About a year and a half ago, I decide to a take a brave leap and quit my job. I had finally gone through enough agony of having to leave my babies every morning and knew I just couldn’t do it anymore. At the time, my third baby was on the way and my husband and I were determined to figure out how to make it work.
When I shared with people that I was leaving my job to stay home, I was met with many different reactions. I think most of my family and friends were happy because I was happy but I listened to a lot of concerns about how our “quality of life” would suffer as a result.
It’s been well over a year since we’ve taken this leap and we’ve definitely had our ups and down. I’ve learned a lot more than I ever thought would as a stay-at-home mom but the most important thing I’ve discovered is my own meaning of “quality of life.”
So to the people who think that you’re quality of life will suffer if you stay home with your kids; I’m here to call your bluff.
As a stay-at-home mom to my children, my quality of life has improved greatly. I was completely miserable when I was working a full-time job outside of my home. I had to leave my crying children behind every morning and it continuously broke my heart.
When I finally left my job, I was terrified. I wasn’t sure if we would actually be able to pull it off, but I knew I had to try. I also was convinced that our “quality of life” would suffer but that was when I thought “quality of life” meant cable television, weekly manicures and having our cleaning lady twice a month.
Now, my idea of what makes up a quality life is completely different. I haven’t had a manicure in years, but I regularly get my nails done by my six year old daughter. I can no longer buy my make up at the department store but at least I can keep my cool when I find my daughter covered in my $1 ELF brand lipstick from Target. Maybe we have never been on a real vacation together as a family, but waking up to my children’s smiling faces every morning already feels paradise.
In my opinion, “quality of life” is so much more than cable television, owning expensive clothing or being able to pay someone else to clean my house. The joy I receive from getting to play with my kids, kiss their boo boos and experience their lives, is worth so much more.
We’ve chosen instead, to live a much more simple life than what your average American family lives. We’re very much a middle-class family and of course we experience the occasional financial hardship.
We own a home and unfortunately, everything will start to break, all at the same time, when it’s least convenient. This has been one of my least favorite lessons of becoming a homeowner.
I’ve also learned great ways to save money that include smarter grocery shopping and how to negotiate a lower price for home internet. Who needs cable when you can stream Netflix through your super affordable internet connection? Even though I’m not a part of the corporate world anymore, it doesn’t mean I’m not gaining valuable experience running my household.
I feel very blessed that we’ve always been able to find a way to make things work and so I can continue to stay home. We’re also extremely fortunate to have family that would never let our children go without anything they need.
Before I left my job, we may not have had financial problems, but there were other things that were just as stressful that are now so much easier. I no longer have the stress of having to look presentable by 7 am and leaving the house while listening to the sound of my children cry through the front door. My husband and I no longer have to worry about who will take the day off work if one of our kids gets sick.
Figuring out dinner is also a lot less stressful when you’re home all day and can plan ahead instead of trying to throw something together at 5:30 when I walked in the door. I no longer worry about sales numbers and report deadlines and I’m now in the business of fort-building, princess tea parties and backyard picnics.
This has definitely not been easy, but nothing worth doing is, right? There’s exhaustion, but there’s also loads of laughter and smiles. There’s frustration, but there’s always lots of hugs and kisses to make it better.
My house may not be full of fancy things and my hair may forever be worn in a pony tail, but for now, for our family “Quality of Life” = Love Given and Love Received.
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