treasure those mornings I can sleep in. When the second person gets up for the day, the three of us head to the kitchen for breakfast. Then Johnny gets ready for work, and a few days a week, Sally and I go for a run. Or rather, I run, and Sally does some sightseeing and yells because she wants me to let her get down and pick up rocks.

Sally 1

When we get back, we both get ready for the day, and then we play until her nap time at 11:00. Sal naps for about two hours, and during that time, I partaayyy!! Or maybe I speed through the house like a crazy person, trying to clean and check items off my to-do list. Sally’s nap time is another time I treasure. Sometimes I listen to an audiobook while I scrub floors or bathrooms, and other times I listen to music on the computer while I write a post, respond to comments, or do freelance writing. When Sal wakes up, we eat lunch, and sometimes Johnny comes home and joins us since he works across the street. If I’m still in my pajamas when he gets home for lunch, that’s a pretty good indicator that the day isn’t going as I planned.

Sally 2

The rest of the afternoon is our oyster. I either schedule a playdate with a friend or neighbor, or sometimes Sally and I just run errands. In the late afternoon, I start prepping dinner, and Sally watches a show. Depending on when Johnny gets home, we sometimes go on a walk or head to a nearby splash pad so Sally can play in the water for like 5 seconds and then try to find rocks to play with. She really likes rocks right now. When dinnertime rolls around Sally eats and smears food all over her face and chest, and then its bath time! At 7:00, Sally goes “Nigh nigh.” I then throw together Johnny’s and my dinner while Johnny straightens up the family room. While we eat, we watch a show, and then we get to work for a few hours. At the end of the night, if we have time, we might watch one more show, and then it’s off to bed by midnight. The last waking moments of the night usually involve one of us trying to convince the other one to wake up with Sally the next morning.

Sally 3 So now that you know how we’ve filled the void of time where I used to work all day, here’s how we’re coping:

Physically

I feel like my quitting my job has been an overall healthier transition for everyone. For the first time in a long time, Johnny and I regularly go to sleep by midnight. And that may sound late, but it’s much earlier than the 2:00 a.m. we used to average. I’m also cooking and planning meals several days a week, and Johnny and I are both exercising regularly, too. I have more energy each day to devote to Sally, and things I never had energy for before, like consistent discipline, actually happen now.

Emotionally

I was worried that I’d feel like a piece of me was missing when I quit my job, like I no longer had as much value. I read a few articles about women who said their biggest regret was quitting their job because they no longer had a separate identity outside of being a mom. But I’m happy to say that I haven’t felt that way at all. I used to feel guilty about my time with Sally not being quality time because I was constantly stressed about work stuff (mostly since I had no separation between my work life and home life). Now I feel like the whole family benefits from me not being stressed because I have the capacity to be there emotionally for Johnny and Sally when they need me.

Financially

I’m happy to say that every month so far we’ve been able to make up most of my income. Some has been from freelance writing, but we’ve also had a few serendipitous one-time opportunities to make some extra money. Although we’ve done well these first three months, I don’t know what August or the rest of the year holds, which makes me a little bit nervous. My plan is to stick strictly to our budget and even see if I can spend less than what we’ve budgeted in some categories, such as food. Our lack of a second steady income does cause some stress from time to time, but as long as we continue to save and keep track of our spending, we both feel pretty good. I will say that I’ve felt some guilt that I’m not contributing more to our income. Yesterday, in a moment of complete idiocy, I scraped the side of our car, which is going to cost a pretty penny to get fixed. And I so wish I could just work overtime or have something to contribute in moments like that. Ninety-five percent of the time, though, I have no financial regrets about quitting.

The stay-at-home-mom life fits me. I know some women need more, and I get that. But it’s the most fulfilling job I’ve ever had, and I work at keeping an identity that’s separate from just being “Mommeeeeeee!!” At the end of the day, I’m exhausted and sometimes more than ready to part ways with a tantrum-throwing Sally for the night :). But by the time I go to bed, I already miss her, and I’m feeling lucky to be able to spend another day with her. In short, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Can any fellow moms or dads relate with my feelings? Where are we similar or different?

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23 Comments

  • Reply Wade July 28, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Awesome glimpse into a day. I agree that kids can take the “vacation” out of a vacation. You want to include them, but having some “parent only” vacations is really necessary.

    Great job with the schedule and income. Isn’t it about time for kid #2? :-)

    • Reply Joanna July 28, 2014 at 10:51 am

      At some point, I think someone commented and said that a vacation with kids is really just a trip. I couldn’t agree more!!

      I’m not sure our sanity will ever be able to handle a second Sally, but when it happens, you’ll be the first to know ;).

  • Reply Joshua C July 28, 2014 at 10:10 am

    “Hulk out” – bwahahaha

    • Reply Joanna July 28, 2014 at 10:53 am

      If you’d seen the way she screamed and flailed about on the ground when things didn’t go her way this weekend, you wouldn’t be laughing ;).

