One Mama’s Heart

If you’re a long-time reader here (thank you!), then you know how I feel about Mom staying home whenever possible.  I so appreciate this post from Tara, exposing her heart and sharing her perspective on coming home.

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I didn’t plan on getting married.

I didn’t plan on having children.

Tara @ Feels Like Home

After meeting my husband and realizing that he was The One, I soon came to realize that we’d have a family together. We wanted to have a family together.

our wedding

I planned on being a working mother, not ever believing that I’d want to stay home and wipe butts and entertain babies all day long.

And then my baby was born.

our new baby

I spent three months crying over the fact that I’d have to leave her to return to work. I couldn’t fathom how I’d manage to part with this tiny person who depended on me, whom I loved so deeply. I couldn’t imagine how I’d bear to spend my days a mile away from her when I couldn’t bear to sleep in a different room from her at night.

To make matters worse, I am a public high school teacher. I wrestled with the fact that I was abandoning my own child every day in order to take care of other people’s children.

The guilt and sadness grew. I cried every day as I drove from the day care to my school.

Every single day.

I begged my husband to help me find a way to quit working. He said it wasn’t possible. We sought marital counseling because my resentment for him grew along with my sadness and guilt.

Finally, I resigned myself to be a working mother for the duration.

Once Grace was old enough to talk, I understood that she loved her day care and that she looked forward to seeing her teachers and her friends. It became a little easier to go to work each day.

Through her second and third years in day care, my emotions ebbed and flowed. Some days and weeks were harder, and some were easier. I never felt like I was doing the right thing, and, as Amy pointed out so brilliantly, my career became just a job. My master’s degree became a burden; student loan payments were among the bills keeping me at work.

We planned to be a family of three.

our family

No more children were in our future, and we had only two years of day care to pay for before Grace would head off to elementary school.

Even though my heart wasn’t in it, teaching seemed like the perfect job. I’d get out of work each day around the same time that Grace would get out of school; even though the end of summer is hard, we’d still have summers together.

And then I turned up pregnant.

It took a long while to accept the idea.

Once I accepted it, however, and really started to picture what our future was going to look like, I realized that we couldn’t afford day care for two children. It’s impossible.

We started looking at our bank accounts and our budget. We can’t afford to lose my income, and we can’t afford to pay for day care.

It would seem logical, I suppose, for my husband to stay home with our children. Logical, but not practical. He’s not the mom. He has neither the patience nor the skill to wrangle a baby and a preschooler for any period of time.

Plus, I want nothing more than to be at home with my children.

Nothing.

So, that’s where we are. I’m back at work, at least until the baby is born (I carry our health insurance.). My husband is looking for a new job – one with medical benefits and better pay. He hasn’t found one yet.

I have faith. I believe that my intense desire to stay home is coming from the Lord, and I believe that He will provide me with a means to stay home.

I’m feeling a little anxious while I wait for it to happen.

Tara is a wife and mom who has been publishing Feels Like Home since 2007. She writes a variety of posts: food and cooking tips, craft ideas, and a myriad of parenting (mis)adventures help make readers’ lives easier – or at least make them laugh along the way.

You can learn more about Tara at Feels Like Home.

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Comments

  1. God does provide a way. He recently provided me a way to continue to stay home with my kids (even with them all in school now) while earning enough money working from home setting my own hours around my families needs. Good luck with everything, I am sure it will work out.

  2. I kind of have mixed feelings about this.

    I understand the desire and want to stay home, but why is it not practical for the day to stay home and become Mr. Mom?

    • I think full-time homemaking is like any other profession: it’s best chosen on the basis of abilities, passion, and calling. It sounds like Tara’s husband doesn’t meet those criteria, but she does–so she’s the logical choice to stay home.

  3. Oh Tara, this must be very hard. I’m glad Grace likes her preschool, and I hope that does make it a little easier to go to work.

    Also, your wedding dress is gorgeous!