  • Reply Melanie July 28, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    I personally enjoyed the part about her smearing food all over herself :) haha classic. Very interesting as a non-parent (but with the desire to be in the future) to get a glimpse into a “typical day.” Although…how the heck do you do all this and go to bed at midnight? I’m 29 and single and go to bed around 10 at the latest on week nights! :)

    • Reply Joanna July 30, 2014 at 9:59 am

      Johnny and I are both night owls, but there are days when both of us crash mid-day for a nap. Sometimes Johnny takes a quick nap during his lunch break :). If there’s one thing I’d say to people who aren’t parents yet, it’d be to enjoy the sleep while you can!!!! 😉

  • Reply Newlyweds on a Budget July 28, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    I would totally be a SAHM in a heartbeat but I recognize that it’s not for everyone. You seem like you have a very good balance! But yes, midnight is SO late for me! I go to bed by 10, and wake up at 6, so I can still get my 8 hours of sleep. even on weekend we’re normally up around 7

    • Reply Joanna July 30, 2014 at 10:03 am

      You’ll totally still be able to get to sleep early once you have kids…. our late nights are a matter of choice a lot of times! Even before Johnny and I had Sal, we never went to sleep early…. we’re just night owls through and through.

  • Reply Little House July 28, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    I’m not a mom, but I think it’s a super important job and more moms or dads should do it! From a teacher’s POV, it makes a huge difference in the child’s development for the better – kids are more socially adept, well disciplined, and happier when one parent stays home for a while. So from a teacher to a mom, Thank You! You rock!

    • Reply Joanna July 30, 2014 at 10:06 am

      Thanks! While I know Sal would be just fine if I worked, I’d like to think staying home is making some sort of difference!

  • Reply Amanda July 28, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    I am impressed and a little jealous that you’ve been able to replace most of your income so far! We literally cut ours in half when I quit and I’ve made all of like 1200 dollars in the nearly 6 months since with freelance on the side, which is pretty pathetic. On the one income, we have verrry little room for savings, and a couple of unexpected or unusual expenses have made our budget super tight! I am pretty stressed about money a lot, but I still don’t regret quitting!

    • Reply Joanna July 30, 2014 at 10:17 am

      I think you made the right choice, too. I don’t think we were in a career that paid enough for us to get a regular babysitter, so the only other option was to neglect our toddlers. Since I quit, Sally has just gotten busier, so there’s no way I could have kept working. It will all work out, Amanda. Your fam is lucky to have a mom and wife who cares so much!

  • Reply Rob July 28, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    When our two kids came along my wife also quit work to stay home to become a full time SAHM. The best thing she could have done, in our opinion, and fortunately (thru previous planning on how to live on only one income) it was financially possible for us. Back in those days income flow was thus a tad less (than when we both were working) but it just meant that we had to save a little longer to get some things accomplished (like fixing up the odd scratched car, for instance – lol). But overall we both felt (and subsequent years of experience proved it out) that having my wife at home with our 2 kids really helped them to do well growing up and later excelling in school. I guess all those “mom chauffered” outings to sports events, to parks, libraries, zoos, and other interesting activities had an impact. And, just so you know Joanna, after our kids grew old enough my wife did eventually return to the work force, first on a modified part-time basis and then later into full time mode. So it all turned out well for us.

    • Reply Joanna July 30, 2014 at 10:19 am

      It’s nice to hear your perspective, Rob. It sounds like you and your wife made a great decision for your family at the time. I hope I can return to the workforce once Sally and any other kids are in school, too. For now, this seems like the right place for me to be!

  • Reply Kelly July 28, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    I hope I don’t sound like a cranky witch, but being a SAHM of one is a walk in the park. I had 3 small boys (and a husband that worked mega hours) to contend with :) And her bedtime is 7?? So jealous! Not to mention trying to get 3 to take naps, ugh!

    • Reply Joanna July 30, 2014 at 10:21 am

      Ha, not cranky at all! I seriously don’t know how you moms of multiple children do it!! I have a mini panic attack just thinking of having multiple Sallys running around!

  • Reply Tarynkay July 28, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    My son is about a year older than Sally, so the nice thing is that he can now “help” me with housework. This means that cleaning can happen while he is awake, which leaves naptime open for making dinner (and a little free time for me.) Of course, scrubbing the bathroom with a 2 1/2 year old is often a somewhat Sisyphean exercise, so sometimes I wind up taking a nap, too.

    • Reply Joanna July 30, 2014 at 10:23 am

      I look forward to the helping stage! I try right now, and things just end up thrown across the room!

      And I’ve gotta tell ya, some days I give up and just take a nap, too :).

  • Reply Tabitha July 28, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    I really enjoy reading your SAHM updates, I’m not a mom, yet, ( God willing next year!) :-) but when the time comes my husband and I have already agreed I’ll stay at home. So since the start of the year we’ve been practicing for when that happens by budgeting as though my income doesn’t exist – I mean doing our monthly budget based off of only his income – extremely hard to do some months, but it is really rewarding when we’re successful and my entire paycheck can go into savings.

    • Reply Joanna July 30, 2014 at 10:25 am

      Awesome. Way to plan ahead, Tabitha! With that kind of forethought, you two are gonna do great whenever parenthood comes a’knockin’!

  • Reply Retired by 40 July 29, 2014 at 8:31 am

    So glad you’re loving it – and Sally looks really happy too! My daughter is 9 months old right now and she is a handful! Please tell me it gets easier ?!?

    • Reply Joanna July 30, 2014 at 10:28 am

      What a fun age! Some aspects get easier, while others get harder. I feel like that’s how parenthood has always been. Sally has a really good routine that she sticks to…. sleeping isn’t an issue at all in this stage. But when she’s awake, she is a busy little girl!! Hide yo kids, hide yo wife… Sally’s on the move!

      • Reply Retired by 40 July 30, 2014 at 12:15 pm

        Yeah, I would have to agree routine is a lifesaver! I keeping telling myself it will be easier once she walks, and when she can talk a little bit, but something tells me it only gets busier :-)

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