  4. This story touched me too. I have lived this. I knew I wanted to get married and have children, I just didn’t plan on wanting to be home with them. I wasn’t able to stay home until my 1st child was 5 and my 2nd one was 1. I lost my job or I wouldn’t have started staying one to begin with. It was a blessing to lose it!! After I started staying home, I intended on looking for a job but my husband and I refigured our budget, cut it to the bare bones and my husband worked 2 jobs. I was able to stay home and I homeschool my children now. I have been home now for 11 years and we’ve had another child since then. I have had to take a few odd jobs in those years, paper carrier for a major newspaper (ugh I was pregnant during this job and SO sick); I worked at a local store–midnight shift; I took a job in the profession I have a degree in and worked a couple days a week–mainly Sundays–to help make ends meet for a while; I’ve babysat in my home, cleaned houses, made homemade jelly. It’s been so worth it to be home! I feel for anyone with that desire but not the means. God bless you Tara!

  5. I’m glad to see a non-traditional story on here! I am so glad that you at least mentioned how happy your daughter was at daycare. I was raised by a mom that resentfully gave up her career and worked evenings (doing sales parties, etc) to “stay home with us.” I was so jealous of the kids that got to go to daycare. They got to play with other kids, play with people that weren’t their siblings, have fun, all the things we never got. I think there is a lot to interacting without your parents around, I in fact think every child should have some time at a daycare type facility at all ages. But, to have a caring mom that’s home a lot of the time is good for all children too–but to me, there is a balance. Too much family time does exist. And for me, it made me resent my family. I was a horrible teenager who hated my family until long after I left home because I was suffocated by them when I was younger.

    • I think the key word here is “resentfully”. It was not a good experience for you because your mother did not, in her heart, want to be a stay-at-home mom.

      Tara, on the other hand, is desiring with all of her heart to be home with her children.

  6. I also wanted to add that I really don’t think I agree with having dads work 2 jobs or 60+ hours a week so mom can stay home. That doesn’t seem to provide the loving, caring, 2 parent home that many children thrive in. Children of both genders need positive male and female role models to be around, not just providing money.

  7. I so empathize with this story beca

    • Oops…my one year old hit the submit button…but I was trying to say that I really can empathize with your situation. I have a 2 1/2 year old and a 1 year old. I worked for roughly 18 months after my oldest was born. I taught for a state university for 7 years before I had kids…and the expectations of everyone that I worked with was that I would come back to work after maternity leave and my work life would continue on as normal. That didn’t happen. I resented my job so much..and like you, cried almost every day the first year. Sunday evenings were the worst…I would lay in bed and cry after everyone else was asleep just anticipating the long workweek ahead. I developed post partum depression that lasted a little over a year. I never sought treatment for it, but looking back, it is a miracle I survived that time in my life. (I did not develop PPD after my second child–and so I can really see how disordered my thoughts/emotions were with my first. I believe my PPD was triggered by my returning to work) I believed so strongly that I was called to be home with my child, but could not be, and it broke my heart.

      After I became pregnant again, we were in a similar situation. I would be working full time just to pay for daycare. …I was working 50+ hour weeks for about $300/month after subtracting work expenses and daycare for two.

      One thing that helped us ‘find’ extra money in our budget was to adjust our taxes and with-holdings for our soon to be family of 4. With our combined incomes, my husband and I were just under 100k a year, but when you removed my salary (about 45% of that amount) our tax rate dropped substantially. We were able to adjust the amount of taxes being withheld from my husbands paycheck and we had an ‘instant’ raise. It didn’t cover all of the gap in our budget, but it definitely helped.

      I have been home with my girls now for a little over a year…and even though I have questioned my decision financially several times, the Lord has always provided…sometimes with some unexpected income and sometimes with understanding creditors who agree to payment arrangements for unforeseen expenses (like replacing our heat pump, septic tank problems, etc). Staying at home has stresses of its own, but it is a wonderful blessing. I will pray that the desire of your heart will be realized soon…blessings to you and your family!

  8. First, I LOVE your wedding dress. Absolutely gorgeous with that red addition.

    Second, oh I feel your heart. I’ll try to be as brief as possible, but I’ve walked in your shoes.

    I have two “sets” of kids, 10, 8, 2, and 6 months.

    When my first set were little, I didn’t know any better, and put them into daycare. I regret it to this day. There are so many things about their stages that I don’t remember because I wasn’t there half of their day.

    Then, due to some life circumstances, they stayed home with my husband for a couple of years. Equality and all of that politically correct stuff aside, I totally agree with you that some dads just aren’t mom and are not a viable option as a stay-at-home parent. Yes, my children were fed and safe. Did they get mommy’s special touch? No.

    When we found out that we were pregnant with #3, 6 years after our then-youngest, I longed with all of my heart to stay home. And, we decided that I was going to, NO MATTER WHAT.

    Those first few months were HARD. We went on food stamps and I struggled continuously with my decision. My boss even called me and offered me my job back. I hung up the phone and asked my husband if I should go back to work. He said “No, this is what we feel like the Lord wants. If we follow His Word and trust Him, He will provide.”

    And He did. He gave my husband just the job that he needed so that we could get off of food stamps and provide for our children.

    Two years later I’m still home and we’ve added a four child. I work hard at being frugal, seeing it as part of my “job” to help lighten the load. In addition to couponing and home-cooking, one of the things that I do is stop at the thrift store every week on dollar day. I budget $10 a week, which nets me 10 items and our family is very well dressed (this does not include my husband-he usually shops on “all store 50% off days” for what he needs because he’s a weird size). I shop for bigger sizes too, preferring to shop from my storage when the kids outgrown their current clothes than paying full price.

    Anyway, that’s a tangent, but my point is that you can make it your “job” to find creative ways to be frugal and afford to stay home.

    It is my firm belief that the woman’s place is in the home with her children. I also believe, and am living testimony, that if you make it your priority, the Lord will make a way. Even when there seems to be no way.

    Good luck and congrats on your baby!!

  9. I am in the same boat.. I would love to be at home.. but is just not possible..
    I have struggled with this over the last 7 years of my eldest daughters life.. and my 5 year olds.. I do the best that I can with this situation.. I work close enough to home that I have lunch every day with them. I am the one who runs.. my boss is wonderful if the kids are sick or something. I can take off.
    My mother watches our girls.. (at least I know that the person with them all day is someone who would lay down their life to keep them safe.). I carry the benefits in our house.. and would do not live outlandishly…. (not anywhere near 100,000.00)…with the two of us working..
    I do agree that the idea of my husband working 2 or 3 jobs so I can be at home would be a strain on our marriage.. it is not worth it to me.
    I would love to be at home..but it is just not an option. I wish more people understood this.

    Sue in NJ

  10. Hard choices.

  11. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to be in your shoes, Tara! As I was reading your story, I just kept thinking of two verses: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4) and the story of Hannah in 1 Samuel 1. She visited the tabernacle and poured out her “great anguish and grief” to the Lord, begging him to allow her to be a mother. The priest Eli saw her and said, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”

  12. I can SO relate to this! We had our first child back in 1997. She was beautiful and I wanted nothing more than to stay home with her; however, at the time it didn’t seem possible. (If I only would have really looked into it. I believe it would have worked.) I took her to daycare and I would cry. I thought that when she got older it would be easier. It never got easier.

    I had another baby in 2000 and I knew that I was NOT going to be able to go back to work. I was working as a computer programmer for a well known company and my entire family thought I was crazy for even considering to stay home with my daughters. After my maternity leave I went back to work for a whole 2 weeks. I gave them my notice the 2nd day I was back!! I haven’t regretted it. I have said that there will always be a job out there. It may not be the job that I was doing, but it didn’t matter to me. My children were only little once and I didn’t want to miss ANY of it!!

    When you really look at the numbers regarding working and staying at home you might really be surprised what it takes to stay at home – no more daycare expense, no more extra gas money for driving a second vehicle to work; no extra payment for another “top of the line” vehicle; no work clothes; no eating lunch out during the week; no office Christmas gifts/birthday gifts/wedding gifts, etc to buy. When you figure in those type of things alone it makes a big difference. Oh, we still do those things but not at the level as if I was working.

    I wish Tara good luck in making her decision. My heart feels for her. Its been 13 yrs since my oldest was born but after reading this article all those feelings of not being able to stay home with her and wanting to just came flying back at me.

  13. I am blessed to have a supportive husband and get to stay home with our 4 kids. He is a teacher, too. We don’t spend money on a lot of stuff other people do, but I don’t feel we are ‘lacking’ anything. Insurance-wise–he has coverage for himself as a benefit at school; we also have a family plan through Christian Care Medi-Share. It mostly just covers the BIG stuff and maternity; but that’s sufficient for us right now. Best wishes as you work through your new life ‘plan’!

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